Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of Ghost Talkers, The Glamourist Histories series, and the Lady Astronaut series. She is the President of SFWA, part of the award-winning podcast Writing Excuses and a four-time Hugo Award winner. We took a few minutes to ask her some questions about writing and typewriters.

What do you love most about writing?

I enjoy being given license to daydream. I enjoy building worlds and problem solving. I enjoy pushing emotions around with the words on  a page. I love it all. Except the sitting down in the chair part.

What’s the most helpful piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

You can fix it in post.

Recognizing that I can iterate a problem part of a story until I get it the way I want it is deeply freeing.

What are you working on currently, if anything?

I just turned in The Spare Man, which is an SF murder/mystery set on an interplanetary cruise ship. Think The Thin Man movies, but in space.

What excites you about your current project? If you’re not actively working on something at the moment, what excited you most about your most recent project?

It’s fun having a happily married couple who banter as they are solving crime. But probably the thing I had the most fun writing was their dog Gimlet, who is a Westie. The dog is basically having her own, entirely separate plot that revolves around getting treats and begging for belly rubs. It’s a good reminder that characters who have their own agenda can feel more real than ones who are there just to advance the plot.

Can you tell us about the first story you ever wrote? What was it inspired by?

EVER wrote? The first one that I’m sure about was in kindergarten and was a present for my mom on mother’s day. It was illustrated and was something about a spaceship that was shaped like a giant beared iris. The beards were either the doormat for the spaceship or the launch couch. Or maybe both. I have no memory of the plot, but I remember the space ship.

What is your favorite way to recharge, relax, and recuperate?


As we get closer to WXR at SiWC, what are you most looking forward to?

The quality of the workshops and lectures at SiWC is such that I attend something at every session but there are always things I miss. I’m looking forward to being able to be in two places at once. Also, the people! I can’t wait to spend time with folks in the social hangouts.

Last, but not least, if you could add one manual typewriter to your collection, what would it be?

The folding Hammond Multiplex. Such an interesting mechanism, and you can swap the typeplate out to get multiple fonts.

More from Mary Robinette Kowal

You can find more about Mary Robinette on her website


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