I'm forever grateful to J. Scott Coatsworth. He has been a mentor to me over the past year, helping me understand the ins and outs of having a website like this one. (His is called QueeRomanceInk and you should definitely check it out.) I'd be lost without him. Thank you, Scott!
Hi! To start off, please tell us your name, where you’re from, and what you write.
Hey Carissa. My name is J. Scott Coatsworth – my husband Mark and I live in Sacramento, California, and I write MM romance, sci fi, fantasy, and magical realism, with a wildly diverse cast of characters.
How did you become an author? Please share a bit of your journey with us.
I've always wanted to be an author, since I was a kid and read The Lord of the Rings in third grade. I wanted to build worlds like that, places that others could step into and feel as clearly as I felt the golden forest of Lothlorien. I started writing in fourth grade, but didn't seriously get into it until I was 17 or 18. By 25, I had my first novel finished, and sent it out to ten publishers. After a year, every last one turned it down, and I gave up for a long time. I finally came back to it when I was in my mid-forties, and this time made my first sale, a magical realism short called "The Bear at the Bar," to Dreamspinner. And the rest, as they say, is history.
What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?
I've been moving away from romance though many of my stories still have romantic arcs. I have just finished my eighth novel – "Dropnauts," the first book in my redemption series – that comes out in October. And I have a new release – a lesbian sci fi tale called "The Last Run," releasing later this month.
What is the most challenging part of writing science fiction?
Getting the "science" part right. On the one hand, you are dealing with future possibility, so you have a bit of wiggle room. But you also have to deal with present knowledge and facts, and if you don't, the sci fi readers will come for your blood. LOL… For Dropnauts, a large part of the action happens on the moon, so I spent months researching and absorbing info about what we know about our closest celestial neighbor. A lot of it will appear in the story, or at least inform it.
What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
It really depends on the story. For one sci fi tale about climate change, Mark and I actually visited the parts of San Francisco where the story takes place and walked the route to see what a 25 foot increase in sea level would do to the city. That was a fun trip! For my story "Slow Thaw," set in Antarctica, I scoured the web for sites to tell me what life was like there – the dangers, the food, the local slang — and I'm really happy with how it came out. And for "Dropnauts," as mentioned, I did a lot of research too, finding out that lava tubes on the moon would be a great place for a base, that moon dust is worse for your lungs than asbestos but might also be perfect for 3D printing, and that there's a huge mass buried underneath the south pole of the moon. Research is fun!
What is your work or personal experience involving the elements of science fiction?
Mostly as a reader. I have loved fantasy and sci fi from an early age, and bounce back and forth between them like a ping pong ball.
Who is a person you greatly admire and why?
I'll answer this two ways. For authors in general, it would have to be Sherri S. Tepper – she wrote some of the most amazing things, books that would stick in my mind for weeks and weeks after I finished them, the implications bouncing around in my head. If you have never tried her and enjoy truly transformative sci fi, give her a try.
And personally – Angel Martinez - my Queer Sci Fi co-admin and one of the most impressive folks I know in the romance side of sci fi. She's a great writer wot so many amazing books, and a wonderful friend. She also goes out of her way to support the community.
Please share one piece of advice to aspiring authors - what do you wish someone would have told you?
Don't stop. I let myself get discouraged by my first big set of rejections, and I lost two decades of writing time. I can't regret it, exactly, because then I might not have written the things I did. But I do sometimes wish I had stuck with it, and think that I might be so much farther along in my career than I am now. And write what you love. There's no harm in making it work for the masses or making it more accessible in general, but don't chase trends. Be your own writer.
Dark chocolate, light chocolate, or white chocolate?
OMG dark chocolate all the way. It's my writing fuel.
Boxers, briefs, or commando?
Briefs. But commando at night… does that count?
Cake, cookies, or crumpets?
This is SO unfair. I can't choose. Cake. No, cookies. No, wait, what's a crumpet? I choose muffins.
Top, bottom, or against the wall?
Oooh. I like walls.
Cats, dogs, or exotics?
Any last words before we say goodbye?
I love writing, writers, and sci fi – thanks so much for asking me to stop by and chat about all three! And keep up the good work with LRR!
June 26, 2019
Science Fiction ~ LGBTQ
Spaceman meets wolfman.
When his own world is destroyed, Aldiss and his crew barely manage to escape, leaving friends and lovers behind. What was meant to be an exploratory trip back to the home world becomes a mad dash for survival.
When they awaken from deep sleep on Earth, abandoned by humanity five centuries before, they must quickly learn about their new home. While exploring the region around the ship, Aldiss meets Hari, a human-wolf hybrid, whose people harbor secrets which just might cost the crew their lives.
Will Hari and Aldiss uncover the secrets of the past and find common ground? Or are Aldiss and his team doomed to failure?
“This book clicks on just about every level... a ride worth taking.” --Paul, Scattered Thoughts
& Rogue Words
This book was originally published by Less Than 3 Press. This is an updated edition with some additional content.
More About Scott
Scott was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi 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 and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality.
I'm a Lucky Bastard guest blog post