Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on author Rebecca Roanhorse. I asked the following questions of Rebecca, and here are her responses:
Rebecca, can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing?
Hi. I’m Rebecca Roanhorse. I’m an award-winning writer of science fiction and fantasy.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
Annie’s, of course, but anywhere books are sold.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
You can find me on my website at http://rebeccaroanhorse.com or on Instagram @rebeccaroanhorse.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Tread of Angels?
I tend to think of my work as character-driven fast-paced stories that take you to other worlds and into the lives and relationships of other people. My work also claims space for Black and Indigenous stories in the science fiction and fantasy genre where we historically have been overlooked or ignored. I also center women and queer characters a lot without making it a big deal.
My newest release, Tread of Angels, is a historical fantasy with streampunk vibes set in the high mountains of a fictional Colorado during the late 1800s. It’s a murder mystery with the heart of a Western Noir that challenges our notions of family and how far we will go to protect the ones we love.
What kind of research went into writing this book? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
The story was inspired by a drive through Leadville, CO. For those unfamiliar with the town, it sits at an elevation of 10,151 ft and is the highest incorporated city in the United States. It is surrounded by some of the most dramatic and beautiful jagged peaks in the Rocky Mountain range. These days, Leadville is a sleepy tourist town, but in the late 1800s, it was booming, flush with the wealth that came from mining nearby gold and silver deposits. In fact, Oscar Wilde declared it “the richest city in the world.”
If Wilde was exaggerating, it wasn’t by much. The mines brought spectacular wealth and, along with it, saloons, dance halls, and brothels. But it wasn’t all vice. There were world class hotels, Victorian mansions, and the Tabor Opera House which, in 1882, hosted Wilde.
What was the inspiration for Tread of Angels? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished book?
Leadville, city in the clouds, city of vice, got me thinking: If angels fell to earth in the Americas, surely, they would fall near Leadville. A fantastical proposition, but one that captured my imagination. And if an angel were to fall, say, during the war on heaven led by Lucifer and his allies, their remains would be a new kind of fossil fuel more valuable than any gold or silver, and enterprising men could use it to power their inventions, ushering a new age of innovation.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
I love writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, primarily Fantasy. It is the genre I loved growing up and the promise of escaping to fantastical lands always intrigued me. But it’s the freedom of creation and exploration, of building worlds from scratch or based on historical inspiration, that really thrills me. And the great thing about genre is you can take on some really weighty subjects without hammering people over the head or becoming pedantic. You can use allegory or metaphor and slip issues in between the adventure and spectacle. I think that way people are more willing to listen.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I had two books released in 2022 and I guest edited The Americans Best Science Fiction and Fantasy anthology. For 2023, I have a handful of short stories on deck that will appear in various anthologies, a Marvel comic, the third and final book in my BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY Pre-Columbian Americas-inspired fantasy series, and a handful of secret projects that I can’t talk about. But I look forward to getting them out there for folks to enjoy.
Rebecca, thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. And best of luck with Tread of Angels!