This is the first written interview I’ve done for Weird Fishes and I hope I get to do many many more. Mary wanted to include Weird Fishes as part of the World Eco-fiction Series featuring climate stories from all around the globe. She sent extremely thoughtful questions about inspiration, genre and the creative process, and the big big questions about telling difficult climate stories.

There is a narrative theme about avoiding painful emotions, and not recognizing “the water” all around us. I’m proud of the readers who experienced a strong emotional reaction—at any point in the story—that they let themselves get deep enough into the story and character to feel something. I get that readers may initially be upset with me for making them feel a way—blaming me as the storyteller and the narrative choices I’ve made for the uncomfortable emotions they’re experiencing—but ideally, I’d like for those readers to be able to focus that feeling of betrayal on what that scene in particular was meant to describe. The “invisible” violence that maintains a cultural dominance. I’ve called this story an extreme exercise in empathy. Sometimes it stings. Sometimes it aches when a muscle gets a work out. I know I’m asking readers to lift some heavy shit, but I promise your compassion muscles are going to get absolutely ripped!

Rae Mariz

Read the full interview here: