With only a handful of published stories, you’re seen as a rising star in the SF field. What do you think about this early success: do you feel pressure, or has it boosted your confidence – or affected you in some other way?
It’s been surreal and somewhat blurry. A small but vocal minority in the Upstairs Cabinet still suspects that this is all a very strange hallucination. I spent the last six months trying to finish two theses and graduate on time, and I haven’t had time to think about everything that’s happened or to worry about the fraying state of reality. I have, however, met some incredible people as a result of the various nominations, and I’ve enjoyed that immensely.
If you have novel plans, what can you tell us about them?
I’m halfway through a first draft of a magic realist novel about a family of Afghan asylum-seekers in Australia.
You recently graduated from Princeton, where you studied English and biophysics. What’s next for you? Do you dream of being a full-time writer, or do you have other career goals?
I deferred Cornell for a year to work, to write, and to think about what I want to do with my life. Currently I’m on a six-month contract at Bungie, writing for their new video game, so I suppose that makes me a full-time writer. Evenings are for my own scribblings and for calling people I love in New Jersey. I only moved a month ago, so the latter preponderates. At the end of July I’ll be attending the Sewanee Writers’ Conference as a Tennessee Williams Scholar, which should be a healthy kick in the pants.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or the work you do? Your website mentions poetry and playwriting….
As a writer, I’ve never paid much attention to the boundaries of genre, speculative or literary, or in-between. I write everything: poems, plays, novels, essays, stories, songs – this spring I collaborated with another student and composer at Princeton, Ryan McCarty, on a really lovely song called ‘‘Thermosphere’’ – and someday I’d like to write the libretto for an opera.