January 29th also sees the publication of Yolanda Sfetsos’ The Wired City which is Book 2 in our new Weird. Wonderful. Other Worlds’ series. The cover is by Adrian Baldwin. Over the Christmas / New Year period Dean and Yolanda (who also has Short Sharp Shocks! AND Murder! Mystery! Mayhem! Books under their belt) sat down and talked about this new story.
DEMAIN PUBLISHING: Happy new year Yolanda! Welcome to the new series…for those that don’t know you (yet!) can you tell us about yourself…
YOLANDA SFETSOS: Hello! Great to be back and yes, happy new year to you too. Well, I live in Sydney, Australia and spend a lot of my day lost in fictional worlds. Sometimes they’re mine, other times they’re not, but I love to lose myself in stories. It’s the reason I became a writer. There was nothing else I could do, not when ideas started turning up inside my head when I was a kid, and the characters wouldn’t be quiet until I told their story. Being a writer has always been a part of who I am.
DP: Me too! What was your first introduction to the fantasy / sci-fi / weird genre?
YS: Like most people my age, Star Wars was one of my earliest introductions to sci-fi/fantasy. I was a little kid when Episode IV came out and can still remember how amazing it was to experience this movie. After that, anything that came along featuring robots, space and an interesting but weird ensemble of characters caught my attention.
DP: Definitely, I’m definitely a Star Wars guy 100% but also love Star Trek and I’d love to write something in that universe one day, I’ve got a couple of ideas for novels, I also wrote a spec episode of The Next Generation when I was a kid which is in a drawer somewhere but a film, that’d be the ultimate…anyway, anyway, tell us about your novella…
YS: The Wired City is a story about a bored android who wants to live a better and more exciting life. When she stumbles on a mysterious classifieds message, her life gets a huge boost of adventure. A LOT more than she ever imagined. This is a story that I’ve wanted to tell for a while, but it didn’t come together until last year. One night, I was wondering if I should trunk the idea, when suddenly—Tolliver decided to speak up and tell me all about her adventure. After that, the story came together very quickly and I really enjoyed writing it.
DP: And we enjoyed reading it so well done. Did you have to do a lot of research before writing?
YS: Most of my research for this one was about mechanical brains, androids, cyborgs and Mars. I did all of this online. The internet can be a very helpful creature sometimes. Besides, I’ve been doing robot research for years.
DP: Ah, then I guess you didn’t find the story particularly difficult to write?
YS: Not really because I LOVE robot stories and have always wanted to tell one of my own. This is my love letter to a genre I’ve enjoyed and have found fascinating since I was a kid.
DP: What would you say is your biggest creative success to date?
YS: My biggest, personal success is having the ability to write. Telling stories is one of my favourite things to do and I feel very fortunate to be able to do it.
DP: And you do it very well – which has been proven by the great reviews you’ve received for your DEMAIN titles…with regards to the WWW! series – what does ‘weird’ mean to you?
YS: To me, ‘weird’ is pretty much anything that isn’t considered mainstream. It’s a label that people put on something they don’t understand. I find most of what’s considered to be weird to be very interesting and even beautiful in its own very unique way.
DP: That’s great and I’m with you on that. Creatively is there anything you’d like to do that you haven’t yet achieved?
YS: I would love to write a cosy mystery one day. One featuring an amateur sleuth who loves tea, books and cats. Ideally, I would like to keep the supernatural out of this story…but I know that’s an almost impossible thing for me to achieve. LOL.
DP: Haha – I know what you mean, there’s so many stories I start writing which are meant to be ‘calm’ but by the time I’ve finished them they’ve become a very very different beast. I’m guessing writing isn’t a short term career for you?
YS: Always a long-term thing for me. I can’t imagine not writing. I mean, where would all of these ideas trying to burst out of my head go? 😊
DP: True, true…trying not to end on a depressing note, how are you handling all the covid restrictions / lockdowns?
YS: I can’t believe it’s 2021 and we’re still in the middle of this Covid-19 nightmare. I’m a homebody, so the lockdown hasn’t been that much of a problem. As long as I get to go out for a daily walk, I can handle spending the rest of my days inside writing, reading, watching, and hanging around with my husband and cat.
Great to speak to you again Yolanda…all the best with The Wired City.
If you’d like to connect with Yolanda direct:
Dean M. Drinkel