Interview 109, The Guns Above Author, Robyn Bennis, Conclusion

Welcome back for the conclusion of our talk with Robyn Bennis, author of The Guns Above.

Read part one here.

Read part two here.


Airship Ambassador: What kind of reader are you?

Robyn Bennis: I’m the kind of reader who needs to connect to a character early, or I’m out. In fact, that’s about the only problem that can get me to put down a book before I’m finished. A book can be boring, predictable, queerphobic, or even commit that most heinous of sins, getting the science wrong, and I’ll usually power through it anyway. Just don’t give me characters I’m ambivalent about.

AA: Boredom is a turn off, in so many things. How have things changed for you from your earliest writing experience to being published?

RB: Well, it’s turned from absolute crap to worthy of a published novel with a glowing Kirkus review and a starred Library Journal review. I’m sure there were more subtle changes along the way, but if I went back to look for them in my old stuff, I might throw up.


AA: Letting sleeping dogs lie is the best policy, sometimes. What have been the most useful skills to learn in your journey as a writer?

RB: Realistic and honest self-critique is, by far, the hardest to learn and most useful skill I possess. Being able to look at a sentence, a scene, a chapter, and assess whether it’s working is invaluable. Being able to do it without worrying that my vanity or imposter syndrome is clouding my judgement is what brought my writing to the next level. Mind you, it took a couple decades to master.


AA: One slow day at a time. What story would you like to write but haven’t, yet?

RB: Holy crap, I could make a list of them so long it would crash the website, so I’ll limit this to the idea that’s been rattling around my brainpan the most over the past few months. I’d like to write a far-future space opera that hews as close as possible to our current understanding of physics. I’m sure other authors have done this, but I’m equally sure our current understanding of physics has changed since then. I want to explore what human society looks like in such a scenario. What kinds of people will go to the stars? What sorts of civilizations will they build out there?


AA: Doing so could be a wonderful groundwork of thought for actual exploration and growth. Do you get people recognizing you for The Guns Above?

RB: Thankfully, no. I’m naturally kind of a shy person, though my con friends may not always believe it. I’m happy to stay unrecognized for as long as possible.

AA: I think that will resonate strongly with many readers. If you weren’t a writer, what else would you be doing now?

RB: Let’s be honest, I’d probably be in jail.


AA: Sounds like another interview in the making right there! You’ve talked about how losing one job brought you so much closer to being a published writer. Anything else push you further along?

RB: I recently moved from Mountain View, CA to Madison, WI—stick with me here, this is going somewhere. In Mountain View, my writing had to take a back seat to biotech consulting, because that was the only way to pay the rent. In Madison, I’m a writer first and a biologist second. If people keep buying my books, I might even be able to keep that up.


AA: Aside from that writing and biology, what other interests fill your time?

RB: I’m pretty much living for my cat at the moment. His name is Dizzy, he’s lived with me for two months, he’s irredeemably weird, and I’d cut off my own arm to make him happy.


AA: Knowing cats, he’d probably begrudgingly accept your sacrifice. What is on your to-be read or watched pile right now?

RB: I’m slowly working my way through a re-watch of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Friday the 13th movies. I’m a complicated person, okay? My to-be-read pile is far too long to list and is becoming a structural threat to the apartment, but it includes Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, Doomsday Book by Connie Williams, and The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore.


AA: I was just talking to someone about the dangerous sizes of to-be-read piles. Any people have influenced you and your writing?

RB: My mother certainly motivated me to not be like her. She was a biker chick who lived hard and ran from the cops as a reflex action. By all rights, she should have been friends with Hunter S. Thompson, but unfortunately they were aligned with competing biker gangs.

AA: And now an interview opportunity with your mom! What is the best advice you’ve been given?

RB: Regarding writing, it would have to be “don’t give up.” Regarding sports, commitments, and relationships, it’d be “always give up.”


AA: LOL! But, yeah. Any final thoughts to share with our readers

RB: No. They can make their own damn thoughts. I’m not sharing mine, and I’m tired of all these thought-moochers that feel entitled to them. It’s creeping socialism, if you ask me.


HA! Thanks, Robyn, for joining us for this interview and for apparently NOT sharing all of your thoughts.  We look forward to reading By Fire Above and the subsequent books!


Keep up to date with Robyn’s latest news on her website.

You can support Robyn and our community by getting your copy of The Guns Above here.

Published in: on March 28, 2018 at 6:53 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for not sharing, Robyn. Good luck with ditching your career for writing!
    ~Icky. 🙂

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