Guest of Honor Kage Baker Interview: ArmadilloCon 2003

Guest of Honor Kage Baker Interview: ArmadilloCon 2003

Participants: Kage Baker, David Hartwell (Interviewer)

Topic: One of her editors gets our Guest of Honor to talk.

Kage Baker was the oldest girl of seven kids; she started writing at age 9. Some of her earliest memories was changing diapers for smaller kids; when her biological clock started ticking, she decided “been there, done that” and never looked back, never felt like she missed out on anything by not having children.

In childhood, writing was her escape in a large house full of screaming people and economic problems.

She attended a parochial school. Even now she is still trying to escape stern ladies in long black robes, but doesn’t think she can. The school was called IHHS, Immaculate Heart High School. The joke among students was that it stood for “I have had sex”, which wasn’t true — none of them had.

She does not consider herself explicitly feminist, rather, she prefers to call herself a humanist.

She used to work in the Living History Center (which, as far as I understood, tried to recreate/reenact history — E.). They were the originators of the idea of Renaissance Festivals, but didn’t patent it. They put on Elizabethan and Victorian shows.

She began to evolve stories about Company in her early 20s. She was always fascinated by miraculous survival of things, by examples of species that were thought to be extinct but actually survived somewhere. This ecological concern at some point meshed with her life as an actor. One day in the 1970s she was on the bus with other actors in “agitated mental states” (her own words) going through incredibly desolate country. Suddenly she had a vision of two people in that landscape, and one of them said: “just get me out of here before 1906”.

Her mother was an avid science fiction fan, so naturally Kage didn’t want anything to do with science fiction at first. Working for Living History Center, her work and interests revolved around Shakespeare, Elizabethan age and Victorian age. Then Kage was “shocked” when the first book she wrote was science fiction. Her mother died shortly before Kage Baker sold “Garden of Iden”. When “Garden of Iden” came out, she went to her mother’s grave and put a copy on it.

She also said that writing about Nicholas in “Garden of Iden” was a way to cope with tragedy in her own life.