Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Sunday, 13 November 2016

The Lowdown (Mrs & Mrs Edition) Part 2: with Kelly Robson

Kelly Robson’s novella “Waters of Versailles” won the 2016 Aurora Award, and this year she was a finalist for the Nebula Award, World Fantasy Award, Theodore Sturgeon Award and Sunburst Award. Her Gothic Horror novelette “A Human Stain” is forthcoming at in January. Kelly lives in Toronto with her wife, fellow SF writer A.M. Dellamonica.

1. Tell us three things about yourself. 
I grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, just a few kilometers east of Jasper National Park.
When I was a teenager, I competed in rodeos. I was crowed Rodeo Princess when I was just 14 years old, but despite all that teenage outdoorsy-ness, reading has always been my first love.
Alyx Dellamonica and I have been married for nearly 30 years.

2. What was the first thing you had published? 
My first publication was “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” in the February 2015 Clarkesworld. Neil Clarke accepted it in December, and by that time I’d already sold several stories. None of them had been published yet, but one was coming out in an anthology in March. Editors love to get the first publication scoop for a new writer, so Neil Clarke squeezed me into the February issue.

3. Which piece of writing are you proudest of? 
That’s such a difficult question. It’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child! All of my stories a really different from each other. I guess I’m most proud of “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill,” which was a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon Award. The reason why I’m most proud of it is that when I was drafting it, I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve (i.e., make people very upset) -- and I did it.

4. …and which makes you cringe? 
Absolutely nothing. No regrets. Well, that’s not exactly true. Here in Toronto we have a monthly SF reading series, which Alyx and I try to never miss. Last August, instead of a regular reading we did a “Mortified Reading” fundraiser where a bunch of pros read from their childhood or teenage writing. Almost everyone else read horror stories (Gemma Files’ in particular was fantastic) but mine was a horse story I’d written when I was ten years old. I’m not embarrassed of it – managed to read it with hardly any cringing, and it got several good laughs, but I’m afraid it doesn’t reflect admirably on my childhood psychology.

5. What’s a normal writing day like? 
I work from 8:00 to 4:00. We live in downtown Toronto and Alyx works at home so supper is usually over by 5:00. I’m usually writing by 5:30, and go until 7:30 or 8:00. Then we’ll watch and hour of TV, and asleep by 10:00. I’m not a fast writer, so to make decent progress, I have to put in at least two and a half hours five or six days a week (and preferably more, and much more when revising). I don’t write every day because for me, that’s a recipe for burnout. However, if I don’t write more days that not, the word count stagnates.

Cover: Waters of Versalles
 6. Which piece of writing should someone who’s never read you before pick up first? 
My novella “Waters of Versailles” gets a lot of love, and it’s one of my favorite pieces. It’s a glittering historical fantasy set in Louis XV’s Versailles, with a surprise emotional sucker punch.

7. What are you working on now? 
I’m revising a long time travel novella called “The Last Landing of the Lucky Peach.” The story is set several hundred years in the future, and involves mass extinction events, a coming of age story where the person who comes of age is 85 years old, intergenerational conflict, and the question of whether ancient kings really believed they had supernatural powers, which is a really interesting question to me. And because my story, it also has a lot of water in it. Seems like stories are always really wet!

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