ABOUT K. CERES WRIGHT: Daughter to a U.S. Army father, K. Ceres Wright has lived in Anchorage, AK; Chicago, IL; Baltimore, MD; Frankfurt, Oberursel, and Munich, Germany; Seoul, Korea; and the Washington Metropolitan Area. She attended undergraduate school at the University of Maryland, College Park, with a double major in economics and finance, then worked for 10 years as a credit and treasury analyst before deciding to change careers.
Wright received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, and Cog was her thesis novel for the program. Wright’s science fiction poem “Doomed” was a nominee for the Rhysling Award, the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s highest honor. Her work has appeared in Hazard Yet Forward; Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction; Many Genres, One Craft; and The 2008 Rhysling Anthology.
K. Ceres Wright’s cyberpunk novel Cog is one of the debut releases from Dog Star Books, the new science fiction imprint from Raw Dog Screaming Press. Cog is a near-future science fiction thriller set in a world of corporate intrigue and fuel-cell economy slums that delivers satisfying doses of action, technological extrapolation, and social commentary. I’ve taken a few moments to ask Ceres about her writing career and her new novel, which I found to be a compelling and enjoyable read.
Christopher Paul Carey: Why did you decide to start writing science fiction?
K. Ceres Wright: I’ve been watching Star Trek since I was three years old. It’s actually one of the first memories I have. And when I was nine, I came across a book titled The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, and I read that book so many times, I put cocoa stains on many of the pages. As I got older, I began reading the classics-Asimov, Clarke, Vonnegut, Bradbury. But it wasn’t until I was an adult before I began reading cyberpunk. I loved it so much I decided to write a short story, which I posted online. It got a good reception, so I decided to write a book.
CPC: What drew you to cyberpunk?
KCW: Cyberpunk has a visceral feel for me, both visually and imaginatively. The writing is tight; the descriptive narrative makes metaphorical associations of disparate concepts, and makes it seem as if they were always there, and just needed a writer’s legerdemain to draw them out; and the action starts early and keeps going. There’s not a lot of wasted space. You’re dropped into the writer’s world and expected to figure it out as you go.
CPC: Who are some of your favorite authors, and why?
KCW: William Gibson, or course. He’s considered the progenitor of cyberpunk. I love his style, his use of language in conveying SF concepts. He can make a description of garbage seem lovely. I adore Richard K. Morgan’s style, as well, particularly the way he fleshes out his worlds and makes his protagonists likeable enough, but with an edge. Carole McDonnell has a finesse that few writers possess, especially in illuminating hidden emotions. K. W. Jeter can weave an intricate dystopian world that draws upon familiar themes but with subtle changes. Charles Saunders masterfully, almost lyrically, reveals beauty in his descriptive narrative. Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert can write sweeping tales of humanity spread across the cosmos.
CPC: So what’s your novel Cog about?
KCW: Nicholle Ryder is a curator at a holographic art museum and her passion is introducing the public to fine art. I thought the world of fine art and corporate America would be interesting to juxtapose against a dystopian landscape of urban decay and the purview of drug dealers and prostitutes, to highlight the similarities.
At the start of the book, Nicholle is recreating the Prado museum in the Anacostia section of Washington, D.C. Her father and her brother work at the family hologram provider company. Unbeknownst to her, her father recently discovered that he had fathered a son out of wedlock thirty years ago and has plans to bring him into the company. The other brother, Wills, doesn’t agree with this plan, and embezzles $50 million from the company and skips town. The same day, her father falls into a coma, and the head of IT asks Nicholle to take over the company. She reluctantly agrees, at least temporarily, but before she starts her first day, her bodyguard tries to kill her and frame her for embezzlement. An ex-addict, Nicholle goes on the run, back to an old boyfriend, who is the leader of a drug gang, and of course he wants something in return for helping her.
CPC: What would you like your readers to take away from Cog?
KCW: The central message is redemption. You can make mistakes and you can move on, but if you don’t deal with the issues that led you to those mistakes in the first place, you’ll keep making them. Once you understand why you made them, you can live stronger and be in a position to help others who are going through what you went through.
CPC: What can we expect to see next from K. Ceres Wright?
I’m working on another cyberpunk book, but with an Arthurian author, Rachael Pruitt. She’s won several awards for her book The Dragon’s Harp. And I’m also working on a paranormal romance, so that should be fun.
Christopher Paul Carey is the coauthor with Philip José Farmer of Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa and the author of Exiles of Kho, a prelude to the Khokarsa series. His short fiction may be found in such anthologies as Tales of the Shadowmen, The Worlds of Philip José Farmer, The Avenger: The Justice, Inc. Files, and Tales of the Wold Newton Universe. He is an editor with Paizo Publishing on the award-winning Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Visit him online at www.cpcarey.com.