Today, it gives me great pleasure to turn this blog over to premiere SF author Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  If you read Diving into the Wreck, the following Q&A offers some wonderful insight into the creative driving the novel as well as Kristine’s fascinating approach to the writing process.  If you haven’t reading Diving into the Wreck yet – what the hell are you waiting for?

Over to Kristine…

Gordon writes: “My question: Do you dive?”

KKR: No, Gordon, I don’t dive.  My husband does.  In fact, he used to do search and rescue dives in Idaho.  He was my best source for the material

I do swim, however, and have since I was little. So I do have a sense of it.

Wahlyn writes: “What was your inspiration for setting deep sea divers in space? Also, thank you for an excellent story!”

KKR: You’re welcome, Wahlyn.  I’m glad you enjoyed the story.  My inspiration came while reading an Esquire article which was an excerpt from Robert Kurson’s The Shadow Divers.  As I was reading, I realized that there would be wrecks floating in space, and someone (some crazy someone) would probably dive them.  After all, going without atmosphere is similar to going underwater.  And then I had my idea.

Cat4444 writes: “A. Are you a diver? If so, are you certified as a wreck diver? If not, did you research the subject or speak to people that are certified wreck divers in order to be as true to the requirements as possible? Some combination of the two?”

KKR: I answered part of that above.  I talked to my husband a lot about diving.  I’ve done a lot of research about environmental suits and space because of my job writing science fiction.  I read a bit about wreck diving, but mostly I made things up. 🙂 That’s the fun part of my job.

“B. Regarding the “Room of Lost Souls”, I found it kind of odd that the Room would reveal more of the station outward from the central core as the stealth field collapsed. I would expect a collapse to, by definition, fall inward. Is this an effect of the “dimensional rift” created by the stealth technology (i.e., does the Room expand in Boss’ reality as it is drawn through the rift from its “original” reality)?”

KKR:  The Room is slowly drifting into our time and revealing itself.  It’s doing so from the stealth mechanism outward, which is why it’s appearing the way it is.

“C. I was reading a book the other day on character naming in stories, and there was a section dealing with using a “title” of some kind for a character rather than actually assigning a name. Did you consciously decide not to give your character a name and simply refer to her as “Boss” or did that aspect develop as the story was being written?”

KKR:  I’m a very intuitive writer, so I don’t plan ahead in the first draft. Boss never revealed her name to me.  Not once.  Even now, as I’m working on another piece about her—and she tells a character her name—do I know her name.  (Dammit.)  I never called her Boss.  Everyone else on the crew did.  So it wasn’t until my book editor needed to write back cover copy that he started calling her Boss. Which seemed strange to me.  But it’s sticking in reviews and among fans of the book.  So I guess her name is Boss.

“D. Not a question, simply a comment: I quite enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of your stories. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.”

KKR: You’re very welcome. Thank you—all of you—for participating.

Rich G. writes: “Boss undergoes a change in motive towards the end of the book that’s kinda odd given her actions throughout. I wonder if the author will comment on that. It kind of came out of left field.”

KKR: I’m sorry you thought it came out of left field, Rich.  People, including characters, do change.  And Boss had a realization over the course of the novel as to how dangerous the stealth tech is.  She’s lost friends.  And through Squishy, she has learned that the government experiments have killed many, many others.  Boss isn’t willing to let that tech fall into the wrong hands, people that would use it to continue killing—even if it means destroying a piece of history.

Tammy Dixon writes: “I enjoyed reading Diving Into The Wreck. I found it intriguing you segregated people into what kind of gravities they were exposed to as children. I liked the way these low/zero gravity children could be differentiated based on appearances. I suppose medical advances kept these individuals bones from losing too many minerals? So that when they switched to a normal earth gravity, they didn’t have the problems with broken bones? Have you done any cave diving? Sleath technology, fascinating! Thank you, for participating in this Q & A!”

KKR:  Great point, Tammy.  I think some medical advances would take that into account.  But if you’re going to live your life on a ship in low or no gravity, why have strong bones?  There’s no threat to them.  The tech in this culture is varied and patchwork, and not available to everyone, so here it’s not a surprise that people would have different levels of medical availability.  If this were a strong dictatorship or a more unified government that heavily regulates everything, then we’d see more unification among the people, I think.

