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281 interviews since 2018

Aimee Kuzenski


Who are you, and what do you do? What do you like to do outside of work?

I am Aimee Kuzenski. By day, I’m a technical writer for a large cloud-based software company. Outside of work, I write fantasy and science fiction novels, practice Filipino martial arts, and play video games.

I write speculative fiction, both short and long form. My favorite of my published books is actually a novella (under 50,000 words) called The Golem Factory, about a thief in a version of Jerusalem where manufactured automatons called golems are used for manual labor.

My latest short story appears in the online magazine Translunar Travelers Lounge. The story, “Fractured”, is about a spacefaring medic with a very unusual brain injury.

I also narrate audiobooks and short stories. For short fiction, we have the short story “How I Became Coruscating Queen of All the Realms, Pierced the Obsidian Night, Destroyed a Legendary Sword, and Saved My Heart’s True Love” for the fiction podcast Podcastle. That performance was a ton of fun, despite including a purposefully difficult-to-pronounce named sword. I also narrated The Unseen Trilogy by Stephanie Erickson, available on Audible.

I practice kali, one of the traditional martial arts originating in the Philippines. It emphasizes weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, and various improvised weapons. It’s been a big part of my life for over a decade, and I love it. The gym I currently go to, Minnesota Kali Group, is run by Guro Rick Faye, who was trained by Dan Inosanto, one of Bruce Lee’s training partners.

I’ve included a picture of me sparring with another student. It’s neither a great shot nor a recent one—I tend to focus on the moment when I’m working and rarely get good action shots—but you see how little armor we wear? The sticks are barely padded, and we hit full-force. I’ve had quite a few incredible bruises in my time.

Aimee Kuzenski sparring
Aimee's a blur at weapons sparring

For me, video games are either complete comfort games like Animal Crossing and Picross, or narrative-heavy thinkers like Twin Mirror and Amnesia. I especially like when games have more than one ending—it gives them a lot of replayability. I’m both tempted and intrigued by the new Resident Evil game, though historically I’m terrible at FPS games.

What hardware do you use?

My personal machine is a MacBook Pro M1, and I have it sharing the Moonlander and a monitor through a KVM with my work laptop, a Dell of some corporate description.

Aimee Kuzenski's setup
Aimee's travel setup neatly accommodates work and...more work

And what software?

As a technical writer, I work primarily in DITA, a standard that leverages XML to structure documents by topic, chapter, and book. It’s extremely useful for things like sharing content and exporting to different file types.

I actually use software very similar in style to write novels. Scrivener lets me write each scene as its own file, so it’s easy to move around within the document, and I can export to just about any file format, including e-book. The backup system they use has saved me more than once, but I’m a bit hands-on about it. Scrivener does its own backups of the main project file, but I have a regularly-updated copy of the project in Dropbox and also do an export to Word at least once a week. I might be a wee bit paranoid.

What’s your keyboard setup like? Do you use a custom layout or custom keycaps?

I have separate layers for Mac and Windows, with a layer between for symbols and numpad. Both main layers have macro keys for things I use regularly, like cut, copy, paste, and undo. Always undo, friends. I put layout decals on the Moonlander so I could identify more of the customizations and also make it more fuchsia.

I find writing with the Moonlander to be an absolute dream. I selected the Kailh White switches because, as I started out on mechanical keyboards, the sound of clicky switches puts me in the perfect frame of mind. It also helps to have the ability to assign macros—I use both Microsoft Word and Scrivener to draft novels, and having commonly-used functions on a single key keeps me in the flow. Add in the fact that my posture is significantly better since getting the Moonlander, and it’s a clear win.

What would be your dream setup?

Honestly, the only thing I’d add is a bigger, better monitor. The curved Dell monitors or an Apple Retina Display would complete the full spaceship aesthetic.

Aimee Kuzenski with kitty
Thanks, Aimee (and kitty)!

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