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Jaine Fenn

answers the Usual Questions

 Jaine Fenn, photo: James Cooke; 220x302

Jaine Fenn (photo: James Cooke)

Says British Science Fiction writer, Jaine Fenn, "Growing up in a house with no books, I relied on a combination of imagination and television to get my fix of strange stories, rejecting girls' comics in favour of Dr Who novels, and refusing to go to Brownies because it clashed with Star Trek."

Ms Fenn balances her writing career with the needs of a committed chocoholic.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

I was a fan before I was a writer, so going to conventions as a professional writer can be a little weird. Not bad, just weird.

I love kaffeklatsches, because I get to talk to a mix of people, some of whom I already know or have met online, some of whom I'll be meeting for the first time.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

No one incident or correspondence, but I love getting fan emails from around the world. Knowing people are reading my stories in India or the Philippines makes me smile.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Iain M Banks is probably my biggest influence. Also I admire Ursula le Guin massively. It's hard to know how much those two in particular influenced me (what would I be writing if I'd never read them?), but whenever I think about writers I'd like to reread, it's those two first.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

For company: D, the love of my life; Geoff Ryman, a lovely man and a masterful writer or the Dalai Lama, because he's probably the wisest man alive and if I was trapped with him I'd have time to listen to that wisdom.

For survivability: a competent engineer with a decent toolkit. Or, if we're allowed to nominate our own creations, Nual, because she'd get us out, one way or another.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Almost any politician. Or a serial killer. A serial killer politician would be really bad news.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

Serious chocolate. The dark, slightly bitter sort with at least 70% cocoa-solids. Great for space travel as you don't need much.

Also, a fully stocked e-reader. A long space voyage would also be an ideal opportunity to catch up on my reading.

And maybe some gin, if the luggage allowance stretched to it.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

Well, I was going to say the satisfaction of telling a good story, but then I read the next question.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Telling a good story. I love the sensation of getting it right, of having the story ride you so all you're doing is letting it out. I suspect this is true of most writers. And we'll also tell you it doesn't happen as often as we'd like. A personal thing for me is meta-plots: having both the small and big picture playing out at once? That's the joy of writing a series.

submitted by Jaine Fenn

3 September 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: London, in the Swinging Sixties
Resides: Hampshire, England
Five books in the Hidden Empire series, plus numerous short stories in print and online.

Web site:
@JaineFenn on Twitter


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