Issue 041 Author Interview: Jenny Wong and Sylvia Santiago and “Stealing Through the Stars”

Welcome to our weekly chat with authors of the current LSQ issue. Today we sit down with Jenny Wong and Sylvia Santiago, authors of “Stealing Through the Stars.”

LSQ: Firstly, can you describe the experience of writing a short story between two people, both creativity and logistically?

Jenny and Sylvia: It’s not as complicated a process as people may think. For us, it’s pretty organic. Each of us comes up with a line, scene, or a character, and hands it over to the other.  We work out of Google docs on a shared document. Often, we’re not working on the same scene or even with the same character. Sylvia came up with Nova, Jenny came up with Bis, and both had joint custody of the cat. We’ll finish a scene, then one of us will say, “I know what happens next…or at the end..or four scenes from now.” We’ll go away, write, then come back and surprise each other.

LSQ: The setting of the starship is described vividly; what was the inspiration for the Veronica Speedwell?

Jenny and Sylvia: We thought the idea of a cruise ship (a starliner) set in space would be fun.  Then a bunch of little things came together and snowballed…

The following is a dramatization of real life events. Creative liberties have been taken.

J: What if the starliner had an atrium area where people could walk in a garden and feel like they’re on a planet with a night sky?

S: Let’s make that the theme of the whole ship–the Earth Experience. We can have a labyrinth, maybe a menagerie or two. And we can name the ship after one of the favorite plants in the garden.

J: And there can be some sort of crime caper.

S: With a cat burglar…

J&S: YES!

LSQ: The characters and locale seem built for more adventures and mysteries — do you have plans to continue this story?

Jenny and Sylvia: Yes. Probably. Even while we were writing the story, we had to contain ourselves to the main story line of the “cat caper”. There was a more in depth back story between the Queen and the Captain that we’d discussed. Bis still has some stories to tell, and there’s a whole other planet where Chuy is running his family restaurant.

Ironically, there is a crossover between this story and another published in an earlier issue of LSQ. The homeland of the Ujimi pines shows up in the “The Volcano Keeper” (written by Jenny), then in “Stealing Though the Stars” a character is presented with a gift of Ujimi pine oil.

LSQ: Are you working on other writing projects at the moment, together or individually? If so, can you tell us about them? 

Jenny and Sylvia: We co-wrote our first story in 2018, and we had such a good time with it that we decided to write something every year. This year, it may or may not be a chapbook about spooky little saints.

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