From: Anonymous

I have been a fan since I stumbled into “Yaguara” in Asimov’s, and am curious to know if you read a story by Alexander Jablokow in the Dec 95 Asimov’s called “Fragments of a Painted Eggshell”–it’s not you writing under another name, is it? Thanks for the hours of pleasure your books have given me, and please write faster.

I am not Alexander Jablokow–but if I had to be mistaken for someone else, I could do a lot worse. I just hope that if he’s reading this he feels the same way. (“Someone thought I was Nicola Griffith? Urgh!”)

I haven’t actually read “Fragments of a Painted Eggshell,” but now I think I’ll hunt it up and take a look. I want to see if I can spot what it was that made you think it’s mine. (Any one out there got a copy they’re willing to lend me?) I’ve read one of Jablokow’s novels, Carve the Sky, which I enjoyed–but I didn’t see any points of similarity with my work. (Then again, I probably wouldn’t. One’s work is like one’s face: one likes to think of it as unique.)

I find it very interesting, though, that you feel the writing of a man and that of a woman are similar enough to have been written by the same person. I don’t believe in “women’s writing” and “men’s writing” _per se_. There is no difference in sentence length, metaphor construction, vocabulary etc., except as and when the subject matter demands. And that’s where much of the differences lie–in the subject matter. Women and men often–not always, mind–find different aspects of the same things interesting. What is “Fragments of a Painted Eggshell” about?

As for writing faster, I’m doing my best: I’m about a third of the way through my new novel, Penny in My Mouth*, and hope to have it finished by the end of January. At least that’s my contractual deadline…

* which was published, in 1998, as The Blue Place