I had an interesting conversation with the CIO of my last company several months ago. He knew my words had stalled and it frustrated me. His recommendation? I should write a female protagonist in IT. Perhaps I could imbue code with magic if I needed a paranormal slant, but he knew I had enough material from my years in tech. He was right (except for the bit about magic infused code--it didn't strike a chord for me), and I've been developing a science fiction novel. When my friend contacted me asking if I'd be interested in speaking at PNWA, I couldn't pass up the opportunity. Since I was elbow deep in research for my story, the topics I proposed were tech related and appealed to a coordinator looking for science fiction workshops.
When I research a book, I read just about anything I can get my hands on that is reliable. I've studied human and animal anatomy, aging theory in terms of genetics, and various forensics developments for The Hunted series. A small fraction makes it on the page (I find it interesting but my husband yawns when I go into detail), but because I'm breaking the common vampire tropes, I believe it's important to provide rational reasons and stick to my own rules. I've grown frustrated with series I've read in the past because the author either forgot or broke a rule for the sake of convenience. I also want to consider people in the professions represented in my writing. Would they think my scenes are passable or get frustrated and abandon the book?
My day job typically lands me either in one of a company's operations departments or with their IT department. I manage business applications that are used by different parts of the organization. I've supported sales people, support, and marketing organizations. On top of having a technical job, I live in the largest tech mecca outside of Silicon Valley. Since leaving college, I've worked for various companies that reside in the technology industry. My coworkers are highly intelligent and tend to be voracious readers. I get my best book recommendations from my fellow tech nerds, and I get to hear their rants when they stumble onto a book that defies established science.
My first workshop on Saturday (July 22nd) is "Technology and Science: Write it Right." I'm presenting with a writer I met through Booktrope, Tiffany Pitts. Tiffany has a history in the sciences and also has a passion for research, creating logical rules, and sticking to them. Our goal is to give a baseline for writers to use when reviewing their work. We want them to ask questions like: What would an expert think if they read this? Did I do my homework? Does this make sense?
The second workshop, also presented with Tiffany, is "Technology's Impact on Society." While I find this topic very interesting, it was hard to structure because of how strongly I feel about representing realistic experiences across demographics. I think many of us can quickly list off positive impacts of technology: greater efficiency, medical breakthroughs, better forensics, etc. But what about the hostilities many of us encounter on a regular basis? I can think of a few examples of science fiction I've read recently that present an "always wired" network as a utopia. What happened to the harassment, threats, and other hurdles we face online?
If you're attending PNWA, I hope to see you there! Otherwise, look for more content on these topics in the coming months.
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.