Interview: Guest lecturer N.K. Jemisin (Part One of Two)

NK JemisinN. K. Jemisin is a Brooklyn author who will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Writing Workshop in Manchester, N.H.  Her short fiction and novels have been multiply nominated for the Hugo and the Nebula, shortlisted for the Crawford and the Tiptree, and have won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Her speculative works range from fantasy to science fiction to the undefinable; her themes include resistance to oppression, the inseverability of the liminal, and the coolness of Stuff Blowing Up.

She is a member of the Altered Fluid writing group, a graduate of the Viable Paradise writing workshop, and she has been an instructor for the Clarion workshops. In her spare time she is a biker, an adventurer, a gamer, and a counseling psychologist; she is also single-handedly responsible for saving the world from KING OZZYMANDIAS, her obnoxious ginger cat. Her essays, media reviews, and fiction excerpts are available at nkjemisin.com.

Her newest novel, The Fifth Season, came out in August, 2015.


From the time you started writing to the time you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first piece (defined here as short story)? What do you think you were doing wrong in your writing in those early days?

I sold my first short story probably 1-2 years after I seriously started trying to get published in that area. I got serious basically around the age of 30. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to go to Odyssey, but I did end up doing a one-week workshop, which was Viable Paradise, but after that I joined a writing group, and our writing group kind of made up the difference there. So that’s how I got a lot of experience and skill writing short stories–having the group tear them apart and then submitting them. The group got me in the habit of submitting stories, and submitting and submitting and submitting until submission was part of being a writer in my head—and rejections were also part of being a writer in my head. So I’d say it took a year to a year and a half, maybe.

As for what I was doing wrong, Continue reading “Interview: Guest lecturer N.K. Jemisin (Part One of Two)”

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Special Announcement: Upcoming Winter Online Classes + Webinar

Odboat

Start the new year by leveling up your writing skills! 

The Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, widely known for its highly praised, six-week, in-person workshop, is offering three intensive online writing classes this winter, as well as Odyssey’s first webinar. 

Odyssey Online helps you to learn new techniques and build your skills, and provides in-depth feedback to guide you.  If you’re ready to hear about the weaknesses in your writing and ready to work to overcome them, you’d be welcome to apply.

The online classes being offered are:

  • Three-Act Structure in Fantastic Fiction, taught by Odyssey director and bestselling author Jeanne Cavelos;
  • Getting the Big Picture: The Key to Revising Your Novel, taught by award-winning author Barbara Ashford; and
  • Point of View: The Intersection of Character and Plot, taught by award-winning author David B. Coe.

Continue reading “Special Announcement: Upcoming Winter Online Classes + Webinar”

Interview: Mike and Rachel Grinti, Part Two

Mike and Rachel GrintiMike Grinti is a 2003 graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. He and his wife, Rachel, cowrote two books: Claws (2012) and Jala’s Mask (released last November). They write middle grade fantasy, though they have dipped into YA on occasion. They met at a writing workshop in 2002, though they didn’t start writing together until a few years later. They live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the United States.

Rachel Grinti grew up in Pittsburgh as the oldest of five siblings. She learned to read when she was only three and has been reading about magic and monsters ever since. Not only is she hopelessly addicted to reading, but she tries to spread the habit by working as a children’s librarian. She loves dogs, and still lives in Pittsburgh with a hyperactive, cowardly Boston Terrier named Miles.

Mike Grinti was born in Russia but moved to the US with his parents at a young age. He picked up the language quickly, and fell in love with reading after he checked out The Hobbit from his school library. He’s been hooked on fantasy and science fiction ever since. Besides some short stories, he wrote one very bad novel on his own before finally working with Rachel on some good novels. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s probably playing video games. He has a day job making video games to support their writing and reading (and eating, and dog-owning, and roof-having) habits.

Catch up with the Grintis at their website–www.grinti.com–and go here for Part One of our interview with them.


When and how did you make your first sale? What is your philosophy about rejections?

