Remember my review of Earth Girl awhile back? The book’s lovely author, Janet Edwards, has agreed to do an interview with us! This book built around such fascinating topics. I have to say I was quite excited. So without further ado:
1. Archaeology is one subject I can honestly say I have never seen in this genre of fiction. What inspired you to center Earth Girl around it?
I think there were at least three separate reasons for this. Firstly, Jarra was deeply angry and frustrated by her situation. Others could just travel to the stars, while she was trapped on Earth by her immune system problem and regarded as less than human. It was natural for her to escape from that by being obsessed with history, dreaming of living in the time before interstellar portals were invented, when no one would have known she was different from everyone else.
Secondly, I needed Jarra to meet the off-worlders she hated so much. In a future where most off-worlders would actively try and avoid visiting Earth, archaeologists would be the most likely people to go there.
Thirdly, I love history and archaeology myself, and share Jarra’s fascination with the living past.
2. Revenge. One of my favorite concepts going into Earth Girl was the fact that Jarra was doing everything she did as a form of getting back at the Exos. What inspired you to set things up in this way?
At the start of Earth Girl, Jarra is very angry. The only reason she’d go near the hated off-worlders, the exos, is for revenge. She sets out to hit back at them by proving she’s not just as good as them, but better. She wants to sneer at them the way they sneer at her. Of course, things don’t entirely work out that way.
3. I know that it’s cruel to ask you to pick favorites, but is there a character of yours that you love more than the rest?
Oh this is a really difficult one, because it changes depending what scene I’m writing. For example, at times I really disliked the Betans, but I had to love them in the scene when they admit why they’ve joined the class. Jarra is fighting a battle for her own pride and self-respect, but they’re fighting a battle for their baby.
4. What was the hardest part of writing Earth Girl?
The story of Earth Girl is told in the first person from Jarra’s viewpoint. It felt natural to do that, so the reader could fully share her bitterness and hurt, but working within the limitations of first person viewpoint had its problems.
Obviously, I couldn’t show scenes that Jarra wasn’t present for and would never know had happened, but a bigger limitation was staying fully in character, keeping strictly to Jarra’s thoughts and words. She naturally tended to think she was right about everything, and had to discover her own prejudices existed before she could think about them. It would have been out of character for her to eavesdrop on conversations, so she didn’t know what other people said about her behind her back. There were also things she’d avoid thinking about, because they upset her or because she didn’t want to admit something to herself, like how much she wanted a family. I also couldn’t have her give the reader information by thinking or saying things that wouldn’t occur to someone raised in her future society.
5. If you could act in a movie based off a book that’s not your own, what would the movie be and who would you play?
A movie of one of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight series of books, and I don’t care who I play so long as I get to ride a dragon!
6. I know that a lot of writers enjoy listening to music while writing. Are you the same, and if so, can you give us an example of what you listened to while writing Earth Girl?
I don’t listen to music while writing, because I’m so lost in the future world of my imagination that I literally don’t hear the music. What I do have for Earth Girl is a piece of trigger music that puts me instantly into Jarra’s head, feeling her longing to be able to go to the stars. That music is one of the Star Trek theme tunes. You may be able to guess which one.
7. Can you share anything about your upcoming book, Earth Star?
I have to be careful to avoid spoilers here. I wanted Earth Girl to be a book that stands alone, though it’s also the first part of a trilogy. Some issues that were too long running to deal with satisfactorily in Earth Girl, like how the class react to learning the truth about Jarra, obviously continue through the trilogy. Jarra has a major shock in store for her, a relationship to work on, and she’s got a lot more to discover about other worlds, sector culture, and her birth family.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us!
Janet Edwards lives in England. As a child, she read everything she could get her hands on, including a huge amount of science fiction and fantasy. She studied Maths at Oxford, and went on to suffer years of writing unbearably complicated technical documents before deciding to write something that was fun for a change. She has a husband, a son, a lot of books, and an aversion to housework.