All of our GeekMoms are multi-talented, so it always gives me special pleasure to focus on one. In this case, science fiction author Fran Wilde, who has spent the past year gathering up all sorts of awards from her novel, Updraft, including the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, a Nebula Award Nomination, and the Compton Crook/Stephen Tall award (named after Towson University professor Compton Crook), which recognizes the best first novel by an individual author in the science fiction/fantasy/horror genres.
The Compton Crook Award is presented at Balticon by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and comes with a monetary prize. This year’s Balticon is the 50th anniversary and will feature guests of honor from previous years, as well as current Guest of Honor, George RR Martin.
I asked Fran to take us behind the scenes of being a famous author by answering a few questions:
Q: So, Fran, what comes with an Andre Norton or Compton Crook Award? Minions? Pink fuzzy slippers? The Illuminati code to the universe?
Fran: One of the best things about being nominated in both the Nebula and Andre Norton novel categories is that they come with a weekend among peers and colleagues (and several authors I’m trying very hard not to fangirl and failing!).
It sounds goofy to say, but the award really is being nominated. Of course, I wanted to win, but I was also delighted to cheer on every book up there (and many that didn’t make the slate, because there are buckets of crazy good books that came out in 2015).
The Andre Norton award itself is a glorious obelisk that glows in a somewhat mysterious fashion, setting of the sparkly bits inside. It is a fairly hefty piece of hardware, and I’m very honored to share its history with the likes of Holly Black, Justine Larbaleister, J.K. Rowling, Ysabeau S. Wilce, Catherynne M. Valente, Terry Pratchett, Delia Sherman, E.C. Myers, Nalo Hopkinson, and Alaya Dawn Johnson, as well as with all the nominees from the past decade.
As for the Compton Crook–such coolness here–I get to be a guest with all these amazing authors; I am visiting one of my favorite cities in the country, a place I still call home though I don’t live there anymore; and I get to guest-teach a worldbuilding workshop. I couldn’t be happier.
I’ve heard the pink fuzzy slippers are back ordered and the Illuminati codes were corrupted when someone dropped them in the bath, but they’ll be here soon!
Q: So all this writing success for Updraft happened overnight, right?
Fran: Oh yes, absolutely. I woke up one morning and th– [recordscratch] hahaha. That was funny for about thirty seconds.
It feels like things in publishing happen both very quickly and very slowly sometimes. I’ve been writing and publishing short stories since 2011, and reading and writing in other professions for much longer than that. The fact that more people will know about Updraft now, just as the trade paperback run is gearing up, and as Cloudbound‘s about to come out in September, that’s wonderful. Things don’t just pop into being, there’s so much work being done all along the way.
Q: What’s the most fun thing that’s happened to you this year?
Fran: Playing “Would You Rather” with Scalzi at BEA [Book Expo America] and NYCC [New York Comic Con]. Going on the road with debut authors Ilana C. Myer (Last Song Before Night) and Seth Dickinson (The Traitor Baru Cormorant) in the fall and finding the best lobster rolls. Seeing friends come out for events all over. There’s one particular group of fandom friends who has had someone at every single event I’ve done, including the Nebula mass autographing. I don’t know that they’re doing it on purpose, but they are doing it, and it’s incredible. Oh! And friends and cousins who surprised me by showing up at the launch for Updraft–it’s ten months later and I’m still getting over the shock, but will never get over the delight. Also Charlie Jane Anders’ made-up biography of me at the magical Writers with Drinks in San Francisco–I think she told everyone I was an expert in underwater sculpture and mermaid choral singing as well as alibi design. And generally, reading with other authors–including Seanan McGuire, Adam Rakunas, Greg Van Eekhout on the west coast. I’m not good at picking. What was the question again?
Q: What was the most insane thing that happened to you this year?
Fran: Holding the first copy of Updraft in my hands and reading from it at the 2015 Worldcon in Spokane, WA. Unreal.
Q: You’ve traveled all over the United States this year. Favorite travel story?
Fran: I keep a copy of Updraft that I asked people at every stop to sign. It’s one of my most treasured possessions from the trip because it’s got a map of sorts in it, of friends I’ve met and visited with along the way, and of places I’ve read. I love the fact that Chuck Wendig wrote an extended knock-knock joke across some of the pages, while booksellers + hosts have signed other pages with their favorite passages. I loved reading what people write while I was traveling.
Other favorite travel moment: hugging my family when I got home, every time. I try to ignore the fact that they’re patting me down for presents.
Fran’s next book, The Jewel and Her Lapidary, was released on May 3, 2016, and her next novel, Cloudbound, releases September 2016.