Spokesperson for data management, analytics, and AI software by day and fiction writer, gardener, and archery enthusiast by weekend, author Paige E. Ewing fell in love with writing at a young age. She turned her classroom daydreams into stories that grew in length (and content depth) as she honed her craft.
After reading story after story written by white, straight men for white, straight men, she dived into her own work with another goal – create her ideal world by diversifying her own characters who were originally made to fit in the sci-fi/ fantasy world these white, straight men had created. The resulting Liliana and The Fae of Fayetteville series, among other published works, is a testament to this goal with its ethnically, sexually, and even neurally divergent characters who interact with all manner of people, including “Others” and those based on worldly myths despite the book being based in North Carolina, United States. Meet Paige…
You are an author, but is it your day job? If not, what fills your days? It is not my day job, though I wish it were. I am a spokesperson for data management, analytics, and AI software. Yes, I’m a technology geek.
Did you always want to be an author? I think I went into other fields because my mother convinced me I’d have a hard time making a living as an author, and I should be good at something else to pay the bills.
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? Explosive Chemistry, book 2 of the Liliana and the Fae of Fayetteville series, is the most recent thing I’ve published. Book 1 was Precise Oaths, which came out earlier this year. The series was inspired just by me loving urban fantasy and the marvelous mix of fantasy creatures in a real setting. The world they live in is a “What if” kind of world. I thought, we’re trying so hard to change things to stop or even reverse climate change by switching to greener technologies. What if it worked? What if we succeeded in making the world green again, and in so doing, the fantasy creatures of the world who were far less prevalent when the skies were full of smog and the water was choked with trash, suddenly found new life? What if their power resurged and magic became a force to be reckoned with? So, that’s the world Liliana lives in, a climate-fixed thirty years in the future where legendary creatures walk among us.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? Liliana is a neurodiverse heroine. And I’m pretty sure we don’t see those two words side by side very often. She thinks differently, doesn’t get a lot of social cues, isn’t likely to engage in witty banter, but she’s brave, determined, and compassionate. She’s a hero. And if there’s one thing I want folks to get out of this, it’s that being different and being a hero are not mutually exclusive.
How do you handle setbacks and criticism? Heh. I did a signing the other day and some dude walked up, pointed at Liliana on the cover of Explosive Chemistry and said, “Mary Sue.” I got all bristly and started defending her and why she’s not a Mary Sue and all that. And ya know, whatever. If folks have decided who a character is before they know anything about her, then that’s their problem. What they think is really not important. It’s something important to remember about life, too. You are who you are, and being you is far more important than what other people think. You don’t have to defend who you choose to be or who life made you.
How do you hold yourself accountable and achieve the goals that you set forth? There’s a lot of emphasis on that in a bunch of the writing advice these days. I’ve always written fiction because I love to write fiction, not really because I’ve got some rule that says I have to crank out 500 words a day. I’m a nanowrimo believer. I do it every year, and sometimes I make those 50K words and sometimes I don’t. I didn’t this year. Too much going on in November, like … a book launch. 😉 I think the big thing is to remember those goals are to help you get where you want to go, not to discourage you. If you got 20K more words written in November than you would have, then wow! That’s excellent. Nothing wrong with shooting for the stars. Just don’t be disappointed because you only made it to the moon!
How do you structure your day and make time for writing? My days are crazy and sometimes, I just don’t have the time to write for myself. I do a ton of writing for work, so there aren’t many days that go by that I don’t write, but I don’t always get to write for the joy of it. Everyone has their own way of doing things. I’m a binge writer. When I have a few hours and a story pounding at the inside of my head, I write like a madwoman.
What book uplifts you? My comfort read is the Murderbot books by Martha Wells. I love me some Murderbot. The hero is a construct that’s part human, part robot, and it’s really tired of everybody’s crap. I identify a bit too well with that antisocial bot some days. But it still inspires me to keep on going, and be the best me I can be.
You can learn more about Paige and buy her books via her website.
Images and Interview Courtesy of PR by the Book