As for cave diving.  No.  Never have.  Sounds scary to me.  But I have gone through caves a lot, which is both fascinating and terrifying.

DP writes: “There was a violation of the laws of motion. After the science ship explosion, the science ship started rolling, then stopped. I figured, if the hull delaminated and gas escaped tangentially, the ship could roll from an internal explosion, but that wasn’t consistent with the damage described. (Hah, “wasn’t consistent with the damage”, can you tell I used to do Failure Analysis?) Boss should have been surprised when the ship stopped rolling without anything to stop it.”

KKR:  Ooops. Should have added that. Didn’t. Too late now.  <sigh>

DP also writes: “The empire acted with impunity in big matters, but governed competently and fairly in small ones. On the small scale, they enforced rights about discoveries without evidence their enforcement “services” were available to interest groups who could buy favor to help them “compete”with someone as independent- minded as Boss. There was no evidence of corporatism on a smaller scale so was Boss’s father’s massive influence an exception or an inconsistency?”

KKR:  Um…wow.  You extrapolated quite far from my novel here, so I can’t answer the question except to say that Boss’s father doesn’t have massive influence within the government.  He just has control on one aspect of the stealth tech program because he believes he can produce results—and he convinced someone in charge that he could.  Rather like our government, really.  Just because someone has a lock on some kind of research doesn’t mean they have power in other areas.

DP also writes: “Why didn’t anyone worry the Empire’s security would hulk out on them?

KKR: I’m afraid I don’t understand “hulk out.”

“Are there any aliens in the universe of Diving into the Wreck?”

KKR:  Nope.  I do a series that’s all about aliens, which is my Retrieval Artist series.  I don’t want any crossover at all. The Diving universe has no aliens whatsoever.

“How do you describe the story’s structure?”

KKR:  I see it as a standard plot.

“What do your novel outlines look like?”

KKR:  I don’t outline. Ever. Takes the fun out of writing for me.

“Why did you decide on the present tense? Why did you decide on the first person?”

KKR:  As I mentioned above, I’m an intuitive writer.  I don’t decide.  My subconscious does.  I think the reason Boss uses present tense is that because she has no idea how the story will end either.  That’s the weird construct of first person.  First person past tense narratives usually begin with the narrator acknowledging that things didn’t go well or there was a good ending.  Boss didn’t know.  So the reader doesn’t know. The only way that works logically is in first person, present tense.

Artdogspot writes: “I really enjoyed this story and hope there is a sequel that answers some questions left unanswered at the end of the book.

A. You seem to combine adventure, mystery and scifi in a natural way. I have read that you write romance and mystery novels as well. How do you approach each of these genres differently or do you approach them the same way?”

KKR: I approach them all the same way.  I didn’t know that genres existed until I was in college.  I read in all genres and thought everyone did.  So genres are mixed together in my mind as “story” and I tell the story I need to tell, using whatever tools are available. Sometimes I use mystery tools or romance tools.  In this case, I used sf & adventure fiction.

“B. I read in a couple of interviews that you write stories out of order. How did this story evolve?”

KKR: I wrote the wreck first.  Then I showed the diving sequences to my husband and he helped with some of the details.  I wrote a somewhat different version of the first section as a novella for Asimov’s, and thought I was done.

Then I started a story about this mysterious room, and wrote the room first.  Midway through, I realized Boss would be connected to the room, but I didn’t know how. So I figured that out, and wrote the second section pretty much as is.  I got to the end and realized it didn’t end, so I waved my hands a lot and sold the second section as a stand-alone novella, but realized I had to write the rest, which all tied to the initial novella.

When it came time to write the novel, I changed the opening, made things flow in a novel fashion instead of a novella fashion, cut off the handwaving ending of Room, and wrote to the end.  Convoluted, I know, but I write most of my novels like this.  My very first novel, The White Mists of Power, came in sections like that, and I printed them out, sat on the floor and organized and reorganized the sections like a jigsaw puzzle until they made sense.

“C. I liked the first person, present tense and compact writing style you chose for this story. Is this a general approach you use for many of your pieces or was this a very specific choice for this story?”

