LSQ: What a fascinatingly creepy story! Where did you get the idea to turn insects into killers of not just crops, but people?
Andrea: I’d been reading about scientists genetically altering insects for pest management. On the surface, it seemed like the perfect solution to mitigate our overuse of pesticides. Still, I wondered if it would stop there? Insects are excellent vectors, and I figured weaponizing them would be some man’s sick fantasy. The story took off from there.
LSQ: A short story doesn’t leave a lot of time to develop a mystery, but you managed it. Do you read a lot of mysteries and thrillers? Did you have any particular inspiration for Detective Angie Ferguson?
Andrea: I’m a very eclectic reader, really, I’m all over the map. I can’t claim to be an avid reader of any one genre, but I love a great page-turning mystery or thriller. Angie Ferguson didn’t come from one particular inspiration. I feel like she’s an amalgamation of many take no prisoner women characters I’ve admired. She’s also a nod to women everywhere who’ve been underestimated. And a warning—Don’t do it!
LSQ: When I think of creepy insects, aphids aren’t the first that spring into my head, but this story might change my mind. If you had to rank insects from most menacing to most benign, what would top your list?
Andrea: I want to say spiders are the most menacing because I don’t like finding them in unexpected places, but I appreciate their place in the ecosystem, and technically, they aren’t insects. I’m going to go with mosquitoes because they kill so many people every year. I also recently learned about kissing bugs. They freak me out. They’re like little vampire insects whose parting gift is the Chagas disease. Plus, there’s something about them biting around your eyes and mouth while you’re sleeping that horrifies me. Most benign, I’m choosing butterflies, ladybugs, and dragonflies. I love praying mantises, but they’re certainly menacing to anything small enough for them to catch. Of course, I’m looking at all of this from a human perspective. In reality, we’re a much bigger menace to them. I imagine the insect world has WANTED posters of us everywhere they go.