The Mirror Empire
Angry Robot 2014
Kameron Hurley has been honored for her mastery of numerous forms. Her first novel, God’s War, earned her the Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer and the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel. Her essay “We Have Always Fought”–about the history of women in conflict–was the first blog post ever to win a Hugo Award. And although her tweets haven’t won awards (yet), she is also an animated and articulate presence on Twitter.
Hurley has lived with some of the concepts and characters in her newest novel, The Mirror Empire (Angry Robot, 2014) since she was 12. But it took patience and lots of hard work (including multiple revisions) for the story about mirror worlds on the brink of genocidal war to emerge.
Although her first book was a success, the other two books in the series, Infidel and Rapture, were hurt by the financial troubles of the publisher. Hurley rallied, finding a new agent and a new publisher, but the path wasn’t easy. As she says in her New Books in Science Fiction and Fantasy interview, “You’re only as good as your last book. If your last book doesn’t sell, then you’re not going to sell other work. … This is an up and down business. It’s not a straight trajectory. You have to work very hard, and I think that’s very motivating for me to know I have to work very hard just to stay in the game.”
While writing is a solitary affair, Hurley has surrounded herself with a circle of supporters–and advises everyone to do the same. “If you’re going to have a goal in life… You want to be a CEO, you want to open your own business, you want to be a writer [then] you need to surround yourself with people who support what you are doing. And that’s everyone. If your family doesn’t support what you do then maybe don’t see them as much. I hate to say it. And if you have a partner who doesn’t support what you do, then maybe you should look at a different partner. If the agent that you have is not working out and your styles just do not work and you’re not getting what you need from that relationship then you need to find an agent that works.”
Rob Wolf is the author of The Alternate Universe and The Escape. He worked for many years as a journalist, writing on a wide range of topics from science to justice reform, and now serves as director of communications for a think tank in New York City. He blogs at Rob Wolf Books and I Saw it Today. Follow him on Twitter: @RobWolfBooks