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Nancy Kress

answers the Usual Questions

Writer Nancy Kress, photograph courtesy the author; 220x250

Nancy Kress

Nancy Kress is an American science fiction writer who has won both Hugo and Nebula awards.

She has also written columns on writing for Writers Digest and teaches workshops. She began writing when a stay-at-home mother, saying she, "was not good at embroidery or quilting, her previous choices, and so became a writer."

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

Not really. I seem to be able to write only things I am very excited about, and what that is seems to be independent of reader response. This means, alas, I've written some stories that I like very much but nearly no one else does. However, I enjoy interacting with fans.

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

Well, winning Hugos is a great "incident"! My two reassure me that readers have responded to my work. Sometimes, however, well-meaning comments miss the mark. Recently a fan complimented me on my story All Seated on the Ground -- which Connie Willis wrote.

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

Ursula Le Guin. I think she is the best SF writer we have ever had. When I began writing, I dissected her work, sentence by sentence and paragraph by paragraph, trying to see how she did it. I still reread books like The Dispossessed and Four Ways Into Forgiveness with sheer pleasure.

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

Someone who could fix the elevator or fly the ship.

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

I am not going to answer that on the grounds that I have to live in the SF community!

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

I need to read - NEED to, as in "I need to breathe" - so first on the list is my Kindle, well loaded with books. Next comes my chess board, assuming there is someone (or something - an AI?) to play chess with. Third is a good supply of chocolate.

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

What we all want, of course, is for the work to last. I would love for someone fifty years from now to read a Nancy Kress story and go "Wow!" Of course, fifty years from now I won't be around to know that they did, but it's good to think about, Failing that, can I have as many current readers as George Martin? No, but also good to think about.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

I love best the "flow state," where the room disappears, time disappears, and I disappear as writer, becoming so immersed in the world of the story that it is the only world. If someone interrupts me in that flow state, it actually takes me a moment to re-orient and remember who and where I am.

submitted by Nancy Kress

8 September, 2013

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: In Buffalo, New York, long ago.
Resides: I live in Seattle, a great city I've now adopted as my own.
Bibliography/Awards: You really don't want the whole thing!
Nebula: "Out of All Them Bright Stars," Best Short Story 1985
Nebula: "Flowers of Aulit Prison," Best Novelette 1997
Nebula: "Beggars In Spain," Best Novella 1991
Nebula: "Fountain of Age," Best Novella 2007
Nebula: "Before the Fall, After the Fall, During the Fall," Best Novella 2012
Hugo: "Beggars in Spain," Best Novella 1992
Hugo: "The Erdmann Nexus," Best Novella 2009
Sturgeon: "The Flowers of Aulit Prison" 1997
John W. Campbell Memorial Award: Probability Space 2003
Locus Award: "Before the Fall, After the Fall, During the Fall" 2013

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