Writer Wednesday – Hank Quense

1. Who are you?
I’m an author who refuses to write serious scifi and fantasy novels.  There is entirely too much serious genre fiction IMHO.   Perhaps the best way to explain “me” is to use my official bio blurb:
Hank Quense writes humorous and satiric scifi and fantasy stories. He also writes about fiction writing and self-publishing. He has published 16 books and 50 short stories along with a few dozen articles.  He often lectures on fiction writing and publishing and has a series of guides covering the basics on each subject. He is currently working on a series of two humorous novels that take place in the Camelot era.
He and his wife, Pat, usually vacation in another galaxy or parallel universe.  They also time travel occasionally when Hank is searching for new story ideas.
2. What type of stuff do you write?
 For fiction, I write parodies. I love to write these kind of stories.  I’ve writen parodies on “First Contact” stories (Zaftan Entrepreneurs) and a space opera (Zaftan Moscreants).  I’ve destroyed two of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Hamlet and Othello in one novel (Falstaff’s Big Gamble).  I’ve taken Wagner’s Ring Cycle of operas and made a shambles out of them (Wotan’s Dllemma).  My latest parody is a two-bookparody of coming-of-age stories and Camelot. (Moxie’s Problem and Moxie’s Decision)
In non-fiction, I’ve written a series of short books under the heading Fiction Writing Guides and another  called Self-publishing Guides.
3. What do you want to pimp right now?
I want to spread the word about the Princess Moxie Series.  the first book, Moxie’s Problem, was published last August and the second book, Moxie’s Decision will be available in October. (the ebook can be pre-ordered now).
4. What is your favorite book? (or three)
My favorite satiric book is Catch-22.  The structure of the book is great.  It starts of 90% humor and 10% horror.  By the middle of the bookthe split is 50-50 and at the end, it’s 90% horror.  My favorite fantasy novle is Lord of the Rings and my favorite scifi book is the Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe.
5. Besides the author hat, what hats do you wear?
I lecture quite a bit on fiction writing and self-publishing.  Learning the craft of fiction writing is tough and I like to help beginning writers by sharing my experience.  With self-publishing, I try to get people to understand it isn’t as simple as the web implies and to warn them about the huge number of scam aritists that prey on inexperienced self-publishing authors.
By the way, my lectures can be delivered via Skype.
6. Where can we find you?
I have a blog and a web site for my books http://hank-quense.com/wp and  http://strangeworldsonline.com/wp
 My Facebook fiction page is: https://www.facebook.com/StrangeWorldsOnline?ref=hl
 MY Facebook non-fiction page is: https://www.facebook.com/Strange-Worlds-Online-Non-fiction-439722529522496/timeline/?ref=hl
    
A Few Words On The End…
I’ve been asked several times if I have any advice for beginning fiction writers.  My answer is always the same: don’t start writing the first draft until you know the ending.  Why?  Because telling a story takes the reader on a journey from the story’s beginning to the story’s end.  If you don’t know the ending, how can you take the reader on that journey?
I know some writers say they just write and eventually the story moves along and the ending shows up. I have to accept that they can do that.  I can’t.  However, these writers must spend an enormous amount to time revising and rewriting existing scenes to agree with the new developments and endings.
I prefer to plan the story before I start writing the first draft.
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Writer Wednesday – Bibi Rizer

1. Who are you? (A name would be good here…preferably the one you write under)
Bibi Rizer

2. What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
I write steamy to erotic romance, mostly in the New Adult category and in several genres.

3. What do you want to pimp right now? (May it be your newest, your work-in-progress, your favorite or even your first)
The first book in my Vikings of Vinland series. This historical New Adult series surrounds the adventures of twin sisters Gull and Katla Grimsdottir who, after being cruelly separated, face challenges and come of age in Viking era Europe and North America. The first book is called The Shieldmaiden’s Revenge.

4. What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
Literature – Cat’s eye by Margaret Atwood and The World According to Garp by John Irving.
Fun – Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings.
Smut – I love Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, Delphine Dryden’s  The Science of Temptation series.


