Interview with Fran Wilde

Posted: November 4, 2016 in Interview
Interview with Fran Wilde

Fran Wilde, author of UPDRAFT and CLOUDBOUND, sat down with EBR to answer a few questions. If you enjoy smart Young Adult novels with unique settings and complicated characters, these books are for you.

Elitist Book Reviews: First, thanks for agreeing to answering a few questions for our readers at Elitist Book Reviews. We’d like to give you a chance to introduce yourself to the readers and maybe even brag a bit. Why should everyone be reading your work?
Fran Wilde: Thanks to Elitist Book Reviews for having me visit! My work so far includes the high-flying fantasies UPDRAFT and CLOUDBOUND for Tor Books, the novella “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” from Publishing, and science fiction and fantasy short stories in Asimiov’s, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, and  I also write essays for publications including, The Washington Post, and

EBR: You’re in a book store, and you notice some poor, lost soul trying to find something to read. What do you recommend? Obviously they’ve already read your own novels, so you can’t recommend those.
FW: This is a great question, except that I’m one of those people who has so many favorite books and recommendations need to be pretty carefully tailored to the individual to work well. I’d recommend a mix of authors instead: from China Mieville and Jorge Luis Borges to Elizabeth Bear, Ken Liu, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Kat Howard, Theodora Goss, Aliette de Bodard, Ellen Klages, and Daniel Abraham.

EBR: UPDRAFT is your first novel. What are the things about the writing/publishing process that most surprised you?
FW: What most surprised me was the power of the printed book. The first time I read from a finished copy of UPDRAFT was a few weeks before the book came out, and even though I’d had the arc for months, holding that hardcover was an amazing feeling. I couldn’t stop smiling.

EBR: The world in your Bone Universe series is something we haven’t seen before; people living on towers of bone is something very unique, and they must travel via wings almost exclusively. What did you learn while writing UPDRAFT and CLOUDBOUND? How much of the world did you already know about and what did you need to research?
FW: I learned a lot about the history of man-made wings, from ancient times to now. I gave a presentation about that at the Library of Congress (which was really cool).  I learned about wind and wind tunnels and weather, and most recently about a pretty cool vulture called a Lammergeier.

EBR: Was there any book in particular that has influenced how you created the world in the Bone Universe?
FW: No one book in particular – a lot of different books, art, poetry, went into the Bone Universe. These include some of the authors I mentioned above, including Borges, Mieville, McCaffrey, Milton, Calvino, and more. Also in the mix: memories of standing on high cliffs on the Chesapeake Bay watching big storms blow in, while the local birds cruised the gusts.

EBR: Main character Kirit is pretty impulsive and stubborn, yet also clever and compassionate. How much of yourself shows up in her?
FW: I’m pretty sure Kirit is much more athletic than me! I really like her ability to know what she wanted and to just go for it, but she also has a sense of morality that felt familiar. She’s got fighting skills I wish I had, were I ever to be caught in a winged knife fight in a wind tunnel.

EBR: I kinda feel bad for the people who live in the Bone Universe, I mean, they don’t even know about chocolate. Living on those bone towers really limits what they can grow and do. However, in what ways would they feel sorry for us?
FW: They don’t know about chocolate! It’s true (I hadn’t thought about that!), but they have sweets made from honey, which is some compensation. I think they’d feel sorry that we couldn’t step off our balconies and soar (please don’t try this at home).

EBR: What are your plans for the rest of the series?
FW: HORIZON appears in fall 2017, and that completes this arc of the Bone Universe. I wanted to write a series that had a definitive closing arc. But I love writing in this world, so there may be a few more short stories!

EBR: Any final words for potential readers?
FW: Wishing you an excellent read, and many good stories to come.

There you have it! Thanks so much Fran for joining us, and don’t forget to check out our reviews for Fran’s books:



This interview was conducted for Elitist Book Reviews by Vanessa.

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