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Blog Interview – Ari Drue

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Ari Drue is a D.C. native who has always looked at everyday life and wondered, ‘what if?’ She believes there is a story in everything around her. As an author of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal, her stories center around characters of color. Ari is also the creator of Terra Stone, extraterrestrial superhero of the Urban 30 stories which take place in a fictional Washington, D.C. Her novel Anterrian’s Heir is available now. 

Her story “Malfunction” appears in Exoplanet Issue One.

When did you start writing?

I’ve written stories for almost as long as I can remember. The youngest of five, I read the textbooks my brothers brought home and the novels my mother exchanged with my godmother. So, the evolution to wanting to write my own stories just kind of came naturally. By junior high, I wrote whatever came to mind; songs, horror stories, romance serials for my friends, you name it.

And why speculative fiction?

My love of writing speculative fiction came from a long history of reading fiction and fantasy and watching horror movies with my older brothers. Saturdays were for horror and science fiction movies. And books. The idea that something existed out of the ordinary always drew me to those types of stories. I love the concept of ‘what if?’.

There is a big ‘what if’ in “Malfunction.” What inspired your story?

Growing up in Washington, DC, you can’t help but to grow up feeding on politics. The city was always one of the most controversial places to live. But the decisions being made often made you feel like the politicians were puppets, or as in my story, robots programmed to run the country, with other people in the background controlling their motions. With the current administration, it feels like someone changed the program and nothing is going the way it’s supposed to, which inspired my story.

It’s a brilliantly topical story, one that offers a fun and fresh take on the current political situation. Your writing is so sharp and cinematic. Who are some of your favourite writers that you drew inspiration from?

Ah, where to start. So, first, there’s Octavia Butler. Someone recommended Wild Seedto me and I’ve never been the same. Stephen King. The first thing I ever read of his was his book of short stories, Night Shift. I was completely fascinated, and I’ve tried to read everything of his ever since. Also, Anne McCaffrey with her Dragon Rider series.

And what about TV shows?

I haven’t had much time to watch television lately, I always seem to either be on a book deadline or trying to catch up on my to-be-read pile—which is growing in print and in eBook format. So, I can tell you that some of my favorite shows have been X-Files (I mean, of course), Fringe, Millennium (an oldie, but a goodie) and American Gods. American Gods got me with the ‘what if?’ What if Gods walked the Earth and all were in some kind of power play.

If you could offer one piece of advice to your past self, what would it be?

Stay on the path you set for yourself; don’t doubt that you can accomplish anything.

You can, and I know you’re always hard at work on the next project. What writing projects are you working on now?

I actually have several projects in the works. I’m working on another short story channeling my hatred of staying in hospitals and a fantasy. Under my other hat (romance) I’m working on a new suspense series and a sci-fi fantasy.

 

Top 5 Reasons We Need Speculative Fiction

Imaginative fiction is often dismissed as impractical entertainment for children and dreamers. And maybe it is. But it is also a vital part of understanding our place in the universe.

To celebrate the launch of Exoplanet Magazine, our editors have come up with a list of the top 5 reasons we need speculative fiction. 
Even though these are in no particular order, let’s count down to make it more exciting…
 
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First in Space by Brooke Fawley

5. It’s creative
Speculative fiction provides a playground for the imagination. When the boundaries of realism come off, fiction allows us to conduct thought experiments that are both safe and fun!

4. Let’s face it, we all need a little escapism (or a lot)
Fantastical stories can serve as a therapeutic release from every-day stresses. Dreaming of something beyond the mundane is one of the most fundamental aspects of fantasy, and sometimes we just need a vacation from our lives.
 
3. Allegory/metaphor/myth
Science fiction, fantasy, and other imaginative genres offer tools of abstraction to help us understand the world around us. Otherworldly metaphors allow us to channel our thoughts and feelings into a form we can deal with and relate to.
 
2. Tackling big ideas
Speculative fiction is the most effective and fun (this is important!) way to tackle big ideas such as gods, the nature of reality, alternate planes of existence, and humanity’s purpose and place in the universe.
 
1. A sense of belonging
When we don’t see people like us in the world we live in, speculative fiction gives us an opportunity to imagine worlds in which we are the norm. Better yet, it gives us stories in which embracing our uniqueness allows us to become more than we thought possible.
 
Those are our top 5. Why do you love speculative fiction?