Author spotlights are occasional Q&As with contributors. Marie Vibbert has sold over 60 stories to pro markets including multiple appearances in Analog, F&SF, and Lightspeed. By day she is a computer programmer in Cleveland, Ohio. Her debut novel comes out March 2021.
Departure Mirror: Tell us a little about your Departure Mirror story.
Marie Vibbert: “Watch Your Step” was written for a Literary Cleveland online class “Write five stories in six weeks.” Our assignment was to write a flash piece that addressed something particularly painful in our psyche. I’ve often felt like a clumsy monster tripping over the world around me. For me it’s more my big mouth and the things I say than my physical size, but this was my way of turning that feeling into fiction. Big thanks to Lit Cle instructor Matt Weinkam for shaking me out of my lockdown writer’s block!
DM: How did you become a writer?
MV: I wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid, stapling scrap paper ‘books’ together on the living room floor. Becoming a published writer was a long and painful process. I submitted my first works for publication in the 1980s. They were awful, I’m sure. I was staying late at the high school computer lab, typing up my novels on AppleWorks 2.0 and printing them out on the dot matrix printer. My first story sale was more than twenty years later, and my second sale seven years after it. I guess you can say I became a writer through sheer bloody-minded persistence. I struggled with poverty and illness and I got a good job and I married and all along I wrote and submitted and sobbed over my rejections. Things really turned when I attended Clarion in 2013. If nothing else, I didn’t want such a huge financial investment going to waste, so I HAD to succeed!
DM: What else are you passionate about? Tell us about it.
MV: The Cleveland Browns had their best season since re-founding in 1999! (Yes, I feel like everyone needs to know this). I played women’s professional football for five years for the Cleveland Fusion, it made my lifelong football fandom turn into a full obsession. My long-suffering husband puts up with it because we get pizza. Women’s sports, obviously, deserve more attention than they get! The Fusion’s winning seasons got me through a lot of years of less than awesome Browns records. Check out the WFA if you’re in North America — chances are there’s a team near you!
DM: Do you have anything you’d like to promote?
MV: My debut novel, Galactic Hellcats, about a female biker gang in outer space rescuing a gay prince, is coming out March 9, 2021! Publisher’s weekly called it “Even more fun than the title suggests … a rip-roaring space heist.” Forty years since my first “novel” I’m finally realizing my dream.
Thank you, Marie! “Watch Your Step” can be found in the Winter 2021 issue of Departure Mirror Quarterly. The issue is free to download and to read. If you love the story as much as we do, please tell your friends!