The Author Spotlight Series shines a light on writers creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their books and why they do what they do.


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A.D. Sui is a Ukrainian-born, queer, disabled science fiction writer, and author of The Dragonfly Gambit. She is a failed academic and retired fencer. Her writing has appeared in Fusion Fragment, Augur, HavenSpec, and others. She is represented by Shannon Lechon of Azantian Literary Agency. When not wrangling her two dogs, she’s posting away as @thesuiway on every social media platform or blogging away on her newsletter.”


When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Two and a half years ago? I think that’s when I seriously thought about it and decided to give it a shot. I grew up on fanfiction and classic (think 60s era) science fiction, but I never thought I’d be writing it. What I did want to be is an astronaut, but that plan fell through because I’m disabled. It’s funny because as a kid I never considered myself disabled, just different, and then I grew older, and it was like “oh! There is a label for this!” and it actually prevents you from doing a lot of professions.


I kept writing throughout my life, but I never considered it more than a pastime, like doodling. I didn’t complete my first short story until January 2022 and my first novel until May of that year. I was working on my doctoral thesis so I already knew I could write a lot of words, so that didn’t scare me, and the fact that I didn’t need to cite anything was a huge benefit!


Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?

I think I was eleven when I translated some Russian-language sci-fi into English. I couldn’t even type back then, not that we had a computer. Remember, I’m a millennial so back then most families had a family computer if one at all, and dial-up internet! I did the translation by hand in a journal. I might have gotten through a chapter before I gave up.


How did you develop your skills?

I’m self-taught so most of my learning happens through reading. I read a lot of other science fiction and fantasy works. I read literary. I read some romance. Every time I read something I enjoy I go back and reflect on why I enjoyed a particular work and how the author accomplished it.


There are also some great online resources. I love Trope Talk on Youtube. There are also quite a few of Brandon Sanderson’s lectures up for free on his YouTube channel. He does a great job explaining aspects such as world-building, writing series, plotting, etc… You don’t need to be a fan of his work to appreciate the lectures.


I also consume a lot of other media! I watch anime, movies, series. I read manga. I try to see how different mediums tell stories differently, what works and what doesn’t.


Who are some of your biggest literary influences? Do you have a favourite book/author?

This is a tough question because there are so many great authors and books out there! I have to begin by saying that I will always buy anything by Premee Mohamed.


I was introduced to Martha Wells through the Murderbot Diaries, and now I’m working through all her other books, and they are fantastic!


In the short story space, I really enjoy the works of Suzan Palumbo and Ai Jiang, both Toronto locals!


How would you describe your work?

Intensely character driven! I am a firm believer that the reader will follow an interesting character to the ends of the earth. They don’t have to be likeable, just interesting. A lot of my work, both short fiction and long-form focuses on feelings I can never verbalise, so I put them down on to a page. If you want to know the sort of person I am, how I perceive myself, my fears, my loves, you can get all that by reading my writing. There’s a long-running joke amongst writers that we write because it’s cheaper than therapy, and it’s true!


I try to kill two birds with one stone. I get to work out something I’ve been mulling over for years, and the reader gets to be entertained. It’s a win-win.


What’s your writing process like?

I draft quickly. A novel draft takes me about a month, sometimes two. Then I set it aside for a month and play with short stories and read a lot. Then I do two revisions. The first is to revise the plot, make it make sense, provide all the information the reader will need, in the right order. The second revision is to make all that information sound good. The second round is usually the slowest because I get very specific with my sentences and individual words. Then it’s off!


Tell us about your most recent book.

The Dragonfly Gambit is now out with Neon Hemlock Press! It’s a revenge story about a disabled military pilot who returns to sabotage the very fleet she was once a part of. To achieve her objective, she lies and seduces her way to the very top. It’s all very queer, and bloody, and angry.


What are you working on now/next?

The publishing industry has so many secrets! I’m not allowed to say specifically, but it’s a science-fiction duology that wrestles with ideas of faith, belonging, and what it means to be alive. In true A.D. Sui fashion this one will have a lot of dark and contemplative moments.


I’m the sort of writer that gets a new novel idea every day, so I have a running list of pitches in my Notes app. Next, I think I’ll draft up a science fiction thriller about research ethics and data manipulation because that doctorate needs to be put to good use!