Author Jamie Killen is here today and we’re chatting about her new sci-fi, Red Hail.
Jamie Killen’s introduction to the world of dark fiction came at the age of seven, when her well-meaning but perhaps overly enthusiastic dad decided that the works of Harlan Ellison made for some great bedtime stories. She’s been avidly consuming science fiction, horror, and fantasy novels, movies, comic books, and podcasts ever since.
Jamie’s short stories and flash fiction have appeared in dozens of anthologies and magazines. She is also a writer and director of several dark fiction podcasts.
Originally from Arizona, Jamie now lives in Texas with her longtime partner. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys practicing her mixology skills by inventing new and exciting designer cocktails. She also likes craft beer, travel, and cuddling with her two adorable rescue mutts.
Welcome, Jamie. Please tell us about your current release.
Red Hail is a multigenerational sci-fi story taking place in Southern Arizona. The first storyline takes place in 1960, and the second in 2020. In the first story, a freak storm drops red hail over a small Arizona mining town. In the months that follow, the residents of the town are plagued with strange symptoms and eerie changes to their environment. Panic ensues, and the people of the town are soon gripped by dangerous paranoia and fanaticism. In the second storyline, one of the descendants of the people who witnessed the red hail starts to experience the same symptoms that plagued the town 60 years ago. After the symptoms spread to other descendants, they realize that they will have to solve the mystery what really happened in 1960 in order to stop what is happening to them today.
What inspired you to write this book?
A lot of the 1960 storyline is drawn from family stories. Many of my older family members worked in copper mines, and lived in mining towns like Superior, AZ. I love sci-fi, and I wanted to write a story that was set in an environment I know really well but which doesn’t get a lot of representation in sci-fi. As far as the structure goes, I really enjoy reading multigenerational stories or stories with multiple timelines, and that was something I hadn’t really tackled before in my writing.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Right now I’m wading into the first phase of edits on an as-yet-untitled new fantasy/dark speculative story. It deals with some of the same themes as Red Hail, like dealing with the consequences of decisions made generations earlier, but it’s a different setting and completely new mythology.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it was gradual. I sold my first short story at 19, started producing my own fiction podcasts at around 30, and I think I’ve only recently started thinking of myself as a real writer.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don’t write full time. I draw a really clear line between my day job and my writing. I write in afternoons and on weekends. It can be a challenge to juggle those responsibilities, and there are definitely times when the writing has to be set aside for a week or two so I don’t burn out.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I need natural light. I don’t know why, but writing after sunset is a big problem for me. I just need to be near a sunny window or nothing is going to happen.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Thanks for being here today!