Genre Chick Interview: Aliette de Bodard

Today for my Month of Writers Blog Festival, I have the honor of featuring my good friend, SF author Aliette de Bodard!

I knew Aliette online through the Codex Writers Group before I met her in LA (she was very much a bright spot in one of my Worst Trips of All Time). I’ve been so incredibly proud of her over the last few years, seeing how far she’s come. (Just read her bio. You’ll be proud too!)

Now I just need to find a reason to go visit her in France…


Mac or PC?
Both? I’m the kind of person whose household contains more computers than people… I have a desktop Mac, and a PC laptop which I use for travelling.

Coffee or Tea?
I’m a tea addict (loose tea, not tea bags). I drink preferably green or white, but any kind will do if I’m desperate (bar the dreaded Lipton Yellow, which is just too acrid for my stomach). Of late, I’ve found a preference for spice-scented teas such as Malaysian cinnamon tea and chai masala.
Travel the World or Travel Outer Space?
Hmm, probably Travel the World. There’s already so much to see on Earth, before starting to worry about other planets and star systems.

Fantasy or Science Fiction?
Both, though I admit to a slight preference to fantasy. I’ve always been a history fan, and fantasy caters to that taste while adding the thrill of magic and adventure. Science Fiction set far away in outer space tickles my travelling itch, but I have more problems with near-future SF because it can end up being too close to my dayjob (which is making the systems we’ll be using in 5-10 years’ time).

Music or Silence (while you write)?
Music, definitely. I have a writing playlist which is mostly female songwriters (Dar Williams, Girlyman, Mindy Smith, …), and which I know by heart. It’s mostly to have a background while I write and to create a space in which I can let my imagination loose–I’ve never noticed any difference between the music I listened to for, say, quiet reflexive scenes or for action scenes.
What weird food do you like?
Pineapple and chocolate brownies. If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d have told you the two ingredients don’t go together at all, but it turns out that the mixture is delicious.

What is one of your most irrational fears?
That I’ll wake up and show up in the entirely wrong place–at home when I’m supposed to be at work, or vice versa. Hasn’t happened so far, fortunately 🙂

Will you be watching the Royal Wedding? Why or why not?
Lack of time? Ok, maybe not. Lack of interest is more like it. While I’m very happy for Prince William and Kate Middleton, I don’t feel like I especially know them or should be concerned by their big day.

How many novels/short stories/screenplays/poems/etc have you published?
I’m not sure. Around 30 stories, I’d say, and two novels.

How much do you write every day?
Not a whole lot those days–a twenty or thirty-minute chunk while I’m on the regular part of the cycle. Can be a few hours if I’m on the hyper end of the cycle (generally when I’ve sorted out the plot and world for a short story or novel).

How much do you WISH you could write every day?
I’m pretty happy with the way things are working out. Of course, I’d wish for more time to write–but don’t we all?

What are you working on now?
I’m rereading Dream of Red Mansions, in order to brainstorm a novelette set on a space station.

If you could write like one author, who would it be?
Patricia McKillip. I’m jealous of her language and the delicate nuances of her plots, which are familiar without being jaded.

If you could be one superhero, or have one superpower, who/what would it be?
I’m rather fond of Magneto’s ability to manipulate magnetic fields–given the omnipresence of electromagnetic fields around the earth, I’m pretty sure there would be ways to have fun with those (in a totally non-evil way, of course. I’m not that kind of person. Really not).

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
I worked in a police station for five months (as a sort of add-on policewoman, mostly doing the small stuff and being designated English-to-French interpreter). But it was an eye-opener. Was on the police side for one demonstration, patrolled in police cars, and had the dubious pleasure of taking down testimonies from battered women (and one sexually abused one). I admire the people who can do this every day for years and not break.

What’s the coolest thing you’re about to do?
Er, it doesn’t get very exciting those days, I’m afraid… I’m going to go visit an old and beautiful church in Vezelay and listen to a traditional mass with music (I love liturgical music), and that’s about as cool as it gets.

Name three things on your List of Things to Do Before You Die.
Learn Vietnamese, visit Mexico, and ride a horse.


Aliette de Bodard lives in Paris, where she works as a Computer Engineer. In her spare time, she writes speculative fiction: her series of Aztec noir fantasies Obsidian and Blood is published by Angry Robot, while her short fiction has appeared in venues such as Asimov’s, Interzone and The Year’s Best Science Fiction. She has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula and Campbell Award, and has won Writers of the Future. More info (and fiction) at