KKR:  It was a deliberate choice. That’s Boss’s voice. She doesn’t talk much and when she does, she’s a woman of few words.  Compare that to my Kristine Grayson novels, which are all voice and style and words, and you’ll see that I pretty much pick the narration that the story demands.

“D. Boss is a great character who prizes her freedom and self reliance above everything else. It seems that events in her past gave her no choice but to become completely self reliant. I also like the fact that she is interested in historic ship wrecks and values their historic importance. She is fearless when it comes to diving these wrecks but is haunted by and reticent to deal with her own personal history. Is this ironic interest in the history of these ships a way to avoid her own personal history?”

KKR:  I wish I had that much foresight. Since I write intuitively, a lot of the metaphor/thematic level comes out of the subconscious.  I never consciously think about it—not even after it’s done. That sounds like a cop out, but it’s not, really.  I prefer to leave the English teacher stuff to, well, the English teachers.

“E. I liked the fact that the story worked on a couple of levels. As Boss starts the Room of the Lost Souls job, she is also unwittingly set on a collision course with her own past involving her father. So, is the story also a metaphor for her reluctance to deal with her own troubled past? If so, is she in fact also a “wreck”?”

KKR:  Um…interesting point.  I don’t think Boss would see herself as a wreck—except in the opening of the Rooms section. So…I dunno.  I guess. Maybe? Again, subconscious stuff.

“F. I didn’t like seeing Karl killed off.   Did you have second thoughts about “offing” such a great character?”

KKR:  I always hate killing off characters. But the story demands what it demands.  And you wouldn’t believe things were dangerous if the good characters lived and the bad ones didn’t.

“G. I’ve read that you sold another novella in this series to Asimov’s – do you answer the questions left at the end of this story in that one?”

KKR: A few. But there are more questions to be asked, and much more to be learned.  I suspect I’ll be exploring this universe for quite a while.

Airelle writes: “What was the significance of the sounds associated with the stealth tech only a few could hear?”

KKR: Honestly, that gets revealed in a future story. But those with the gene can hear the sound of the tech working, partly because they’re designed to work within the tech.  I can’t answer much more without spoiling future stories.


Thanks, everyone, for the great questions.  I appreciate the interest in the novel.

36 thoughts on “January 24, 2010: Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch Answers Your Questions!

  1. Wow…Kristine has great hair. 🙂

    So, Joey…making up for yesterday? I guess it’s gonna be another late night tonight, eh?? 😉

    Have fun! And behave! 😀


  2. Yahhhhh me voila !!! 2 fois en une journée! vous avez enchainé les mises à jours=)!!!

    Bon je vous souhaites juste une très bonne semaine!!
    Bisou Bisou !!
    Je vous adore!

  3. Great surprise having Ms. Rusch’s Q & A! Thank you, to Ms. Rusch for answering my questions. I loved the book and it’s an honor to have you be a guest!

    OMGosh, you blogged early! I copied my comments to your current day’s blog:
    Haggis? This is the one item I’ll be glad to live vicariously through you 😀 . BUT I understand about regrets. You will have to try Haggis to prevent yourself any regrets.

    Narelle: We are still eyeing the e-reader. One more question: Can you store the downloaded books on a computer? You know, in case you run out of room. Normally, I can see that NOT happening in my case but hubby reads these huge computer language text manuals. He is considering the touch screen reader because it has a slot for a extra storage.

    Crossreact” is not bad…..

    Das: Behave how? Just remember his mom is reading the blog now! 😉

  4. Hi Joe,

    I have noticed on Ebay some pieces of Atlantis being auctioned off (part of the gate, star case decoration, a jumper bench..etc). Does this mean they are scraping the city or are they just pieces that got damaged and replaced with new pieces? What does this mean for the movie(s) if the set is being taken apart bit by bit.

    A worried Stargate fan

  5. Thanks to Ms. Rusch for taking the time to answer questions for us, and to you for collating them. You must be developing quite a network with the authors by now. Really love this aspect of the blog, as it’s stretched my mental muscles by getting me to try out books I might not otherwise have. Perhaps I didn’t like all of them, but even the disappointments were educational. Hope you’re having fun, and just ignore Das’s jibes. And you still haven’t said who you are rooting for in the playoff games…or by the time you read this for the Superbowl.

