LSQ: One of the most apparent elements in “Space Witch” is voice. Did the narrator’s voice just come to you or was it something you had to develop over time?
Richaundra: When I first wrote the story, it was formatted as a long narrative poem, which lent itself well to a conversational tone, a line break where a pause or emphasis might go. In that way, the voice just came to me; once I’d written that first line I knew the overall tone it would take. However, many of the idiosyncrasies, lingo/slang, terms and whatnot I spent a great deal of time thinking about and trying to balance ‘This is obviously the future’ and ‘This is a working class individual that is both excitable and 100% over everything.’ It’s always those single words or small phrases that take the longest to edit!
LSQ: What was your favorite part about writing this story?
Richaundra: Translating relatable, even mundane experiences to a new setting, and thinking about some of the practicalities of long-distance space travel and how that would affect cultures and mutate archetypes. The Witch is always the ‘Necessary Outsider.’ She solves problems society doesn’t want to admit having. In space, some of those problems may be new, some will be frustratingly evergreen. I wanted it to feel fantastic, yet grimy and real. Smell the stardust AND the engine oil.
LSQ: What kinds of things do you envision a space witch doing?
Richaundra: I did actually write a follow up poem/story to this one that focuses more on the Witch’s daily activities. I like the idea that she pops into the hydroponic gardens because, while all the scientists can design environments physically perfect for them, she knows they also need songs and smiles to grow right. She fights the monsters only children can see and helps the people who fall between the cracks, all the while staying out of the way of the system that simultaneously needs and fears her.
LSQ: Are you working on other projects currently? If so, can you tell us a bit about them?
Richaundra: I wrote a poetic biography of Mary Shelley and the writing of Frankenstein that I really wanted to get published this year (the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein‘s publication), but looks like I will be tweaking and resubmitting it for a bit still. (There is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not a wide center in the Venn Diagram of ‘People that like to read poetry’ and ‘People that like to read end notes.’) I have a similar project starting regarding Ada Lovelace and the transition from the Romantic to the Victorian era. This experience has also strongly encouraged me to write more short fiction and trust that maybe someone out there is interested in the stories I want to tell, which I am forever grateful for.