Thursday, September 25, 2014

Author Interview - Emily Martha Sorensen

The Speculative Fiction Showcase interviews Emily Martha Sorensen, fantasy writer and comic strip creator.

These days, most writers are glued to their laptops, tablets, and/or ereaders. A few still swear by print books and typewriters, the question is: Do you move at all?

I have a desktop computer.  I'm not a fan of laptops.  I also prefer reading print books to any kind of digital screen.  As such, I put a lot of love into my print book layouts.  (I'm a font and typesetting geek.)

Apple or PC?

PC with Linux!  Apple bugs me.

Do you use Scrivener or Word?

Neither!  I use WordPerfect, or occasionally OpenOffice.  And I use Notepad (well, a Linux equivalent of it) for my e-book formatting.

Do you have any pets? Do they influence your writing?

I used to have pets, when I was a kid.  Now I have children.  It's a toss-up whether dogs or toddlers are more destructive to everything.

Would you rather see your stories on the big screen or the little screen?
Little screen!  I'd absolutely love to see some of my stories made into TV shows.  (And I would want to be the head of the writing team.)

Are you hooked on any science fiction or fantasy shows on TV? If so, which one(s)?
There are loads I love (and own on DVD).  But among my favorites are Babylon 5, Star Trek: TNG, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: DS9, Charmed, Birds of Prey, Andromeda (the first two seasons, before they changed the writing team), Eureka, Warehouse 13.
I'm currently watching Once Upon a Time, and I LOVED Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.  (An Alice in Wonderland adaptation that actually portrays Alice's personality correctly!)

My current favorite is of course new Doctor Who, because it's awesome.  But I'll admit I liked Russell T. Davies better than Steven Moffat.  And I miss Christopher Eccleston.

Do you own copies of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings DVDs? The extended version? Do you ever watch them?
My husband's a huge Tolkein fan, so of course we do.  He watches them much more often than I do.

Have you seen the first two parts of the The Hobbit? Are you planning to see the final installment?
Yes, and the second movie ending was an annoying cop-out.  I felt like I watched three-quarters of a movie.  Still, I plan to suspend judgment until we see the final movie.  Given that we have three children under the age of four, it probably won't be in the theater.  (We watched the first two on DVD.)

You're not just a prose writer, you also create comics. So which comic strip or series is your favorite, excluding your own?
My favorite comic strip is FoxTrot.  But Freefall ( also deserves an honorable mention.  It's an awesome science fiction story, smart and thought-provoking, told in a light and humorous way. 

My current favorite full-page comic is Not a Villain (  It's a post-apocalyptic science fiction story in which the main character (a hacker who was probably responsible for the apocalypse) is trying desperately to become a hero, instead of a villain, through virtual reality.

Talking about comics, we're currently experiencing something of a golden age for comic movie and TV adaptations. In you opinion, which of the many comic book movies and TV shows out there captures the spirit of the source material best?
The X-Men movies that Bryan Singer directed.  That would be X-Men, X2, X-Men: First Class, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.  (We're really looking forward to X-Men: Apocalypse.)

Are you a Luddite? Or do you prefer to be on the bleeding edge of technology?
I'm not really a Luddite.  But I am a chronically late adopter.  I still don't have a flat-screen TV, for instance.  I usually wait until the thing that's working perfectly well breaks down before I replace it.

Are you--or have you ever been--a gamer?
Sure.  I love games.  I just only ever have time to play them when I'm relaxing (which doesn't happen often).  I'm particularly fond of RPGs, although I don't love the move towards more action, less turn-based -- it's more stressful, less relaxing, and more about pushing random buttons than strategy, to me.  I also don't like the move towards increasing "difficulty" by increasing frustration or time-consuming tedium.

What kind of foods do you eat? Are you a health-food-nut or is it strictly junk?
I do try to be careful with what I eat.  For me, that means a lot of protein, a moderate amount of carbohydrates, and very low fat intake.  I've found that's what makes me most healthy.  Vegetables, ironically, are not really healthy for me.  I've found that if I eat more than a tiny amount, I'm very sick with indigestion and heartburn the next day.  I've also noticed that the more meat I eat, the healthier I am.  (Excluding pig meat, which makes me sick.)

