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.  

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Writer Wednesday: Isabel Yap

Isabel Yap writes fiction and poetry, works in the tech industry, and drinks tea. Born and raised in Manila, she has also lived in California, London, and Boston. She holds a BS in Marketing from Santa Clara University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In 2013 she attended the Clarion Writers Workshop, and since 2016 has served as Secretary for the Clarion Foundation. Her work has appeared in venues including Tor.com, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, and Year’s Best Weird Fiction. Her debut short story collection, Never Have I Ever, is out 2/23/2021 from Small Beer Press. She is @visyap on Twitter and her website is https://isabelyap.com.

Isabel Yap. Photo courtesy of the author.

Today we’re chatting with Yap about her forthcoming collection, writing while Filipino, and believing in yourself (or getting out of your own way) …

Cover for Never Have I Ever. Art by Alexa Sharpe.

Spells and stories, urban legends and immigrant tales: the magic in Isabel Yap’s debut collection jumps right off the page, from the joy in her new story, “A Spell for Foolish Hearts” to the terrifying tension of the urban legend “Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez.”

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

Humans make up wonderfully intricate rituals, pretend to have such control—but they easily devolve into animal longing, just heartbeats flaring in their cage of skin and bones.

What will readers learn about you as a person from reading your debut collection?

Well, this is a terrifying question! And the kind of thing that I’d love to turn back on the reader, as in: well, what do you think you know about me? Generally, I was trained to critique stories in terms of formalism: the author is dead. I believe authors should be taken at their word, and I’d like people to read these stories not really thinking about me at all. But one thing that did come to mind, looking at this question, is: I hope a lonely reader will feel a kindred spirit. A deeply felt, persistent loneliness is something I live with, even if I have the best family and friends anyone could really ask for. The struggle with that, and the different resolutions I see regarding it, are threaded all through the veins of this book.

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Writer Wednesday: Karen Osborne

Karen Osborne. Photo courtesy of the author.

Karen Osborne is a writer, visual storyteller and violinist. She is the author of Architects of Memory and Engines of Oblivion from Tor Books. Her short fiction appears in UncannyFireside, Escape Pod, Robot Dinosaurs, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. She is a member of the DC/MD-based Homespun Ceilidh Band, emcees the Charm City Spec reading series, and once won a major event filmmaking award for taping a Klingon wedding. You can find her on Twitter at @karenthology and on the web at www.karenosborne.com.

Cover art for Engines of Oblivion, by artist Mike Heath.

The Memory War is author Karen Osborne’s lightning-fast science fiction action and adventure tale of a civilization devastated by first contact. In a corporate future where citizenship is a debt paid before it’s earned, terminally-ill salvage pilot Ash Jackson, sardonic ordnance engineer Natalie Chan and practical captain Kate Keller fight to build a future for themselves amid the wreckage of a catastrophic war against the alien Vai. When their crew discovers a genocidal secret on a ravaged colony planet, Ash and Natalie are drawn into a conspiracy that threatens to turn Ash into a living weapon—endangering Kate’s life, Natalie’s humanity, and the existence of memory itself.

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

“War is science.”

If your book includes a real place on Earth, how does your version of it differ from reality?

The main character of Engines of Oblivion, the ordnance engineer Natalie Chan, grew up in Albany, New York—specifically, in and around the Empire State Plaza, which is this amazing brutalist masterpiece built on the bones of a murdered neighborhood, all white marble and tall skyscrapers surrounded by crumbling churches and rowhouses.

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Announcing: “Writer Wednesday” Returns!

This year wasn’t what I hoped for, in so many ways. While the “New Year” is kind of arbitrary, I like the idea of getting a chance to start over, simply because the date on the calendar changed. I don’t have a lot of goals for the next year – the last thing any of us need right now is to set ourselves up for failure by taking on too much – but one of them is that I want to use my time and platform to promote other writers and creators. It’s important to me not just because we’re friends or I love their past work, but because supporting each other is a vital part of our community. Any time I get a little bit of a leg up in this world, I want to bring everyone else with me.

Years ago, in a different version of this blog, I used to post a weekly writer interview with friends. For 2021, I’m bringing that back. Some of these new projects are books, others are story collections, or games – but they’re all unique and I’m excited to learn more about them.

For January 2021, I’ve got interviews with:

Upcoming interviews include Kelley Robson, Wendy N. Wagner, Premee Mohamed, Karen Armstrong, A.C. Wise, and a lot more. But, I still have spots open for later in the year, so if your book-length project is being published in the next 12 months and you’re interested in being interviewed, please get in touch. The earlier you reach out, the more likely I am to be able to fit you in close to your release date.

I’m particularly interested in speculative fiction novels, text-heavy games, or nonfiction that relates to SFF. Traditionally published books available on multiple platforms are more likely to find a place here because I’d like to include links to small bookstores that are local to the writers themselves, which means showcasing books you could order from those independent shops. I’ll also consider small press publications if the press is established and well regarded, and the books are available from multiple outlets (which can include buying directly from the publisher). I know Amazon is inevitable but I don’t want them to be the only source for books if we can help it.

I can’t guarantee you a spot – I am trying to keep the schedule balanced between different types of projects, with an emphasis on early career writers or writers from marginalized communities – but I can promise to carefully consider all requests. Please give me at least 30 days to respond before querying again.