I’m here with C.L. Kagmi, my fellow Writers of the Future writer-winner from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She very graciously volunteered to answer the following questions:
Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your background?
I’m originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s a great place to grow up – Michigan is really much more interesting than people are generally aware of.
I went to the University of Michigan, originally planning to go either into medicine or biomedical engineering. I worked on all kinds of research projects while I was there, from biomedical research labs to survey research teams.
After college I realized that I really wanted to get some more experience in the world, so I started working at Mott Children’s Hospital. I was very fortunate to work as a research coordinator for the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network for five years.
But after five years, I still didn’t want to go back to school. I’d pretty much concluded that I functioned better when I was out in the world getting things done than when I was in classes; so I started building my freelance writing business, which enables me to travel since most of my clients are remote.
What kinds of stories do you write? Why?
My stories tend to be Big Idea stories. I’ve always been a big picture person – one of the reasons I didn’t love the idea of graduate school was that I don’t like specializing and narrowing my studies down to just one specific field.
So most of my stories explore some really big concept or another – be it the neuropsychology of alien life (one of my favorites), the potential for human self-enhancement, or the ramifications of cosmological equations – I usually don’t write a story unless I think it has a new perspective to offer on a really profound question.
That’s one of the things I have always loved about science fiction – it looks at what is possible in the broadest sense, but also in the human sense. It takes these theories and goes “Okay, how would you experience this concept? What would it be like to live it?”
What authors have had the greatest influence on your writing? Why?
Jack Williamson first turned me onto science fiction. It was this glorious novel of his – Firechild, this really trippy novel about genetic engineering and the Cold War. It was the first time I had seen someone take a new technology, turn it into a story, and use that story to address a really profound question. I was totally hooked.
Roger Zelazny is one of the writers who I most aspire to be like – he had this amazing talent for synthesizing scientific speculation, sweeping myths, and very up-close-and-personal dramas all into one coherent whole. Those three things are all so very important, and they are related to each other. It’s just difficult to explain how.
Which of your fellow writer-winner stories do you like the most? Why?
It’s almost impossible for me to choose because I like all sorts of speculative fiction genres, and everyone in this volume is insanely talented.
However, Ziporah Hildebrandt’s “The Long Dizzy Down” does have a special place in my heart.
One of the things I love most about science fiction is the potential to hear from really different narrators – whether they be alien, neurologically altered, or just humans from a radically different future culture. It’s very hard to get into that Really Different headspace and then communicate it gracefully in prose – and Hildebrandt does it beautifully.
That kind of story, when it’s well-executed, is like crack to me as a reader. And “The Long Dizzy Down” is just that. The combination of violence and tenderness, the thoroughness of the narrative voice – it’s just remarkable.
If you were a D&D character, what would your class be (e.g., fighter, magic user, barbarian, etc.)? Why?
I would likely be a magic user or a bard.
But my dice would consist solely of 1s and 20s.
To read C.L.’s story, “The Drake Equation”, please buy your copy today of Writers of the Future: Volume 33. If you already have a copy and have read it, please take a few moments to click this link and place your review: http://amzn.to/2kNE5eh If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, then still click this link, get your book, read it, and review it!