Kristine Rusch : I had no idea what genre was when I was growing up. I didn’t understand genre until college. Even now I read every genre and don’t discriminate. So I write most genres and I edited in several. I’ve wanted to write as long as I can remember. My sister has a story I wrote when I was seven. So it goes way back.
I edited first non-fiction with journalism and radio work. Then my husband, Dean Wesley Smith, suggested I edit Pulphouse. I hadn’t thought of that before. So I tried it. Turns out I’m good at it. But I don’t enjoy it. I’d rather write.
ActuSF : Was the transition from editor to writer difficult ?
Kristine Rusch : I didn’t transition. I was always a writer. I edited for a while for money.
ActuSF : Tell us about the series of Feys. Do you remember how did the idea get started ? The Feys appear as a proud and warlike people. How do you see them, you, their creator ?
Kristine Rusch : I love the Fey. They’re violent, yes, but their main goal in life is war. That’s where they get their power. I had an editor in England who said she wanted me to write a fantasy series and she’d buy it. (She has since retired) I’d never thought of that before. So I figured I needed one big story and several little ones to sustain the series. I chose as a model Europe’s 100 Years War. Then I studied the history of warfare & violence in humans, and went from there.
ActuSF : The feys also are violent and without mercy. Why did you choose to take them so barbaric, so violent ?
Kristine Rusch : Because that’s how warlike humans are. Really, except for the magic, the Fey are no different than humans have been over the years.
ActuSF : They oppose the Islanders. All of the wealth of the intrigue is in the face-to-face between these two peoples so different. Was it this that you were interested in, starting ?
Kristine Rusch : Yes.
ActuSF : Each side owns its religion, drawing on Christianity for one and the other on the black magic... Is this a topic that interests you and why ?
Kristine Rusch : What interests me is the way that people & their beliefs influence their actions, sometimes uncritically—both in war and in religion. In the end, neither side is all that different from the other.
ActuSF : Why did you choose a fantasy which takes more from the historical novel than from the classic fantasy ?
Kristine Rusch : I think it takes from both, actually. But I’m an historian by training, so I always look to history to build the background of my novels.
ActuSF : In France, the translation of the series is not yet complete and it is unclear whether it will be one day. We stopped with Resistance. What can you tell us about the plot of the last Volume: Victory ?
Kristine Rusch : Victory does wrap up the first part of the series. I’m very sad that it hasn’t appeared in France. Rivages canceled its entire fantasy publishing program and despite the fact that we’ve been begging them, they won’t publish the last book. We’re trying to get another publisher to take the last book and no one will (I can’t blame them. Who wants to start in the middle of a series ?) So I would suggest that anyone who can read English pick up the book used from www.alibris.com or see if they can find copies on www.bookfinder.com.
ActuSF : You have another cycle in the world of Feys, Black Throne. He, too, is unreleased in France, what is it about ?
Kristine Rusch : It follows Arianna & Gift.
ActuSF : We just uncovered one of your novels of science fiction in France: The Disappeared, the first of the series Retrieval Artist. How did the idea start ?
Kristine Rusch : We have something called the Federal Witness Protection program in the United States where people who are going to testify against criminals get new identities and can go into hiding if those criminals will kill them to prevent them from testifying. I got to wondering how that would work in a science fiction environment, and somehow that got twisted into the Disappeared
ActuSF : Who are the missing ones ?
Kristine Rusch : This is a cross-cultural idea. Things that seem innocent in one culture are crimes in another. Because we’re dealing
with aliens here, I figured they could do things that Americans & Europeans would not, like target children for the crimes of parents. The missing ones are people who somehow caused a crime in an alien world and think the punishment is horrible, so they’ll give up their current life to avoid prosecution.
ActuSF : Miles Flint is a cop a bit special. How do you imagine him ?
Kristine Rusch : As an ethical man in an unethical world.
ActuSF : Your world is based on peaceful coexistence with extraterrestrials. Nobody does war. What is the nature of their relationship ?
Kristine Rusch : There is no war (at least at this point) because the coexistence is based entirely on economics. If it is ever in someone’s best interest to declare war and make money, then they will. But all the agreements, everything, is based on a corporate mentality that a profit is the most important thing, more important than lives, than anything.
ActuSF : Some aliens seem truly ferocious, killing or kidnapping their victims ... Would not they be the "dark" side of humanity ?
Kristine Rusch : Not at all. We have cultural issues among humans—the differences between the Islamic world and the so-called Christian world is just one example. Humans do many things that are inexplicable to other cultures. Sometimes violence is inexplicable. Sometimes belief is, as in a book that you haven’t seen yet, Buried Deep.
ActuSF : Every nation respects its own laws, rules and behaviours. What interested you in writing this ? To be able to confront our point of view with other visions of the universe ?
Kristine Rusch : I don’t think we have one point of view on Earth. When I travel to France, I notice great differences between France & the United States, and we’re very similar cultures. These books are about contemporary issues in a science fiction setting—always about understanding others—or failing to.
ActuSF : The series includes several novels. What kind of adventures will we read later ?
Kristine Rusch : You will see a marathon on the Moon, some horrible viruses released in the Dome, a near riot, a refugee situation, and some run-of-the-mill murders. Not to mention some bombings....
ActuSF : What are your plans ? What are you working on ?
Kristine Rusch : I have published 2 novellas in a world that’s about wreck diving in space. (The latest just appeared in Asimov’s and is the current cover story.) I’m writing the last story in that series, which will complete the novel. Then I move onto a new fantasy novel.