  6. Joe – please thank Kristine Kathryn Rusch for a great Q&A. I’m really looking forward to reading more of her work. And thanks to you once again for giving us this opportunity.

  7. Thanks to Kristine for a great Q&A on Diving into the Wreck.

    @Das Maybe you can get Mr M to query Kristine about her time as a swimsuit pin-up model for Locus Magazine. Her hair is even better back then. Still have the previous mention issues of Locus Magazine somewhere in the house. IIRC Kristine‘s swimsuit photos was in several issues of Locus magazine sometime in the mid-eighties.

  8. Joe, Kristine Kathryn Rusch is one of the more lovely authors you’ve had on your blog. It is interesting that she writes out of order and in sections. Thank you for another great author Q&A!

  9. @Tammy – Just sitting in my hammock chair in the sun reading. Did I mention they’re damn good in direct sunlight too?
    You can definitely have the books stored on your PC. Audio books get rather large so I download onto my PC, load onto a media card and use the expansion slot of the Reader keeping internal memory for books.

    @pg15 – I grew up with our fence bordering an institution for those considered criminally insane or a threat to the public. Nuff said!
    When I get back online properly I’ll post a pic of it. You might be able to see Joe’s smiling face in one of the windows.
    When the Government closed it, it made for some freaking scary times sneaking around it where brown underwear was recommended!

  10. I was sound asleep (for the first night in months) until I got punched in the face by an “innocent looking” 👿 little tom cat called Frankie.

    “Meow” says he “feed me fatso” is the translation.

    So I toddled off down the stairs with Frankie in tow (his sister Princess Merlin stayed under her duvet) and I fed him. He took one sniff of the meat and stomped off up the stairs.

    He’s back in bed and I am wide awake. 😥

    FREE to good home – one little black and white asthmatic tom cat. 🙂

  11. @ Montrealer – Thanks for the tip, but seeing as how I’m a lady, I don’t spend time hunting down pictures of other ladies in swimsuits. 😉

    @ susan the tartan turtle – I feel for you, really I do. Our cats were never a problem before Cowcat died. They never demanded food, especially in the middle of the night. They ate at regular times, and were happy with dry food as a snack. Now they want to eat all the time, and have suddenly become very finicky – only wanting the very best. I’m thinking of renaming them all ‘Joe’. 😛

    @ Joe – Best for last? 😉 Hey – did you ever read any of Marvel’s Annihilation arc? I just read that 4-ish Wraith arc I mentioned recently (Wraith is a Kree), and was quite impressed. It’s collected in Annihilation: Conquest V. 2. It also reads very well as a stand-alone – I never read the Annihilation event, and don’t know much about the Kree, but this story was easy to follow. The character is a cross between Elric, and Eastwood’s ‘Man with no name’ characters. Good stuff. Would love an on-going…but that won’t happen, I’m sure.


  12. Ooo, the cabaret show looked fun.

    And a post-Stargate project? I hope you mean in five or ten years. 😉

    Speaking of non-Stargate things…how’s the comic book coming along?

  13. Oh, and I’m sorry to say, but it looks like the production offices were wrong on all accounts of dark horse and reverse dark horse picks this year. Well, Paul, sort of had it right with the Vikings (Favre’s decision to throw instead of run the ball in those last few minutes tonight). But as those of us from the state know, the Vikings always choke last minute–no matter how good they’ve been all season.

    Are you all wagering on the outcome of the Super Bowl?

  14. Thanks so much Joe for inviting Kristine Kathryn Rusch to do a Q&A here, and many thanks to her for taking the time, I am looking forward to more reads from her. good stuff.
    – Joe, it was fun seeing your nite out. You should get out more often, hope the dogs didn’t get mad. thanks for sharing.

  15. Thanks for responding! My question on the motive change was based on the very end of the book…Boss’s decision to try to duplicate the stealth tech. Maybe my mind’s slipped (I’ll have to go back and check) but that was that course of actions seemed odd to me given the rest of the book.

  16. @susan the tartan turtle

    You think you’ve got problems. Imagine 10 cats and 2 dogs.

    I live in a large house (13 rooms) and five are outside cats, but still… 6pm, the soulful advance guard comes visiting. If I ignore her, I get two more, and then two more and then.. I feed them.
    Seven are rescue cats, three were born here. Dogs just look bewildered all the time.

