Meet the Winners! – C.L. Kagmi

Stuart: Introduce yourself. Who the hell are you? What might surprise your friends?

CL: Hi there! I’m C. L. Kagmi. Wandering writer, armchair scientist (I used to assist actual scientists before striking out on my own), and adventurer competing for Most Interesting Woman In The World Title.


Stuart: Ah, yes. That’s like…one of the x-prizes isn’t it? So what’s your entry?

CL: I was very predictable for the first 25 or so years of my life. Obtained a degree in Neuroscience and served as research coordinator in a children’s hospital. It was great work – but I’d never shaken my love for writing, or my desire to voraciously study any subject I chose.

Stuart: I hear you. I was much that same. I used to write radio plays and put them on with my sister. One day it occurred to me that I was still working on them but hadn’t done anything concrete in years.

CL: I’m told that I used to tell stories in stick figure comic form before I could properly pick up a pen. I believe at one point I filled a blank notebook with hilariously-spelled attempts to write Land Before Time fanfiction books before I’d actually learned to read.


Stuart: Ha ha!

CL: More seriously though, I picked up my first science fiction novel when I was eleven. I found it abandoned in a drawer in my grandmother’s guest room. And I was immediately hooked. Science and fiction were my two favorite things – who knew you could write stories based in science?

I think I generally seek to produce the kind of literature that helped me growing up. I was always a Big Picture thinker, and science fiction helped me put everything together. It showed people out among the stars I was reading about; it showed the human costs and potential of biotechnology.

I tell stories to allow people to live in a wider world. I aspire to be able to explore big questions – from the standpoint of what it’s like to experience them – the way my favorite writers growing up did.


Stuart: Where are you from?

CL: I’m originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. It’s a wonderful place. However, staying in one place for seventeen years was a bit much for me. I’m now wandering North America, checking out its cities and some of their most eccentric inhabitants.

There are so many great people all over the place. That has been part of my issue in choosing a new place to settle down. We just need to invent teleporters so that you can go visit friends in any given city at the drop of a hat.


Stuart: I’m for that. Tell me more about your time doing science.

CL:I started out firmly on the biomedical track, wandered over into social research, and then got a jack-of-all-trades sort of research coordinating job that had me working on half a dozen veeery different clinical studies.

In between there I discovered a love for making masquerade masks, steampunk jewelry, and disturbingly lifelike miniatures. Now I’m a freelance writer, which for me means working for a dizzying array of clients. I get to meet some really fascinating people in this line of work, and that is a tremendous opportunity.


Stuart: Wow! Variety for the win! Tell me about your Writers of the Future story.

CL: My story takes place in a world where we get an answer to the question of why we haven’t been

contacted by alien civilizations. It’s definitely one of my more speculative stories – I haven’t actually worked out the math of how the aliens involved work, though my understanding is that the conclusion of the present state of theoretical physics is basically “anything is possible.”


Stuart: Cool! And what did you think of the workshop?

CL: The workshop was absolutely incredible. I think one reason was that it was geared specifically toward writers like me. I’ve been to a few writers’ conferences, but general workshops try to generalize advice for both fiction and nonfiction writers, ranging from people who are brand new to the field to people who are established authors.

Up here, it’s all been speculative fiction – and it’s all for people who are at a certain level of skill with their craft, but who aren’t recognized names yet.

Hearing from the judges was really inspirational – and they were all really great to us. The other winners were so great too. By the end of the week I kind of wished we all lived in the same town so I could invite them all over for dinner regularly.

I still wish that, actually. Let’s get working on those teleporters.


Stuart: I know the feeling, and the tribe only grows from here, if you let it. Before we go, what else do you have out there for readers?

CL: I’ve got a novel under review with a couple of agencies right now that’s about a world where sentient life evolved quite differently from on Earth. It’s pretty firmly grounded in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, though admittedly I do make some leaps. I like to describe what I’m trying to do with that novel as “Darwin’s Radio with the volume cranked up 50 times.”

Stuart: Awesome.

CL: The other short stories I’ve had published can be found in issues 2 and 5 of Compelling Science Fiction. Both of them deal with humans confronting new life forms or technologies – not always in the wisest ways.

Compelling has some really good stuff free-to-read in their archives, so if you’re a hard sci-fi person, go check them out


Stuart: Good advice. Well thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to seeing you in the future!

CL: This has been so fun!

More about C.L. at

And you can find her work here:

Photo courtesy