Challenging Destiny Challenging Destiny
New Fantasy & Science Fiction

Where Are They Now?

compilation by David M. Switzer

We've been interviewing a Canadian author in each issue since Number 3, and we thought for this 25th issue we would see what all of those authors have been up to lately. Here are their updates, many in their own words.

Alison Baird (interview in Number 16, June 2003)

Alison says:

Since doing my interview for Challenging Destiny, I have completed the two trilogies that I had sold at the time: The Dragon Throne (The Stone of the Stars, The Empire of the Stars, The Archons of the Stars) for Warner Aspect in the U.S., and the Willowmere Chronicles (The Witches of Willowmere, The Warding of Willowmere, The Wyrd of Willowmere) for Penguin Canada. I have also had a short story, "Walking with Wolves," published in the Mythspring anthology (Fitzhenry & Whiteside). Some foreign rights to my books have been sold: I now have copies of the Dutch editions of the first two Willowmere books on my shelf, and have just received the first Russian edition of Stone of the Stars. I can't read either language, but it is fascinating to open up the books and see my own words transformed into exotic and alien ones!

I am currently hard at work on two new manuscripts, both for children, and when they are done I plan to move on to a new adult fantasy novel. The last few years have certainly been interesting ones, and I hope for more interesting times ahead!

Julie E. Czerneda (interview in Number 6, April 1999)

Julie says:

Since my interview I've continued to write fiction full-time, as well as edit anthologies. There's a bit of a stack now: 11 novels, several short stories, 14 anthologies. As editor, I've been the "first sale" for over fifty authors, which is a great thrill for me. My work has won some awards, including three Prix Aurora Awards for professional work in English: novel, short story, and for editing. My last novel, Regeneration, is on the Preliminary Nebula Ballot.

I'm currently back in the universe of my first novel, since this is the 10th anniversary of its publication. I'm having a wonderful time writing the prequels to A Thousand Words For Stranger. The first of those comes out in this September, Reap The Wild Wind. Otherwise? I've kept working on SF as a means to promote scientific literacy and have given presentations on the topic from the Yukon to Texas. In 2009, I'll be Guest of Honour at the New Zealand National Convention, so I'll be able to say I've crossed the equator too. And yes, I still live in a forest.

Charles de Lint (interview in Number 9, April 2000)

Since our interview Charles de Lint has published several novels set in his fictional city of Newford: Forests of the Heart, The Onion Girl, Spirits in the Wires, and Widdershins. He's also published a collection of stories set in Newford, Tapping the Dream Tree. Along with the aforementioned books published by Tor, he's produced some chapbooks and young adult novels. Several of his books will be coming out as audiobooks, and he's working on a new novel tentatively titled The Mystery of Grace. He won the World Fantasy Award for his collection Moonlight and Vines. Charles continues to write book reviews for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He plays live music at a pub every week with his wife MaryAnn in Ottawa. On his web site Charles says he hopes his stories will encourage people to "pay attention to how many special things there are in the real world."

Candas Jane Dorsey (interview in Number 10, July 2000)

Candas says:

Wow. In seven years a lot has happened.

Let's deal with the domestic first. Five years ago my partner and I bought a house, which meant goodbye to the housing co-operative I talked about in my year-2000 interview, and hello to the vagaries of living in an inner-city neighbourhood where the neighbours we interact with most (in summer anyway) are the homeless people camping in the vacant lot next door. I've already run out of wall space for bookshelves and art, but I love the old (built in 1928) place. One of my cats stayed at the old place as a neighbourhood resource, but I still have the other one, a grouchy one-eyed cripple who's 21 now, and the Pomeranian is no longer time-shared but present 24-7. Since she is getting older and grouchier too, we now revel in a household of four tetchy, arthritic artistic types (think of the pets as performance artists).

When I was interviewed in 2000, I was also a publisher. No more. In 2003 we sold Tesseract Books to Brian Hades of Calgary, who also publishes Edge Books. Then at the end of 2005, beginning of 2006, we closed down the rest of the publishing company. I loved publishing, but fourteen years' community service was enough! Both my partner and I went back to university, taking Masters degrees in Fine Arts from UBC by distance learning online. During this time I returned to serve a placeholder stint as president of SFCanada, the professional SF writers' association. At present I am completing a young adult novel about an intersex teenager, have a book of poetry completed which was my thesis. I'm still working on a new novel, and I'm busy with freelance work and teaching at the local college in the professional writing programme. And in ten days, I'm off to the WorldCon in Yokohama, Japan, to present in both the English-language programming and at some of the sessions of the Science Fiction Writers of Japan. So there's never a dull moment...

