Update: High Time in the Low Parliament by Kelly Robson is due to come out August 9th, her latest book which we talk about in the episode. Kelly Robson has written several short stories and award-winning science fiction novellas. We talk about how she got started, what drew her to the speculative market and what informs her writing. One of the the unique things we like about her work are the deeply-designed systems that exist in her worlds through which characters must move. Please enjoy our conversation and hope it provides you writers with further encouragement!
Episode Description: Growing up a natural writer and avid reader, Kelly Robson has always known that writing was stamped into her destiny. However, it wouldn’t be until much later in life that Kelly would finally heed the call to adventure and treat her craft with the reverence that she does now. Her penchant for systems infuses her stories with recurring elements like infrastructure and nuanced character relationships that she unpacks with as much flair as she does with sensitivity. In this episode, Kelly walks us through her character crafting process, dissects the themes of her works–including her sci-fi novella Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach and short story Skin City–, and offers encouragement to budding writers. Lastly, she talks to us about her August 2022 novella, High Times in the Low Parliament, and what sets this one apart from all her previous works. (Hint: It involves stoned fairies and British politics.)
Early Writing and Early Reading [00:00 - 4:00]: Kelly discusses the impact reading and writing had on her childhood and her relationship with speculative fiction.
Publishing Later in Life [4:10 - 9:25 ]: Kelly recounts how she began writing more seriously in her mid-30’s and why it’s never too late to get published.
Conundrum of Characters and Problems [9:30 - 16:35]: Kelly shares the crucial piece of advice that helped her complete one of her first short fictions, “Waters of Versailles”.
The Status of Speculative Fiction [16:40 - 23:00]: What constitutes speculative fiction? What about “core science fiction”? Kelly delves into these questions.
Gods, Monsters, and The Lucky Peach [23:00 - 29:50]: Kelly contextualizes the worldbuilding and thematic elements found in her first book.
Systems of Privacy [29:50 - 36:20]: Kelly uses her short story “Skin City” to discuss the fluidity of the concept of “privacy”.
Character Building [36:20 - 41:00]: Figuring out the right characters for your story and crafting the right relationships can be one of the most challenging aspects of writing. Kelly offers some advice on how to overcome this hurdle.
High Times in Low Parliament [41:00 - 44:20]: Kelly shares the premise of her new book High Times in Low Parliament as well as the subgenre that it takes place in.
Finding Creativity in Everyday Life [44:20 - 50:00]: Code switching between non-creative tasks and creative tasks can be a challenge. Kelly shares some insights on how she keeps up her writing schedule among everyday responsibilities.
Short Stories, Novellas, and Novels [50:00 - 53:48]: Kelly drops a few hints on the direction of her future writing.
Follow Frivolous Comma: