Meet Terry Madden

Our science fiction crew has expanded with the thrilling addition of Terry Madden. Terry brings us a planet populated by AI and transmitted human brains within mechanical bodies working together to prepare an alien world for a generational ship of humans who have traveled for hundreds of years for this chance to restart society.

Author Bio

Terry Madden’s tenth grade paper on the evolution of Frankenstein’s monster from tragic construct to boogeyman set her on the path of the weird and wonderful. As an award-winning fiction and screenwriter, Terry has worked with a variety of subjects from historical to futuristic and finds inspiration in the classroom where she teaches chemistry and astronomy to high school students. She is the author of the fantasy series Three Wells of the Sea, and her short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She lives in California with her husband, cats, and miniature horses.

Asked and Answered

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing poetry in high school. It never occurred to me at that time that I could write a story, but I was encouraged by a teacher I had for an experimental class called Writing and the Media. Our semester project was to take a topic from pop culture and explore it at depth. I chose Frankenstein and set up a comparison of Mary Shelley’s original creation with the poor monster that had evolved by way of film. I got so into it that I far exceeded the requirements of the paper. It was the first time I felt lost (in a good way) in exploring fictional realities and relationships.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I like to paint watercolors. I have been taking a class for a few years, and I find it very meditative. Unlike writing, you have a finished product fairly fast and can enjoy it instantly. I also like to garden and travel. I am retired from teaching chemistry and astronomy and still enjoy exploring the night sky, though I now need to buy my own telescope.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

It may not be surprising, but it is enjoyable. I love creating worlds because I feel like I’ve been there by the time I finish a novel. I have the tastes and sounds and smells all firmly fixed in my mind, like a memory, but of a place that doesn’t exist . . . or does it?

What do you think makes a good story?

Characters that are relatable with problems that stir the reader emotionally, intellectually, and maybe existentially. A plot that provides enough story questions and interior conflict that keeps the reader intrigued. A world that is rich and real. Finally, a resolution that satisfies the deep need of the characters, and on some level, the reader.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

Yes, because I write in multiple genres. But it becomes too cumbersome, so I trust readers will understand that.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I would absolutely choose a turtle. One of my students once told me I reminded her of a turtle, and I think it’s very appropriate. I work slowly, but I stick with it. I rarely start something I don’t finish. I process ideas slowly, and it takes me awhile sometimes to “get it.” Especially jokes.

Why did you choose Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing?

In researching publishers, it became clear that CDS was gaining great momentum. They are publishing quality books and doing it right. I talked to a few of the authors, and they had nothing but great things to say about Kelly and her crew. When Sara returned notes on Blind Angels, I was blown away by her editorial abilities and wanted to work with her.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

I find it very easy to come up with story ideas, but very difficult to imagine the ending before I start writing. I’d love to be able to plot my stories and know exactly where I’m going, but my brain doesn’t work like that. Instead, I have a vague idea of where my story is going and where I want my character to be at the end, but I must discover the path through the woods as I write. I try to plot half the book before I start, then when I hit the midpoint, I try to plot the second half.

A Glimpse at Blind Angels

How did you conceive of the world, Varanasi?

Ever since Kepler started revealing planets orbiting other suns, I have been interested in imagining what these planets might be like given what we know about them. The scientist part of my brain influences my artistic part in a big way. Varanasi is a fictional moon that orbits an actual exoplanet which has already been named Majriti. This planetary couple orbits the star Upsilon Andromedae A and was discovered even before Kepler started looking. I was interested in the elliptical orbit this gas giant has as it moves in and out of the habitable zone, imagining how life on a moon might retreat into deep gorges in the winter, then migrate out to the highlands for the long summers.

Consciousness download is a common trope in science fiction. How does your story spin this trope?

I’m fascinated by the nature of consciousness itself and what we are beginning to learn about this feeling of self-ness. I think the trope is popular because a lot of people feel the same way. I want to explore what death is by looking at the absence of death, people who are relegated to living for eternity with themselves. Would we want to? Why or why not? Is death a necessary part of our path to wherever we’re going? When I was teaching, I used to ask my students if they could be immortal, would they choose it. The answers were mostly, no. Does that mean we have a need to see what’s “on the other side?”

Welcome to the crew, Terry!

Blind Angels is set for release in October of 2024. If you want a taste of Terry’s writing now, check out her fantasy Three Wells series here. And, of course, her newsletter is always a fantastic source of info. You can learn more about Terry on her website: