The Heroine’s Journey of Rebecca Gomez Farrell

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

My work is writing speculative fiction and blogging on food, drink, and travel. What I most love about it is when I know I’ve made a connection with another human being through my words, that I’ve made them feel empathy or delighted them or have simply effectively painted a picture for them.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

I don’t think perfect happiness exists, but soaking in sunshine in the company of friends who know me better than I know myself is close. And if a lovely glass of wine and tasty barbecue is involved, all the better.

What is my greatest fear?

Disappointing others. I keenly feel the expectations of others and direct too much of my energy toward meeting them. Thus, I try to make a life for myself as devoid of those expectations as possible.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

Self-defeating thoughts. They can stop forward progression before it even starts. I must relentlessly trudge forward through them to achieve my goals.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

I’m glad you ask for living persons, because the list of non-living ones would be long. The first is the author Mary Doria Russell for her ability to write science fiction that is heartbreakingly human and simultaneously a celebration of the best of ourselves. The second is George R. R. Martin for daring to dream a gigantic story and making us all want to be friends with hidden queens, bastard kings, and drunken lechers.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Undoubtedly the amount I spend on food and drink! I love appreciating artistic creations on the plate and in the glass—I only wish they were more affordable. I agonize over buying a pair of shoes or a dress for the same price that I drop on dining out day-to-day with few qualms.

On what occasion would I lie?

Very few. Honesty is one of the qualities I prize most in friends, and when I discover dishonesty, I recoil. I do lie by omission, but every time, I feel dirty for it and wish I didn’t think it necessary. That lying happens when I am trying to protect someone’s feelings.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Finding an audience. In a perfect world, a writer could just put their writing out there, people would find it and support their work, and the income would come easily. But to have that in reality, a significant amount of a writer’s life must be spent attracting an audience through self-promotion through social media, traditional marketing, writing about the craft rather than creating it, and perhaps producing subpar work just to keep the eyeballs they’ve attracted. Masterpieces take time, but we don’t live in a world that gives us that time easily.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

That moment is now, and I hope it will always be the now I find myself in. My first book is coming out, I have several short stories being released soon, my blog continues to open doors for me, and my location brightens my worldview. As my career progresses, I hope to have more success that will bring me more career happiness.  I do hope to feel satisfied at some point, but satisfied doesn’t mean finished.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

I wish my drive to write was strong enough to counteract the distractions of life. Discipline is not my strong suit, and when I think of how much more I could have written by now if it were, well, it’s self-defeating. So I try not to dwell on that for long.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

There is always a new bar of achievement when a goal is achieved in my career. First, it was getting paid for publishing a short story. Then it was being invited to read. Then qualifying for my industry’s professional organization, and now, it’s the release of my first novel-length work. But I hope that will soon by eclipsed by other achievements – I am never satisfied.

Where would I most like to live?

In the time and place that nourishes my soul and body. That changes at different points of my life.

What is my most treasured possession?

Jewelry I possess that used to owned by family members now deceased: my father’s wedding ring, my grandmother’s class ring and cross pendant, my great-grandmother’s costume jewelry. When I wear it, I feel a connection to them in a small way.

What is my most marked characteristic?

Mellowness. It is a state of being that I strive for. I am the down-to-earth, rational friend that people can turn to when they need a fresh perspective and the person least likely to be annoyed by the small kinks life throws our way. Life is short, and if we don’t enjoy it, then are we really living?

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

Sitting by the waterfront, listening to San Francisco Bay waves crash on rocks.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Southie, a perhaps too small restaurant in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland that offers excellent food at all times of day. And my favorite item, their changing seasonal crostini, are affordable too! For the Bay Area, that’s worth celebrating.

What books influenced my life and how?

Too many to list in a single survey, for sure. So I will limit myself to two books: The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt, one of my earliest introductions to the fantasy art form…and to culinary critique, now that I think about it. And Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, which blew my high school-aged mind and set me searching for my karass before the end of the world.

Who are my favorite writers?

James Baldwin, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Dickens, Octavia Butler, C. S. Lewis, Claude McKay, Mark Twain, and the authors mentioned in my previous answers.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

Cast recordings of my favorite Broadway shows: Rent, Hamilton, Into the Woods, Evita, In the Heights, and several more. Each one would help me live another life in that last day.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Anne Shirley of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. She’s a heroine whose confidence in herself never wavers despite the obstacles she faces, and who gets the career and the man she always wanted, but only after staying true to herself first.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

The mothers and fathers just scrapping by in this world, doing everything they can to provide for their families, especially when the world does not make that easy. They aren’t perfect people, but Pope Francis and President Jimmy Carter are two men who model compassion in inspiring ways.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

As a fan of fantasy, that has to be the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings series from Peter Jackson. They brought to life an absolutely treasured world for so many people, and with enough love for it to defy expectations. If I must pick one movie only, then the Neverending Story will do. It captures the essence of what makes a good fantasy tale and the emotions of childhood and adolescence so well.

What role plays art in my life and work?

My work is art, and it has taken me a long time to call myself an artist. My paintbrush is the keyboard rather than a canvas, but it is art that must be imagined and mastered with daily practice nonetheless. I have also devoted a lot of time to sharpening my photographer’s eye and craft over the years as a food blogger. Whether on the page or in the viewfinder, my art reveals what I’ve observed about this life of ours.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My husband Ben is perhaps not my greatest fan, but he is both my greatest sponsor and partner in crime. I reserve the first accolade only because he is not an appreciator of short fiction, and I write both short and long fiction. But he is my partner in every way, and the person in this world who most wants to see me succeed.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017?

I am a solitary writer; collaboration is not my forte, nor my desire. But if we speak of “working with” in broader terms, perhaps learning from, then I’d like to work with any of the living authors in my previous lists or Stephen King, R. L. Stine, or Haruki Murakami.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2017?

George R. R. Martin, Mary Doria Russell, Jane Espenson, John Scalzi.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to working on?

I thoroughly hope I will find it in me to finish my second draft of my second book, which is called Natural Disasters. I also have a science fiction epistolary story that I am very excited to get into sellable shape, and I’m enjoying playing with inspirations for a sequel to my fantasy novel coming out this summer.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017?

My first book, which is an epic fantasy, comes out 8/22/2017 from Meerkat Press. You can purchase Wings Unseen here

To learn more about all my creative work, head to my author website at http://RebeccaGomezFarrell.com. My food, drink, and travel blog is called the Gourmez and can be visited at http://thegourmez.com.

I will appear at various readings and conventions throughout the rest of the year in the Bay Area and Los Angeles and hopefully in North Carolina, Colorado, and Vancouver, Canada, as well. You can always drop me a line at becca@thegourmez.com.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

I cannot imagine a time when I do not have stories to tell, so in that sense, retirement will never come for me, nor would I want it too. It is a blessing that my passion is my work, and I hope it will continue to be, no matter what the future holds.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Some of the most interesting speculative fiction authors of our current age: N. K. Jemison, Mercedes Lackey, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Nisi Shawl, Vandana Singh, Ana Castillo.

How can you contact me?

Through my email, becca@thegourmez.com, or through Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram at my handle, @theGourmez.

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