Here at Breaking the Glass Slipper, we are all about celebrating writers. In the hopes of helping readers find new and exciting writers, we aim to introduce our listeners to writers they may not have come across before.
In the first of a new series of ‘five questions with’, we asked scifi author Kellie Doherty about her genre ambitions and route to publishing.
What SFFH genre tropes did you hope to invert in your writing?
SFFH is seen as a male-driven, male-dominated sphere with male-centered plotlines. I wanted to invert that and have two women at the helm instead. I wanted to showcase that it’s okay to be a badass woman who can kick butt and take names, but also have that softer side as well. I also wanted to feature a lesbian but not have the whole story revolve around that aspect of her to show that being a part of the queer sphere isn’t the only thing a person is, that there are many facets of a human being. Plus, she’s no sidekick or minor character or someone who will die off just for the shock factor so prevalent in our society today.
Your books have a combination of action, adventure, romance, and more – do you find that the romance aspect puts male readers off? How do you go about selling it to those who might struggle with the idea of romance with their space adventure?
They do have all that and more! I like to say that my story is a scifi adventure with a dash of romance thrown in. If the romance aspect puts the male readers or space-adventure enthusiasts off, then I’d say those readers are missing a huge facet of books in general. Love is a core feature of life. It’s something that would feasibly happen on spaceship and within a life-and-death situation that the Eclipse crew finds themselves in. Spaceship crews generally form a really tight family anyway and people fall in and out of love all the time, so it just made sense to include that in my story.
What SFFH stories first sparked your love of genre fiction/films/etc and why?
Oh my goodness, so many stories contributed to my love of SFFH. Concerning scifi, I grew up watching Stargate, Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, etc. and I always knew I wanted to write a space opera someday. For the fantasy aspect, I fell in love with the Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings series, and gushed over the magical aspects. (Who doesn’t love magic and dragons, right?) My dad would watch horror movies all the time when I was younger so I like to include the creepy elements of that, especially in my villains. For the LGBT aspects, I was first introduced to Jane Fletcher’s the Celaeno series by a friend of mine and instantly adored them. There are so many other stories that contributed to my love of the genre that I can’t possibly point to them all! Genre nerds, unite!
Tell us a little about your publishing journey. What advice would you give to other writers just starting out?
Well, my journey is a bit…roundabout. I always was a writer growing up, mostly fanfiction and poetry and such, until I read Harry Potter and discovered I wanted to write my own fiction. As I grew older and bolder, I submitted my pieces to local journals and magazines and participated in writing contests. I eventually obtained a bachelors degree in English Literature with a minor in creative writing and discovered that I really loved the other side of publishing (the editing and business side of things), so I started my own freelance editing company called Edit Revise Perfect. I had a handful of reoccurring clients and soon landed a contract editing gig with Desert Palm Press (all the while holding down a full-time job and writing my scifi novel). After a few years of editing with them, my friends suggested that I try for publication through DPP because my writing fit what they published. I submitted my scifi manuscript, got picked up, and the Cicatrix Duology was born!
For other writers just starting out I’d say this: form a community of writers around you, get involved with the local literary scene, get inspired and cheer on other writers and authors successes, and keep writing. Keep pushing on. Keep telling your stories. Keep submitting to contests and journals and magazines and agents and publishers. It’s a freakishly hard business to get into and more often than not you don’t make much money from it, but the stories are important. Even if you don’t get picked up by a publisher, that doesn’t negate the fact that you are a writer. It doesn’t negate the fact that your stories matter. Remember there are other routes to publishing, but realize that self-publishing a book is going to take a lot of time and effort and money. You are the whole business—not just the writer but the publisher as well. (And if you do go the self-pub route, please for the love of all the writing muses out there, get a professional editor and designer.) My final word of advice is this: just keep writing.
Why should we be reading your books?
You should read the Cicatrix Duology—Finding Hekate and Losing Hold—because it puts you in the mind of the hunted, a woman who is desperate to do anything and willing to risk it all (and many others) just to survive. It’s an action-packed scifi adventure with cool tech, crazy fight scenes (between spaceships and between people), and a twisting plotline. Plus, the duology feature two badass lesbians who fight evil and fall in love. Who could ask for anything better?
Kellie Doherty is an author living in Portland, OR. She holds a master’s degree in book publishing from Portland State University and is currently hunting for a full-time job. She also has a freelance editing company called Edit Revise Perfect and takes jobs whenever they come her way. When not job hunting or freelancing, Kellie likes to play games, write, and go for walks. Her debut science fiction novel Finding Hekate was published by Desert Palm Press in April 2016 and the sequel Losing Hold was published in April 2017. Find more information on her website: www.kelliedoherty.com.