How did “Mad Honey” originate? What inspirations did you draw on?
I’d read an article a long time ago about bees that collected honey from flowers that produce psychotropic chemicals, and after that, I’d always wanted to write a story that touched on mad honey in some way. But on its own, the mad honey was just a detail; not enough to shape a story around. It wasn’t until this idea crashed headlong into a writing prompt asking for a story touching on wolves or werewolves that everything came together.
Where are you in this story?
I seem to return over and over again to stories that feature or include a parent-child relationship. My thoughts and my writing always go back to what we owe the next generations, what we’ve cost them, and what we still have time to repay.
What are you reading lately? What writers inspire you?
Like just about everyone else, I started reading Nona the Ninth the second it dropped onto my Kindle. I also just finished Let the Mountains Be My Grave, by Francesca Tacchi, which was an absolutely engaging and emotional story about gods and monsters and finding both a reason and a way to do more than just survive, set in the mountains of Italy during World War II.
As far as writers who inspire me, I could go on all day! This is an absolute golden age of speculative fiction and I feel lucky to be alive and reading during it! Off the top of my head, some writers whose stories and books always make me ask myself, okay, how did they DO that: Yoon Ha Lee, Louis Evans, Vanessa Fogg, Nghi Vo, Kelly Barnhill, C.L. Polk . . .
Other than writing, do you have any other creative pursuits? What do you do to relax?
When I have spare time, I like to cross-stitch, which I find a happy mix between making something beautiful and not having to think, myself, about how to go about making the beautiful thing. Ditto for cooking and baking! I’m also one of those tedious people who actually enjoy exercise; there’s something very mind-clearing for me in lifting weights or going for a (short) run.
What are you working on lately? Where else can fans look for your work?
Right now I’m trying to write a book that’s on the funny side; maybe in a few months, my beta readers might be able to tell me how close to the mark I’m actually coming. I’ve also got a new novella, “Emergent Properties,” coming out next year, about a muckraking AI trying to forge zir own path in life by breaking a big story despite misgivings from zir (human) parents/developers. And in the meantime, for those who enjoyed “Mad Honey,” “Never a Moth, Nor a Butterfly With Moon-Painted Wings” (bit.ly/3D78eyY) and some of my other work in Beneath Ceaseless Skies touches on some similar themes from a different angle.
Spread the word!