Writer Wednesday: Marie Vibbert

Writer Wednesday is back! Today we’re chatting with Marie Vibbert about her new novel, Galactic Hellcats

Marie Vibbert. Photo courtesy of the author.

Marie Vibbert has sold over 60 short stories to markets such as Analog, Amazing Stories, and F&SF. The Oxford Culture review called her work, “Everything science fiction should be.” Her stories have been translated by magazines in Vietnam and China! By day she is a computer programmer in Cleveland, Ohio, and has been a medieval reenactor and a professional football player. 

Vibbert’s novel is out now from Vernacular Books! What is Galactic Hellcats? The quick but enticing explanation is it’s a novel about a female biker gang in outer space rescuing a gay prince, and forming a family together. Yeah, you want to know more…

Cover art by I.L. Vinokur; Elf Elm Publishing did the design and layout. 

Where do you see yourself in this story? Or more accurately, where would your readers see you, between the lines?

I was a bit of a klepto as a kid. Growing up poor, all the things I wanted were on the other side of safety glass or security tie-downs. I’d go days without eating down the street from a store full of candy. Is it any wonder then, that all my heroes were cat thieves? I thrilled over Harry Harrison’s “Stainless Steel Rat” and thought Cat Woman should’ve beaten Batman every time. I got mad when the characters in my stories didn’t get to keep their treasures, which sure happened a lot.  

Tell me something big that you lifted from your real life for Galactic Hellcats

There’s a final, climactic heist that takes place at Motorcars Spaceships, a fictional descendent of a car dealership in my home Cleveland Heights, Ohio. A buddy of mine worked for Motorcars and I actually bought two cars there, so it’s a building I’m familiar with. Having a basic floorplan to start with is handy in planning a fictional heist. I shifted around the businesses near the dealership, and put my favorite coffee shop there, instead of several blocks away. Hey, it’s still Cleveland Heights?

So you’d be happy living in the Hellcats version of Cleveland?

I wrote this story to be a world I’d want to live in. I dreamed all my childhood about having a space motorcycle. Part Tron bike, part Bubblegum Crisis Mech, it would have a computer AI that would be my best friend, like Kit on Night Rider, and we’d save handsome princes and defeat bad guys. It’s not a great world for many people in it, but neither is the one we live in now.

Without context, what’s one of your favorite sentences in the book?

“Someone programmed you to flirt.”
“Darling, it’s almost the first thing AI were trained to do. Right after sell insurance.”

Any last tidbits you want to share?

The first version of the story, which I called “Kleptomaniacs” at that time, is still in my closet, written in purple pen on blue lined notebook paper.  

We know you can buy Galactic Hellcats anywhere but if possible, check out Mac’s Backs in Cleveland, Ohio? They’re a local favorite, and you can buy Hellcats direct at https://www.macsbacks.com/book/9781952283079. If you need additional shipping options, there’s also: https://bookshop.org/books/galactic-hellcats/9781952283079. Thank you for shopping independent bookstores!

You can find Vibbert online at https://marievibbert.com, on Twitter, or on Instagram.

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