Today’s big news!
Quirky and extremely talented sci-fi/speculative fiction writer Bren MacDibble has dropped in for a chat.
I asked her a few questions about her life, life on earth – and life elsewhere!
1. Bren, how long have you been a writer?
My first book was accepted for publication in 1999. So I guess I’ve just hit a decade of officially being a writer. I’d written stories for a year or so as a teenager and travel logs and things since then, but 1999 was the year I focussed all my attention on children’s writing and it paid off towards the end of that year. I was very lucky.
2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was fourteen I wanted to be a writer, but when you’re fourteen it’s pretty common to want to be anything other than fourteen. So I was a lot of things before I wanted to be a writer again.
3. Where do you get your ideas from?
I guess mainly from reading or talking to kids or watching documentaries about the future. The documentaries are fact, but I like to explore what something means to people and their lives.
4. Why do you like to write stories from ‘out of this world’?
I like to write stories no one has written before. So they really have to be in places no one has been before, encountering things no one has met before. I also like to explore the future. No one has been there before… well not in real life.
5. Would you like to live on another planet?
I’d give it serious thought if the offer came up.
6. If so, which one and why?
I’d like to live on the Mars base, or maybe the moon base or the International Space Station (even though it would mean hundreds of bad-hair days), but I’m sure there’s an undiscovered planet out there that looks a bit like Fiji that would be even more fun to live on. Why? Because new things are exciting and it would be important to mankind and they’ll need someone along that can point out all the oddities of life in a new place. I’m very good at oddities.
7. A lot of your stories feature animals (sometimes weird ones). What is your favourite animal?
Weird ones? A cat with a tail problem, evil mice, a pet dragon, a dozen aliens… those aren’t weird are they? You know, humans are the weirdest animals of them all. I like sheep best. I had 14 pet sheep when I was a kid and I loved them. You know they recognise each other by face and they recognise different humans by face too. They can remember up to 50 faces. So when a sheep looks and you and recognises you, it really feels like they’re your friend.
8. Are you a clone? Do you know anyone who is? (Besides Bella Wang)
Did sheep make you think of that question? I look a lot like my Aunty so I’m a little suspicious but I don’t think I’m really a clone. I know three people who have an identical twin. They’re natural clones, you know. I’ve met a few Komodo dragons too, they have a little secret way to clone themselves when times are tough, so I’ve probably met a lot of clones. I don’t think I’ve met any humans that have been cloned yet. I’m sure someone somewhere is trying it.
9. What are you writing at the moment?
I’m writing a novel about a girl who is sent with her family to colonise a new planet. She is a typical “plugged in” teenager and is cryogenically frozen for most of the journey. When she wakes up on the new planet, there is nothing there and she is overwhelmed with the isolation of it, and angry. To make matters worse, Earth has aged 50 years since she left. All her friends have grown up so even if she could get in contact with them, she wouldn’t know what to say. Then strange things start happening. She tells her tale in the form of a blog. In the 50 years she was away a lot has changed on Earth, the technology spike has happened and everything is ruled by computers. The girl’s childhood friend is now 65 and is part of the rescue team sent to find the original colonists, when they get to the planet, they find the colony intact but no sign of the colonists. Then they find the blog. The story is told by the older friend rediscovering the younger one through her blog. Two people whose stories are completely intertwined despite being separated by colosal distance and many years. It’s a Young Adult story, but quite an odd, complex one in terms of layout and the things that happen. Essentially it’s about a need to connect to other people. I think it would make a good screenplay too as there are only four sets. Some movie-maker’s budget would love this novel.
Bren, thanks for taking time away from your cryogenically frozen teenager to drop in.
Make sure you check out Bren’s works at http://www.macdibble.com
Bren is also the web designer extraordinaire who created and put together my website at www.deescribe.com.au
P.S. I caught up with the talented and dedicated staff at Walker Books Australia last week, and was lucky enough to get a look at the fantastic covers for my new YA book, ‘Letters to Leonardo’, coming out in July. More about that later.