Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight science fiction and fantasy author Catherine Asaro. Catherine has authored about thirty books, including science fiction, thrillers, and fantasy. Her novel The Quantum Rose and novella “The Spacetime Pool” both won the Nebula® Award. She is a multiple Hugo nominee and winner of the AnLab from Analog magazine. Her most recent books are The Vanished Seas and Lightning Strike Book II, both of which came out in July 2020. Her next book will be The Jigsaw Assassin, from Baen/Simon& Schuster.
Catherine has appeared as a speaker at many institutions and as a Guest of Honor at cons across the US and abroad. She served two terms as president for SFWA and is a member of SIGMA, a think tank that advises the government as to future trends affecting national security. She danced for many years, both ballet and jazz, and she also appears as a vocalist at clubs and conventions. Her most recent single, the Celtic-themed song Ancient Ages (written by Arlan Andrews) placed on the Blast-FM top 100 in 2020.
Catherine, the first question we usually ask our authors is, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
Well I’d certainly suggest they try Annie’s Book shop first!
My out of print work is available from Starflight Music and Books: catherineasaro.net/starflight-books-and-music/
My in-print titles can be found at any of the following places:
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
Well, bless your heart, what a nice thing to say. I’m at the following sites:
Catherineasaro.net (newsletter signup at catherineasaro.net/contact/)
I interact with readers the most on my patreon page. Also, since I now write full-time, the Patreon page helps me support myself and pay the bills.
Other places I can be found are
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from The Vanished Seas?
My most recent release is a science fiction mystery. It’s part of the Major Bhaajan Mysteries. These are all stand-alone novels involving the PI Major Baajan. They are mysteries, science fiction, and action adventure.
A lot happened the year I finished The Vanished Seas. My husband became ill and eventually passed away, leading to my being many months late in turning in the book. I can’t stress enough how kind everyone at Baen was to me during this time. I’m fortunate to have such an amazing publisher.
I’m probably best known for the Saga of the Ruby Dynasty, also called the Saga of the Skolian Empire. All my Ruby Dynasty books are available from either Baen or Starflight Music and Books. I also wrote some thrillers and a few fantasy novels, which can be found at Starflight as well. Readers can find more details and a complete list of my books at catherineasaro.net under the menu item “Books.”
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
I’ve always loved to make up stories, ever since I was a child. Even my earliest memories, those hazy images from when I was one or two years old, involved imagining stories in my mind. And they always tended to adventure and science fiction. As to why I was drawn to those areas, I couldn’t say. Perhaps it is encoded in my DNA!
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Keep writing! This field involves a lot of rejection if you go the traditional route, and it can get frustrating. Don’t let it convince you to give up.
How important has the New England setting been to your writing?
I started writing seriously when I lived in Cambridge, MA. I was working on my Ph.D. in Chemical Physics at Harvard. My work involved applying the mathematical methods of physics to problems in quantum scattering theory. Theoretical physics is applied math, which is why at places like Cambridge University in England (the original Cambridge! J) put applied math and theoretical physics together in one department. The Chemical Physics program at Harvard is an interdisciplinary program based in chemistry but spanning the math, physics, and chemistry departments. To get my doctorate, I had to show proficiency in all three areas. My specialty was theoretical atomic and molecular physics. I was doing a lot of math, writing pages and pages of equations, and I needed some way to let my brain rest, a chance to recharge.
So I decided to write science fiction with an eye toward publication. It provided the release I needed. I wrote the first draft of The Last Hawk, a book about role reversal in many different environments. Reversing the roles was cathartic, I think, to help me deal with the environment I encountered on a daily basis. Back then, even less women entered theoretical physics, very few at all. I was one of the first in the chemical physics program. Sometimes I got weary from dealing with it all. Writing The Last Hawk offered a way to handle the stress. I was pleasantly surprised when The Last Hawk received a Nebula nomination in 1999 for best novel.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I just sold another novel to Baen, another Major Bhaajan mystery. It’s called The Jigsaw Assassin. Bhaaj gets thrown head first into the monster-infested seas of Imperialate politics! With five cantankerous parties all arguing with each other, all blaming each other for a series of murders, Bhaaj has her work cut out trying to figure out who did what and why.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, Catherine!