Interview with Caitlin Nicoll

Claudie Arseneault/ October 9, 2015/ Community, Wings of Renewal/ 0 comments

We come back to friends! Or at least, friends-prior-to-the-anthology, because our writers are so cool, I’d be honored to call them all friends. ^^ I met Caitlin the same way I met my co-editor, Brenda, through writerly forums. We even went to hike Mt. Adams together last year! So I’m super happy to host her here for the interview, and to have her in our beautiful anthology.

1. What inspired your short story? Where did the idea come from?
The idea came about while I was researching solarpunk. I like the idea of these vast cities in the jungle, combining nature and technology in this symbiotic harmony. I wanted to play around with that a bit, and I thought a place like the Amazon would be perfect for that. I’ve always been fascinated by the deep woods and all the mystical secrets they hold.

2. Had you heard of solarpunk before this call for submission? What do you like about the genre?

I had! Claudie brought it to my attention maybe 6 months ago, and I immediately fell in love with it. I want to write all the books about solarpunk, and paint all the paintings. I get so excited when I think about it, and it makes me really hopeful for the future.

One thing that’s always bothered me about futuristic sci-fi is how sterile everything is. I mean, where are the trees? The flowers? And why is it so dark? I would not last long in those worlds. I’m like a plant, I need the sun or I whither, and will probably die. These portrayals just didn’t seem very realistic to me, not with how much we actually rely on plant life in our everyday lives. And there’s just something so compelling to me about seeing sleek technology next to this untamed wilderness. I love that.

3. What genre do you usually write in? Talk about your projects!

My heart will always be in fantasy and sci-fi. My favorite thing to do is play around with fairy tales and myths and stick them in different cultures. For instance, the Iliad in ancient Japan or a gender swapped, cyborg Little Mermaid in the far future. I love history and learning about different cultures, and I incorporate that into my work as much as I can. I’ve been writing a lot of short stories lately. I like them, because you can do things you probably couldn’t get away with in longer fiction. You can get really weird with them.

I’m working on a bunch of short stories right now, including the cyborg Little Mermaid that I plan to self publish sometime in the near-ish future. I should get on that, haha.

4. What do you love the most about dragons?

I think their versatility is what draws me to them. They’re adaptable, not confined to a specific set of characteristics like most other mythological creatures. You have the ferocious fire breathers from the west and the wise celestial beings in the east, or even elemental dragons. You can really let your imagination go wild. An ice dragon? Sure. A dragon with fox features? Why not? I love that.

4x6 Faerie5. What do you do when you’re not writing? Any day jobs or passion?

I spend the majority of my time painting. A few years ago I fell in love with watercolors, and haven’t looked back since. I love painting fairytale characters,  flowing dresses, and the occasional pop culture character. I’m still working on figuring out a good writing/painting balance.

6. What’s your favorite book or TV show? Why?

I haven’t really watched any TV recently, since I’ve been without cable or internet for the past year and half, so my TV has mostly been what the S.O. chooses from our DVD collection. It’s usually Seinfeld or Game of Thrones. But Sailor Moon will always have a place in my heart. I love the themes it explores, and how much value it places on friendship. It reminds you that bravery isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing.

Fun Fact: I actually learned how to draw by sketching the characters from the show, and you can definitely see it in my artwork, especially the older stuff. And of course, like any pre-teen girl growing up in the 90’s, I wrote a lot of Sailor Moon fan fiction.

As for books, definitely Howl’s Moving Castle. I don’t know how many copies of Howl’s Moving Castle I’ve bought for people over the years. I try to read it at least once a year, or when I’m feeling really down. It’s such a cute little story.
7. Where can we find more of your work?

My art shop, Marquis du Soleil can be found on Etsy, Storenvy, Rebubble, and Society6. I have a blog, but I haven’t posted anything in a few years, although I’m trying to make an effort to start posting again. We’ll see 😉

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