Thursday, August 11, 2011

Interviewing Author Jaleta Clegg




Today, my guest is Jaleta Clegg, science fiction and fantasy author, who dabbles in other genres. She's talking writing and her story in the anthology Leather, Denim & Silver: Legends of the Monster Hunter.

AUTHOR:  Jaleta Clegg
BOOK TITLE:  Leather, Denim, & Silver: Legends of the Monster Hunter
PUBLISHER:  Pill Hill Press

Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?   I love creating new worlds and legends. Magic and science are my playgrounds. I write science fiction, fantasy, and dabble in lots of other genres, including a bit of horror and a touch of romance.

Tell me about your current book which you are promoting.  Leather, Denim, & Silver is a great collection of monster hunting stories divided into sections: Werewolves, Vampires, and Spirit Hunters. I swore at one time I'd never write a vampire story. Then I got a great idea for a silly story, wrote that; it's out in Fangs Vol. 1 from L&L Dreamspell. I saw the call for Leather, Denim, and Silver on the Pill Hill Press Forums (http://pillhillpress.lefora.com/) and couldn't resist a new vampire story idea, "Alderwood and Old Lace." Rose Hunter, retired from vampire hunting for several decades and living as a widow in a middle class neighborhood, has a very bad night when her old nemesis, Carlos, tracks her down. Rose uses whatever she has at hand to fight off the vampire and his minions aided by a pair of unwitting policemen.



How long have you been writing?  Ever since I figured out that words make stories. Words are powerful. Words are magic. Words draw pictures in others' imaginations. I've been writing since I was in first grade. I didn't get serious about it until 1994 when I found myself a stay-at-home mom of four young children in a new neighborhood with nothing but a computer we bought at a yard sale to keep me sane. I wrote three novel length manuscripts that summer. I haven't stopped writing since.
What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?  I've always loved writing and telling stories. The first book I ever finished is undergoing its fourth major rewrite. I love the story. It's a fantasy I've been living in my head since I was six. Maybe this time around I can get it in a publishable shape. The first story I had published was a short, "Minor Details", about two teenage dyslexic witches who sell their souls to Santa, and he shows up to collect. The second was another short, "Spirits," about a barbarian wanna-be hero who goes to the standing stones to petition the spirits for his moniker. My first novel is Nexus Point, a science fiction adventure story about a woman who only wants her own trading ship but ends up stranded on a primitive planet where the natives think she's a demon, the researchers and drug smugglers want her dead, and the Patrol wants her for questioning. "Alderwood and Old Lace" in Leather, Denim, & Silver is my eighth short story to be published.
Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process? For novels and longer stories, I find an idea or a character that intrigues me. I sit down and write the first few chapters or scenes. I set it aside and let it stew for a while. Then I write a short outline, just the bare bones, and write the rest of the story. The outline is flexible. If I get a great idea that takes the story off in new directions, I go with that. For short stories, they usually start with a phrase or picture or name that I just can't leave alone. I write most of them in a single sitting.

What are some of the challenges in your writing process?  Finding the time and space to do it. It takes me a while to get into my writing zone. Interruptions pull me right out, and I have to start over again. With a horde of children and too many pets, interruptions are constant most days. When the kids are in school, I usually work which also eats up my writing time. I steal as many Saturday mornings as I can for writing. I lock myself in the bedroom and let my husband deal with the interruptions. When stories and characters are itching my brain, I'll squeeze in whatever time I can to get their stories out.

Describe your writing space.  Anywhere I have my laptop and headphones. I prefer somewhere at least semi-private because I tend to talk to myself and mirror my character's expressions while I'm writing. I get weird looks in public when I'm writing.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  I love cooking. My middle daughter has the same interest. We've decided when she graduates with her business degree, we're going to open the Butt-Ugly Bakery, so good you don't care what it looks like, because neither of us can make pretty cakes and cookies. But what we cook is delicious. I also like to piece quilts and make costumes and slaughter hordes of orcs and take over the world. Mwahahahahahaha! Sorry, that slipped out. I play computer games when I'm stressed. Blowing stuff up always makes me happy.
What books or authors have influenced your writing?  Andre Norton, especially her early science fiction novels. She was a great storyteller. I've also been compared to Elizabeth Moon, another of my favorite authors. I read all the science fiction and fantasy I could get my hands on when I was a teen. Since our library was a bit backwards, that meant I got all the old classics - Niven, Pournelle, Asimov, Jack L. Chalker, Arthur C. Clarke, and lots of Andre Norton. Carl Sagan and his Cosmos show also captured my imagination. I wanted to travel on his spaceship so badly it hurt. I didn't care if it was imaginary. I saw Star Wars when I was eleven. The fantasy shows and books didn't catch me quite so much as the science fiction, but I enjoyed them, too. Reality was for the boring people.

What do you see for the future of publishing and e-books?  It's a bright future with an explosion of opportunities. Yes, traditional publishing and paper books are struggling. But look at the new venues that are opening. Storytellers have always been valued by humans, since the dawn of civilization. That isn't changing. Only the way we present stories is changing. No matter what happens to a particular industry, there will always be a market for good stories.

What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for release?   
Novels- Just one right now, Nexus Point: The Fall of the Altairan Empire Book 1. Priestess of the Eggstone: The Fall of the Altairan Empire Book 2 is in final edits. I'm hoping it will be out by the end of the year but I don't have a firm date from my publisher yet.

 

Anthologies- Leather, Denim, & Silver is just one of many anthologies with my stories right now. I have a full list on my website www.jaletac.com  I also have several stories in anthologies in the process of publication. My friend and I are editing Wandering Weeds, Tales of Rabid Vegetation for my publisher. No release dates, but I can say I've got lots of stories coming out over the next couple of years, including a few free pieces.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?  Write, write, write more. Get involved with other authors and learn your craft. Then write more. Keep writing. Write what you love. Learn the technical bits like grammar and spelling and story structure but don't let them get in the way of your stories. Don't let the lack of technical expertise ruin your stories either. That's why we have "rules". But don't think you have to follow the rules all the time. Don't let anyone discourage you. Believe in yourself and believe that people want to read good stories. Then go write more stories. Never quit writing.

Where can people learn more about you and your work?  www.jaletac.com has a full list of my published works plus some other stuff about me. You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook - links are on the website.

Thanks, Penny, for a letting me stop by your blog.

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