Interview with J. Scott Coatsworth
by LaShawn Williams
- If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Not to give up so easily. I started writing in my teens, and by my mid-twenties had my first book ready to go out – a fantast/sci fi tale called On a Shoreless Sea. I printed up ten copies (this was waaaay before electronic submission became a thing) and shipped them off to all the big sci fi publishers. One year, almost to the day, the last rejection rolled in, and I gave up on a writing career. I had a busy life, and clearly the universe didn’t want me to write. I shake my head about it now, wondering what I could have done as a writer with all that lost time. I started writing again in my forties, but twenty years went by without a serious second attempt at getting published. So for new writers out there, yeah, it’s rough. But stick with it. You only get so much time.
- What authors did you dislike at first but grew into?
That’s a tough one. Most writers I either like or I don’t. I will say that I have grown to like romance a lot more in general over the last five years, especially queer spec fic romance. Angel Martinez was instrumental in getting me to see romance as a real genre, and not just fluff (though it can also be fun fluff at times LOL).
- What’s your favorite under-appreciated LGBTQ+ novel and why?
Larque on the Wing, by Nancy Springer. It was one of the first queer sci fi books I ever read, and it charmed me with its “housewife-turned-gay-whore” plotline, with a bit of magic thrown in for good measure. I’ve recently become friends with Nancy on Facebook, and it’s been a thrill to finally meet the writer behind the book.
- What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
LOL my ego. I am a firm believer in continual growth. As a writer, if you ever reach the point where you think you know it all, your writing stagnates. I am constantly being challenged to learn more, to write better, stronger, to make my writing tighter and more powerful. I hope that never changes.
- Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Sooooometimes? There are a couple connections between my two trilogies – The Ariadne Cycle (formerly Liminal Sky) and the Oberon Cycle that eagle-eyed readers will catch and connect. It’s fun to leave Easter eggs in plain site for devoted fans, and I have done a bit more of it in my yet-to-be-published novel Dropnauts.
FOLLOW J. SCOTT COATSWORTH AT THESE LINKS:
Scott inhabits the space between the “here and now” and the “what could be”. He was shepherded into his love affair with fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, and soon read her entire library. But as he grew up and read more, he wondered where all the gays were. He came out as gay at 23, and decided to create the stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. He reimagined his favorite genres, subverting them and remaking them to his own ends with a universe of diverse characters. And every now and then he hopes someone finds and enjoys them. Scott’s fiction subverts expectations and transforms traditional science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary life into something fresh and unexpected. He manages both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their worldview, and is an associate member of the Science Fiction Writer’s Association (SFWA).