Mike: I think my first pro sale by pay rate was to a horror anthology called Corpse Blossoms, back when I wrote under my way-too-long legal name. Continue reading “Interview: Mike and Rachel Grinti, Part Two”

Interview: Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem

Award-winning authors Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem will be the writers-in-residence at this year’s Odyssey Writing Workshop.

melanie temMelanie Tem’s work has received the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards and a nomination for the Shirley Jackson Award. She has published numerous short stories, eleven solo novels, two collaborative novels with Nancy Holder, and two with her husband Steve Rasnic Tem. She is also a published poet, an oral storyteller, and a playwright. In Concert, a collaborative short story collection with Steve Rasnic Tem, was published in August 2010, and solo stories have recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Crimewave, and Interzone, and anthologies such as Supernatural Noir, The Devil’s Coattails, and the Black Wings series. Her novels Yellow Wood and Proxy will be published by ChiZine Press in 2014 and 2015. Melanie is a social worker and a non-profit executive director. The Tems live in Denver. They have four children and four granddaughters.

Steve Rasnic TemSteve Rasnic Tem is the author of over 400 published short stories and is a past winner of the Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy Awards. His short story collections include City Fishing (Silver Salamander), The Far Side of the Lake (Ash Tree), In Concert (with wife Melanie Tem), Ugly Behavior (noir fiction, New Pulp Press), Onion Songs (Chomu Press), Celestial Inventories (ChiZine), and Twember (science fiction stories, NewCon Press). His novels include Excavation, The Book of Days, Daughters (with Melanie Tem), The Man In The Ceiling (with Melanie Tem), Deadfall Hotel, and Blood Kin, southern gothic horror released in March from Solaris Books.

You may visit the Tem home on the web at www.m-s-tem.com.
*Photo credits courtesy of Debra Lee Fanatia


This summer you will be writers-in-residence at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, something you previously did in 2005. This blog was not in existence then. So tell us, once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first pieces? What were you doing wrong in your writing in those early days? Continue reading “Interview: Melanie Tem and Steve Rasnic Tem”

Director’s Corner: Gaining Distance to Revise

Jeanne Cavelos is the director of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. She was a senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, where she worked for eight years, editing the fantasy/science fiction program, the Abyss horror line, and other fiction and nonfiction. Jeanne is also the bestselling author of seven books and numerous short stories and articles. She has won the World Fantasy Award and twice been nominated for the Stoker Award.


You don’t care about my protagonist? You don’t find my plot to be a page-turning masterwork of suspense? You think my sentences are awkward and my point of view inconsistent? Writers are often quite surprised by the feedback they receive on manuscripts. Continue reading “Director’s Corner: Gaining Distance to Revise”

Interview: Elizabeth Bear

Elizabeth Bear will be a guest lecturer at Odyssey 2011.She was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. She’s the author of over a dozen novels and seventy short stories, recipient of two Hugos, the John W. Campbell, and the Sturgeon Award. In her spare time, she enjoys falling off of rocks and cooking needlessly complicated food. She’s previously taught at Clarion West and Viable Paradise.

She lives in Connecticut with a Presumptuous Cat and a Giant Ridiculous Dog.

 

Looking over your bibliography, your writing success seems to have made a major leap between 2000 and 2003 (one short story published in 1995, one in 1996, two in 2000 and four in 2003, increasing every year thereafter, and various awards won virtually every year beginning in 2005, including two Hugos and a John W. Campbell award). What happened between 2000 and 2003 that took you to the next level?

Continue reading “Interview: Elizabeth Bear”

Interview: Jason S. Ridler

Jason S. Ridler has published over thirty short stories in such magazines and anthologies as Not One of Us, Nossa Morte, Big Pulp, Crossed Genres, Flashquake, New Myths, Necrotic Tissue, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Chilling Tales, Tesseracts Thirteen, and more.His popular nonfiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Dark Scribe, and the Internet Review of Science Fiction. A former punk rock musician and cemetery groundskeeper, Mr. Ridler is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and holds a Ph.D. in War Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. Visit him at his writing blog, Ridlerville, http://jsridler.livejournal.com, Facebook, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JayRidler

Can you talk about your pre-Odyssey writing process? What kind of writing schedule, if any, did you keep?
Continue reading “Interview: Jason S. Ridler”