  17. @ das cowcat? I remember one morning waking up and feeling somebody combing my hair. Remembering that I was alone I looked around – another “wake up the stupid human” ploy by Frankie. I love him and his sister so very, very much. But one day I may throttle him.

    Joe I’m curious – what sort of amount does it cost to make an episode of Stargate and how much for our SGA film?

    How are the doggies these days? I found that looking after my last dog on my own was hard work – and you have 4 plus Brie. But they are great company in bed at night when you are cold.

    I have been wandering around like a zombie all day – it is now 05:32 pm and I am off for a nap.


  18. @ susan the tartan turtle – Yeah, Cowcat – a.k.a. Cowboy. He went by both. 🙂 He was officially ‘Cowcat’, but hubby always called him Cowboy, so that kinda stuck. I do still miss the big fella. Now I have a house full of spazzy females. 🙄


  19. So, Joe, while fans patiently wait for “Space” — got any funny stories to tell what has happened on set?

  20. What?! Real haggis has been banned in the U.S.? I have to admit, I hadn’t noticed, but [inaudible grumbling] … land of the free … [more grumbling].

  21. You lot are lucky – the chances of it ever being banned in Scotland is pretty remote. It is yucky – too overpowering.

  22. Heya, Joe…

    Though I really don’t have time right now to jump into something new, Diving into the Wreck sounds intriguing. My husband (a Clive Cussler fan & diver) just might enjoy it – but would like your opinon. In all of his reading he tends to prefer male leads…the Dirk Pitts, the Rambos, the Incredible Hulks. So, as a guy, did you have any trouble relating to a female protagonist?

    Thankies. 🙂


  23. And something else Joe should know!!

    How Spiders Mate – From Wiki:

    “Sperm transmission is an indirect process. When a male is ready to mate, he will spin a web pad onto which the sperm is discharged. He then dips his palps (also known as ‘palpi’), the small, leg-like appendages on the front of his cephalothorax, into the sperm, picking it up by capillary attraction. Mature male spiders have swollen bulbs on the end of their palps for this purpose, and this is a useful way to identify the sex of a spider in the field. With his palps thus ‘charged’ he then goes off in search of a female. The act of copulation occurs when the male inserts one or both palps into the female’s genital opening, known as the epigyne. He transfers his sperm into the female by expanding the sinuses in his palp.”

    Don’t you feel so enlightened now?? 😀


  24. A website called propworx is auctioning of stargate props including Thor, Ronon’s gun, and a stargate. Don’t you need some of these thing’s for future movies? Wish me luck in my bid for an Iratus bug.

  25. dodecahedron said:

    A website called propworx is auctioning of stargate props including Thor, Ronon’s gun, and a stargate. Don’t you need some of these thing’s for future movies?

    I just saw this on SciFi Australia. They said there’s gonna be a year long series of Stargate memorabilia auctions with items from the sets of Stargate SG1 & Atlantis.

    Propworx ebay site

    This isn’t good. While I’d love to get a prop, I think this means there isn’t gonna be any movies. Is this true Joe? Does this mean no SG1 or Atlantis movies?

    Oh and Das, they’re selling wraith wigs…ooh look at her go 😉


  26. Hello.

    Hope your mom is still doing well in therapy.

    Three quick questions for the mailbag:
    1. How does Jason’s casting as Conan effect the possibility of an Atlantis movie?
    2. When does SGU return from mid season hiatus?
    3. What did you think of James Cameron’s Avatar, and did you see it in 3D?

    Thanks for your time. Best wishes.


    Bryan M. White

  27. Amazing. I saw the figures for Capricas premiere on Syfy, much less than Stargate Universes, or infact any Stargate premiere, and likely to go downwards as it goes onwards. Not one to wish doom on a show but really, I wonder if it’l get renewed? 😛

  28. G’day Joe

    Just want to wish all the Aussies here Happy Australia Day!!!

    Surely you are not using a SG-1 ep title in Universe as in Crossroads. Tsk Tsk…

  29. This week with time on my hand I will again watch season 10 of SG-1. the last couple of days i have watch some epi of BSG which was very good, that being said i never understand how BSG gets all the accolades, but sg1 was escapism.

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