5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
I’m a cover designer and a busy mom

6. What link can we find you at? (One or two please; don’t go overboard here!)
www.bibirizer.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bibi-Rizer/845707895448516

*


On Writing…


I know it’s fashionable to be very supportive in our field, especially of beginners, but I’ve got to say, I’ve been asked for advice from a few people who seem to have no aptitude for writing whatsoever. I try to be nice but I’m often left wondering what on earth made this person think they should be a writer? They claim to be “passionate” about it (but often lack enough passion to do even very cursory research into the field) but where on earth does this passion come from? It would be as though I suddenly developed a passion for ballet dancing or playing Aussie Rules Football. I do think that writing can be learned (as can ballet and football) but surely that learning should build on some innate talent that it already there? I mean, this is why I took up writing.

People often ask me “why do you write?” They formulate this question in many of different ways, and I think there is a lot of dewy eyed fascination about writers and their “passion”. The truth is, many of the most successful writers will happily tell you they write because it’s the only thing know how to do, because it’s the best way for them to earn money and because they’re good at it. Why do I write? Because I’m good at it. I won the first short story contest I ever entered. I sold my very first screenplay for six figures. I got a two book deal on my first YA book.

I’ve tried a lot of other things I’m “passionate” about. I love psychology and helping people and I tried to be a counselor but I suck at it. I’m into business, computer programs all that office management stuff like Powerpoint and Excel but I suck at office work – I’m far too anti-social and disorganized. I love fashion but I can’t follow a pattern. I love love LOVE performing music, but I’m really not that great a singer.

But I’m a good writer, and late in life I’ve discovered that I don’t suck at book cover design. Who knew?

So my advice, not just to newbie writers but to everyone, is this: find something you’re good at, and be passionate at that.

Writer Wednesday – The Hobbit (companion)

THE HOBBIT: An unexpected journey: visual companion

JUDE FISHER (with JRR Tolkien and Martin Freeman)

Hardback 2012

This is a cool book.  I checked it out just prior to doing a Marathon of all three Hobbit movies (that’s 9 hours in a theatre, for those who don’t want to count it out on their own), because I wanted a little bit of a refresher.  And I think the book is awesome.

For starters, I’m a visual person and I have issues with names, so this really helped me.  When you have several characters with similar names, it’s difficult for me to sometimes name them.  But when I can look at the costume and get an understanding of their ear horns or the braids in their beards or whatever, it makes a big difference for me.

The book talks about how they did the visuals for everything from costume to entire cities.  So if you’re creative or a detail person, you’re going to like that.

With that said, the book was done in 2012, so they talked a lot about the first Hobbit movie and not so much about numbers two and three.  And there were a lot of illustrations in the book that I would have liked to see a bit larger.   It’s still pretty, don’t get me wrong, and pretty interesting, too, but I think for a visual book it lost a little now and then.

So my rating.  They still could have done more detail and I was a little underwhelmed with a couple things, but the book was a wealth of knowledge that somebody like me needed.  But I think this book plays to a very specific demographic, so you’re either going to love it or hate it.  And because of all of that, I’m going to give it a 4/5.  Look at it, but don’t buy it unless you’ve built yourself a Hobbit Hole to live in.

Writer Wednesday – Robert Sells

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
Who am I? Well, first, I’ m a teacher: forty-five years teaching physics in college and then in high school. I have been writing for the past five years. But, I have been telling stories to my kids, my students, and now my grandchildren for fifty years.

Tell us (briefly) about you…
…and a bit about what you’ve written…
… and what you’re working on right now.

I started writing about five years ago. My wife insisted that her Christmas present that year be a written story from me. Of course, she got other presents from me, but I obliged with three furious years of writing. The end result my first novel, a coming-of-age story about a farm boy becoming king. This book was called return of the white deer. My second novel has been with me even longer in story format. I would have my students discuss what would happen if an intelligent computer got control of the internet. How would the computer behave? Then I would tell them, straight-faced, that it already has happened and it was targeting me. As soon as I finished my first book, I started reap the whirlwind. Before finishing my second novel, another idea tickled my brain. What would happen if someone buried a treasure and then contracted Alzheimer’s? Suppose he was hiding the money for the mob? This line of thought ended as my third book, the runner and the robber. It will be published this spring.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
Brownie the Mouse. At the advanced age of nine, I finally figured out that books actually offered great stories. Up until that point, reading was simply a necessary task done to please my teachers and parents. The story was not that good, but it caught my interest.

What are your three favorite books?

Tale of Two Cities, Footprint of God (By Greg Illes), and Lord of the Rings.

