Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight - Sarah Pinsker

Our next Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight features Sarah Pinsker, who is displayed on card number 175, from the Science Fiction Collection.  Sarah started writing Science Fiction since she was a little kid.  It wasn’t until 2012 where her career really took off.  Since then she has written over 40 stories in multiple publications. She been a Nebula nominee four times and won in 2015 for best Novelette. Her fiction has been translated into a half a dozen language.   Her next project, “Sooner or Later everything falls into the Sea”, will be published in 2019.

How early in your life did you know you would be a writer? 

I always wrote, but I thought it wasn't a viable career choice for a long time. So, I guess it depends on if you mean when I knew I would write stories (always), when I started submitting (12 or 13?), or when I thought I could make a career of it (not until my 30s.)

How has writing today changed from when you were younger? What do you like or dislike about the changes?

Writing, or publishing? I think there are a lot of positive changes. There are so many great magazines right now, online and in print. A diversity of voices getting published, new stories being told.

If you did not become a writer, what would you be doing?

I would still be making music, and probably still be with my full-time day job, which I now only do part time, but I love.

What are your favorite hobbies today?

Horses. Board games. Running (jogging, really. I'm slow.) Gardening and cooking very badly. Exploring Baltimore and supporting all the amazing artists and writers and creators here.

How has your involvement in the writing profession been important to you?

I love writing community and the people I have found here. So many wonderful people.

What does it take to be a professional writer today?

Probably some of the same things it used to: persistence, the abilities to incorporate useful criticism and ignore the rest, attention to craft, good time management skills, luck.

What do you think about electronic books that you can download versus the actual physical hard copy?

I'm a visual person and retain more in print. Remembering where I was on a page and how far into the book it was seems to be important to my retention. Also, I can't stand that it makes me read collections and anthologies IN THE ORDER THE EDITOR INTENDED. How dare they? That said, I have an e-reader and I use it when I travel and when I'm reading for awards. It's really useful!

What authors do you admire today and who did you look up to as a child? 

As a child I loved Ursula K. Le Guin, Kate Wilhelm, John Wyndham, Madeline L'Engle, and a whole bunch of horse novel writers: Lynn Hall, Marguerite Henry, Walter Farley, Jean Slaughter Doty.

I still think they are all great, but I'll add Karen Joy Fowler, N.K. Jemisin, Kij Johnson, Elizabeth Hand, Nicola Griffith, Colson Whitehead, Hao Jingfang, Ken Liu, Andy Duncan, Molly Gloss, Caroline M. Yoachim, Merc Rustad, JY Yang, sooooo many more.

What are your favorite books past and present?

Too many to name.

Who is your favorite celebrity and what makes that person special? 

I worry about holding people up as celebrities and getting upset when they act human. That said, I appreciate the people who use their fame to draw attention to important issues.

Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a trading card?  

NO!

When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?  

At the Nebula weekend a couple a couple of years ago.

If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?

Stripey.

Did you play Video games growing up and what were some of your favorites?

Not that many. I liked the King's Quest games on computer, and puzzle games like Tetris and arcade games like Arkanoid/Breakout. Shout out to my Oregon Trail generation.

I get a little obsessive when I play games, so I try to limit them. More recently I liked LA Noir, and the Fables: Wolf Among Us, and the Lego Star Wars/Lego Indiana Jones/Lego Harry Potter; probably the Harry Potter ones were my favorites, since they let you wander around Hogwarts and discover secret places. Oh, and Lord of the Rings, which let you wander around Middle Earth.

If you can design your own video game, what would it be about and who would be the main character?

Eh. Not sure I need to wade into those waters.

What are your opinions about today’s generation of video games? 

No opinion? If I played too many I'd never get anything written.

Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?

Violence in games doesn't bother me unless it's directed at a specific identity. I don't like games that feature sexism and homophobia, and I do think they can contribute to some of the toxicity in our culture, but it isn't the violence so much as the devaluation of certain groups of people.

If you could own one arcade game or pinball game, what would it be and why? 

Hmm. Doctor Who pinball? Or the Rolling Stones one from when I was a kid that played Satisfaction when you lost? Or Radical Radials, which was a game I played exactly once when I was 10, but I really liked? It's possible it isn't as good as I remember.

Are you still involved with writing today, and what role do you play?

Yes, I am actively publishing. I have a collection coming from Small Beer Press in 2019 and some other fun stuff coming that I can't talk about yet.

What do you see yourself doing in the next 10 years?

Writing, writing, writing, writing…