I’ve known author Wendy Rathbone for many years. We are both artisans at several events on the California fair circuit. Wendy has had over 500 poems and 40 stories published in magazines and anthologies. She is the author of the science fiction novel Pale Zenith. Her other novels span the genres from science fiction to vampire to romance or short story and poetry collections. I am pleased to be able to introduce you to this prolific and interesting author here on No Wasted Ink.
Hi, I’m Wendy Rathbone. I love to write poetry, stories, and novels. I have a degree in writing from UCSD but really cut my writing teeth on millions of words of fanfic. I have always been a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. I am inspired by autumn, starships, and desolate spaces.
When and why did you begin writing?
At age 12 I started writing poetry and little stories. I loved how it made me feel to paint images and thoughts with words.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was first published in school magazines and one city-wide magazine for students. That felt good. I also won 1st place in a city-wide essay contest with a long poem in 7th grade. The prize even came with money. It was then I decided I was a writer. It is my natural way of expressing myself.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
My most current science fiction book is “Letters to an Android.” It is about a young man, Cobalt, who is a created human and indentured for life, unable to travel the stars as he dreams. He meets a young man, Liyan, headed off to work on far-traveling star*liners. The two strike up a friendship and the star-traveler promises to write the land-locked “android” of his adventures. The book takes the reader on a travelogue of various planets as well as diving into the minds of the two men as both deal with the hardships of their lives. The story is told both through narrative and letters.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was greatly inspired by the two characters who suddenly popped into my brain one day with complete back stories. I also took inspiration from looking at pages and pages of alien landscape art on GoogleImages.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Over the years, I’ve developed my poetic mind so much that I would call my writing poetic. Maybe even florid. Texture, scent, and color all command the thoughts of my characters.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
When I decided to write a series of letters from the point of view of these two characters, the title just appeared. Not all my titles are that easy to come up with.
Is there a message in this novel that you want readers to grasp?
Freedom should not be taken for granted. And real love is unconditional and transformative.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Every character in this book is completely fictional. A lot of the characters I write are aspects of myself or people I create to entertain myself. I learn about them as they learn about themselves. Even though Cobalt and Liyan came into my mind with back stories, I still had to explore that. I rarely know in advance what my characters are going to discover and do until they do it. They talk to me as I write. It’s amazing.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
Alice Hoffman. Anne Rice. Stephen King. Anais Nin. Greer Gilman. Poppy Z. Brite. Just to name a few. They inspire me because all of them have listened to their own hearts and written what they love despite some of the themes being dark in nature, forbidden, violent and erotic. They are fearless and they make me brave in my own writing.
If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?
Anne Rice. I have not read every book of hers, but the ones I love make me feel anything is possible. I love that she writes in a fever. That is how I write, in the zone of heat and inspiration, completely outline-free. It sounds scary and is at first, but after awhile it’s like breathing. I also consider the author Della Van Hise a mentor. She’s my significant other. She has inspired me more with her writing and her philosophy than any other human on Earth.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
Della Van Hise and I design all our covers and we have learned so much by doing this. We buy licensed images on Shutterstock.com. I found the image of the man in the glass dome on that site and realized it was just right for this book about an indentured being.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Never forget the five senses when writing. Do not allow a critical voice to put you down or tell you that you aren’t good enough or the story sucks. Just keep practicing, keep writing the next sentence. That’s the key. Just write one more sentence. If you tell yourself that every day, you will never be blocked. Never look back. Don’t rewrite old stuff. Don’t hang on the past. Keep moving forward. The book you are currently writing should always be your favorite, the one you are loving the best and giving your best. And always do your best. Never set out to write a “bad first draft.” That will definitely hold you back.
Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?
Thank you to all readers for taking the time to read any book anywhere. All readers of my work are gifts to me. I have no other expectations from them.
Yucca Valley, CA
Letters to an Android
Publisher: Eye Scry Publications