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
I’m always reading one book. Now I read to see how other authors write. Presently I’ m reading Fablehaven.
Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
When I curl up with a book, I go to another world. Then, usually to sleep.
How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Depends on who recommends the book and how many different people recommend it. That was how I was pushed into reading hunger games.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very likely.

What do you look for in a good book?
Interesting mystery and some adventure. Then clear writing and consistent story-line.

Why do you write?
To create a story. Play with characters. Share with others.
If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
A composer, though I don’t know how to read music and shower stops working when start singing.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Just thoughts and ‘what ifs’ in my head. For example, suppose God made a broadcast to the world and said he was going to retire (after 14 billion years). Then he says he is going to leave Satan in charge. Where could I go with that idea?

What has writing taught you about yourself?
Not much. It’s not that I am so perfect that I can no longer learn. Rather, it’s that I pretty much knew my shortcomings before I started writing. I have so many, it’s difficult to come up with new ones.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
They assume that I am smart. But, after we chat awhile, that notion is quickly dispelled.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
Maybe some of the masters can write without a hundred edits and hours just thinking about a scene, but most of the authors I have met work at getting the words just right.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Starting and finishing. Most are afraid to start, fearing they might not finish. Others start, but don’t finish.
Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Yes, oh yes, and yes again.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
I would like to write science articles for western New York. But who would take them? Newspapers are tangled with politics and misery. Maybe blogging?

How do you deal with your fan base?
Respectfully. They are why I write.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
How difficult it is for me to write. My training was not in writing or literature; it was in physics and math. Tad different.

Anything else we should know?
Hmm… I play poker and blackjack (I’m a card counter) and always cash out each year with more money than I put in.

Book Review – Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth

Tolkien and the Great War
John Garth
Hardback – 2003

The short version is that this is a biography of JRR Tolkien during his time just prior to and during WWI, and how his time in the trenches affected his mythology.

So I picked this book up because I love anything to do with WWI and I was hoping to actually get some cool WWI flavor out of this book. Also, I’m a fan of Tolkien.

Unfortunately, this book was clearly written by a scholar. And not that that is a bad thing, per sey, but sometimes the way the book was written really bogged down what the author was trying to say. Also, sometimes, the author sort of glossed over certain things that may not have been that important but that would have helped the book connect (for instance, they talked about referenced Tolkien’s kids a couple times, but didn’t even give us their names until the post script).

So, the bottom line is this – if you’re not a huge fan of WWI *and* Tolkien – all of Tolkien – or don’t need this for school, don’t read it. If you only like Tolkien for the Hobbit or LOTR, you’re probably not going to care all that much about this book – it only talks about The Lost Tales and the Simarillion. But if you are that fan of Tolkien that just can’t get enough, read it.

So, my rating… If this is your cup of tea, it’s a must read. But if you’re not already really into both of these subjects, you’re not going to enjoy this at all. And because of that, I’m not giving this a number.

Writer Wednesday – Stephanie Osborn

Most people familiar with the con circuit of the southeast have seen Stephanie Osborn and her husband, Darrell (the Chief Mad Scientist at Doctor Osborn’s Magic and Balloons), and those outside of it are probably familiar with her in some way.  As the writer of several dozen books of various types, she’s got her tendrils (hey, she’s a sci-fi writer) in many different areas…

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
I’m Stephanie Osborn, and I write science, science fiction, and science fiction mystery.

Tell us (briefly) about you…
I am a former payload flight controller, a veteran of over twenty years of working in the civilian and military space programs. I worked on numerous Space Shuttle flights and the International Space Station, and trained astronauts too. I’m currently retired from space work and happily “pass it forward,” teaching math and science via numerous media, and working with SIGMA, the science fiction think tank, while writing science fiction mysteries based on my knowledge, experience, and travels. So I really am one of those rocket scientists you hear about.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
I’ve written Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281; co-authored several of the Cresperian Saga books; am co-authoring the Point series with Travis S. Taylor; am the author of the critically-acclaimed Displaced Detective series; and Travis and I recently wrote the top-selling science book, A New American Space Plan.

