Jack Noble comes from Scotland, but has lived most of his adult life in Asia. He is currently based in southern Vietnam, where he teaches English, bravely tackles the local language and struggles with road rage.
Q: How does writing speculative fiction affect your daily life (not as a writer, but as a person)?
A: For me, speculative fiction is a way of engaging with metaphor. Often that involves different ways of writing and thinking about science. I think if you want to attract more people to science – more than just the logically-minded, for instance – you’ve got to provide a different sort of pathway, a different means of engaging. I find science fiction in particular helps me to perceive science more broadly, from a place of imagination as well as method.
Most of my adult life I lived in New York City. I marched in the first Gay Pride Parade in 1970. After leaving music, I supported myself writing how-to books in finance, and textbooks in music; my formal education was in music theory and composition (UNT and Princeton). I’m an old man now, and I live in a small Texas town where I’m very out of place. I was accepted into and survived the Odyssey Writers’ Workshop in 2010. That’s where I really learned to write.
Q: What is your favorite word?
A: Tintinnabulation is my favorite word. How musical it sounds. How magical. For me, this word always evokes a picture of fairy bells ringing in the breeze.
Octavia Cade has a PhD in science communication. Though seaweed was her first biological love, she’s currently researching the germination triggers of New Zealand’s only seagrass.
Q: Is there a specific environment you find most conducive to writing, and is it different for different kinds of scenes?
A: The only place I can get any writing done is in my home office. I’ve never been able to write in public places like coffee shops, and I can’t get any writing done if there is any kind of distraction (including music). In order to write I need quiet, stillness, and the comforting/sinister presence of the Dalek sculpture I keep on my desk.