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?
Forty-nine. I was on a long layover at Reagan National in August 2013 when an inspiration hit me. Writing wasn't on my radar at all until that moment, but it was so vivid I had to write it down immediately; it's still with me, and I'm still working on it. Prior to that, my only actual fiction writing was my involvement in an APA, or amateur press association, for about a year in the early 90s, primarily because a friend was also involved. Sinobrody 0.9.8 is my first published work.
2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?
I have no idea. I discovered this wonderful edifice called a "library" about the time I was 6, and spent my summers there; I think I was the youngest person to ever request an interlibrary loan there. It was unusual for a small rural library in 1969 to have a section for speculative fiction, and I think I read just about everything that had a rocket ship or atom symbol on the spine. The first book I can clearly recall is The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin; I was the first person to check it out when a copy arrived in the summer of 1970.
3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?
The Left Hand of Darkness. Le Guin's narrative powers were at their peak, and the exploration of a truly gender-neutral society was heady stuff for a 7-year-old boy. But realizing the implications of Estraven entering kemmer with Genly, the only other person around, was my first "whoa moment" from reading SF.
4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?
I can't say there is one for me. I sometimes joke about the Muses collectively deciding, "Him. That's the guy," and showing up uninvited to whisper, cajole, declaim, and dictate to me while raiding my stockpile of Cheetos.
5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?
Write it down. Just do it. Digital docs, typewritten, handwritten notebooks, cuneiform tablets...if you don't discipline yourself to Just Write It, regardless of the format or whether you'd rather just vegetate on the couch, you'll never get to where writing is the seemingly-natural action so many writers exhibit. And that's when the magic *really* starts to happen. You want to get there, trust me, you do, so Just Write It.
6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?
Waiting for feedback. Urgh. A zillion what-ifs chasing each other—your hopes, your expectations, and your fears—around. Developing a small, reliable group of Beta readers is something every writer should do, they'll tell you what's not quite right before you share it with the world at large.
7. If applicable, did you have a favorite character (to write) from your story? If so, what sets them apart from the others?
Sinobrody himself. Getting into his head to figure out *why* he was doing what he was doing was a remarkable experience. He has a history that is barely touched on in the story, but it informs everything about him.
8. On what projects are you currently working?
That inspiration at the airport has taken on a life of its own, becoming a series of seven novels and a growing number of shorter works, in an alternate history setting. There are stories to be told over a 10,000 year span, from the Neolithic to a few hundred years in the future. I hope to have the first novel, Niall's Vale, in publishable shape by the end of 2015. I also have something in mind for the second volume of Twice Upon A Time.
Read Tracy's story, Sinobrody 0.9.8, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!