…and what you’re working on right now.
I’m working on the 4th Cresperian book, Heritage; the sequel to Burnout, Escape Velocity; books 5-7 of the Displaced Detective series (well, book 7 is actually finished, I’m just polishing it). I have a steampunk book, the first of The Adventures of Aemelia Gearheart, that’s being shopped around. Travis and I are tossing around ideas and trying to get time in our schedules for writing the next Point book. So I’m keeping pretty busy.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
You mean other than Little Golden Books, and things like that? I guess discovering science fiction in mid-elementary school and launching into Bradbury and Asimov and the like. I read my first Sherlock Holmes novel about then too – somebody gave me a copy of Hound of the Baskervilles – but it scared me pretty badly, and actually probably delayed my entry into Holmesiana. I have a very vivid imagination, and have always dreamed in color. That, in a young child, is not always a great combo.

What are your three favorite books?
Ouch. You mean I have to choose? In what genre(s)?

I guess I would have to say the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes, The War of the Worlds, and…Lord of the Rings maybe. That’s closer to a dozen books really, or a couple really honkin’ big ones. And I could still list more.

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
Oh, pretty much as many as I feel like. I can swap up books readily enough.

Right now I’m reading a lot of reference materials. Celtic history, a biography and research notes for Nikola Tesla, rereading some Holmes stuff, Victorian – I found an electronic copy of Mrs. Beeton’s on a website, for Kindle no less! Now for those that don’t know, this was a mammoth text that was the Martha Stewart AND Oprah Winfrey combined, of the Victorian era. Plus Emily Post thrown in for good measure. It’s great reference material for someone writing steampunk and Sherlock Holmes!

Oh, and cookbooks. Because I just like ’em.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
…lose track of my own spacetime and subsume into the world in the book.

If I have a cup of hot tea with cream, a snackie-something, and my cat purring in my lap, I’m gone. For a long time. Stomp when you come into the room, it won’t matter. I won’t know you’re there. Just don’t put your hand on my shoulder without yelling in my ear first or you’ll be peeling me off the ceiling fan!

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
If it’s a book I really like, I read it until it’s worn out and then buy another copy. Ebook readers sort of help in that respect now…

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
If it’s a book I like the sound of, I’ll read it as soon as I find time – provided it isn’t in my own genre. I tend to avoid books in my fiction genres because I don’t want to inadvertently pull someone else’s idea into my own work.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
If it’s a book I think is worthy, most definitely I’ll recommend it. I do some free-lance editing in addition to writing, and have encountered several books that I consider noteworthy through that.

What do you look for in a good book?
A good plot (realistic if it’s that sort of fiction, though I do fantasy also), characters that make me forget they’re not real people. Something that sucks me in. It might make me think, it might be light reading. But it has to have enough depth for me to be THERE instead of HERE.

Why do you write?
I don’t know. I think if I could answer this, I’d win some major awards or something, because then I’d know what to do and how to grab my audience and wring every last emotion out of ’em. I just know that it’s something I have to do. I have things to be said and stories to be told. And I have to say ’em, I have to tell ’em.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
Heh, I’ve already been them. I started off as a rocket scientist – for real. I worked for NASA and DoD for a couple decades. (I trained astronauts and worked on crew procedures and timelines, aka schedules.) I’ve also taught at university, tutored, substitute taught. I’m a licensed minister. A NWS-certified storm spotter. I was a reserve police officer. An ACE-certified personal trainer. I’ve been called Renaissance woman and polymath. I guess in some respects, I am.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
That’s another “I don’t know.” Sometimes it just seems to be there. In my Displaced Detective series, I postulate alternate realities (and science recently provided support for the concept of alternate realities!), and speculate that somehow writers like Arthur Conan Doyle unwittingly access these alternate universes when they write – so that what they are doing is not really writing fiction, but setting down the histories of these other spacetimes. It’s as good a theory as any, I suppose.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
That there’s a whole lot more crammed into my cranium – more worlds, more people, more concepts, more adventures – than I ever dreamed. And that not only do I have the ability to write an entire book, I can write dozens of books!

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
They’re very proud of me. My husband is a graphic artist and illustrator, and he’s become the go-to guy for most of my book cover art. I’d asked him for a piece of artwork for my first book, to put on my then-new website (www.stephanie-osborn.com), and my publisher liked it and it became the cover for the book, which was Burnout: The mystery of Space Shuttle STS-281. The title of the art is, “Matchstick.”

