Reality Skimming

Why SF #8: Krista Ball

Why SF? Asking kindred spirits in the SF community the story of why they give back and create forward.

Krista Ball

Krista Ball

According to her mother, Krista D. Ball tells lies for a living. That’s not a lie, but Krista does incorporate as much historical information into her fiction as possible, mostly to justify her B.A. in British History.

Krista enjoys all aspects of the writing and publishing world, and has been a magazine intern, co-edited four RPG books, self-published several short stories and a novella series, and has been a slush reader for a small Canadian press. Krista has published two novels (with another one coming late 2012), and has written a non-fiction writer’s guide/comedy skit/historical cookbook called, "What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank."

Whenever she gets annoyed, she blows something up in her fiction. Regular readers of her work have commented that she is annoyed. A lot.

Interviewed by Tegan Lott

How long has you been writing? What inspired you to start?

In terms of the general playing with fiction, I’ve been writing since I was around twelve. Professionally, where I finally decided to give this a go with the aim of becoming published, five years or so. I’d like to say some glorious inspirational event happened to turn me to writing, but the truth is nothing really inspired me to start. I was given a typewriter for my birthday, sat down, and realized that writing stories came easy to me. Then, as time went on, I realized that writing was pretty much all I was good at in terms of profession, so I decided it was perhaps the best career choice for me!

What is it that you write? Science fiction, and more?

It might be easier to ask what I don’t write. Under my real name, Krista D. Ball, I write primarily science fiction and fantasy, along with historical and non-fiction (and, historical non-fiction!). I have other pen names that write Gothic lesbian vampire tales, literary angst stories, and even erotic comedies! But most of my work is under my real name.

How do ethics and lessons play a part in your writing? Do your stories have obvious or hidden educational aspects?

I don’t set out to say anything intelligent in my stories. There are some authors who do that and I’m totally jealous of them. I am often told by readers that I’ve addressed an issue in my writing; I didn’t consciously do it, but since my beliefs fall in a specific area, I ended up exploring the notion.

Ethics is an interesting one, since I wrote an entire book about the ethics of self-defense. The question I ask (and explore) in Road to Hell is, “What role do personal ethics play when dealing with the survival of one’s own people?” So I looked at how gray things could become when putting aside one’s own ethics and morals to pursue the greater good.

I believe it’s easy to say you believe one way or another. It’s easy to say you are against capital punishment, for example. From personal experience, I can say it’s a lot harder to then still be against capital punishment after your friend is murdered. I’ve gone through that decision process and it was a tough thing to still say I believed it was wrong – even as I picture my friend’s face each time I say it.

So that struggle is something I like to explore in fiction. In life, ethics can be very inconvenient, and they can get in the way. I want to ensure my characters are inconvenienced by their ethics and beliefs as much as possible. Sometimes, they stand by them (as in my epic fantasy series, Tranquility’s Blaze). Other times, my characters wander so far from their ethics that they can’t find their way back, as in Road to Hell.

Both are valid approachs to how people explore their own ethics, and I like writing both.

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