Friends and readers, welcome Kellie Doherty to the Women in SciFi Series! She is a new friend whose book looks so freaking cool, I’m going to have to add it to my book budget to buy list for next month (I already spent this months – I know you’re surprised). Anyway, join me in getting to know Kellie and leave a comment with any questions of your own!
PK Tyler – You published your first novel in April of 2016. Tell us a bit about it, and what science fiction lovers can expect.
Kellie Doherty – It’s always been a dream of mine to get published so having Finding Hekate come out in April was such an amazing experience. Finding Hekate is about a spaceship captain named Mia Foley who’s been running from these people called the Acedians for years. She finally settled down on a spaceship, formed friendships with the crew, and even started to fall for her first mate Cassidy Gates. But then the Acedians find her again and all helix breaks loose. She has to decide to cut her losses and run likes she’s done before or stick with her crew and fight. (It’s a duology with the second one, Losing Hold, coming out sometime next year.) Science fiction lovers can expect some cool technology woven throughout the book, including nanotech pushed to its max, and secret fighting happening in the exceedingly tiny quarters of a spaceship.
PKT – We’ve interviewed a lot of authors that like to push traditional boundaries, tell us about the boundaries your novel Finding Hekate pushes, and why you felt it was integral to the plot.
KD – When I was growing up a lot of the science fiction novels had men as their main characters, and I wanted to twist that idea because I’m a woman and women can kick ass, too. I also wanted to diversify the science fiction genre by showcasing lesbians as main characters, weaving their romance throughout this book and the next. Featuring that romance and having them be the main characters (as captain and second in command, respectfully) shoved the traditional boundaries away and showcased that yeah, queer folks can be in the spotlight, find love, and kick ass and take names. Mia and Cassidy’s push and pull throughout the book drives the plot forward and is ultimately why Mia makes the decision she does at the end.
PKT – Where is your favorite writing spot, and what makes it a productive space for you?
KD – I like to write sitting in the corner of my couch and covered in a thick blanket my sister knitted for me, preferably with my two cats snoozing by my side and a mug of tea or water nearby. It’s a productive space because it’s cozy, I have all my supplies (reference books, pen/paper, something to drink) somewhere near me, and I’m alone with my thoughts. Plus I can pick the music to play in the background. (I’ve tried writing in cafes, like the quintessential writer we all envision, and they never chose the right songs! I can’t have lyrics, and it has to be pretty soft background noise.)
PKT – Are you a self-published author, or do you work with a small press or other publisher? Can you tell us why you made that choice?
KD – I work with a small publisher called Desert Palm Press. They publish queer fiction in all sorts of genres and are located in California. I decided to work with them because my friends (who are also published through DPP) suggested that I take a stab at it. I’ve been a freelance editor for them for years, but I never had the courage to send in my own work. Last year I submitted Finding Hekate and…well, you know the rest.
PKT – Tell us a bit about your next project, is it more science fiction, and tell us a bit about the gender fluid characters it will feature?
KD – Losing Hold, the second and final installment in my Cicatrix duology, is in the editing phase right now and will be published sometime next year. I’m currently switching gears to work on a five-book fantasy series, with the first four each featuring a main character and the fifth combining them so they can defeat the big baddie together. In each of the first four books, the characters will be broken in some way (physically, mentally, spiritually, etc.), and they’ll be lesbian, bisexual, or gender fluid. I’m writing the first book now, tentatively called Severed Ties, about a Vagari woman named Misti Eildelmann. The gender fluid character, named Zayla, will show up in Misti’s story but only briefly. Zayla’s book will probably be book two or three in the series. As a Nemora, Zayla will be gender fluid until she turns a certain age, at which she’ll have to make a decision on which gender she’d like to stick with (male, female, or nox). I’m super excited to write her story, but I’ve got to finish Misti’s first!
PKT – Your website mentions a number of other writing projects, and that you also work in the publishing industry. Do you work full time as an author and editor, or do you have a day job as well?
KD – I wish I could work full time as an author and editor, but that’s not in the cards right now. My editing is a freelance business so my clients vary month-to-month, and I can’t live off the income that makes. I’m currently on the hunt for a full time job and while it would be lovely to work in the publishing industry, I’m looking at other industries as well. (Wish me luck!)
PKT – Tell us a bit about the other writing projects you’re taking part in right now.
KD – One writing project that I’m super excited to be working on is the Back of Beyond Press zines. BOB Press is a new press here in Portland, OR, that publishes science fiction and fantasy and especially welcomes stories about and by minority groups. I submitted two short stories (one science fiction and one fantasy, both featuring lesbian main characters) and they accepted them both. Mission 20, the science fiction short story, will be published sometime this month alongside some great artwork by Erika Schnatz. The fantasy short story Beware the Temptress Comes will be published a few months after that, and BOB Press is currently looking for artwork for that zine.
PKT – We’d love to end the day with something inspirational, so, could you tell us about a time in your writing career that was really tough, and how you pulled yourself out of it?
KD – Back in 2012, I had just started a new job, my first full-time job after undergrad, and that really drained my energy. I was having a tough time sitting down to write after work, because I really wanted to do was lounge on the couch and binge watch TV. But I also really wanted to write, I just wasn’t dedicated enough… and I knew it. It was unfortunate downward spiral until I found out about a November event called NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) where folks are challenged to write 50,000 words in 30 days. November was crazy month for me already with my job and a vacation we were taking and Thanksgiving, but I signed up anyway. NaNo was the kick I needed to dedicate myself to writing again. Maybe it was the hard deadline at the end of the month. Maybe it was the community of writers. Maybe it was the self-imposed shame I would feel if I didn’t meet my daily quota. Whatever it was, it helped be out of that downward spiral and I haven’t looked back since. Sometimes I still struggle to write everyday, but then NaNo comes around again and fuels my fire. I’m not officially signed up this year, but I am going to write everyday this month!
PKT – Writing or publishing?
KD – Writing for sure, since I started out as a writer, though over the years I’ve been drawn to publishing, too, starting my own editing business and recently completing a master’s program in book publishing from Portland State University.
PKT – Hiking or swimming?
KD – Swimming, but only in a pool, not in the ocean. I do like hiking, though, too, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing colors.
PKT – If you had to choose one direction to go would it be North or South?
KD – North. (Bring on the snow!)
PKT – Would you rather live in an underwater world, or an out-of-this-world, word?
KD – An out-of-this-world world…think of all the new species I’d meet! Maybe even dragons!
PKT – Coffee or tea?
KD – Tea, hands down. Always tea. (Preferably black with milk and honey.
About Kellie Doherty
Kellie Doherty’s debut novel Finding Hekate was published by Desert Palm Press in April 2016, and the sequel titled Losing Hold is now in the editing phase. She’s currently working on a five-book fantasy series. As freelance editor, Kellie has worked on projects ranging from full-length novels to website copy, and she is dedicated to helping writers polish their work. Her writing has also been featured in Flight (Mischief Corner Books 2016), 49 Writers Alaska Shorts, Pathos Literary Magazine, the Chugiak Eagle River Star, F Magazine, Alaska Women Speak, and soon in Back Of Beyond Press’ science fiction and fantasy zines.