My parents are very proud. I think my Mom got a Kindle just so she could get the works I have out that are ebook-only, frankly! Daddy likes to read the print versions.

My mentor, Travis Taylor, says I’m awesome and he likes my stuff. (I include him here because he’s kind of like a brother I wanted but never had.) I dunno about the awesome part, but I’m glad he likes it.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
Ha! So far I haven’t encountered any! If you can come up with a stereotype, I can probably find it in myself or one of my writer friends!

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
The economy. It’s really hard to break into the business when everything is changing – print, ebooks, both, what formats – and when people have less disposable income than they did only a few years ago.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Oh, a few technical things here and there. I cringe at some of those when I read them. Most people probably don’t recognize them, but I do, having learned from Travis. Eventually I’ll have to go back and tidy up the earlier works and issue new editions, I think.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
I have two film projects that are stalled at the funding stage, what with the current economy. We have people lined up to direct, act, do SFX, all that sort of stuff. We just need “angels.” I’m excited about them, and want to get them off the ground and rolling. One is a short – we want to enter it into some film festivals, and maybe use it as the pilot for an anthology series. We only need $7000 – but people either want to do big stuff, or not at all. The other one is a feature film version of Burnout, and that is more like $50 million. A bit bigger. If anybody is interested in being the producer for the short, contact me. My email is steph-osborn@sff.net.

How do you deal with your fan base?
Oh, I think my fans are cool! For all that I’ve been doing this for a few years now, it still surprises me to find I have a hardcore fan base. I love it!

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
Well, I’m actually a very shy and sensitive person. Everybody thinks I’m really outgoing and an extrovert, but when I take the psych tests, I’m borderline extrovert/introvert. I get stage fright.

But years ago I sort of developed a character – like acting – that was a facet of my personality, that I used when I had to talk in public, to help me through the stage fright. Over time that character just developed more and more until I was comfortable with it, and now it really is me. It’s just like, I flip a switch and go from this homebody sitting at her computer to this vivacious, outgoing person at a convention. I still get stage fright, but I’ve learned to channel the adrenaline in more productive ways, like being energetic and upbeat, and thinking fast on my feet.

But I pay for it after. It’s not uncommon for me to come home from a convention and sleep for the better part of a day because the effort to be “on” for an entire weekend has worn me out. So if you come up to me and I look tired, I really am. If I seem absent-minded or slightly frazzled, I am.

Anything else we should know?
Um, let’s see. My first children’s book, StarSong, is out, through Chromosphere Press, and it’s available in paperback and ebook. I’ve gotten my second EPIC Award Finalist designation, the first one having been for book 2 of the Cresperian Saga, The Y Factor in 2010; my second is for the short story, The Fetish. (It’s set in the Burnout universe.) A New American Space Plan is doing really really well in sales! Book 4 of the Displaced Detective series, Endings and Beginnings, is being released this next week in print.
And I’m still going!

Writer Wednesday – Kathryn Sullivan

I first met Kathryn at a convention a couple years ago, intrigued by her “Chicks Dig Time Lords” antho.  Since then we’ve run into each other in several places here and there, most recently inside the covers of Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells.  This is her.

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
I’m Kathryn Sullivan. Hi!

Tell us (briefly) about you…
I write young adult fantasy and science fiction. I’ve been writing since I was young and had several short stories published before a publisher decided to take a chance on my books. I’m also owned by a large cockatoo.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
THE CRYSTAL THRONE and TALKING TO TREES are my young adult fantasy books with wizards, elves and talking horses. AGENTS AND ADEPTS is a collection of my short stories – some fantasy, some science fiction – and the talking horses snuck in there as well. I have a short story in CLOCKWORK SPELLS AND MAGICAL BELLS with elves and dwarves, and my children’s picture book, MICHAEL AND THE ELF, was just released by a different publisher.

I’m a big Doctor Who fan and I have a short story in a Doctor Who anthology by Big Finish, an essay in the Hugo-winning CHICKS DIG TIME LORDS and a review in OUTSIDE IN. More information can be found at my website: http://kathrynsullivan.com

…and what you’re working on right now.
I’ve been working on two projects. The first is a YA science fiction book set on a colony planet, and the second is a continuation of my galactic agents series from three short stories in AGENTS AND ADEPTS.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
My family were big readers. There was a bookcase full of books in the bedroom my sister and I shared and my parents expected us to read if we got up early on Saturday. There were shelves of books in our basement – my brother’s collection of Hardy Boys, my sisters’ collection of Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Judy Bolton and others, my mother’s set of the Oz books and my father’s big collection of science fiction and fantasy. I remember my mother reading the Oz books to my younger sister and I.

