If you could commandeer one famous pirate ship from history, what ship would you choose?
This is tough because while tall ships have a gorgeous aesthetic, the pirate ship I actually want is a spaceship – Serenity from Firefly. But what I love about pirate ships from the Age of Piracy is that the pirates who took them almost always changed them in some way. Usually by adding as many cannons as they could without sinking or severely compromising their speed. The pirate whose style I most enjoy was Bartholomew Roberts who stole ship after ship after ship after ship naming them all Royal Fortune. By the time he was done, there was basically a fleet of Royal Fortune’s sailing around (or sunk around more likely). Still, his final ship was by all accounts the most incredible of the three-year legacy of Royal Fortunes and that seems like the kind of ship I’d like to commandeer.
You studied gender studies in college. Did you already know that you wanted to write fierce, feminist fantasy?
Not exactly. My writing always had a feminist edge and it nearly always intersects with fantasy in one way or another, but the urge to write something as expressly feminist as Seafire had more to do with what I didn’t get as a young consumer of SFF and an adult who saw Mad Max: Fury Road and had a surprise religious experience.
My favorite novels have always been those that take unlikely heroes on epic adventures, but it wasn’t until I saw MMFR that I realized I wanted something more from those narratives. Mostly, I wanted girls at the center of those stories without having to earn their places by being the romantic interest, the one in danger, or one who was only there through some prophetic machinations. I wanted girls on adventures. Full stop. Once I’d recognized that desire, the fierce fantasy piece was just kind of a given.
Our festival slogan is “Read Everything.” What one book would you like to see on our official Read Everything list for 2018?
STRANGE GRACE by Tessa Gratton. It’s an emotionally complex, gorgeously feminist fairytale about sacrifice and magic, and I absolutely adore it.