Pippa Jay is a stay at home mom of three and author of KEIR, GETHYON, and TERMS & CONDITIONS APPLY. She also has the story, “Imprint”, featured in the TALES FROM THE SFR BRIGADE ANTHOLOGY. She lives in Colchester UK with her husband and family.
RK: What drew you to writing SF romance?
PIPPA: I have to confess I kind of fell into it–the romance part anyway. I’ve been writing science fiction since the age of eight–having been converted from fantasy by the first TV showing of Star Wars: A New Hope–but it wasn’t until I met Laurie Green and discovered the SFR Brigade that I even knew the genre existed. Fantasy and SciFi have always been my main genres to read, write and watch, because I love to explore other worlds, especially the technology/magic and alien societies. Romance has given me an additional area to explore, especially in terms of relationships and how technology and space travel might affect them. I have strayed into related genres, but SFR is where my heart lies.
RK: Where do you look for ideas? What is your inspiration?
PIPPA: Generally, inspiration can come from absolutely anything and anywhere. But if I’m looking to write something specific for a submission call or theme, or I’m stuck for ideas, I’ll go to a photo stock site or one of those sites that do premade book covers and flick through images. Or I read, watch a film, listen to some music, go for a walk, or as a very last resort do housework. You’ll be amazed at how fast muse will come up with a shiny new plot bunny when forced to do laundry or vacuum. 😛
RK: In your TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY, you venture into the realm of AI intelligence with the avatars at Venus Ascendant. How plausible do you think it is that we will reach that stage of having artificial intelligences in the future?
PIPPA: I think it’s entirely plausible, and potentially not that far off. Although I think it’s more likely to come from integrating human minds into technology (or vice versa) and gradually merging or transferring minds and computers than actually creating a totally artificial one from scratch. That’s just my theory anyway, and the idea I used in TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLY.
RK: How do you strike the balance between the speculative science that SF writers expect and the demands of the romance market? Do you feel it is important to get the science right in SFR?
PIPPA: Hmm, it’s not something that I think about or try to evaluate, so I’m not entirely sure I’ve achieved the perfect balance–if there even is one. I’m a pantser, so I don’t plot and plan out the elements in my stories. I don’t calculate what level of SF or romance I should put in. To be honest, I had a lot to learn about making the romance elements work in my debut novel, but what I learnt from my rather fabulous editor there has helped me to get that balance better in subsequent works. Truly, you can’t please everyone no matter what you do, so generally I just aim to please myself. Selfish I know, but if I’m not happy with the balance of the story myself, I’m pretty sure none of my readers would be.
As for the science–my current works are fairly tech light, but I do like the science to be believable, with some basis in current fact or theory, and I’m working on increasing the amount of technology I include. Of course, just because something is theoretically impossible here and now doesn’t make it wrong, but ignoring basic things like the laws of gravity (for example) would make me cringe. Plus I get quite a kick out of researching the science.
RK: The writing business is changing rapidly. How do you approach your writing career?
PIPPA: By aiming to be as visible as possible but to focus on writing. I started out with a five year plan, but it had all changed within the first year so that taught me I needed to be flexible. I have a decent author platform now, a small but loyal readership, so I aim to keep building on that. I’m trying to write in different sub-genres to keep myself challenged, and I enter a few writing contests too. I’ll write more books to tie in with my current works so fans of those have more to look forward to, but also new ones to hopefully entice new readers. The main thing is to keep going and adapt to the changes, and to keep options open.
RK: What are your current and upcoming projects?
PIPPA: I have a decopunk superhero romance out on submission, I just submitted a cyberpunk short to Lightspeed Magazine’s special edition of Women Destroy Science Fiction, I’m self publishing two holiday-themed shorts later this year (one SFR, one PNR), and I’m currently revising a YA supernatural romance with a publisher’s request on it. I’ve also got another SFR novella that will be looking for a home in the near future (unfortunately the publisher I’d contracted it to folded)
RK: Which are you better prepared to fight: an army of the undead or an alien invasion? Explain.
PIPPA: Well, with gun laws being what they are in the UK, I’m not really set for blowing the heads off zombies, lol! Since all you seem to need to foil an alien invasion are things like a computer virus, shampoo or water (Independence Day, Evolution and Signs), give me the aliens any day
RK: If you had the ability to time travel where would you go? Why?
PIPPA: I would travel forward to the point where they’ve come up with an immortality elixir or some of those avatar bodies I have in my story so I can live forever and rule the universe, bwahahaaa! Er, you’ll cut that bit out, right?! 😛