Join us on:

How I Write by Aisha Phoenix


I write speculative fiction – literary fantasy, dystopian stories, science fiction and fables. Much of my work centres characters of colour and explores issues such as injustices, family relationships, belonging and alienation. I have always loved speculative fiction and find it freeing when exploring complex, challenging or disturbing themes.

Story ideas are wonderfully unruly. They come when they feel like it, sometimes striking at 1.30am when I am trying to get to sleep. At times appearing at 5.30am when I am clinging on to the vestiges of my dreams. They seem to love materialising when I am relaxing in the shower and then it’s a race to get to my phone before they fade.

My favourite stories arrive fully formed and wait impatiently for me to type them up, but some stories are a slog from an initial idea, which I love, to something on the page that can struggle to capture the magic of that first idea. Usually, inspiration comes first, followed by a draft or an opening, and then I plan the work.

Depending on the length of the piece, there may be many layers of planning, which often include research. For example, my novel is set in a rainforest and I have had to research the flora, fauna and climate.
For me, the best place to work is on the sofa in the living room with a laptop on my lap and sunlight streaming through the window, although my back may not agree.

Read more of Aisha’s work here:

Aisha writes short stories and poetry. Her work has appeared in Peepal Tree Press’s Filigree anthology, the National Flash Fiction Day anthology, the Bath Flash Fiction anthology, Strange Horizons and Litro USA Online.