Please read Priya's eloquent answers to these questions and then run very fast to read all of her short stories you can find. It's not hard. Here are three of her stories to read online.
Rag and Bone
She's awesome and so are her stories.
So here's my take on three things.
Three things I don't write about
I do have hot button items, maybe. My mother was schizophrenic and growing up in that environment left scars. I don’t care to revisit that in my writing. It has crept into my short fiction a bit. But that’s enough. For the present.
Aside from that, there are many situations I find difficult or painful – romantic betrayal, rape, sexual obsession, loneliness, helplessness – but because they are uncomfortable, the emotions these situations bring are useful to explore in fiction. Not as therapy, but as a way of mining the depths. It’s the way I use to get into a character’s head, heart and soul. So these things that I don’t like to think about or talk about – even if I’ve not experienced them – become real and disturbing (to me personally) when seen and experienced through a character.
So the subjects I don’t want to write about are those that are worth exploring, painful as it is.
I’m going to backpedal a bit and say I don’t write about ‘real’ things. I don’t believe I could be a memoir writer. But the beauty of fiction is that the real things creep in anyway. They’re disguised much of the time, which is a good thing, especially if I can’t recognize them. And I try not to go too deep into the whole ‘what is real and what not’ thing. I just try to tell the story – build it around the characters. There’s going to be stuff in there that’s got some deep personal connection. But I don’t need to know what that is. I just have to feel it when it goes on the page and through the characters and make sure it’s genuine.
Three things I write about
Most of the above also applies here – no pervasive themes, no agendas. However.
I don’t consider my Schattenreich series a romance, but there is this huge muddled love story stuck all over the place within it. And for the next series I have planned, there will be an exploration of what constitutes love – not a love story per se but an examination of the consequences of choices made in situations where responsibility must be weighed against personal satisfaction.
So I like to write about love in all its forms and guises, not particularly as a HEA scenario or a simple us-two-against-the-world relationship. I adore complexity – messy entanglements and awkward situations – because they highlight what can go wrong and right in relationships. And because convoluted human affairs seem more real to me – the natural state of things. Humans are weird and chaotic at best. I then let these situations play out against the backdrop of the story that the characters find themselves in.
My other big ticket item in my approach to the speculative genre is the exploration of the crossroads where the rational meets the supernatural – science versus magic. I hope to continue to explore this in fiction for a few more projects.
The third big thing is sideways related to science vs. magic – mythology – both real and constructed. I can’t get enough of it. It’s what I like to read and I enjoy putting huge doses of my take on myths into my fiction.
So I'm now passing the baton now to two of my writer pals and can't wait to read what they have to say on the subject.
Richard Jones book on parenting A Dude's Guide to Babies (cowritten with Barry R. Ozer) is one of those evergreen books that will never go out of style. And he showcases a sample of his short fiction on his website.