Who’s our featured author today? Mary E. Lowd.
Hi Mary! First off, please tell us a bit about yourself. Have any super powers or secret talents?
I write stories and collect creatures. So far, I’ve written more than seventy short stories and three novels. Meanwhile, I’ve collected one husband, two children, and a variable number of dogs and cats. The animals are collectively my muse. Much of my fiction is inspired by them.
Can you tell us a bit about what inspired your story in the anthology?
I wrote “Harvesting Wishes” when my daughter was two. We spent a lot of time in parks, sitting in the grass and picking dandelions. While my daughter played, I thought about the stories I would write during the fleeting minutes of the day when I could actually put my hands to the keyboard. This was also a time of big change and uncertainty—we knew we were going to move after my husband got his PhD, but we didn’t know where. So, I was thinking about the different possible paths my life could take—would we move to Pittsburgh for three years and rent a big house with my sister? Would we end up in Texas or Michigan for the rest of my life? There were so many options, and I had mixed feelings about most of them. But I was trying to find peace with accepting whatever happened. So, at it’s heart, “Harvesting Wishes” is about that—grappling with desires in the face of uncertainty and looking for peace. Also, dandelions.
What have you been up to lately? Do you have any books out right now? Are you working on anything new?
I’ve been trudging my way through writing my fourth novel—Otters In Space 3. Somehow, I thought by the fourth novel that writing novels would be getting easier… Maybe that happens on the fifth one? The first two novels in my Otters In Space series are already available from FurPlanet, and I have a spin-off novel coming out this summer—In a Dog’s World. It’s set in the same universe, but it’s a coming-of-age/romance story instead of sci-fi/adventure.
My other big project recently was editing ROAR 6, an anthology of furry stories. Furry fiction is basically fiction that features talking animals, and the stories in ROAR 6 range all over the place—cats, dogs, weasels, horses, several types of birds, a gerbil, a dragon, and a werewolf to name a few. Some of the stories are what’s called “secret life of animals,” where the animals are basically in the normal human world but we get to see what goes on when the humans aren’t around. Some of the stories are fantasy or sci-fi, and then there are just some plain old furry stories where the characters are animals just because it’s fun and colorful to have a cast of all different species. It was a really fun project to edit, and I hope that it helps introduce some new people to furry fiction who hadn’t yet realized that it’s a type of fiction they want in their lives.
I’m always fascinated by where and how people work. What is your writing setup like? Any tools you enjoy using?
Right now, my most important tool is my widescreen monitor. See, my son is two, and my daughter is seven. So, I’ve spent a lot of time this year with my son sitting on my lap, and my daughter looking over my shoulder. I put my manuscript on half of my screen, and on the other half I play a video for the kids. I’ve had to learn how to write while tuning out Blue’s Clues and Curious George. Very challenging. But some days, that’s the only way I can get any time to write at all.
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)?
I’ve always loved stories about animals, but when I read Watership Down by Richard Adams at the age of ten, it was like I’d found my calling in life. I followed that up with Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. After that, I had trouble finding books about talking animals (I didn’t discover furry fiction for another eighteen years), so I switched to reading science-fiction. I’d have to say that the science-fiction authors who’ve influenced my writing the most are Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Douglas Adams, and Connie Willis.
Where can we learn more about you and your writing?
Thanks Mary! We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for your next Otter book!
If you’re intrigued by the inspiration behind “Harvesting Wishes”, 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.