James Alan Gardner (interview in Number 3, July 1998)

James Alan Gardner has published several more novels in his League of Peoples universe: Vigilant, Hunted, Ascending, Trapped, and Radiant. Eos published all of those books, as well as his short-story collection, Gravity Wells. James also wrote Lara Croft and the Man of Bronze. He has a short story coming in Asimov's Science Fiction in February. James's novel Fire and Dust, set in the PlaneScape setting in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, is available here. If you're looking for James, you'll find him at Ad Astra and Eeriecon in 2008. In an interview on the Absolute Write web site James says, "The things I value in fiction are honesty and audacity. I think the world needs more of each... Both honesty and audacity are attempts to wake up and stay awake: to fight the deadening influences of modern culture and to live with one's eyes open."

Phyllis Gotlieb (interview in Number 8, November 1999)

Phyllis says:

My latest novel, Birthstones, has been on sale for several months, and it took me about three years to write. Now I'm working on another, which is not quite a sequel, though the main character has been carried over. That means another several years; I've always been a slow writer, and now that I'm 81... well, it makes me even slower. I wish I had more energetic and exciting things to say.

Nalo Hopkinson (interview in Number 12, April 2001)

Nalo Hopkinson has published two more novels since our interview, The Salt Roads and The New Moon's Arms. She's also published a short-story collection, Skin Folk. She edited Mojo: Conjure Stories, So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction (with Uppinder Mehan), and Tesseracts Nine (with Geoff Ryman).

Nalo says (on her web site):

I'm writing the second novel in a three-book contract for Hachette. Its working title is Blackheart Man. It's a fantastical alternate history set in someplace similar to the Caribbean in the 18th century or so...

I'm also collaborating, very slowly, on a comic with David Findlay. Its working title is Mr. Fox. I've never done a comic before, but neither has David, so maybe we can learn together.

Recently, I've found myself stumbling into collage and altered art. It began when I started going into local thrift stores, buying the types of toys that make me deeply uneasy, and remixing them... I appear to be working through some of my thoughts on tropes of authenticity, tribalism, and indigeniety in fantasy fiction.

Tanya Huff (interview in Number 4, October 1998)

Tanya has published two more novels in the Keeper's Chronicles series: The Second Summoning and Long Hot Summoning. She has published three novels in her Smoke and Shadows series, set in the same universe as her Blood books: Smoke and Shadows, Smoke and Mirrors, and Smoke and Ashes. And she has published three novels in her Valor's Confederation series: Valor's Choice, The Better Part of Valor, and The Heart of Valor. All of the aforementioned books were published by DAW. Four collections of her short stories have also been published: What Ho, Magic!, Relative Magic, Stealing Magic, and Finding Magic. Tanya edited the anthology Women of War with Alexander Potter.

The TV show Blood Ties is based on her Blood books, and is in its second season. Tanya is working on the fourth Valor book, Valor's Trial. Tanya says (on the Meisha Merlin web site): "I love living in the country, writing full-time, anything by Charles de Lint, Xena, Hercules, and email. I dislike telephones, electric blankets, and bathroom renovations. I always expect catastrophe; as a result, I'm usually pleasantly surprised."

Guy Gavriel Kay (interview in Number 11, December 2000)

Guy says:

Congratulations on a 25th issue. In this transitory, quick turnaround society, that's no small achievement. You asked 'what I've been up to' ... well, given that our interview was seven years ago, that covers a lot of ground! Two books since then, The Last Light Of The Sun, a Saxon-Vikings-Celts inspired fantasy, and Ysabel, a departure of sorts for me involving a contemporary setting with intrusions of the historical and mythic into the south of France.

Following the link you sent me, back to our interview, I'm amused to see myself answering your 'what's next' question by saying: "I'm reading. I'm thinking, brooding, swearing a lot." ... because that's exactly where I am now, seven years later, summer of 2007, sorting out a new book. Some things don't change, it seems.

Eileen Kernaghan (interview in Number 22, April 2006)

Eileen says:

I've been finishing the new book that I mentioned in the interview -- the historical fantasy set in London and Paris circa 1888. It now has a title: Wild Talent: a novel of the supernatural, and is scheduled for fall 2008 publication by Thistledown Press. My protagonist is a young Scotswoman with a frightening talent who gets caught up in the fin de siècle worlds of Gnostics, theosophists, spiritualists and decadent French artists. Madame H.P. Blavatsky, Alexandra David (later to become Alexandra David-Neel the famous Himalayan traveler) and the poet Paul Verlaine have prominent roles.

