Dear readers! Grab a cup of your favorite drink and sit down and enjoy our chat with Issue 040 author Laura J. Campbell about her story “Slipping Through the Stars.”
LSQ: What made you go for a political domination angle rather than the more typical hostile alien takeover angle that stories focused on human space exploration tend to go with?
Laura: I think that when we enter space – colonization, distant exploration – we’ll take our human condition with us. The concept of how we will handle our own drama on an intergalactic scale fascinates me. It is a projection of our current world; yes, there are hostile threats from afar, but the politics and power plays of the neighborhood are more immediate. I simply projected that onto an intergalactic stage.
LSQ: Your characters are all very focused on their roles, but they still read as people who are unique and likable. How do you pull this off?
Laura: Living in Houston I am very much surrounded by people like this. Houston is a vibrantly diverse city; it is also a highly technical city. The city has one of the world’s foremost medical centers, NASA, and is an international hub for the energy industry and law. Many of my friends and colleagues are involved in space exploration, surgery, highly specialized areas of law, or the energy sector – all have to be extremely focused on their roles. Yet when you get to know people, they are multifaceted (even quirky). The professional careers are in juxtaposition with musical side-gigs, painting, culinary pursuits, sports, and other activities. So that concept of extreme focus in balance with a personal life comes naturally.
LSQ: Mary Osprey is such an awesome character with huge potential for more adventures. Do you have any future plans for her, or more stories set in this world in general?
Laura: Absolutely. The Earth Secret Service and the Mars Colony have taken on a life of their own. As for Dr. Osprey, I can’t imagine Queen Rigel not providing plenty of opportunities for future adventures. 🙂
LSQ: Are there any writers who have influenced your work?
Laura: Definitely Edgar Allen Poe – his works were read to me as a child. Also Kipling, Dickens. I have to give a shout-out to Mary Shelley – I think that by writing Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, she opened the door for women writing in horror and science fiction. Likewise Dorothy L. Sayers and Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, DBE, who opened up the world of mystery. And the Brontë sisters, who wove wonderful dark worlds. In the modern era, I think films also have an influence – John Carpenter and Alfred Hitchcock, for example. I tend to not rely upon shock or graphical detail – I try to intentionally leave shadows for the reader to fill with their own wonder or dread.