Author Spotlight: Maura Yzmore

What’s your favorite science fiction book?

Among the oldies, I’d say Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series and Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. I read these when I was young and they left a major impression on me. 

Contemporary sci-fi novels I’ve enjoyed include Ann Leckie’sAncillary Justice, Becky Chambers’s Wayfarer series, Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter, Charlie Stross’s Neptune’s Brood. I also like most work put out by John Scalzi and Nnedi Okorafor. 

Do you think science fiction lends itself well to flash compared to other speculative genres?

Flash doesn’t allow for excessive world-building, which I think is a great thing for sci-fi and, to a smaller degree, for other speculative genres. The author is restricted to just a few key elements of the setting, which helps to maintain the pace and keeps focus on the tale. Flash suppresses many self-indulgences in the writing craft and forces crisp, effective storytelling. 

What benefits or challenges does flash bring to your writing? 

I love the extreme lengths of flash: the 100-word drabble and the1,000-word long flash. I find the midrange, especially around 300 words, somewhat challenging. At the drabble length, there’s room for only the most critical, effective elements that bring the story across; this economy can yield mesmerizing results. At the long-flash end, you can get comfortable, flesh out the characters, play with the pace. I feel like 1,000 words is plenty for a very rich story. 

The greatest challenge with flash, especially at the microfictionend of the spectrum, is that you can kill a piece by over-editingit to below its natural minimal length. In my experience, a key to effectively writing, especially when it comes to ultrashort pieces like drabbles, is recognizing whether your story idea is even in principle expressible within a given word count. Many simply aren’t. 

Is your favorite genre to write in sci-fi?

This is such a hard question! 

I write literary and speculative fiction (sci-fi, dark fantasy, horror, and magical realism), as well as humor and nonfiction. I love them all; I really do. What I focus on seems to ebb and flow. 

Lately, I’ve definitely written more sci-fi and horror than anything else. But there’s always room for dessert humor!

Where can readers find your other work and which story are you the most proud of?

Links to all my published stories can be found at https://maurayzmore.com/stories/

Among the published sci-fi pieces, I’m quite proud of “Vanishing Before Impact” in Asymmetry and “Cryobliss” in Exoplanet Magazine. They are free to read online. 

Are there any links you’d like to share where readers can follow you?

Website: https://maurayzmore.com. The site hosts some useful resources for writers, as well as a blog with publishing news and reviews of other people’s work. I am also on Twitter @MauraYzmore, so come say hi.

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