In which a passion becomes a Vocation
“I will take a serious approach to a subject usually treated lightly, which is a nerdy thing to do.”
Hello, everybody! I am Carla, and I’m a science consultant. What’s a science consultant, you ask? A science consultant is a person who makes sure the science in your manuscript is sound—or at least that it makes enough sense in context so that your readers don’t eat you up alive.
You know that one annoying person at the movie theater who keeps mumbling “That doesn’t happen like that!” every other scene while watching your most anticipated turn-your-brain-off-and-eat-popcorn blockbuster? Yeah, that’s me.
(Never go to the movies with me. No, really.) But sometimes I use my powers for good, I swear! I understand that not every detail has to be 100% academically correct; after all, in fiction, readers usually forgive some level of handwaving of science just for fun, since making things too serious can also take them out of the narrative. But really big, egregious examples of not doing the research can put people off. If we work together, we can make sure that your audience has very little to nitpick, at least as far as science goes.
I have been working in this industry since 2015, when I started as a proofreader/beta reader in my friend Crystal’s indie editorial team, Pikko’s House. The more I got to work on different types of manuscripts, the more I realized there is a demand out there for science consultancy regardless of genre—from the most emotional romance novel to the most complex science-fiction epic—and I thought someone with my background would fit the ideal profile required to fill that gap.
Interested? Don’t hesitate to contact me. I promise I don’t bite. I also won’t look down on you for not knowing or understanding something; I don’t know everything, either! And no question is small: even if it’s a very small, simple detail you’re having doubts about, it could drastically affect your readers’ experience of your narrative, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. So feel free to reach out to me, tell me a little about what you’re trying to do, and together we’ll figure out what you need and how to execute it.
AKA: Calita, Carlis, Cali, Cali-chan
Location: Originally, Panama City, Panama; currently, Wollongong, Australia
Languages: Native Spanish, fluent English, intermediate French and German
Western Zodiac: Pisces (ugh)
Chinese Zodiac: Ox
Hogwarts House: Gryffindor
Ilvermorny House: Horned Serpent
Panem: District Two
Godly Parent: Apollo
Shadow World: Shadowhunter
Gotei 13: 10th Division
Paradis Military: Survey Corps
I was born in 1985 in a town in the Herrera province of Panama called Chitré, where my entire family comes from. I’ve lived my whole life in the capital city, though, and I consider myself very much a city girl. I am very liberal, fairly open-minded, sarcastic, enthusiastic, supportive, a massive dork, a feminist, and a realistic optimist. My family is the most important thing in my life. I tend to be more logical than emotional on a personal level, but like any good writer, I also like to understand what makes people tick, what motivates their actions and choices—even my own. Growing up in Latin America, Catholicism was more of a culture than a religion, and while I don’t practice it much these days and disagree with the church’s positions on several key areas, I feel the teachings of Jesus are more or less the closest fit to my personal moral system, so I still identify as Catholic.
Panama is my home and I love it, but it’s not a very exciting place if you’ve lived there all your life. (If you’re a tourist, however, there’s plenty for you to do! You want to add it to your list of vacation destinations, believe me.) I’m lucky enough to have been able to travel to many incredible places as a tourist, and my educational journey has allowed me to live in several different locations around the world for significant periods of time, from the United States to Europe to Australia. As a consequence, I’ve been exposed to many different kinds of people from many different cultures and with many different ways of thinking, which suited my natural curiosity well.
That natural curiosity was cultivated in me since I was very young. Both of my parents are in STEM fields and since I was a child, I was taught to love science and to be proud of that drive to learn things. I am an unabashed nerd, a geek, a fangirl, and a proud one at that. It was that sense of earnest wonder that led me to complete a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in college, followed by a master’s degree in polymer science, both achievements of which I am very proud.
But most importantly, my love of science directly led me to a love of reading and writing since I was just a kid, and these disciplines have always been inextricably connected in my mind. I consider myself a scientist first and foremost, but I am also a writer at heart. It took going down a long road for me to understand that what I really wanted in life was to take my love of learning about science and apply it to the practice of writing—the two activities that truly fulfill me as an individual—but halfway through a doctoral candidacy in materials science I made the decision to change tracks entirely.
To that aim, I completed a second bachelor’s degree, this time in creative writing, with the hopes of moving onto a doctoral degree in the same area, which I hope will be enhanced by my work as a science consultant. As I do this, I am also constantly writing fiction, with several novels in progress and even more ideas in development, which I hope to be able to publish someday soon. I am also very active in various fandoms, writing fanfiction, making videos, and engaging in discussion with fellow fans; you can get more of an idea of what I’m into at any moment through my socials or my vlog.
Likes and Dislikes
Science, writing, space and space exploration, astronomy, chemistry, anything French, crossword puzzles, books, movies, TV shows, comic books, political podcasts and newscasts, superheroes, science-fiction, mythology, fantasy, period pieces, rom-coms, young-adult media, coming-of-age stories featuring groups of teenagers defining their identities, fanfiction, anime/manga, Neon Genesis Evangelion, X-Men, Harry Potter, the Riordanverse, The Hunger Games, Star Wars, Stranger Things, Scooby-Doo, Young Royals, rock music of all subgenres, the 80s and 90s, spaghetti bolognese, mac ‘n’ cheese, chocolate, fast food, Coca-Cola, pandas, polar bears, penguins, birds, being warm
Hunger, being cold, ants, horror movies and TV shows, anime girls with purple hair, zombies, villain sob stories, musicals (except for animated ones), allergies, bullies, bigots, willful ignorance, anti-science attitudes, fandom gatekeeping, mansplaining