I’ll be doing author interviews on Thursdays and Fridays for the next several weeks. So today I’m featuring Jennifer R. Povey, a hybrid author who has done both traditional and indie publishing. You can find out more about Jennifer at her website here: http://www.jenniferrpovey.com/.
1. What first got you interested in writing?
I’ve just…always been a writer. I have a small collection of (bad) poetry, some of which I wrote in grade school. For some reason I gave up poetry and now write everything but. Go figure. But I really don’t remember how I got “interested” in writing. It’s something I’ve always done, with varying degrees of success.
2. I see you published a collection of science fiction stories back in March. Tell me about that.
(The Skeptic and Other Glimpses) This book is what I call a “micro-collection.” It’s six very short stories (one of them is only 300 words). They were all published in various periodicals – with the title story “The Skeptic” appearing in Analog, but are no longer available through those outlets, so I thought I’d put them out there for people to read. I’m probably going to do more of them as time goes on and my backlist grows.
3. I also hear you have a blog about horses! I actually grew up with horses, so I’ll have to check it out. Tell me about your interest in that.
The blog is my answer to the feeling I get that there are two kinds of fantasy writers – ones who ride regularly and know everything, and ones who don’t know which end gets the peppermints. So the blog, “Do Horses Neigh When They Run?” is aimed at other writers and role players who need to know more about horses and other equines to make their fiction more realistic. I don’t claim it’s perfect, but I do my research and it covers things like what different colors are called, why you actually would not ride your super speshul magical sentient horse bareback (A bit of a peeve of mine), how long mares are pregnant for, etc.
4. What about science fiction interests you?
Science fiction is the literature of the possible. (Fantasy is the literature of the impossible, or at least the unlikely). Science fiction is time travel. It’s imagining how the future might be either to look at things we might want to steer towards…or things we might want to avoid. It also has a lot of possibilities for adventure and conflict.
5. Who is your favorite writer, and why?
Oh, I have to pick just one? (I hate favorite questions, a trait I apparently share with Dr Who actress Billie Piper). So I’m going to cheat. I have a special place in my heart for The Good Doctor (Isaac Asimov). More recently, I always recommend the work of Vernor Vinge and C.J. Cherryh. On the fantasy side, George R.R. Martin for sure. So, yeah. I cheated. Sorry.
6. I see an alien theme in your fiction. What do you really think would happen if a spaceship showed up on someone’s doorstep?
Depends on whether they read science fiction! If not, then I suspect the guns would come out, unfortunately. Humans have a lot of knee jerk xenophobia. And it might also depend on the aliens. The aliens in my novel Transpecial are so creepy people tend to shoot at them, but an alien that looked like an Ewok…or E.T….might get a better reaction. But I also think there are quite a few people now (and most of them science fiction readers) who would invite the alien in and ask if coffee was poisonous to them. I hope so, anyway.
7. What are you working on next?
Strange Voyages is my current big project – it’s an RPG supplement I co-wrote with Emlyn Freeman which will be released by Occult Moon in, probably, October – we had a successful kickstarter and are working on the art. We’re also editing a tie-in anthology with the assistance of Occult Moon’s head editor, Quinn Conklin, which should also be out around the end of the year. This is a learning experience and I’m hoping one day to edit a couple of anthologies myself. And I do have a couple of finished novels that I’m shopping to small presses – if I don’t get some joy by the end of the year I may look into self-publishing one of them.
8. What have you learned about publishing so far?
That things take time. That editors are on your side (mostly). That contracts should be read carefully – and even then stuff can happen (such as a magazine buying a story, publishing it, then going out of business three days later without paying me…thankfully, it was only a short story). And above all that writers need a thick skin to deal with both rejections and the inevitable criticism. You’re going to get bad reviews. You’re going to get people tell you your work absolutely sucks. Or accuse you of nasty things because of the racism, sexism, homophobia or other negative traits that might find their way into characters, especially villains. So, you have to be able to deal with all of that – and I think that’s the most important thing, really. Grow a thick skin and learn to deal with criticism of not just your work but sometimes your person.