I met Nancy Jane Moore originally at one of the readings for the sponsors of Borderlands Bookstore. Turns out, she is also one of my sisters in Broad Universe, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.
In addition to The Weave, published by Aqueduct Press, Nancy Jane Moore is the author of a number of short stories and novellas. Her novella Changeling is available from Aqueduct and her collection Conscientious Inconsistencies was published by PS Publishing. Ebooks of her work are also available through Book View Café. She holds a fourth degree black belt in Aikido and teaches empowerment self defense. A native Texan who spent many years in Washington, DC, she now lives in Oakland, California, with her sweetheart and his cats.
The Weave brings us a first-contact story in which humans, seeking to exploit the much-needed resources of a system inhabited by creatures they assume are “primitive” and defenseless, discover their mistake the hard way. Human Caty Sanjuro, a seasoned marine and dedicated xenologist, and native Sundown, a determined astronomer, struggle to establish communication across the many barriers that divide their species: at first because they share a passionate interest in alien species, but finally because they know that only they can bridge the differences across species threatening catastrophe for both sides.
Did something in the real world inspire The Weave?
In a sense, it goes back to a childhood experience at the planetarium at Texas Tech, when I asked a question about other life in the universe. The grad student who was running the show said, “There’s no such thing as aliens.” I was ten and even then I knew that was ridiculous. There must be all kinds of life in the universe, some of it with intelligence and consciousness. Whether we’ll ever meet other life is a different question, but one that’s fun to play with.
The other inspiration for this particular story was the invasion of the Americas by the Europeans and the ultimate destruction of many civilizations. My human explorers are as greedy in some ways as the conquistadores, but while they pride themselves on being more humane than that, they do not have much respect for the Cibolan (the aliens) civilization. However, while the Cibolans don’t have human technology, they have a system of telepathic communication which gives them the capacity to defend themselves and protect their world.
I was also tired of both stories about evil aliens and those about humans destroying alien cultures, so I wanted one where not only was neither side the bad guys. Neither side was all-powerful.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
In truth, it’s probably the prologue, in which both a human child and an alien one tell their respective parents, with great seriousness, that some day they’re going to meet aliens — and the epilogue, in which those two children, now adults, are taking steps to become true friends. There’s a lot of adventure in between, but while I love adventure, the sweetness of that connection gets me every time.
What was your writing process like as you wrote The Weave?
As with most everything I write, my process started with just writing until I figured out what was going on, and then revising a lot. I did go off for a week to a cabin in the country and worked on it all day every day, which got it to the point where there was enough book to work with. Another key experience came after I’d finished an early draft. I saw a call for short stories and realized that a back story for my main character, Caty Sanjuro, would fit that anthology. I wrote it and sold it, then realized it belonged in the novel, too.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
Two things: First, it got a good review from Locus and ended up on their recommended reading list for 2015. Secondly, it was included in SFWA’s science fiction story bundle, which got it to a lot more readers.
What do you have planned next?
I’ve just finished a novel that grew out of my short story “A Mere Scutcheon,” which itself came from wishing there were swordswomen in The Three Musketeers. It’s out at a publisher now and I have my fingers crossed. I’m working on a novel inspired by Joanna Russ’s “When It Changed” that includes a generation ship, artificial intelligence, and a certain amount of Aikido.
You can pick up a copy of The Weave on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2PFawKM.
Check out Nancy’s Amazon page: https://amzn.to/2rAp0Sy.
Or read her blog: bookviewcafe.com/blog. She posts on Thursdays.