Geeky Givers! We have been so floored by your response to the February 2016 SF/F bundle and sweepstakes so far. We are SO CLOSE to reaching our first goal of $1,000 in donations to Barrow Neurological Institute. I have a sneaking suspicion we will be celebrating that milestone with a bonus giveaway, so spread the word and help us get there, why don’t cha!?
If you haven’t scored your copy of the bundle yet visit the donation page here. A minimum of $5 will get you this bundle and $25 will get you this bundle and the three additional monthly bundles we have coming. The more you donate, the more entries you’ll score into the amazing February giveaway (details on that here.)
These donations will help support neuroscience research into diseases like Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s and brain tumors at one of the world’s leading neurological institutes.
Below is our Q&A with one of the authors featured in the first bundle, Sierra Dean. Her story, “Ghosts of the Motor City” is a noir novella with a twist you do not want to miss.
Q: Sierra, you were the very first person to say you wanted to write for Geeky Giving. (I don’t think we even had a name for the project when you offered!) What made you want to be a part of this project?
The first? That’s my inner Rory Gilmore coming through, super keener to the core. Honestly, I really like giving to charity, but don’t have one that’s really dear to my heart. Periodically I’ll ask people who I should donate money to and will just give out dollars that way. But Chelsea had done a previous charitable effort for Barrow that I took part in and I really loved learning about the work they do. This seemed like a great way to give back by doing something I love.
Q: Your story “The Ghosts of the Motor City” has a neuroscience twist (no spoilers!), but has noir painted from end to end. What inspired the story, and why did you go old-school noir?
I love noir. I love Chandler and Hammett and have long dreamed of doing a classic noir story (with a modern setting) that would let me play with those old no-nonsense detective stories. But of course urban fantasy is my bread and butter so I had to give my noir a supernatural twist. I also wanted an excuse to set a story in modern Detroit, because the city holds a special place in my heart, and I love writing stories where the city becomes an additional character. In this case the city is as much of a ghost in the story as any of the spirits our hero can see.
Q: You’ve written several series, and always had a female main character. Frank, the main character in Ghosts, is a dude. Will we see more male POV stories and novels from you?
I’d previously written a male POV with Shane Hewitt in the novella A Low Down Dirty Shane, but he shared joint POV with Siobhan, his love interest. I’ve dabbled a bit with male POV in my contemporary romances, but this was my first time writing a story in only the male POV and I absolutely loved it. Frank was such an interesting character to tackle in such a short space, and I can’t wait to write another story entirely from the male perspective.
Q: Do you have a favorite story involving the neurosciences?
There are so many books and stories that revolve around brain conditions, specifically tumors as the source of great change in a person. The movie Phenomenon comes to mind, where the lead character becomes a genius because of the presence of a tumor. The Memory Artists by Jeffrey Moore is a great Canadian novel with a hero who has a variety of conditions including synesthesia, and must also contend with a mother who has Alzheimer’s. Great read.
Q: In addition to being immersed in the novel world, you’re a huge comic book fan. Could you recommend a few titles for those looking for a neuroscience read?
I find things with a near-future setting have the most connection to cognition and the brain, though there’s not a lot of purely neuroscience based comics. Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis is a must-read classic about how the future impacts our bodies, brains and society. Chew by John Layman is an excellent example of what happens when the human brain is amplified by various gifts (the hero gets psychic visions from eating food, another character can write about things in a way that causes readers to feel and taste her experiences), plus it’s really charming and fun.
Q: Do you have any personal experience with Barrow Neurological Institute or with any of the diseases or disorders we’re raising money for? If so, would you care to share a little about how that has affected or influenced you?
I’ve never dealt with Barrow personally, but my life has certainly been affected by neurological disorders. My paternal grandmother had very aggressive Alzheimer’s. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch my tough, opinionated grandmother lose touch with who she was. It’s a brutal, quiet illness that robs people of their memories, the very thing that helps define a personality. The work Barrow does with disorders like Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimer’s and more is so important, because these illnesses don’t get the same kind of attention other diseases do, but almost everyone has been touched by a neurological illness.
Q: What’s the number one thing a SFF writer has created that you wish was now a real life thing but isn’t?
It’s weird, because so much of the stuff that we would have thought was futuristic just 10 years ago is so commonplace now. Like, I want to tell 12 year old me that at 32 I’d be carrying around a tiny computer in my pocket that I could wirelessly access the internet with, and I’d be swapping messages with my favourite writers and artists in real time via this crazy thing called Twitter. I think if I could have anything it would be either a flying car or a self-driving car. Google seems ready to give me the latter, which would help me live my dream of being able to knit while I drive!
About Sierra Dean
Sierra Dean is a reformed historian. She was born and raised in the Canadian prairies and is allowed annual exit visas in order to continue her quest of steadily conquering the world one city at a time. Making the best of the cold Canadian winters, Sierra indulges in her less global interests: drinking too much tea and writing urban fantasy.
She’s also a book lover (of course!), obsessive collector of yarn and nail polish and the owner of way too many pairs of shoes. You can usually find her spouting off Kroll Show references or imagining what her wedding to Richard Madden will be like (hopefully not red).