I'm fine with wheat, but I'm allergic to most alternative "healthy" grains.  Dairy is excellent.  Basically, I eat a carnivorous diet that is almost the opposite of what most "healthy food" junkies will tell you is healthy.  And it's the most healthy diet I've ever had in my life.  The most important thing to do is to listen to your own body, not listen to what works for other people's bodies.

Do you cook? What is your best/favorite/most popular recipe?
I don't like to cook.  However, most prepackaged foods don't have all the protein I need.  (Sigh.)
One of my favorite things to eat currently is Jack Link beef jerky, cut up into small chunks, heated in the microwave until all the fat has liquified (usually about three to five minutes).  I drain it, squeeze the chunks in paper towels, and get most of the fat out.

Then I make macaroni and cheese, mix the cooked beef jerky in it, put this on top of two slices of whole wheat toast, and eat it.  Yummmm!
It also works well to do that with hamburger patties.

Have you ever heard of or had a green smoothie? If you’ve ever had one, what did you think about?
I've had one once.  I thought it was disgusting, and I felt bleh afterwards.  Then I gave it to my mom.  She thought it tasted delicious and said it made her feel great.  So, once again, everybody's different.

Do you have a garden? Have you ever grown your own food?
My garden keeps dyyyyyyyyyyying!  (Sob!)  Maybe it would help if I actually watered it more often.  Actually, my blackberry bush and strawberry plants seem to be at least surviving this year, which is encouraging.

Coffee or Tea or Water? Espresso, Drip, Instant, or French Press? Bag or Looseleaf? Bottled, Filtered, Tap or Rainwater?
Filtered water.  I don't drink coffee or tea.

Do you wear socks?
All the time.  Shoes, too.  No, literally.  I wear socks and shoes 24/7, including when I sleep.  I have excessively dry skin that cracks and peels after an hour without shoes on.  It's very painful.  Shoes and socks and Vasaline every night make this problem go away.
(Unfortunately, my daughter seems to have inherited my excessively dry skin, and has eczema all over her body . . .)

What are you wearing right now?
Clothes.  (I don't pay much attention to fashion.)

Do you do your own laundry?
Usually my husband does it for me.  He's a full-time homemaker and father.  He's also the best husband ever.

Does life fascinate you?
I consider the ideal to be constantly in a state of wonder and eagerness to learn.  It's why I love fantasy: I want to explore fascinating new possibilities, and worlds and cultures that are unusual and plausible.
I find history fascinating, for similar reasons.  I read history and sociology and science for my nonfiction, and fantasy and science fiction for my fiction.  I don't think this is a coincidence.

What would your animal totem be?
A unicorn.
Do you recycle?
I actually drive my husband crazy with how gung-ho I am about recycling.  We don't have automatic pickup, so we have to drive it to the recycling plant every month, usually when the piles get so high that he starts threatening, "If we don't go to the recycling place on Monday, I'm going to start throwing things away!"

On a scale of 1-10, how eccentric are you?
A 10.  Very eccentric.  I like to think I'm an iconoclast.  I try to make my choices based not on what society thinks, but on my own personal and religious beliefs.  I try to ignore peer pressure and choose for myself what I want and need.  This is why I don't have a cellphone, I wear skirts and not pants, I have hair down to my knees that I never plan on cutting (I want it down to my ankles), I have a comic strip with romantic interests for almost everybody EXCEPT the main character, and I write optimistic and hopeful stories instead of grim, scary dystopias that are so popular nowadays.

What’s your astrological sign?
I'm a Cancer, which I've always thought is hilariously ridiculous, because it's pretty much the opposite of my personality.  If I had been a Leo, that would make sense.
Do you consider yourself a slave to the muse?
Of course not!  The Muse is a close friend.  Sometimes she shows up, sometimes she doesn't, but she's welcome anytime and often hangs out with me.
Emily Martha Sorensen has always loved fantasy. Growing up, she would devour the works of C. S. Lewis, Michael Ende, Diana Wynne Jones, and Patricia C. Wrede. She loves humor, and she has a particular fondness for fairy tale retellings.
At the age of nineteen, in 2003, she started publishing her comic strip, A Magical Roommate. (You can read it at She started her second comic, To Prevent World Peace, in 2009. (You can read it at
She has a husband named Ben, who also writes, and a daughter plus twin sons. They all live in Provo, Utah.
Her main website is You can buy her books and comic collections at Amazon.

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