Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
J. Scott Coatsworth. I’m 51 this year, but still feel like I’m 39 LOL…
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Southern California, but grew up in Tucson, Arizona. I moved back to CA in 1988, and now live with my husband Mark in Sacramento, in a little yellow 50’s bungalow with two pink flamingos out front.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I went to the U of A in Tucson for about a year, and then to Pima Community College for 6 months. Then my passion called. I got an offer to work at a publisher – Hunter House – in Claremont, CA, and made the decision that would redirect the rest of my life. Most of my family still lives in Tucson, and we visit them regularly.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
As a writer? My seventh novel – The Shoreless Sea – is coming out in October. It wraps up my sci fi trilogy “Liminal Sky,” and so I’m really excited about it. It explores generation ships, artificial intelligence, and the evolution of humankind, with a very diverse cast.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
When I was a kid, my mom got me started on The Lord of the Rings. I finished the trilogy in third grade, and moved on to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. I knew then that I’d found what I wanted to do. I actually started writing around seventh or eighth grade, knocking out a silly derivative novel that will NEVER see the light of day. My first serious attempt was in my late teens and early twenties, though I did write some short stories before then.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Upon my first publication. Dreamspinner Press bought a short of mine called “The Bear at the Bar – a sort of Freaky Friday for the gay bear set. That was when I first knew I w2as good enough for publication.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I just decided it was time. I came back to writing after a long hiatus when I was 43 or 44, and started to go back through my old unfinished stories. I found one called Oberon, about a half-world spinning in the void, and it just spoke to me. It was only three or four scenes, but it was such a cool concept. I have no idea where I was going with it in the mid-nineties when I first started it, but it ended up being the backbone for “Skythane” and the “Oberon Cycle” trilogy.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Skythane is the name of one of the two races of humans in the series. I wanted something easily understandable but unique. And I think it nicely conveys both wingfic and the idea of royalty.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Well, I love flashbacks (which many people hate) and using many POVs. The stories I cut my teeth on, especially the fantasies, were rife with POV characters, and I’ve always loved using flashbacks to illuminate foundational aspects of a character that itherwise aren’t readily apparent.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Skythane? Not much. LOL… although I’m sure bits of me and my experience snuck in there. My contemporary novel, on the other hand, is full of things drawn from my life and the lives of my friends. “The River City Chronicles” is set here in Sacramento, and includes life events, characters and places drawn from my own life.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Usually no? I did take one memorable trip down to San Francisco to see how folks might get around if the sea level rose to twenty or thirty feet above where it is today. That was a fun afternoon of walking around town and pointing at buildings.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
“Skythane” and “Lander” were done by the amazing and talented Anne Cain – “Skythane” actually took second place in the Rainbow Book Awards a couple years back. Book three, “Ithani,” was done in the same style by the wonderful Ana Tifikorska/
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. It’s about growth, and being open to change. Most of my books touch on that, as well as concepts of forgiveness and grace.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I love Angel Martinez… she writes fantasy and sci fi, among other things, and her book Mage on the Hill is a great start to a new fantasy series.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Dreamspinner. The folks there were (and still are) big supporters of what I am trying to do as an author.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I’d like it to be. Right now it’s somewhere between career and hobby, but it would be great if it took off someday.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I’m gonna answer it by saying that book two of my “Liminal Sky” series – “The Rising Tide” – was a little too similar in the plot of each of its three parts. I’d probably go back and tell that one a liffle differently.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes. I wrote my first deaf character AND my first non-binary character, and I learned a lot about how both of those populations experience the world in ways different from me.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Oooh, for Skythane I’d love to have Gale Harold (in his Queer as Folk days) play Xander. He was modelled on Brian Kinney. Even his last name is Kinnson. True fact.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Stick with it. Don’t let yourself be deterred by rejections. And write what makes you happy, what you burn to write. If you feel it, chances are your readers will too.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thanks for reading my work. You’re what makes it all worthwhile to write the next one.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just finished Stasis, book one in the Ennek trilogy, by Kim Fielding. It was fantastic.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
LOL no. Too far back. But my faves as a little kid were Wump World (a sci fi/ecological book) and The Lorax.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
My friends / the world at large at the moment.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I wish I could have met Anne McCaffrey. She was one of my early heroes, and her green dragon riders were the first gay characters I ever met in print.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Mark and I study Italian, and run an Italian study group that has been together for more than ten years.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Right now, we’re binging “Stranger Things.” I love the new Star Trek, and we’re both waaaay into Orville.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Dark chocolate. Blue, gray and black. And Bastille and Lord Huron at the moment.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I’ll be in my grave.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Oooh… I’d spend it with my hubby. I’d get a big tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and we’d try to cram in every single episode of The Gilmore Girls one more time.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
“He came, he saw, he wrote the crap out of it.”
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes – it’s https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com. Thanks so much for the interview. 🙂
You can find all my author info here:
And my books here:
Amazon Authors page USA