Meanwhile The Sarsen Witch, my 1989 bronze age fantasy, is being reissued this month (October) by the Juno Books imprint of Wildside Press -- this time, I understand, as a paranormal romance, though with quite a fierce and warlike heroine on the cover.

Karin Lowachee (interview in Number 18, July 2004)

Karin says:

Since Cagebird was published I've had 2 short stories published in different anthologies (So Long Been Dreaming and Mythspring) but mostly I've been working up ideas for my next books. I'm not a natural short story writer but I've been developing some stories there as well, but it's difficult for me to split my attention from research and development on a Big Idea to thinking of other, smaller "worlds." Since my new novel(s) idea is still in the research stages I won't be talking about it until it's closer to coming out. I'm also rehauling my website in a huge way and that takes a lot of time and a learning curve, but I'm looking to launch the new site in January 2008.

Scott Mackay (interview in Number 17, December 2003)

Scott says:

Since my interview with Challenging Destiny in 2003 I've continued to publish steadily. Omnifix came out in March of 2004, while Tides was published in November 2005. My newest novel, Phytosphere, was published by Penguin Roc in June of 2007. It's about an alien shroud enveloping the earth and cutting off all sunshine. Omega Sol, which will be published by Roc in May 2008, tells the story of hyperdimensional aliens accelerating our sun into its red giant phase. In this sense, Omega Sol and Phytosphere are sister books. Phytosphere tells what happens to the world when it's too dark; Omega Sol tells what happens when it's too bright.

In regard to foreign sales, Orbis has been published in France, while Omnifix was published in Russia.

As for short stories, I had two stories appear in Tesseracts Ten. "Threshold Of Perception" was the lead story. Set in 1910, the piece recounts Percival Lowell's (the astronomer of Martian Canal fame) attempts to warn the world that Halley's Comet is going to strike the planet. I was also asked by the Osprey chain of newspapers to write a mystery story, "Hot Button," which appeared in newspapers all over Ontario and was subsequently including in Mystery Ink, an anthology of Ontario mystery fiction. These are in addition to a number of other stories I've had published. So it's been a busy few years, and looks as if it will stay that way for some time to come.

J. FitzGerald McCurdy (interview in Number 20, May 2005)

Joan says:

In the 2006 and 2007 school year, I was the author for the Kiwanis Read-a-thon in Ottawa. A winner from each of the thirty schools I visited, along with a parent or teacher, was invited to attend a private reading in the newly restored Library of Parliament. On June 6, 2007, the winners congregated at the East Block on Parliament Hill. They were led down into the tunnels and along to the Peace Tower and the Library where, seated before the great white marble statue of Queen Victoria, I read a passage from The Serpent's Egg. It was a magical day and the first time in the history of the Library of Parliament that an event for young readers took place. Photos are available on the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa's Website.

The Black Pyramid, book two of the Mole Wars trilogy, was released in July 2007. I have just finished book three, Guardians of Fire, which will be published in 2008. I am now working on two single books that combine historical fact with fantasy, and I keep wishing that I could write as fast as my readers read.

Jim Munroe (interview in Number 13, November 2001)

Jim says:

Since 2001, huh? Oh, this and that. I started a website that features thoughtful articles about dismissed genres and artforms, such as videogames, science fiction, romance, porn, and comics: I wrote a book in 88 blog entries that people can read at, and it spun off into a post-Rapture graphic novel that just came out called Therefore Repent! has a bunch more of what I've been up to in a bibliographic sense, and the main page has the minute by minute postings.

Thanks for asking and congrats on number 25!

Sean Russell (interview in Number 21, December 2005)

Sean says:

Thanks for asking me to participate. The historical novel that I mentioned in the interview was just published a few weeks ago. The title is Under Enemy Colors and we put the name S. Thomas Russell on it to distinguish it from my fantasy books. We sold it at auction to Putnam/Penguin in the US, Michael Joseph/Penguin in the UK and we've also sold it in Spain and Italy. I've been busy doing publicity and working on the sequel. I was in Europe for five weeks this summer doing research for the second book. I've been busy.

Michelle Sagara (interview in Number 24, August 2007)

In the relatively short time since our interview, Michelle Sagara sold two more books in the Cast series to Luna. The third book in the series, Cast in Secret, came out in August. She is currently working on the fourth book, Cast in Fury. The first book in the House War series, coming out in March from DAW, is titled The Hidden City.

Robert J. Sawyer (interview in Number 5, January 1999)

Robert says:

Has it been nine years since we did that interview? Wow -- tempus certainly has been fugiting! I remember the conversation fondly.

