This week, Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on author Marilag Angway! Marilag will be here at our 65 James Street store TOMORROW, Saturday, January 27, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM, to celebrate the release of the 2018 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, an anthology of middle grade science fiction.
Marilag Angway likes writing about girls who have big dreams, big enough to take them to the skies. She is, however, not opposed to a good romp on terra firma, so long as mechanical shenanigans are involved. She’s a writer of science fiction and fantasy and occasionally dabbles in horror and humor (though success at the latter remains to be seen). Her stories can be found in various anthologies, including those published by Bards and Sages Publishing, Hadley Rille Books, Deepwood Publishing, Ticonderoga Publications, Rosarium Publishing, and Dreaming Robot Press. When she’s not writing, she’s filling middle schoolers’ heads with the wonders of mathematics and the marvels of science. For her random book and overall nerdish musings, check out her blog at storyandsomnomancy.wordpress.com. Don’t forget to grab a cookie and a cup of tea on your way out!
Thank you so much for joining us, Marilag! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
I’m a teacher by day and a writer by night, though technically, much of the writing occurs in the slivers of free time I can find that isn’t occupied by grading, reading, gaming, and baking. I write predominantly what I read, which is practically science fiction and fantasy. Most of my SFF is geared toward children, but that’s the occupational hazard I run into considering who I spend my time with six hours a day!
What kind of research goes into writing your stories? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the story, but you loved discovering?
I tend to get fixated on one detail when I research a story, and I can honestly spend hours just reading or watching videos of things that relate to the research. In this case, I spent my hours looking up carabao racing. Heck, I didn’t even think such a thing was possible, but it was, and it was actually A THING in the Philippines!
That being said, no actual racing made it into “Clockwork Carabao.” To me, the short story—short as it is—is meant to be about a girl’s discovery of this really cool piece of metal that she begins to experiment with. Eventually she also realizes the carabao is meant to do great things, and she rolls with it. Whether or not there might be a spinoff to this short story is another thing coming, but you can definitely count on there being racing carabao in the foreseeable future!
What was the inspiration for some of your stories? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the published piece?
I do a lot of blurb-writing when I’m not actually writing, so occasionally scenes pop up in my head that I jot down and go back to when I feel like I can flesh it out some more. In the case of “Clockwork Carabao” and “Rela” (which was the previous year’s Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide story), I had the image of a girl in my head, and she was tinkering away in a workshop. Behind her stands a metallic sculpture of a carabao, a water buffalo constructed of scrapwork and wire and painted completely black.
The scene stewed for a while, then I did some research, and then I did some writing.
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out your latest stories? How did you overcome that challenge?
The actual submitting of a story is always the biggest challenge for me, and it’s no different for “Clockwork Carabao.” I’ve grown a thicker skin over the years, but submitting a short story to a publisher is always like holding your breath in a storm-addled ocean and hoping the waves will let up just long enough for you to get your head out of the water. It’s nerve-wracking. It often ends in nothing. Not every editor or publisher is going to say yes, and it could be because your story isn’t any good. But in most cases, it’s likely because the story just isn’t the right fit. I can deal with that. Mostly. It still hurts, though.
That being said, storms DO let up, and any acceptance is worth every dive into the water. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
Thankfully, Sean and Corie Weaver are lovely people and they’ve humored me these last few years by being tickled over my stories. I am forever grateful for it.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
There’s something about the SFF genre that really hooks me time and again. I always have respect for authors who create their own worlds or magical systems. I also have a great deal of respect for authors who take the known laws of the world and use them to their advantage. SFF is a drawing of the imagination to many fantastical things, and it’s a type of escapism for others. I tend to read to my students every week, and I find that they are more attuned to the fantasy of SFF than they are to other stories, and that in itself is magical.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
Video games and baking, and not always together (though yes, I have played video games while I baked). I tend to bake after being inspired by something I’ve read or watched. Mostly nerdy bakes, like a cake based off Mass Effect and Bioshock or Doctor Who cookies. I also binge a lot of TV while I grade papers or knit, and I’m currently addicted to iZombie and the Arrowverse, so there’s that. My friend has also roped me into co-hosting a podcast with her, so I’m also juggling a bit of my time reading, watching, and recording for that.
It really is difficult to find a balance between hobbies, but somehow I make it work. I occasionally sacrifice sleep in the process, but that’s what coffee is for!
Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)
You can find some of my work on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Book Depository, as well as the respective publishers’ websites. Dreaming Robot Press has at least three anthologies with my work in it, so I do heartily recommend taking a look at their site for sci-fi goodness.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
I have a Facebook that I update regularly. My Instagram handle is @sakuramae, and I also update that on a regular basis (though as I’ve told many folks who stumble into my Instagram…it’s mostly about food and books). You can also follow me on WordPress.com: My main blog is at Story and Somnomancy (storyandsomnomancy.wordpress.com), and I co-run a blog on fairy tale retellings at Fableulous Retellings Podcast (fableulousretellingspodcast.wordpress.com).
Thank you so much, again, for the interview, Marilag! We look forward to having you at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester THIS SATURDAY, January 27, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM!