Rachel Swirsky’s lush Tipping the Velvet is a masterful addition to the April issue. She talks with us about the dangers of research, the magic she believes in and secrets we don’t want to keep.
1. How important is research in writing a story, even if said research could cause permanent damage?
I suppose that depends on what kind of damage you mean. If you mean, Â ”Should I get first-hand experience in jumping off a cliff before
writing about it?” then I say, not that important. Â If you mean, “Should I risk a permanent desire to scrub my brain clean Â with steel wool?” (like my poor friend Ann Leckie who had to research Â primitive castration for a story) then, hey. Do your damn reading.
Apply therapy afterward as necessary.
2. Would Florida be the third stop on your bad-weather tour?
The five days my husband and I spent in Florida for the Nebula Awards Â weekend were gorgeous. A bit hot, a bit humid, but well within the
“nice weather” range. We sunned on the pool deck; we tanned while Â sitting in the VIP bleachers waiting for the shuttle launch; we dipped
our feet in the ocean. Hey, did you know the Altantic ocean is really Â warm down there? As someone used to Pacific hypothermia, that broke my Â mind.
Also, we saw manatees.
3. Other than blood, what magic do you believe in?
The kind that comes on collectible cards. Although NetRunner is a better game.
4. How does one be a hedge whore? I am unaware of shrubbery’s ability Â to pleasure anything, except shrubbery johns.
The serious answer is I was combining “hedge witch” and “gutter whore” Â to imply a marginalized figure in both professions. The flippant
answer is, “Ask the Knights Who Say Ni.”
5. What secret do you wish you never learned?
Do not, whatever you do, look up the tongue parasite.