Friday Feature: Katie Slivensky

Today’s Friday Feature is another astounding member of my writers group: Katie Slivensky, science queen.

Katie Slivensky

So, Katie, tell us about your day job… just because it’s so cool!

I’m a science nerd and animal lover. I work as an educator for the Museum of Science here in Boston. It’s a fantastically awesome job. I’m the voice behind the live planetarium shows and I’m also the traveling presenter who takes fun things like fossils, liquid nitrogen, and alligators out to schools. If you remember Bill Nye the Science Guy, I’m basically him, just not on TV.

Environmental adventures: Katie’s speciality!

I am also an aspiring author. I’ve written several middle grade novels, though only one is polished enough to query with at the moment. That particular novel is called ENDANGERED (working title), and is an environmental adventure story with a fantasy twist. Generally, my stories all incorporate some kind of science, whether it’s biology and conservation, paleontology, archaeology, or astrophysics. Science is my life, and it seeps into my writing.

Yes, folks, it’s okay to be jealous. How does the awesomeness of your day-job influence your writing?

My current work-in-progress takes place in the not too distant future and deals with space travel. As a science nerd, I strive to keep the science in my stories ultra-realistic. As an example, just the other day I spent hours and hours working through the actual math of how a future spaceplane would fly and what that means for its fuel requirements (with a great deal of help from my physics-genius boyfriend). There’s a part of the story where the spaceplane needs to change direction, and that took a lot of brainpower to figure out how to make possible. I think we came up with a satisfactory solution, though, and I’m excited for the realism it brings to the scene.

So you feel it’s really important to keep the “science” in science fiction, hm?

It may take some effort, but it’s rewarding to know the science in your story is accurate. It makes everything that much more real. I’d highly advise authors to fact check any detail in their work, even if he or she doesn’t believe their work falls under “sci-fi”. Any work of fiction contains some science. If you don’t fact-check, you might accidentally be perpetrating a science myth (such as writing penguins into your story about Santa at the North Pole). There’s no need to put incorrect facts in peoples’ minds, especially with children.

Where did you pick up all this good science?

On a paleontology dig.

I have a background in paleontology, biology, and geology and am friends with people in pretty much every other science discipline out there. I’m completely willing to field science questions from any author who wants to bounce an idea off a science nerd, or double-check that their facts are correct. Please feel free to email me, tweet me, or leave a message via my blog!

 

Katie, thanks so much for sharing!

No animals were harmed in the making of this post.

About Tara Sullivan

Author of GOLDEN BOY (2013) and THE BITTER SIDE OF SWEET (2016). Published by Penguin Books for Young Readers Find out more at http://SullivanStories.com Or, follow me on Twitter: @SullivanStories
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