CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I've had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I've even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer...editor...is privy to witness through their words.
Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you'll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.
..The Mini Interview..
1. At what age did you start writing?
I didn't seriously start writing until after college. I had dabbled in some short stories and scripts before, but I never thought of it going anywhere. It wasn't until my husband encouraged me to write a story based on a dream I had that I even considered becoming an author. Now, I can't see how I ever dreamed of anything else.
2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?
It was either one of the "classics made for children books" (like The Time Machine or Frankenstein) or something I stole from my dad's shelf (like Jurassic Park or Timeline). I grew up reading this stuff so it's hard to remember where it all started.
3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?
Just one? Gosh. Probably Harry Potter. If I had to be extremely specific, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Harry Potter was the book series that let me escape. I had gotten mega-grounded when I was in seventh grade. For six months, the only thing I was allowed to do for fun was read. I finally decided to try Harry Potter once the movie came out. Previously, I had mocked the books as stupid (because I was weak-willed and followed the crowd blindly back then). I instantly became sucked into Rowling's amazing world. This book not only opened up my imagination, it allowed me to accept the things I liked whether or not the popular kids liked it as well.
4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?
It's probably not too surprising that J.K. Rowling is my inspiration. Of course, back in seventh grade, I never dreamed that I would be able to write anything original, so I settled for fan-fiction. My stories had terrible description, cliched dialogue, and predictable plots, but wow did I have fun.
Now, fifteen years later, as I'm attempting to write my own stories, I still look to J.K. Rowling for inspiration. I want to make my worlds like hers—immersive with the ability to provide an escape to those who seek one. Do I think I'll ever be on her level? Please, I'm not that naive. But she is my standard for writing.
5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?
When you get that first bad critique, don't hide from it. Embrace it. It's going to hurt like hell, especially if it's the first time you ever show your work to someone, but it's going to make you and your work stronger.
6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?
Waiting on the acceptance/rejection letter. It's like handing someone a sword—they're either going to knight you or stab you.
7. From where did the inspiration for your submission arise?
Honestly? I chose Jack and the Beanstalk and "rolled" for a genre from a list of 20 different types of speculative fiction. I got space opera and instantly thought, "This is perfect!" Since space operas emphasize on traveling, why not use the beanstalks as a way to travel through space? Hard brainstorming and daydreaming in the shower took care of the remaining story details.
8. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?
Jack, my titular character, was my favorite. As soon as I wrote him, I wanted to be friends with him. I loved him for his self-depreciating wit, fear, and accidental courage. He's a sharp contrast against the other main character Sasha, who's more serious and focused than Jack thinks any person has a right to be.
9. On what projects are you currently working?
Right now I'm working on a soft sci-fi adult novel through my MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. I'd rather not go into any specific details, but I will share the quote that inspired my story.
Read AJ's story, The Screw-Up, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!