An interview with Kameron Hurley about The Worldbreaker Saga

Written by / Interviews

Risingshadow has had an opportunity to interview Kameron Hurley about The Worldbreaker Saga.

Kameron Hurley
Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley is the author of The Stars are Legion and the essay collection The Geek Feminist Revolution, as well as the award-winning God’s War Trilogy and The Worldbreaker Saga. Hurley has won the Hugo Award, Locus Award, Kitschy Award, and Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer. She was also a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Nebula Award, and the Gemmell Morningstar Award. Her short fiction has appeared in Popular Science MagazineLightspeed Magazine, and many anthologies. Hurley has also written for The Atlantic, Entertainment Weekly, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, Bitch Magazine, and Locus Magazine.

Photo source: author's official website.

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The Mirror Empire (The Worldbreaker Saga #1) by Kameron Hurley
The Mirror Empire
The Worldbreaker Saga #1
by Kameron Hurley

From the award-winning author of God’s War comes a stunning new series...

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past... while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

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Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?

I drink a lot. I like dogs. I spend most of my time writing and watching murder shows.

Your latest novel, The Broken Heavens, is the conclusion to The Worldbreaker Saga. Could you tell us something about this novel without spoilers?

The Broken Heavens is the final book in the Worldbreaker trilogy, which follows the stories of five very different people thrust to the center of an ancient recurring event where multiple versions of other worlds try to annihilate each other.   

What inspired you to write The Worldbreaker Saga?

I've been working on versions of this world since I was nineteen or twenty. I'm a huge fan of the "alternate universe" episodes that various pieces of science fiction television create, and I enjoyed the first couple of seasons of Fringe, which gave me an easy comp title for the series when I was pitching it. Thematically, the idea that the bad guys are "us" and we are fighting ourselves is a pretty relevant mood.

The novels in The Worldbreaker Saga have been praised for positive LGBTQ+ representation and SyFy Wire has included them in their "14 of the Queerest SFF Novels of the Last Decade" list. What kind of LGBTQ+ characters can readers find in this series?

I'm not going to make a laundry list here, but: lots of kinds.

Are the LGBTQ+ characters an integral part of the story arc?

Pretty much everyone is gay, so yes. 

The Worldbreaker Saga combines elements of science fiction and fantasy in an innovative and intriguing way. Did you find it challenging to combine them?

Not really. I understand that genre categories primarily exist as marketing categories. "If you liked book X you might like this other book in the same section!" But as we know as readers, genre markers tend to be very broad as well. I aspire to write "Kameron Hurley books" and cultivate a readership that's interested in many of the same things I am. I write what interests me, and that means I draw from within many genres, not just science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but literary fiction, mysteries, and thrillers too. All of these contain tropes and structures that can help me tell stories in the best way possible.

Because the world of The Worldbreaker Saga is fascinatingly complex, did you have to do a lot of research when you began to write the novels?

Yes. Though the most important work was simply keeping track of everyone and everything in the books, which meant having an assistant who could constantly update the series wiki.

When you were writing The Worldbreaker Saga, what was the most rewarding part of the writing process?

Being finished! And working on my next project, a near-future thriller called Losing Gravity that I pitch as Killing Eve meets Die Hard, in space.