An Online Interview with Author & Futurist Katie Bridges

An Online Interview with Author & Futurist Katie Bridges

by Interview with Katie Bridges

An Online Chat with Author and Futurist Katie Bridges

Q:   First, let me congratulate you on your juvenile sci-fi novel, Warriors of the Edge: The Search for Stone. Your book carries an endorsement quote on the front cover that reads, “An imaginative journey into an innovative world, this story will leave you breathless with wonder.” What can you tell us about this quote?

A:   The endorsement was provided by Pat Williams, Senior VP and Cofounder of the Orlando Magic. He’s the author of 55 books, including Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams. It’s fitting that his name should be on the cover of my book, because the premise of my story depends upon teamwork. Whether you’re trying to win a championship game or bring a stranded astronaut safely home, teamwork is what accomplishes the impossible. In my story, there is a world to save, and it takes all kinds of talented children and adults to make that happen.

Q:   Your story is filled with inventions of all kinds. How did you create this innovative world?

A:  Growing up, my favorite books were biographies about inventors. I dreamed of being an inventor too, but I lacked the resources and the know-how to make that happen, mostly because my ideas were rather fantastical. Fiction writing provided the perfect outlet for my never-ending stream of ideas. Once I started inventing through my stories, I found myself with even more ideas. They might not be feasible, not yet at any rate, but fictional inventions can spark the imagination for inventions in the real world too.

Q:  With more than 100,000 words, your novel has appealed to adults as well as children. Some of them have classified your story as being futuristic due to its strong futuristic ideals. What is your take on that?

A:  There are different ways you can classify science fiction. There is space drama, adventure, cyberpunk, and time travel. A popular type of sci-fi is post-apocalyptic, where the earth has all been but destroyed and everyone is trying to survive in war-torn spaceships that look like they’ve been put together with a bunch of scrap metal. Maybe scrap metal is all that’s left in the future. I have elements like that in my story too because it adds to the adventure, but my main interest is in promoting a bright, futuristic world full of endless possibilities. So, I would have to say it thrills me the way my book is being referred to as futuristic.

Q:  You call yourself a lifestyle futurist. What do you mean by that?

A:  Some futurists are business-minded and have the ability to predict trends. Some futurists are tech-savvy and show the way to the future through computer programs that they create. And still others are able to invent new devices that have the capacity to change our world. My interest is in the lifestyle people will experience in the future, such as home life, education, entertainment, recreation, and even shopping. Through my fictional descriptions, I paint a picture of what that distant future might feel like. We need more than futuristic concepts to propel us toward that innovative world. We need an emotional connection to those concepts and fiction writing lends itself brilliantly to that end.

Q:  What led you to become a futurist?

A:  I have been fascinated with the future since I was a young child. While other children played with the neighbor kids, I would sit in the sunshine drawing pictures of space-age cities and writing stories about the fun things you might do there. I collected every futuristic image I could find. My bedroom walls were filled with these drawings. I longed to read books that would tell the story of those pictures, but I couldn’t find any. To this day, I cannot think of a single book of science fiction that brings the future alive in the way I’ve always dreamed of it, which is why I had to create my own story.

Q:  The premise of your story involves a highly complex video game. Are you a gamer yourself?

A:  Does solitaire count? Actually, I’d rather invent games than play them. As a young girl, I would spend months developing board games that I designed to teach simple scientific principles. I would play them once or twice, and then I’d get to work on the next game. With the advent of video games, I found myself following the same pattern. I had no interest in playing the futuristic games I was dreaming up. I just wanted to write about them.  I may not be a gamer in the traditional sense. Rather, I am a storyteller who enjoys writing about games that involve science in some way.

Q:  You have a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. How was that a challenge for you in writing this book?

A:  I’ve been a prolific science fiction writer since the age of seven, thanks to the assets associated with Asperger’s syndrome. On the other hand, I’ve found it difficult to gain ground as a writer, due to the problems associated with Asperger’s syndrome. I have a repeat button in my brain that is stuck in the “on” position. It causes me to repeat the same action over and over again, seemingly without end. This was never more apparent than the time I said to my family, “Just give me one year and I will write a winning novel.” We were in desperate financial straits at the time, so they eagerly agreed. For one year, I devoted myself to my story Warriors of the Edge, sometimes writing up to twelve hours a day, while they fixed dinner and washed the dishes. At the end of that year, I emerged out of my cocoon and announced, “I did it!” My family looked at me with hope in their eyes, and said, “You finished your book?” I said excitedly, “I finished the first chapter!” Their expressions sagged. They couldn’t understand how I could have spent an entire year working full time and only had one chapter to show for it. It was that darned repeat button. All I wanted to do was rewrite the first chapter over and over again. It was great fun. I never got bored with it. My family graciously gave me another year and I spent it writing the second chapter. It wasn’t looking good. At this rate, I’d be working on my book for the next thirty years. But something happened to me after that second year. Those two years of nonstop, repetitive writing had somehow increased my capacity to move on. It only took me an additional two years to write up the remaining chapters. It’s still a challenge for me to give up working on a favorite chapter in order to create a new one, but by pressing onward in my writing, I’ve been able to progress in other areas of my life as well.

Q:  Thank you for your insights. In closing, are there any final thoughts you would like to share?

A:  There is a huge need for futuristic thinking in children’s literature. I wrote the book with children’s needs in mind because I wanted to inspire them to be future-minded and pursue fields of interest such as science and technology. I wanted them to get a feel for teamwork and have confidence in themselves. But most of all, I wanted them to experience the kind of adventure that brings the future alive. I see my book as being like a trip to a theme park. The story is meant to whisk people away to another place, into a new kind of land that they can explore and investigate to their heart’s content.



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