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Interview with Best-Selling Author J. Scott Coatsworth

j-scott-coatsworthMeet J. Scott Coatsworth Author of #1 Amazon Best-Selling LGBTQ Sci-Fi

Scott lives with his husband, Mark, live in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci-i by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were.

He decided that if there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality. Find him online on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and his Website.

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When did you first realize you wanted to be an Author?

When I was in elementary school – third grade, I think – and read Lord of the Rings. I loved the way it swept me up and into the story – especially in Lothlorien – and how it made me cry when Boromir died. I wanted to do that. To take people to amazing places and make them feel.  It was either that, or Rock Star or Astronaut. 😛

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your books?

That I could actually complete a story – a novel even – in less than five years. The very first book I finished, in my mid-twenties, took me that long. But then I did NaNoWriMo, and in 30 days wrote a novel. Nowadays, I do it in 4-5 months.

Where did you get ideas for your books?

It varies. Songs often provide inspiration for a story r character, but sometimes it’s something I read, or it leaps off something I have written previously. Sometimes it’s just a throwaway line or character in a previous book that catches my attention and warrants its own complete work. And sometimes it’s an old, never finished tale from my writing vault that calls out to be completed.

Out of all the books you have written which is your favorite and why?

Hmmm… probably The River City Chronicles, because it’s so close to home. It’s set here in Sacramento, and many of the characters are based on people I know. Plus, it’s centered on two of the things I love the most – food and Italian.

What do you think makes a good story?

Damn, that’s a hard one. There are so many things that go into it. Great characters. A good plot that keeps you guessing. Amazing world-building. Then there’s than undefinable thing – that bit of magic that is as interesting as it is undefinable. You know it when you read it.

Who are some of the people that influenced your love of writing?

My mother, first and foremost. She started me reading long, complicated adult sci-fi and fantasy when I was little, and by fourth grade I was reading at a twelfth grade level. But also some of the authors she shared. She had these shelves in our spare bedroom filled with books from the Science Fiction Book Club, and I devoured McCaffrey, Clarke, Asimov, Silverberg, Tolkien, and many more.

What does Scifi mean to you?

 It’s so many things. A gleaming light in the darkness of the future. A whiz bang expression of the possible – and sometimes the impossible. A dire warning of where we’re headed. But most of all, it’s a way for me to be somewhere else, to live in a different time and world… and as a writer, to make those worlds of my own.

Are your books considered a dark Sci-fi such as aliens or others that decimate the earth or something lighter like ET?

Sci-fi to this interviewer doesn’t necessarily mean aliens, but it is a good example of the genre’s extreme polarities.

Not dark per se. Thriller-action-adventure, maybe? One of my fave authors as far as plot was James P. Hogan. His Giants series was a series of puzzles inside of other puzzles, and I thought it would be fun to dig down into that kind of structure in the trilogy. Italian is the final book in the trilogy, so it has the final pieces of the nested puzzle.

What kind of TV shows do you like and do you find that as a Sci-Fi Writer that you gravitate toward Sci-Fi Movies and Television?

I like colorful shows, often full of magical realism (one of my favorite genres), like Ally McBeal, Eli Stone, Ugly Betty, Wonder Falls, and Dead Like Me. But I also adore sci-fi and superhero themed shows and movies. Of late, I have become quite enamored of Black Mirror, in part because it makes the gears in my little writerly brain spin

Sci-Fi is often grouped with the Fantasy and Paranormal genres; do you find a close connection between them?

Yes and no. Sci-fi is the art of the possible, whereas fantasy is the art of the impossible. And yet I am attracted to books and authors that mix the two, or at least their flavors – Anne McCaffrey’s Pern was a fantasy in a sci-fi setting. There was no magic per se, but it had a fantasy feel. I like playing with both in my own work too, especially in the Oberon Cycle.

If you had one piece of advice for an aspiring Author what would it be?

Write what you want to write. It’s what you are passionate for, and hat will show in your writing, and people who get you will find it.

What would you like to say to friends and family of Authors (not just your own)?

You may not understand them, or everything they do, but step back and let them do it. It’s how the magic happens. Oh, and bring chocolate and water from time to time.

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What projects do you have up and coming?

After Ithani, “The Shoreless Sea” comes out in October – the last book in my other trilogy, “Liminal Sky.”

Then it’s off on another space adventure, tentatively called Moon Base: Redemption, which is a full stand-alone novel set in the Liminal Sky universe. And I am writing a series of sci-fi shorts in an attempt to scale the SFWA wall (Sci-Fi Writer’s Association), which has pretty strict qualifications for membership.

Is there anything else you want to share with your readers?

Just that I am infinitely grateful for their love and support. It’s one of the main things that keeps me writing.

Excerpt from Ithani

Venin stood under the dome of the chapel, the waters of the Orn rushing past the small island to crash over the edge of the crater rim, where they fell a thousand meters to the broken city of Errian below.

The Erriani chapel was different from what he was used to back home. The Gaelani chapel in Gaelan had sat at the top of a tall pillar of stone, open to the night sky, a wide space of grass and trees that intertwined in a natural dome through which moonlight filtered down to make dappled shadows on the ground.

This chapel, instead, was a wonder of streaming sunlight, the columns a polished eggshell marble with glimmering seams of gold. Red creeper vines climbed up the columns, festooned with clusters of yellow flowers that gave off a sweet scent.

Both were bright and airy, but the Erriani chapel lay under a dome supported by fluted marble columns, a painted arch of daytime sky and the rose-colored sun blazing overhead.

The last time he’d gone to chapel had been with Tazim, before his untimely death.

Long before the troubles that roiled the world now.

 
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