Women of Science Fiction 004: Interview with Patrice Fitzgerald

Women of Science Fiction
Patrice Fitzgerald is an author, attorney, and singer. She’s also recently taking on publishing other writers through her boutique press eFitzgerald Publishing, LLC.  A very busy woman, Fitzgerald is a complete inspiration to the rest of us in the indie publishing industry with her amazing talent and dedication to supporting her fellow authors. To find out more about her and her stories you can sign up for her newsletter here.

Pavarti K Tyler: You’ve written a number of stories in Hugh Howey’s Wool Universe.  What was it about his series that inspired you?

Patrice Fitzgerald:  Hugh Howey and WOOL were my gateway drugs into science fiction writing. Though I read a whole lot of Heinlein, Clarke, and Bradbury in my youth (after jettisoning the notion that if it had “science” in the name, it must be boring and only for boys), I had never written in the genre.

I’ve always been attracted to speculative fiction writing and slightly zany plots, and the larger-than-life aspects of Hugh’s Silo Saga pulled me in and left me saying, “Hey, I want to do that too!”  And when he encouraged me to pursue my first story idea, with his permission and express instructions to publish it and charge for it, I did.

PKT: You’re the power behind the Dark Beyond the Stars anthology.  I noticed that the collection included exclusively the work of women science fiction authors.  Was this a conscious choice?

PF: We certainly are getting a lot of attention because of that aspect of the collection!  In truth, we were writers who knew and respected one another’s work, and we thought it would be fun to put out an anthology together. We hit on the notion of using space opera as a broad theme because it gave us a huge canvas on which to create.  There was never a moment when we thought much about our genders. I suspect you could find quite a few story collections that included only male writers.

PKT: What inspired you to put together your own anthology collection?

PF:  A lot of us have watched the explosion of “Chronicles” titles masterminded by Samuel Peralta, and they are all quality books and lots of fun, so we thought we’d give it a try.

PKT: How was the experience of working as curator as opposed to author different?

PF:  Since this first one was more collaborative, I did more gentle nudging of fellow authors and less curating. We have a whole series planned now, which will allow me to do more in the realm of choosing stories from those that are submitted.

PKT: What about science fiction appeals to you as an author? And as a reader?

PF: The same aspect appeals to me both as an author and a readerthe otherness. The ability to create a newly imagined world and populate it with people (or creatures) and stories. As an author, to do this in short story form is tremendous fun and a real challenge.

PKT: You have books in genres from romance to thriller to science fiction, and now I see you’re working on a cozy mystery series! What do you think about the advice that you should stick to one genre or risk alienating your audience?

PF: For the new world of indie writing and indie authors, I think the rules are different. Part of what appeals to our fans is the fact that they are in close touch with writers on a very personal basis. If they enjoy your writing and feel connected to you as a person, they will typically follow you anywhere. That doesn’t mean that you will sell in every genre, or pull every fan successfully into a new area. But it does mean they are likely to give it a look and try it out.

In the same way that I feel in awe of and grateful for the chance to read authors like Hugh Howey, Annie Bellet, A.G. Riddle, Jennifer Foehner Wells, and David Simpson, there are some readers who feel that way about me. Which still astounds me!

PKT: Lately I’ve been seeing you post about a new project tentatively titled Star Crimes. What can you tell us about it?

PF: My bouncing baby book!  So fresh I just started it tonight.  It’s going to be a very cool sort of space investigator story including mystery, some paranormal abilities, intergalactic space wars, interspecies relations, and who knows what else.  At least, that’s what I think it will include. We’ll see! Working title is STAR CRIMES I: Airless.

PKT: What draws you to space opera as a subgenre of science fiction?

PF: I did notice that space opera is getting hot right now, with the new Star Wars movie coming out. But I think, too, that we have dwelled in the land of post-apocalyptic and dystopian books set on a forbidding future Earth for a while, and perhaps it’s time for a change. Something out there is calling to us, and encouraging writers to boldly go… (you know the rest). I know you’re humming the theme in your head now!

PKT: You also sing, and have quite the range, from jazz to opera. How do you find this artistic expression is different from that of an author?

PF: Interesting question! Singing is immediate and visceral… your body is literally your instrument. And your audience is right there at the time you are creating the music for them. Writing is more solitary, long-term, and intricate. But they both involve sharing yourself, communicating, and producing pleasure in both the artist and the audience.

PKT: I heard a rumor that you have other (not-so) secret pen names. What made you decide to write under pen names instead of keeping all your work together?

PF: Well, mostly because my pen name stories are so racy!  (Though it’s fair to say they are sexy mostly in the context of Regency-era historical fiction… and are not at all shocking to your typical 21st Century reader.)

I only started writing them three months ago, for fun. But they turned out to be easy, fast, and lucrative. So I’m going to see if I can juggle both for a while.

Quick Five:

PKT: Cowboys or Aliens?

PF: Aliens. Though cowboys are cool. How about cowboy aliens?

PKT: Would you live in a world that was SteamPunk or CyberPunk?

PF: Tough one. SteamPunk.

PKT: Analogue or Digital?

PF: Definitely digital.

PKT: You get one gun. Bullets or Lasers?

PF:  Can I have a stun gun that shoots out a quick-acting but temporary paralyzing agent? And also makes the bad guys float in some kind of anti-gravity cloud so they are easy to transport? And maybe smells good. Something slightly spicy but not too sweet. Yes. That kind of gun.

PKT: Would you rather fight Orcs or Terminators?

PF: I think I’d go with a Terminator who looks like Schwartzenegger did a few years ago when he showed up nude in that very first movie. I wouldn’t fight him. I’d get him drunk and we’d have a few laughs. All very civilized.

About the Author:

Patrice Fitzgerald author science fictionPatrice Fitzgerald is the bestselling author of a number of books and short stories in the science fiction and speculative fiction realms. She’s the Series Editor for the BEYOND THE STARS space opera anthologies, the first of which, “Dark Beyond the Stars,” was released on August 24th, 2015… her birthday!

Patrice is also an attorney with a background in intellectual property. She heads a boutique publishing company featuring mystery, romance, fantasy, and nonfiction books. She gives courses to those interested in self-publishing, and in April of 2016 she will be presenting the first Big Island (Hawaii) Writers Retreat and Conference.

In her spare time, she’s a singer, performing jazz, Broadway, and opera with her husband. She lives on the water in New England and is thrilled to be making a living as a writer.

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  1. Hey Zen!

    The next collection in the series is already in the works. Beyond the Stars 2: A Planet Too Far. We’ve got some amazing writers set for this, and the release date is in March. Very exciting, particularly with the success of the first one.

    Hugo Award winner Julie Dillon is working on cover art right now.

    A great time for space opera!


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