Novelist and blogger Corrina Lawson, who will join the Sci-Fi/Fantasy panel, is a former newspaper reporter who turned to fiction after her twins were born. She was recently interviewed by Cheryl Malandrinos.
When did you decide to embark upon a career in writing? Did someone or some event influence your choice in any way?
I’m one of those crazy people who knew they always wanted to be a writer. I loved books, I loved reading and, most of all, I loved making up my own stories. I remember being about seven and telling my mother “I want to be a writer.” She said, “I’m sure you’ll be great.” (Note: my mom is awesome.) I went into journalism because that seemed to be a clear career path back then and because I was inspired by Lois Lane. She seemed to have the best job ever. A job where you get paid to ask questions and investigate things? I’m there.
What do you enjoy most about your diverse career?
I never get bored. I suppose it’s the journalist in me but I don’t like the same thing all the time. When I’m interested in history, I can do research about Romans and Vikings for my stories. When I’m working on blog posts for GeekMom and GeekDad, I have to read superhero comics. I get paid to read comics. I love that. I also love the flexibility working for myself offers. I’m a stay-at-home mom of four great kids, which offers me a chance to set my own schedule, to a degree. There’s always the inevitable interruption of “MOM!”
Can you tell us about your latest release?
PHOENIX RISING is the tale of a young man, Alec Farley, who was trained to use his fire starting abilities as a weapon. Alec doesn’t know he’s been manipulated until someone from outside his isolated environment shows him what he’s missing and how he’s been used. It’s also the story of how his inner optimism – despite his upbringing – cements the bond between him and the woman who falls in love with him. The tagline is “he was raised to be a weapon but for her, he must become a hero.” And because it’s a big superhero story, there are a number of gunfights and at least two explosions, the second being part of a nuclear bomb threatening Manhattan.
What inspired it?
Paranormals sell well and I thought perhaps I should write a book that was a little less off the beaten path from my Romans and Vikings in 900 AD North America. I know many readers love vampires and shape shifters but while those are great, they’re not really my thing. And then I realized, d’oh, I did know superheroes. I could write a superhero story. It might have a wider audience and it would be a blast to write. Nobody was going to hand me the X-Men to write, so I went to work on creating my own story world instead, populated by people with various kinds of psychic abilities like fire starting and telepathy. I also wanted characters who went beyond those with abilities. I wanted people who were also “heroes” in every sense of the word. Characters have to have inner conflict and doubts but I’ve gotten tired of heroes who feel like their life sucks. Alec has the power to call fire. He thinks that’s awesome. So do I.
What appeals most to you about creating your own universe for your books?
I loved “make pretend” as a kid and this is essentially the same thing. Basically, I sit around all day and make up imaginary things and get paid for it. Blows my mind. I also enjoy sinking my mind into an alternate viewpoint, so I can see the world through new eyes.
Both of your books are available in a Kindle edition. How do you feel about e-books? Will they ever replace printed books in your house?
I think e-books are great. I wouldn’t have a career if not for the explosion of e-publishing. It allows writers who are a little outside the box, like me, to find an audience. That said, I still prefer the touch and feel of a print book myself. But I own a Kindle and there are some advantages. One, you don’t need to hold it in your hand while eating. I can eat cereal and read at the same time instead of trying to hold pages open. And I just got done reading George RR Matin’s A Song of Fire and Ice exclusively on the Kindle. Given how heavy those books are, I think I saved my hands somewhat and I saved space in the house. We have eight bookcases in the house, plus built-in bookcases in the basement and they’re all full. And only six people live here. My kids are big readers and they love print books. They don’t want a Kindle or a Nook. They see certain advantages to my Kindle, namely instantly being able to have the book they want available. I was able to find a summer reading book required by my son’s school on the Kindle instead of searching bookstores for it. We both liked that. But, no, I don’t see print books ever being fully replaced at my house.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re planning for the Sci-Fi/Fantasy panel?
We’ve got a great group on the panel and a great moderator and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. We’re going to touch on a number of things, including the future of fantasy and science fiction. I suspect George RR Matin’s series might come up at some point. I’m also interested in discussing the intersection between geek girls and romance. I know it’s not always a comfortable pairing (see Twilight) but so much work in SF/F now crosses genre barriers that I think it’s time to rethink our preconceptions.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a sequel to PHOENIX RISING, called the PHOENIX LEGACY. It stars a supporting character from the previous book, a former CIA black ops specialist. He’s been pretending to be someone else for his work for so long that he’s not sure who he really is any longer. He encounters a woman from his past that he wronged horribly and who’s now been badly used by his enemies. Needless to say, it’s not easy for them to work together against a common foe. It does help that because of his healing ability, pain and pleasure has merged for my hero. So when she wants to hit him, he likes it. He’s a very dark character but refreshingly in a lot of ways because his morals are so skewed. I’m also working on expanding a steampunk detective story that I originally wrote as a novella. I like the short story, inspired by a Sherlock Holmes mystery, but I think the storyworld feels too squished to breathe at that length. So back to the drawing board. There will be a novella, Luminous, set in the world of PHOENIX RISING coming out next May from Samhain Publishing. It’s my version of a gritty urban crimefighter tale.
Where can readers find you online?
Several places. I’m on Facebook as Corrina Lawson and my Twitter is @CorrinaLawson. You can also find me over at GeekMom.com or at geekdad at http://www.wired.com.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Just that I’m thrilled to be attending the conference. I love meeting other writers and I’m honored by the chance to be on a panel.