And, well, it's been an amazing nine years for me. My readership took a quantum leap starting in 2000, when my twelfth novel, Calculating God, became a national top-ten mainstream bestseller here in Canada, appearing on the bestsellers list in The Globe and Mail: Canada's National Newspaper and Maclean's: Canada's Weekly Newsmagazine, and it hit number one on the bestsellers list published by Locus, the US trade journal of the SF field. And there've been five more novels since that one, each also hitting bestsellers' lists: the three volumes of my Neanderthal Parallax trilogy -- Hominids, Humans, and Hybrids -- plus the standalones Mindscan and Rollback.

The awards process has been good to me in the interim, too. Hominids won the Hugo Award for Best Novel of 2003, and Mindscan won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award -- the genre's top juried award -- for best novel of 2005. And in 2007, I won China's top SF award, the Galaxy Award for most popular foreign author, as well as getting an honorary doctorate from Laurentian University. So, life be good. Right now, I'm hard at work on my new project, a trilogy of novels with the working titles Wake, Watch, and Wonder about the World Wide Web gaining consciousness; look for the first one to be in stores late in 2008.

Karl Schroeder (interview in Number 15, December 2002)

Karl says:

I'm having a great time writing my Virga series; it's a whole new world to explore, and I feel like the possibilities of this setting are inexhaustible. At the same time I've been doing some foresight analysis (what used to be called futurism) for clients like the Canadian government and Canadian and American militaries. That's a unique way of triangulating on the future, and gives me insights that I can't get from inside the SF community. Beyond those things, I'm really having the most fun with the biggest adventure you can experience: being a parent.

Alison Sinclair (interview in Number 14, June 2002)

Alison Sinclair's story "Suspended Lives" appeared in Space, Inc. edited by Julie E. Czerneda. She has three novels under consideration at publishers and is working on another. On her web site she says, "I like to be able to ditch all assumptions and conventional wisdom and start entirely from scratch, running my fictional 'thought experiments' (Ursula Le Guin's words) according to any parameters I please."

Peter Watts (interview in Number 19, December 2004)

Peter says:

Subsequent to the commercial failure of βehemoth -- which followed Tor's decision to split that novel into two volumes because it was too long, which in turn followed Tor's earlier request that ten thousand words be added to that novel because it was too short -- I barely escaped extirpation from the midlist with Blindsight, the novel mentioned in my Challenging Destiny interview. Blindsight survived questionable cover design, limited distribution, a miniscule initial print run, and even more miniscule publisher expectations to go into multiple hardcover printings, translation into half a dozen languages (and counting), and nomination for several prestigious awards (not to mention a couple of dick-ass ones), none of which it actually won. Following a two-year disillusioned hiatus -- during which I completed a postdoc in molecular genetics that proved almost as successful as βehemoth -- I have recently returned to writing with a story about a good pedophile (to appear next spring in volume 2 of The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction) and another about an evil Jew (to appear this December in Nature). I am currently working on a novel about battling, botnet-controlled giant squids at the North Pole.

Edward Willett (interview in Number 23, November 2006)

Edward Willett's new novel Marseguro will be out from DAW in February, and its sequel, Terra Insegura, will be coming in 2009. His nonfiction book A Safe and Prosperous Future: 100 Years of Engineering and Geoscience Achievements in Saskatchewan was published by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan. Also coming up are books on Janis Joplin, historic walks of Regina and Moose Jaw, and Mutiny on the Bounty.

Edward has posted the complete text of his book Andy Nebula: Interstellar Rock Star free online in honour of "International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day." His science columns are available as podcasts. And he's currently performing in the musical Beauty and the Beast.

Robert Charles Wilson (interview in Number 7, August 1999)

Since our interview Robert has had five novels out from Tor: Bios, The Chronoliths, Blind Lake, Spin, and Axis. Spin won the Hugo Award, Blind Lake won the Aurora Award, and the novelette "The Cartesian Theater" won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. Axis is a sequel to Spin, and one more sequel is planned. Robert also wrote Magic Time: Ghostlands with Marc Scott Zicree, and he edited Tesseracts Ten with Edo van Belkom. His novella Julian: A Christmas Story was published by PS Publishing, and he is currently turning it into a novel.

Robert says (on the Locus Online web site): "In human history there are so many institutions dedicated to making sure one generation resembles the one that went before it, culturally preserving religious ideas and the relationships of families in a futile effort to preserve these things through time. We live in a time where we realize these things not only aren't preserved, they're shattering and reforming almost daily around us."

Last modified: October 15, 2008

Copyright © 2007 by David M. Switzer and the individual authors

Crystalline Sphere | Challenging Destiny | Issue #25 | Interviews