Interview by Carly Stevens
Eva L. Elasigue is a science fiction fantasy author living in the Pacific Northwest. Her debut work is the trilogy Bones of Starlight, a fantasy space opera. The third volume, Greater Beyond, is currently being serialized. You can keep up with her on her main Facebook page, "Eva L. Elasigue," or her side group, "ELE:Mentation." Her Instagram is @primal.spiral and her Twitter is @primalspiral.
Q: Can you tell me about your background, both personal and academic?
EVA L. ELASIGUE: I’ve always lived somewhere along the Pacific Northwest coast in the areas between San Francisco and Seattle, but I have traveled widely including Europe, Central America, Australia, and the Philippines. As a writer, I was recognized and accelerated early as a child. I tested well, won a youth state medal in California, got involved in local arts, and had a couple of small pieces published. My college career started in creative writing, shifted to arts and humanities, then biopsychology, and ended in biology, with some hired research done in genetics and native plants.
After finishing college, I landed a full time writing gig for the contract furniture industry, writing articles, editing, and researching. This was good, but ultimately not quite what I wanted to be doing. After that, I went on a soul searching journey that put me on small farming homesteads and in the backcountry where I gained familiarity with natural building, wildcrafting, and bush lore. I returned to civilization doing wholesome, grounded work in renovation and market retail. That is when I turned back to writing. This time, a really big idea was ready for me, and I decided I was ready for it. I began Bones of Starlight, the fantasy space opera trilogy that I’m now concluding. This has since taken me to worlds beyond in creativity, through conventions and festivals. I’ve run concurrent projects in mixed media visual arts and poetry, and I enjoy movement and music. I’ve personally bonded with a snake, a cat, and a dog, and lived with humans and farm menagerie. I’m spiritually and secularly curious, happily queer, and blended heritage Filipina-American.
Q: What books have you written and what are you currently working on?
ELE: The two novels I’ve released are part of the trilogy Bones of Starlight: Fire Within, and Abyss Surrounding. The third, Greater Beyond, is concluding now in online serialization. These three are a unified story about the turn of an age in an alternate universe intergalactic empire with fantasy aliens—sometimes concept heavy, other times campy and magical. The main character is a Scion Princess, and the ensemble is assembled from all kinds of folks from all over, who discover surprising and profound connections as they do their parts in the turn of the change.
Q: Can you talk about your writing process? Does it vary from book to book or topic to topic? Has the pandemic affected your process?
ELE: I operate differently for different projects, though I have been on this main trilogy for a while. The trilogy novels ironed out their progression eventually, where I write first, second, and third drafts in parts by turn, which have serialized steadily online at bonesofstarlight.com. If I get the chance to work on other projects in the trunk, I suspect I will approach them each in a unique fashion, because my assortment of ideas belong in differing subgenres. Poetry for me is more like the occasional strike of lightning, though I enjoy offering typed poetry concepts for events.
The pandemic was something I had to get through. I had by then become a social writer, thriving on continued relevance and awareness in receptive communities, so it was a matter of innovating and hanging in there.
Q: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
ELE: Deep reflections, inspiring notions, some smiles and laughs, and perspectives of a beautiful and bigger world filled with imagination. Maybe also newfound relation to others who are like yet unlike them, and some added understanding of self and life. I believe this is what fiction in general offers us, particularly in speculative fiction, and what the reader finds depends on what they really need.
Q: How did you find the Athenæum?
ELE: I was accompanying my family on a tour, and the Athenæum wasn’t actually a stop but while we were standing there I noticed the door. I stepped aside for a moment to peek in and take a brochure. I was fascinated.
Q: Did the Athenæum’s collections inform your research?
ELE: Sure, yes. I’ve enjoyed deep random browsing at the Athenæum, both in the catalogs and different departments. I’ve been into Special Collections, perused the vintage card catalogs, and chosen many different places to sit and inquire into the shelves.
Q: Do you have a favorite spot to do work?
ELE: I was directed to the Seminar Room on 1G for a good place to use my typewriter, which is a sometime companion for drafting my novels. I really appreciate that openness to make a little studious noise, and it’s an empowering space. I also enjoy the quiet and sunny fifth floor desks, making some tea and stepping out on the balconies.
Q: What are some of your favorite books? I know it's a tough question. name as many as you like.
ELE: I connect to genre, literary, and graphic novels, and I am passionate about fiction but also interested in research. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was pivotal. I have also resonated with Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea and more, Shakespeare, Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hermann Hesse’s Demian, Little, Big by John Crowley, Tad Williams’s Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Sandman series, and so much more.
Q: What are you reading right now?
ELE: Poems for Other People’s Lovers, by Jeremy Brownlowe the Typewriter Troubadour; We Were Dreamers, an immigrant superhero autobiography by Simu Liu; and the Binti trilogy, by Nnedi Okorafor.