Ask the Author: Fran Wilde

“Answering questions about The Bone Universe, The Gem Universe, and upcoming projects...” Fran Wilde

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Fran Wilde
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Fran Wilde There are too many - top five (answers are likely to change throughout the day)?

1. Morticia & Gomez (The Addams Family)
2. Korra & Asami (Legend of Korra)
3. Jane & Thornfield (Jane Steele)
4. Zoe & Wash (Firefly)
5. Yeine & Naha (100k Kingdoms)
Fran Wilde Hi Noah! Those are three very different questions... Let me see how I do answering in short form, backwards

3. I discuss craft a bit on my blog now and then ( >> blog), and I can pretty safely say I'm both a pantser and a plotter - depending on the story or the scene. Sometimes An Idea strikes, which will eventually need fencing in and outlining. Other times, I'm working with something so big I need more than an outline, and I use a grid, notecards, sketches, and any other tools that are to hand.

2. The first draft of UPDRAFT (very much a discovery process) happened in 6 weeks. The second draft (much more structure work, plus a bit of surprise discovery here and there) took 6 months. The third, a couple weeks. And so on, so forth, ad infinitem...

3. The next book, CLOUDBOUND, will reveal a lot more about what's beneath the clouds for sure.
Fran Wilde Hi Noah - yes! The artist is Tommy Arnold, who did the new Updraft art as well.
Fran Wilde Hi Terry!

Answer 1: How did you guess?? I have to sequester you until September 2016 now...

Answer 2: I am a huge *huge* supporter of the Space Unicorns at Uncanny Magazine ( but not that huge.

Answer 3: maybe... stay tuned!
Fran Wilde Hi Terry - yes there are two currently published, with more to come.

"Bent the Wing, Dark the Cloud," published in September 2015 in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, is set a bit earlier than Updraft, but has one or two familiar characters. (

"A Moment of Gravity, Circumscribed," was originally published in the Impossible Futures anthology, then reprinted in the XIII anthology and Apex Magazine. It contains different characters and a different story arc than Updraft.

> I look forward to reading Cloudbound.

Thanks so much! I can't wait either. ~ F.
Fran Wilde Hi Lisa! Thank you for saying so - I love hearing back from readers.

> How do they get resources like food and such to sustain their population? Seems like farming would be tough on the towers, haha.

Great question -- farming *is* tough on the towers. It's a scarcity environment, though the people living in it think all is normal. The food grown must survive at high altitude and in recycled soil. (a *lot* gets recycled, like guano) - so instead of wheat for the cakes, it's a "grain" like quinoa; the apples are tiny & fist-sized, the stone fruits, ditto, & they have really strong tastes. Berries -- cloudberries & etc. -- grow on vines & shrubs, all in planters or divots in the tiers' balconies.

Above the clouds, there are garden tiers on each tower, plus every family maintains its own gardens. There are particular towers given over to certain crops -- honey is a good example, & tea leaves -- just as certain towers are known for what crafts they produce.

This is part of the reason why traders are so important -- shifting goods between the towers that need them, both in emergencies, and for markets in each quadrant and in the center of the city.

For more on this, Elizabeth Bear interviewed me at Cooking The Books last month! (You know how long it took me to realize that by writing a food-in-fiction blog, I was setting myself up to be grilled? A *long* time!). Here's the interview:

> And cloth, how do they get that? I'm so curious!

Kirit's seen feeding the family silkspiders in the first few chapters of Updraft, but the major sources of silk comes from a set of towers in the south that are almost entirely focused on silk production (though a lot of the finer weaving is done elsewhere)... you'll see those towers in the next book. There's also flax, but it's not as durable or comfortable to wear. Down, for linings, is as plentiful as the birds bred for food and those the hunters take out of the sky.
Fran Wilde Revisions for the next book after Updraft!

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