Interview: Michelle Murrain, Author of Friends with Wings

MurrainFriendsWithWingsEveryone, please welcome science fiction author Michelle Murrain to the blog. We chat about Starbuck, life in academia, drinking with some favorite SF characters, and so much more. Sit back and enjoy!

Are minions/sidekicks just throwaway devices in a tale? Can they become more? Do they need to become more?

In general, I write not only novels, but series. So there are a mix of characters. Some characters that are important to the main character have a lot of air time themselves. But many don’t – and are just instruments of a plot. In a sense, I guess that can be throwaway, but in general, every character should have a role to play, whether it be important to the main characters, or important to the plot.

For instance, a minion that makes his way known in my current in-progress work is himself not interesting, but his actions and connection form a very important part of the plot. So he’s not memorable, but he’s not throwaway, either.

I’ve also had a situation happen where a minor character decides on their own to become a major character. I then have no choice but to accede to their wishes. 🙂

MurrainTheCasitiansReturnReality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?

My fiction is mostly pretty real, although I generally don’t include too many bathroom breaks (although there are often baths and showers, though.) Sometimes, lengthy travel is meaningful to make things about the world I’m building more clear, or to bring out things about the character, but when it’s not important, I just mention it, rather than describe it.

I do think it’s important to how people can sink into a book when events are portrayed in all their mundane glory. And, of course, there is always the potential plot twist waiting around the mundane corner…

MurrainTheRightAsteroid Conventions, book signings, blogging, etc.: what are some of your favorite aspects of self-promotion and what are some of the least favorite parts of self-promotion?

I’ll just say that self-promotion is one of the most difficult things about being a writer, for me. I don’t like it in general, and most of it is not really my favorite. I do enjoy going to cons. I do blog, and enjoy that, as well as doing social media (like getting into conversations, meeting new people, etc.)

MurrainBecomingQueenWhat has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

I don’t know that I’ve really had a *worst* job. I’ve been really lucky, every job I’ve held is one that was in a field doing things I basically enjoyed. My most difficult job, bar none, was being an academic, trying to balance teaching and research and committee work. It was stressful, and all consuming. Writing, that is, just the writing part of writing, is heavenly in comparison.

MurrainTheStoryOfNewEarthWho are your non-writer influences? 

Primarily my non-writer influences are science and scientists. I try my best, mostly, to be pretty scientifically accurate. Not that science can explain everything, but I use what we know.

MurrainTheSaturnMoonIf you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

Beer, certainly. 🙂 Paul Atreides, of Dune. Bren Cameron, the main character of CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner series.  Lauren Olamina from Octavia Butler’s Parable of the SowerFather Emilio Sandoz of Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and Children of God.

If I were to have a beer with 5 of my own fictional characters, I’d choose Marianne from the Casitian Universe, Jame’lo, also from the Casitian Universe, Max from the Cassiopeia Chronicles, Daneli from the House Trageri Saga, and Trina from “Friends with Wings.”

MurrainHumansUnitedWhat is a recurring or the most memorable geeky argument or debate you have taken part in?

I’d say it was an argument about the final fate of Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica. The debate still isn’t over.


MurrainFriendsWithWingsABOUT THE BOOK: Friends with Wings by Michelle Murrain

What if you were stranded on another planet? What would do? How would you live? And how would you deal with the intelligent native winged species on the planet?

The year is 2102, the earth is in crisis, and Trina, a gutsy young woman from a poor family, is forced to sell herself into slavery to pay off her family’s debt. To her surprise, she ends up being sent into space to help colonize a star. Her future seems bright until crisis strikes the colony – leaving Trina the only human being left alive on Planet Johannes. Another spaceship is slated to arrive in a decade, but how will Trina survive alone for ten years? And even if she does, how can she keep the next colony from meeting the same fate?

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Michelle has been writing science fiction since 2006, and has been an avid reader and fan of science fiction since she started to read. She has been both a scientist and a technologist by trade, and she even went to seminary. So as a polymath, her interests span a wide range of topics, including science, technology, religion and spirituality, philosophy, history, culture, politics, race, gender, and sexuality. She brings all of these to bear in her science fiction writing. She specializes in stories of culture clash and/or first contact, and her work has numerous strong female protagonists and characters, as well as a lot of diverse characters. She lives in Sonoma County, California with her spouse and 2 cats. Find out more about Michelle here:

Additional Places to Stalk Michelle Murrain




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