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Guest writers series: an interview with Rem Wigmore

Welcome to Rem Wigmore, a SpecFic NZ friend who has a brand new book on preorder…

Where in the world do you live, and what do you like most about it? 

I live in Wellington, Te Whanganui-a-Tara. My first novel, The Wind City, is a love-song to this city, and I still love it but in a more bitter kind of way; the shine’s worn off after living for several years in cold, damp houses. What I love is the wind, and that this harbour is a place where the ocean and the city and the forest all meet, nestled in hills.

Self-care is very important for writers, tell us how you look after yourself?

Less well than I should, but it’s a steady climb! My main effort is actually taking days off – yes, even from writing. Yes, even though I love it. This isn’t something everyone has the luxury of, but I do recommend it where possible. I’ve struggled with burnout and it’s no fun.

What genres do you like to read in? 

I’m a real gremlin for speculative fiction – fantasy’s my first love, but I also devour sci-fi and sometimes historical fiction. Romance in any of these genres is also wonderful. Sometimes I’ll read some contemporary Young Adult, especially about queer characters.

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling! I was so happy the library had it. Lately I’ve been making something of a study of horror and especially Gothics – just before this I finally got around to reading Carmilla, which I could’ve sworn I did years ago. So I guess a lot of sapphic horror all in all!

Can you name some formative books for your own writing?

The Name of the Wind by Pat Rothfuss was a massive influence on my sixteen-year-old self: it was that first eye-opening experience of, ‘oh we’re allowed to do this?’ and started me writing seriously. I figured if I could write something even a quarter as beautiful I’d be happy. I had a similar experience first reading Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness and realising, hey, if this prominent cisgender author can write about nonbinary people and get published, I can too, and I have never looked back since! a more recent influence is Neon Yang’s Tensorate novellas – the first one I read was The Ascent to Godhood, I need to reread it now I’ve read all the others. That series is a masterclass in how much beautiful worldbuilding and narrative you can fit into a novella’s small space. (Rider’s probably my favourite character, I love Rider.)

Who’s an author you think more people should be reading? 

Rivers Solomon – faer work is a gut-punch in the best of ways.

Creative writing as a teenager, did you do it? What did you write about? Can you remember any stories? 

I did very little else! I wrote for fun since I was I thiiink twelve or thirteen or so, and have been doing National Novel Writing Month since I was about – fourteen? Since 2008, anyway. It’s not at all the only way to learn how to write, but it certainly taught me a lot (any teenagers reading this: don’t do what I did, please focus on your exams).

I always wrote pretty similar stuff – those first few manuscripts were mostly fantasy, with a big emphasis on action/adventure plotlines and Friendship. My work now just has more craft knowledge and less compulsory heterosexuality.

Is there anything you’ve seen passed around as writing advice that you really disagree with? 

‘Write every day’. Do that if it works for you, but you really don’t have to if it doesn’t. For me, I can’t imagine a better way to make myself hate writing. You definitely have to be able to make yourself work and focus even when you don’t want to, but – listen, sometimes after ten hours on my feet at work I’d come home at eleven or midnight and would be able to write a bit, but I’m not going to hold it against myself the days I couldn’t. Sometimes you need the rest.

Do you prefer quiet, ambient sound or music while you write? 

Music! I have a lot of playlists for specific projects, and listening to them can really help me get back in the mood of the story and world when I come back for editing. It is about the vibes.

If you were stuck on a desert island with one book, one music album and one podcast, what would they be? 

Oh, man. I’m gonna cheat and say The House of Always by Jenn Lyons because I haven’t got my hands on it yet. (It is honestly so refreshing to read an enthralling epic fantasy series stacked full of bisexual disasters like myself.) For music, let’s say Janelle Monae’s incredible album Dirty Computer because I’m constantly coming back to it, and for podcast, The Adventure Zone because I have like, two seasons to catch up on. I don’t think it’s feasible for me to be stranded on a desert island long enough to catch up with Critical Role.

Pokemon: if you were a trainer, what pokemon would be in your team? (you get 6) 

This is the hardest question in the world. Why would you do this. I can never even decide if I’d be a Poison, Fairy or Flying type trainer. Anyway, scolipede, pidgeot, ribombee, flygon, feraligatr and I’m definitely missing at least ten faves I’m forgetting about but let’s say roserade. I like to pretend I’d be a Pokemon Ranger in the Pokemon world, despite the fact I’d probably just be, y’know, me, and maybe live in an idyllic cottage with my smeargle or something.

I was reading back over this and realised I forgot trubbish. And murkrow. This is why I always have about twenty active Pokemon in my teams and take forever to beat the game. And skorupi! Heck!

Okay, okay, all-poison team variant: scolipede (my favourite pokemon, solid arthropleura vibes) dragalge, toxapex, trubbish, roserade and salazzle. You may think I’ve now been talking about Pokemon for an inaccessibly long time, but praise my restraint, because this is still leaving out dustox and gengar and and and …

Favourite bird? 

You’d think crow, and you’d be right, but also I’m a real armchair biologist and birds are my Favourite and have been since I was a small, so here’s my TOP FIVE at this particular moment:

·         Crow friends – clever, pretty, morbid, absolutely the bird in my heart is a crow, 10/10

·         Kea for extremely similar reasons, beautiful mischief parrots

·         Kākā, because they get a bad rap and I like their Spirit

·         Moa. Extinct big sexy.

·         Tūī!! Two voice boxes, plus they come off all beautiful and graceful until you watch them closer, realise they’re fluffed-up little bullies and love them even more.


Rem Wigmore is a speculative fiction writer based in Aotearoa. Their novel Foxhunt is forthcoming from Queen of Swords Press on August 21st 2021 and is up for preorder now. Their other works include Riverwitch and The Wind City, both shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Award. Rem’s short fiction appears in several places including the Capricious Gender Diverse Pronouns Issue, Baffling Magazine, and the second Year’s Best Aotearoa New Zealand Science Fiction & Fantasy anthology. They also have a story in Victoria University Press’s upcoming Middle Distance anthology. Rem’s probably a changeling, but you’re stuck with them now. The coffee here is just too good. Rem can be found on Twitter.

Preorder Foxhunt  

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