When Jamie Killen isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world in search of new story ideas. She’s also an educator and a trained historian. She lives in Arizona with several other monsters.
When Dr. Paulson Kurtz clones the mammoth Sukari, the whole world gushes. Blog posts, interviews, TV spots, websites, opinion pieces, essays, tweets, and podcasts, the message is always the same: everyone’s enchanted, everyone’s in love. YouTube viewers thrill to her image: Sukari chases a big red ball; Sukari bathes in a plastic pool; Sukari sucks from a bottle, held by a comely grad student. Everyone agrees that her name, taken from the Inuit word for …
Q: What kind of non-fiction do you like to read and how does it affect the fiction you write?
A: My nonfiction reading is mostly autobiography and biography. I’m interested in the ways that people shape their life stories, and how and why they tell them — to themselves and to others. In my fiction, I like to explore trickster characters for whom lying is an art form; characters who delude themselves (often for self-preservation); and people who create stories of the future that serve as roadmaps, often for the organizations they lead. Many of my stories, including “Rowboat”, involve family secrets. I was deeply influenced by Russell Baker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography Growing Up. Baker’s stories about the Depression era helped me understand my parents and grandparents, who didn’t want to talk about those hard times. As the child of a Jewish parent, I was fascinated by Art Spiegelman’s ground-breaking graphic novel Maus: A Survivor’s Tale.
Kato Thompson lives in Maryland where she writes and takes pictures of interesting things. She has a background in microbiology and life sciences. When she isn’t taking care of children or writing or taking pictures, she is learning about the art of winemaking at her family’s vineyard. She shares her work at www.katothompson.com.
It was Full Night, the climax of the two-week Festival of Threll, and the narrow streets of Thranrak heaved with the devout, the curious, and the avaricious. Freya Adinyan plunged past the torch-lit processions and the bustling market stalls, her heart pounding in time to the drums. Tonight she was determined to leave Thranrak and the world of man behind. She forced her way through the mass of festival-goers crowding Ascension Square, towards the tower …
Q: Do you have any pets? Do they influence your writing?
A: I have two dogs, Krypto and Jubilee. They are named after super heroes. They absolutely influence my writing. For one thing, they don’t give two shits about it, and this helps enormously, especially on bad days, when I think my work sucks beyond belief. My dogs always remind me that life is not about achievement, and that beauty and love can be found everywhere, even in old tennis balls and saggy bags of dog food. I like making their tails thump on the floor after I’ve been wrestling with metaphors. I substitute their names and the word “puppy” in poems and song lyrics. It always makes me feel better. “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s puppy? Thou art my Krypto and my Jubilee.” They wag their tails and I feel like a genius.