Today’s interview is with AJ Fitzwater, one of LSQ’s earliest and most far flung authors.
Hi AJ! First off, please tell us a bit about yourself. Have any super powers or secret talents?
I’m actually a dragon in disguise. I’ve been wearing a human meat-suit for a few decades to get the lay of the land. So far, no one suspects anything.
Can you tell us a bit about what inspired your story in the anthology?
In the last few years, Christchurch has had a renaissance in street art, especially post earthquake. In an effort to reinvigorate the arts scene, huge murals have been adding interest to blank walls and empty lots. Many of them are not intended to last for years, as the lots are built on or buildings are deconstructed.
One such mural inspired “Woman with Flowers”. It adorned the wall of one of my favourite restaurants and was subsequently torn down when the building was demolished. The mural was of a Polynesian woman with long flowing black hair dotted with flowers that seemed to vanish into the ground. I sat staring at it while enjoying a drink one night before whipping out my notebook with my usual mutter of “there’s a story in that”.
What have you been up to lately? Do you have any books out right now? Are you working on anything new?
I have two stories in my River City world coming out within months of each other soon, the first in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and the second in Lethe Press’ “Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists”. River City tells the stories of a group of women in a steampunk animagus world: a garbage collector, an engineer, an inventor, and a circus contortionist.
Last year I attended the Clarion workshop in San Diego, so I am always working to improve my writing and be published in my Bucket List venues.
I’m always fascinated by where and how people work. What is your writing setup like? Any tools you enjoy using?
Two years ago I moved into a house which allowed me the space to have an office, which I’ve stuffed with books. I surround myself with my Avengers toys, have draped fairy lights over my desk, and have an eight foot Loki standee staring me down to make sure I kneel, err, work.
Most writers are lifelong readers and books tend to be important to them. What books or stories have most influenced your life (genre stories or otherwise)?
My early influences were Anne McCaffrey and Melanie Rawn – their dragons were colourful and operatic. My kind of dragons, err, people. I went through an epic fantasy phase and a space opera phase. And in the last six years or so, I’ve found my home in feminist science fiction and fantasy. I’ve spent a lot of time re-educating myself on the history of women in SFF, and enjoy the academia that entails. Joanna Russ and James Tiptree, Jr. sit on my shoulders, shouting encouragement and shaking their fists at the world.
Where can we learn more about you and your writing?
Thanks AJ! We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for your River City stories!
If you’re intrigued by the inspiration behind “The Woman with Flowers in Her Hair”, consider getting yourself a copy of “The Best of Luna Station Quarterly: The First Five Years” and read it for yourself, along with the other forty-nine awesome stories and gorgeous cover art by Julie Dillon.