I also have fond memories of my public library, which when I was very small was inside the fire station.

What are your three favorite books?
Only three? My three favorite books from my past, the ones which influenced me, are Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS, James Schmitz’s AGENT OF VEGA, and James White’s HOSPITAL STATION. Favorite ones I like to revisit are Janet Kagan’s MIRABILE and Diana Wynne Jones’ HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and YEAR OF THE GRIFFIN.

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
Usually three. Right now I just finished IRON HEARTED VIOLET by Kelly Barnhill, on my Kindle I’m reading THE CROW GOD’S GIRL by Patrice Sarath, and the book beside my bed is WORLDSOUL by Liz Williams.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
Lose all track of time.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
And the answer depends on what mood I’m in. When I was in my teens and twenties I would re-read THE LORD OF THE RINGS once a year. Now I might go on a Janet Kagan binge and re-read all her stories. Or I’ll look at the stack of new books waiting-to-be-read and instead re-read all of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles series or Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden universe. Or Diane Duane’s Young Wizard series. Or…

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Eventually. I’ve got a big stack of books in the to-be-read pile. But it depends on who is doing the recommending and if their taste is similar to mine. I don’t pay any attention to NYT bestsellers.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very. I’m usually on panels about new YA books and I’m the one who will bring a list. And I let my local public library know if I’ve found a new author or book they should get.

What do you look for in a good book?
Characters that catch my interest, good world-building and an engaging plot.

Why do you write?
I started writing when I was 14 because the science fiction and fantasy of that time had very few female main characters. I wanted more stories with characters I could identify with. I continue to write because I keep coming up with characters and stories that demand to be told. When characters start stomping around in your head demanding that you tell their stories, believe me, you tell their stories.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
I just retired last year from the job I loved as an academic librarian. I wanted to be a librarian in the moon colony, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
From everything around me. Newspaper or magazine articles might trigger a story idea. I look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day site (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html ) every morning and check a couple of anthropology news sites as those have also been good story triggers. Sometimes just an interesting picture will do it.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
That I need deadlines.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
Two of my sisters have been freelance artists, so I know they understand how much work it is. I’m sure some of my friends and co-workers probably thought I was very antisocial because I always seemed to be busy when they wanted to do things. But now I have friends who understand there are times when I’m busy and times when I need a break.

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
I keep hearing that all writers are rich and that they make a lot of money when a book is published. I’d like it to be true, but, sadly, it’s not.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
Patience, persistence, and knowing when you need editing. Self-publishing has become so easy for some that they take no time to make their work the best they can before rushing into print. Some don’t even try sending their work out to publishers. Others try the big traditional presses but not the smaller presses or e-publishers. There are a number of good small presses and e-publishers who are looking for authors.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Oh, lots. I sent my first book out when I was fourteen – taught myself how to type, looked up the markets – but neglected to see what the standard manuscript format at the time was. Single-spaced, typed on both sides of the paper – I’m not surprised that one was rejected as quickly as it was.

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
There’s been a few audio and media projects I would have liked to have been involved with. I would have loved to have written a Doctor Who book but I couldn’t think of a book-length idea.

How do you deal with your fan base?
I have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/KathrynSullivan.author) and a webpage (http://kathrynsullivan.com) . I also go to several science fiction conventions and young writers conferences during the year. I enjoy talking with fans; they re-energize me to get back to my next story.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
I’m not sure what they’d be surprised by. Maybe that my cockatoo plays catch. She has a great pitching beak and the signal when she wants to play is often her toy landing on the laptop keyboard. Though that’s mentioned on my Facebook page. That along with being a Doctor Who fan, I’m also a big MacGyver and Stargate SG-1 fan. Though recently I’ve been watching more Phineas & Ferb, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, The Legend of Korra and Transformers Prime. It’s probably no surprise that I’m looking forward to THE HOBBIT.

Anything else we should know?
For those who are interested, I have a list of conventions that I’ll be attending on my webpage (http://kathrynsullivan.com/appearances ).

Thank you!

 

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