Author of “Patience” (Soft Science Fiction)
How long have you been writing? Do you write genres other than speculative fiction?
I’ve made a living as a nonfiction writer since the day I finished college. Journalism for 10 years, then technical writing, marketing writing, book reviewing, and an amazing gig at Apple where they paid me to review websites. Somewhere in the middle of that I tried to write fiction, and I experimented with long-form crime fiction. Five years ago, I began writing short speculative fiction. I attended some serious workshops, got some excellent guidance, and since then have published more than a dozen short stories: science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, Weird West, and horror. As I contemplate outlining a novel, I’ve considered veering back towards crime fiction because I’m familiar with that story structure.
What are some of your literary influences?
Other than Lord of the Rings, I did not read much speculative fiction as a child. I read E.B. White, Sherman Anderson, James Thurber, and Arthur Conan Doyle. While I was living in Italy, I became fascinated by the crime fiction of Georges Simenon and Nicholas Freeling. Back in the States, I began reading Arthur Upfield and K.C. Constantine. I know that I discovered speculative fiction with Larry Niven (his Gil the Arm stories) and Ray Bradbury. A friend from England introduced me to Terry Pratchett’s books, and I found Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s vampire series. Charlaine Harris’s urban fantasies really hooked me on genre fiction and made me determined to write it.
What’s on your to-be-read list right now?
My partner, Tom Whitmore, is a bookseller and collector, so I read a good deal of older speculative fiction. Right now, my “to read” stack includes Welcome to Bordertown (I like shared worlds); N.K. Jemison’s The Obelisk Gate; David Levine’s Arabella and the Battle of Venus; Fonda Lee’s Jade City and some mysteries by the late Joe Hensley. And I want to start reading Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence novels.
Are there themes that you find recurring in your work?
Definitely. Most of my stories involve secrets and betrayals. Even when the secrets are kept, or the betrayals made, in the general best interests, they take a tremendous toll on the person in the decision-making role. Secrets change relationships forever, and reverberate through generations. I’m interested in how people (and societies) recover from these dynamics.
What is your typical writing process? Outline or seat-of-the-pants? A quiet room or a lively café? Music and coffee or tea and silence?
If I have the right chair or sofa, and the assurance that no one is going to interrupt me with some crisis, I can write nearly anywhere — my office, a café, a loud newsroom, a friend’s living room. My absolute favorite place to write is on an airplane, in first class — not that I get that very often! As far as my process, I demand of myself that I know a plausible ending for the story before I start writing. I’ve wasted far too much time on story setups that went nowhere, and had to put a stop to that.
And: Tea. Yorkshire Gold. Hot.
You can read K.G. Anderson’s story in Metaphorosis Magazine, “Rowboat,” for free online.
For more about K.G. Anderson:
Amazon webpage: https://www.amazon.com/K.G.-Anderson/e/B011JY6BAI