07-07-2011: MilSciFi.com interviews author Kimberley Long-Ewing, contributor to the anthology, No Man's Land, book four in the Defending The Future series.
"Welcome. Please tell us about your story, and what was the inspiration
" 'Come Like a Tailor' is a story about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It
is also about the relationship between soldiers and society; the political forces
that drive governments to build strong militaries and super soldiers balanced
against the need to maintain the veneer of civilization during peace-time. I
then tossed in the notion of retro-viruses for curing genetic diseases and how
that could be applied in the military. Then I asked, how would someone disable
such genetically enhanced warriors using that same retro-virus technology? It's
a different sort of arms race with deterrents and countermeasures but such
races have historically followed the same patterns. I thought about the shape
of the political world in 500 years - who would the superpowers be? I decided
that it would roll around to China and India. This mix of ingredients creates the backdrop for a story about
PTSD, retired vs. active duty soldiers, and interpersonal conflict."
"Is it a part of a larger universe?"
"Yes. I created an alternate timeline that reshaped the political
boundaries and world superpowers during the Great Game era of European
colonialization. The timeline split occurs during the Sepoy uprisings of the
mid 1800's. I started exploring the ramifications on history by first examining
how World War I and II would have been different in a story called "Brahma's
Missile". The story in this anthology, "Come Like a Tailor",
spins out the timeline 500 years into the future. There are other stories I'm
working on that explore events along the way. I love having a richly detailed
universe to explore and I look forward to bringing back more stories from it."
"Any plans to continue with this storyline?"
"Yes. Some characters and worlds leave my head after one story, others
insist on hanging around. Jeffery and Lakshmi are two such characters. I'm
working on a novel that features their further adventures. The world I placed
them in is 500 years in the future. The world-building for it includes events
in an alternate timeline that occurred over a hundred years ago. There are many
stories in this alternate universe that are waiting to be told."
"Each story is accompanied by a unique icon, can you tell us something
about the relevance behind your own?"
"The icon for "Come Like a Tailor" is a tiger framed by DNA
helixes. My story is set in far-futures India and is about genetically enhanced warriors. Historically, the
tiger has been sacred in India. It represents the warrior, strength, and power. The DNA helixes
represent how the soldiers of the Rani of Jhansi Regiment have been genetically
"How did you become involved with the No Man's Land project?"
"I'm a member of Broad Universe, an organization dedicated to the
promotion and networking of women writers, editors, and fans. Danielle posted
the opportunity there. I immediately contacted her about it. I think it's an
excellent opportunity to showcase female authors, especially those of us that
love to write sci-fi."
"What were your thoughts about the fact that this was a collection
featuring all-female authors?"
"I am glad to see this anthology. It's an excellent opportunity for female
authors to demonstrate that they can, indeed, write amazing military sci-fi
stories. It is my hope that it will open doors for both the contributors to
this anthology and other female authors. I'd like to see more women writing
these sorts of stories and see those stories widely published, especially in
co-ed anthologies and magazines."
"What tips would you given an aspiring military science fiction author,
female or otherwise?"
"Write. Just do it. I think of
writing as a form of sculpting. Don't be afraid to tear your story apart and
reshape it as many times as necessary. Slay your darlings - you can always save
that character or idea for another story. Finally, don't let anyone tell you
that you can't play because of your race, gender, whatever. Get up and play
anyway. You'll find a place for your work if you're persistent."
"Is military accuracy important to you, or can one simply 'fake' it?"
"I think it is important to be accurate and believable in writing. I apply
that to the science, military scenarios and history in my work. I do the
"Have you been involved with any similar projects?"
"This is the first time I've submitted a story to an anthology. I have
written other military sci-fi stories; in particular, I wrote an alternate
history piece that is actually back-story for 'Come Like a Tailor'. It's called
'Brahma's Missile' and was published in Crossed
Genres in 2009. It can now be read on my website."
"With your growing success as an author, do you plan to continue writing
for the Defending the Future series?"
"I will certainly be watching for more opportunities to work with the DTF
team. They have been wonderful."
"Are there any upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?"
"I will be releasing the final volume of the Urban Fey graphic novel series
this Fall. It is a story of political intrigue in the fairy courts. It will
premiere at the Small Press and Indie Expo (SPACE) in Minneapolis
this November. I've really enjoyed working on the Urban Fey trilogy. The
illustrator is my daughter, Rhea Ewing."
"And what events do you have in the months ahead?"
"Geek Kon in Madison and SPACE in Minneapolis, Minnesota
will round out my convention schedule for the year."
"How can our readers find out more about your work?"
"I have a website - www.mysticsheepstudios.com - that includes links to
selected short stories as well as news and updates about current projects."
"Thank you for your time."