PATIENT: K. CERES WRIGHT
When did you start writing? Why did you pick the genre you write in?
I always received good grades in English in school, but it wasn't my favorite subject. Math was my favorite. But I was working as a credit analyst for an insurance company in the mid-nineties, and the company had been hemorrhaging money for a few years and decided to lay off people. So in order to relieve some of the stress I was undergoing, I began writing. I wrote a science fiction story about my coworkers and they thought it was hilarious. So I sent it to some publishers, and it was quickly rejected. One editor wrote, "Character development?" on the first page, so I assumed that meant something. In school, I never really was taught how to write a story, only how to analyze one...metaphors, allegories, themes, and the like. But I discovered that I liked writing stories, so I kept at it.
I had become hooked on reading science fiction since about the fourth grade, when I first read, The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet. I eventually graduated to Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke. But as I got older, my reading trailed off into mysteries, spy stories, and nonfiction. Then one day at work, in 2004, I picked up a book called Neuromancer. I was enthralled. So I read more cyberpunk and decided to write a cyberpunk story. Then I wanted to write a book, but I didn't know how. I researched various writing programs and discovered Seton Hill University's (SHU) Writing Popular Fiction Program.
Where do you get your ideas from? Do you journal at all?
My ideas come from current advances in science that I project out about 50 years or so. Or at least I try. I guess we'll see how close I got in 2063.
No, I don't journal.
What's a normal (writing) day like for you?
I'm not a morning person, so I sleep until the last possible moment....and sometimes more. I don't think I have a normal writing day. If I'm sitting, waiting somewhere, like at the mall, I'll pull out a piece of paper and write. Or if after I come home from work, make dinner, and have enough energy, I'll write. Research is important, so I may do that on my lunch hour, or at night, as well. It's hard when I'm just starting a book because I'm not in the groove, so to speak. But once I'm there, it's usually at night when I write.
Favorite author or book? Who are you currently reading?
My favorite author is Richard K. Morgan. But I'm currently reading Cyberpunk: Stories of Hardware, Software, Wetware, Evolution, and Revolution by various science fiction authors; and Hellbender by Jason Jack Miller. It's hard for me, as I'm an editor at work so I read all day, and I don't feel like reading when I get home. So I keep books on both my nightstand and in the bathroom, so I can take advantage of whatever free time I may have.
Do you prefer writing poetry or pose? Why one over the other?
I prefer to write prose. My father's a poet, and while growing up, I had a hard time understanding what he meant in his poems. I decided that one should mean what one says, and say what one means. None of this 'it's how you interpret it' type of thing I've softened somewhat over the years, and I have written a poem that was nominated for a Rhysling award, but I much prefer prose.
Do you write in silence or with noise?
I mostly write in silence. If I'm at the mall or somewhere there's background noise, I can filter that out, being a mom, but if I'm at home, I write in silence.
Do you have any weird habits when it comes to writing? Do you type or write longhand?
I used to write longhand, but decided it would be quicker to learn how to write while typing, so I taught myself that.
Would you consider yourself a Plotter or a Pancer?
I have to outline a story, or I'll wind up far from where I had intended to go, but after that, I'm definitely a pancer. Sometimes ideas just flow as soon as I put my fingers to the keys. Other times, I have to sit and think, or take a walk, or sleep on it.
What do you think is the hardest aspect of the craft?
For me, it's the non-writing aspects--marketing, posting updates, speaking in front of people, and the like. I'm an introvert, so being asked to give a talk, or do an interview is quite a challenge for me. But I recently agreed to do media pitching at work for practice so hopefully it'll help.
I'm working on a book with Rachael Pruitt, a fellow SHUer, who writes Arthurian fiction. She wrote The Dragon's Harp, which is about the life of Gwenhwyfar. Our book will be post-apocalyptic, so I think it will be able to highlight both of our talents, telling stories about groups of people who still have access to technology, and those who don't.
How do you balance being a writer?
For me, there's never a constant balance. If something or someone (read: children) requires my attention, it's all there. Writing takes a backseat, at least the focus. I'm always thinking of plots or characters in the back of my mind, just not writing it down. Or I'll file something away for later use. But if everything is going pretty smoothly, then I can sit and get it all down.
What do you think people expect from you with your writing?
I love action, so my readers, I think, will definitely get a fast ride. I try to put a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter to get them to stay up until 3 a.m. to finish my book.
Advice for aspiring writers?
Persevere. We all get rejected but we have to keep putting our work out there.
Keep learning. You never get to the point where you can't learn anything more about the craft, especially grammar. As an editor, I can't stress that enough. If your work is punctuated (see what I did there?) with errors, the story may be great, but an editor will toss it.
Read or listen to interviews given by your favorite authors. They've been where you are.
- Cog. (July 2013). Dog Star Books.
- "Choices" in Hazard Yet Forward (2012).
- "Cyberpunk: Remastered" in Many Genres, One Craft (2011). Headline Books.
- "The Haunting of M117" in Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction (2011).
- "Doomed" in 2008 Rhysling Anthology. (2008) Science Fiction Poetry Association.
BIO: Daughter to a U.S. Army father, K. Ceres Wright has lived in Anchorage, AK; Chicago, IL; Baltimore, MD; Frankfurt, Oberursel, and Munich Germany; Seoul, Korea; and the Washington and Metropolitan Area. She attended undergraduate school at the University of Maryland, College Park, with a double major in economics and finance, then worked for 10 years as a credit and treasury analyst before deciding to change careers.
Wright received her master's degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, and Cog was her thesis novel for the program. An accomplished poet, Wright's science fiction poem "Doomed" was a nominee for the Rhysling Award, the Science Fiction Poetry Association's highest honor. Her work has appeared in Hazard Yet Forward; Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction; Many Genres, One Craft; and The 2008 Rhysling Anthology.
She currently works as an editor/writer for a management consulting firm and lives in Crofton, MD with her son, Ian, and daughter, Chloe. Visit her website at http://www.kcereswright.com and find her on Twitter @KCeresWright.