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An hour-long conversation with S.M. Stirling, author of numerous science fiction and fantasy novels, including the novels of the Change and the Shadowspawn series, and most recently Shadows of Annihilation, Book 3 of the Tales from the Black Chamber series, about an alternate First World War.
S.M. Stirling was born in France in 1953, to Canadian parents—although his mother was born in England and grew up in Peru. After that, he lived in Europe, Canada, Africa, and the US and visited several other continents. He graduated from law school in Canada but “had his dorsal fin surgically removed,” and published his first novel (Snowbrother) in 1984, going full-time as a writer in 1988, the year of his marriage to Janet Moore of Milford, Massachusetts, who he met, wooed and proposed to at successive World Fantasy Conventions. In 1995 he suddenly realized that they could live anywhere and they decamped from Toronto, “that large, cold, gray city on Lake Ontario,” and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He became an American citizen in 2004.
His latest books are Shadows of Annihilation, Theater of Spies, and Black Chamber (Roc/Penguin Random House), a trilogy of related alternate-history novels set in the 1910s and involving Teddy Roosevelt, dirigibles, and spies. His hobbies mostly involve reading—history, anthropology, archaeology, and travel, besides fiction—but he also cooks and bakes for fun and food. For twenty years he also pursued the martial arts, until hyperextension injuries convinced him he was in danger of becoming “the most deadly cripple in human history.” Currently, he lives with Janet and the compulsory authorial cats.
The Lightly Edited Transcript