Interview w/ Rebecca Crunden on Dust & Lightning, tech and politics, and character-driven stories

Welcome to another SciFi Month post. Earlier on the blog I had the pleasure of hosting Craig Hallam for an interview where we got a little deep into dissecting society and gender, prompted by the themes explored by the author in his cyberpunk novella.

Now, while we allow Craig much needed rest on the SFM spaceship, it’s time to set the stage for another crewmember and author. Taking control of the bridge to steer the ship towards other tides of this sprawling universe that is science fiction, is Rebecca Crunden.

Rebecca was kind enough to come on the blog to talk to me about her science fiction novella, Dust & Lightning, a character-driven story that highlights brotherhood centuries into the future.

Read on to discover more about the author’s work and the many distinct times and settings the worlds of science fiction can travel through!

Meet Rebecca Crunden

Rebecca Crunden photo

Rebecca Crunden is a twenty-something writer and student. Her work spans across the genres of fantasy, science-fiction, romance, and paranormal.


  • Hi, Rebecca, welcome to the blog! It’s a pleasure to have you here for SciFi Month to celebrate both the genre and your novella, Dust & Lightning. As a way of introduction, can you ask the main character of your story to describe you?

Oh my gosh, I’m not sure! But I think we’d both get along because we’re grumpy, haha.

  • Dust & Lightning takes the reader into the 41st century. How did you choose to write about that timeline and what were the challenges and advantages of building a world so far ahead in the future?

I love setting things in different times and places. Writing for me is all about escapism, so I tend to set things in far off societies. I picked the year at random, but I like to think that by the 41st century, we’ll be able to travel in space. Wouldn’t that be great?

  • Despite the futuristic setting, it’s a story very much rooted in the past and the present. We have a society so technologically advanced it has spanned star systems, but is still suffering from injustice, subjugation, inhuman labour practices, and the dissent those arise. What were some ways you transposed what’s happening now in our world to this futuristic one?

There’s a lot of political commentary, especially at the start of the book. I love the Star Trek idea of the future being a peaceful utopia, but we’ve seen in our own time that technology doesn’t always make for more open-mindedness and I think that’s something we should be aware of. If we’re advancing, are we just doing it with technology and industry, or are we actually advancing our mindsets and moving away from abuse, greed and discrimination? Both need to go hand in hand.

  • How did you weave Ames Emerys’ personal journey to uncover the truth behind his brother’s death with this deeply scarred social background?

At its heart, the story is about brothers more than politics, so I tried to keep that the main focus. I prefer character driven stories, so really the setting was secondary. 

Cover for Dust & Lightning, Rebecca's science fiction novella that introduces a familial journey weaved into a futuristic, political story
Cover for Dust & Lightning, Rebecca’s science fiction novella that introduces a familial journey weaved into a futuristic, political story
  • Your previous books delved into sci-fi as well, but you’ve also written in fantasy. Which of those genres was your favourite, which one do you always find yourself going back to, and what’s it like shifting between genres?

I think I’m a little more inclined to fantasy, if only because I’m obsessed with magic and supernatural phenomena, but science fiction is definitely a close second. I also find fantasy a little easier, perhaps, to write.

  • Even with that genre versatility, is there one unifying aspect in your writing as a whole?

Love. I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but in all of my stories, that’s the driving factor. In this book it’s about the love between brothers. That’s also the driving force in my science fiction series The Outlands Pentalogy. In other books, the love is more romantic, but it’s definitely the foundation of my stories. Love makes us do and believe the impossible.  

  • I myself believe that because writing is such a personally emotional practice, our own experiences influence it in many ways. I read your article for UCC International Students where you spoke very fondly of your experiences during your International Relations MA. You even created your own board game! Do you feel your time there influenced your work somehow, and if so, in what ways?

I’m currently working on my PhD, so definitely! Academic writing is so, so different to fiction, but very helpful for learning how to ground your narrative and develop it. Academic writing is also incredibly helpful for learning how to critique your writing. I’ve become far more brutal with myself in terms of editing as well. 

  • Not only are you an author, you also read and review on your own personal blog. What came first for you, the writing or the blogging? And how do you feel they’ve impacted one another?

The writing! I’ve only been blogging about a year, but my first book came out in 2017. I’m a huge fan of reviews and I love sharing my favourites with others. 

  • Lastly, do you have any projects in the making you’d like us to know about?

I do! I have a fantasy book hopefully coming out at the end of this year. It’s been a bit pushed back as I work on my thesis, but it’s getting there. This is my longest book to date – over 600 pages! 

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