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Friday, March 21, 2008

Guest Blogger: Phoebe Wray

I'd like to introduce you to Phoebe Wray, author of JEMMA7729. I met Phoebe through Broad Universe, a wonderful organization dedicated to promoting the work of women writers in SFF and Horror. I'm thrilled to be able to host her here on the debut of her book.

Phoebe Wray is a long-time nonfiction writer who has begun to publish in the specfic field, with stories in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Mag, Farthing,, chizine and now has a novel, JEMMA7729, just released from EDGE. A horror story will be included in Backless, Strapless and Slit to the Throat: A Femme Fatale Anthology later this spring. She's a teacher in the Theatre Division of The Boston Conservatory and lives in a small town outside of Boston with three cats.

Phoebe is on the Motherboard of Broad Universe, and has been with BU since it started as a WisCon panel in 2000. She often runs the book tables.


A couple of nights ago I started writing a short story – in longhand, interrupting myself from watching the late news. Goofy idea about a guy who falls out of a canoe, sinks, and then can’t resurface. I have no idea what that’s about or where it came from. It got me thinking: where DO our ideas come from. Oddly, I know exactly where the idea for my just-released novel, JEMMA7729, came from. I can say that about only one other story I’ve written.

JEMMA7729 started this way. I was watching the 6 o’clock news from Boston. There was a hold-up in one suburb, a DUI (ed: driving under the influence) in another, and a shooting in Roxbury. Bang! bang! bang! three crime reports in as many minutes. I thought ... WHAT IF ... there was a government so repressive that it lumped all crimes into one big category: Inappropriate Behavior. I wrote the idea down on the pad on the coffee table. It was the original title of a short story that morphed into a novel.

Over the next six months, I kept going back to that idea, kept trying to write something around it. I’d get a paragraph and then stop. Days/weeks later, I’d try again. Three times. Interesting idea but it wouldn’t come out. Then one morning I sat in front of my MAC, put “Inappropriate Behavior” on the first line, and stared at the blank page.

I don’t know how else to express this... As I sat staring, Jemma walked into the room. Suddenly, a character took over my brain and I started to write, stopping some six pages later because my stomach was growling. All this before breakfast!

When Jemma showed up, I wrote: “I survived my first encounter with StateSecurity of the Administrative Government of North America.” That’s still the first sentence in the novel.

Can you trace the genesis of any of your work?

~Phoebe Wray

In stores now!

EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing


M. D. Benoit said...

With my novel,Synergy (, I woke up one morning with this sentence in my head: "Damn, I skipped five years." It was the end line of a dream I was having about a man who was walking a maze in which the walls were time. The story has morphed since that dream but the original sentence obsessed me so much I had to write the book.