Jessica Reisman answers heroine questions

raygunsovertexasJessica Reisman’s “The Chambered Eye,” in Rick Klaw’s Rayguns Over Texas anthology, was one of Gardner Dozois’s Honorable Mention picks for the Year’s Best Science Fiction in 2013. Her stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies. Reisman’s first novel, The Z Radiant, published by Five-Star Speculative Fiction, was described as, “thinking reader’s sci-fi.” Her story “Threads” was awarded a Southeastern Science Fiction Achievement Award. She was a Michener Fellow in Fiction in graduate school and is one of my beloved Clarion West classmates. See her website for more.

Is there a literary heroine on whom you imprinted as a child? A first love, a person you wanted to become as an adult, a heroic girl or woman you pretended to be on the playground at recess? Who was she?

As a child it was an amalgam of all the heroines of the Scholastic Book mysteries I read, and the heroines of Mary Stewart’s mysteries. A little later in life I really imprinted on a couple of C.J. Cherryh’s heroines, specifically Bet from Rimrunners and Raen from Serpent’s Reach.

Can you remember what it was she did or what qualities she had that captured your affections and your imagination so strongly?

With the mystery heroines, it was their brave no-nonsense intelligence and good will as young women left alone in the world and faced with nefarious doings. With both Bet and Raen, it was their cussedness, reckless heroism, and somewhat dominant way with a pretty young man.

How does she compare to the female characters in your work? Is she their literary ancestor? Do they rebel against all she stands for? What might your heroines owe her?

All these heroines are definitely the literary ancestors of my female characters; the gene sets are clear–to me, at least.


About this post: The Heroine Question is my name for a series of short interviews with female writers about their favorite characters and literary influences. This link will take you to the other interviews, with awesome people like Martha Wells, Jane Lindskold, and Gemma Files.

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About Alyx Dellamonica

After twenty-two years in Vancouver, B.C., I've recently moved to Toronto Ontario, where I make my living writing science fiction and fantasy; I also review books and teach writing online at UCLA. I'm a legally married lesbian, a coffee snob, and I wake up at an appallingly early hour.

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