What if you took the sprawling kingdoms and ambitious heroes and villains of Game of Thrones, and set all the scheming, power-snatching and butt kicking in outer space? Then you’d have Rhoda Belleza’s enthralling, adrenaline pumping Empress of a Thousand Skies, AKA a book you need in your hands STAT. We caught up with the mastermind herself and got Rhoda to reveal what’s next on her to-read list, her best advice for creative ladies and more. Scroll on to discover the author of your next fave novel.


Brit + Co: Describe your book in six words or less.

Rhoda Belleza: Justice and revenge in space.


B+C: Where/when do you do your best writing?

RB: I wish I had a formula so I could recreate it over and over again. I’d say I’m most productive when I have a short-ish block of time and will not be interrupted. When I have anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, I give myself a realistic goal to accomplish in the time given. It helps me focus on making a small piece of the book better.

B+C: What’s your go-to cure for when you’re stuck in a creativity rut?

RB: Going to a coffee shop WITHOUT my laptop — just a thick pad of paper and a nice pen. I’ll use the time away from a screen to outline a scene or work through a piece of dialogue. Hand writing something helps me slow down and hit a rhythm I couldn’t otherwise.


B+C: What two lady heroes do you turn to for inspiration, and why?

RB: N.K. Jemisin because she writes the most thoughtful, beautiful speculative fiction filled with mind-blowing allegories about cultural oppression set in expansive worlds. (Photo via Laura Hanifin)

Fiona Staples because she brings so much care and detail to her illustrations and so much humor and humanity to the characters she brings to life. (Photo via @fionastaples)

B+C: What’s your latest social media obsession?

RB: For the sake of not being here for the next year shipping folks who are brilliant and hilarious, I’ll narrow it down to three: Kaylapocalypse is run by Kayla Ancrum, an author and academic who curates the smartest, funniest, intersectional content on tumblr. I can’t get enough.

Tracy Clatyon (@brokeymcpoverty) and Constance Wu (@ConstanceWu) are just super badass, outspoken, brilliant ladies doing the work every day. Haikus With Hotties is self explanatory. If you don’t immediately get it, I’m not wasting my breath.


B+C: Can you name a book that you think deserves a little more love + recognition?

RB: Conviction by Kelly Joy Gilbert is a voice-y, raw novel about a boy who witnesses a traumatic event. It’s an incredible meditation on abusive relationships (parent/child), institutional racism and corruption and memory. I love this book so, so much.


B+C: What’s next on your to-read pile?

RB: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, The Swan Riders by Erin Bow


B+C: What advice do you have for aspiring creative ladies?

RB: When the ideas you’re grappling with start to feel challenging, you’re doing something right. How you approach it will depend. Sometimes you need to walk away and let it marinate, and sometimes you need to push through and figure it out — but whatever you choose, don’t let fear or intimidation play a role. Don’t let it scare you off; don’t back away because it feels too big a theme or a feeling to portray.

Basically, be generous to yourself when you need it, but don’t let yourself off the hook either. You gotta do the work now or later, but only you’re going to know what is right for you.

Got an author you’d like to see interviewed? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!

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(Featured photo via Rhoda Belleza)