Interview: Guest Lecturer Holly Black

BlackHolly Black will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Workshop. She is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, The Cruel Prince, and The Wicked King. She has been a finalist for an Eisner Award and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award, and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.


As a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Workshop, you’ll be lecturing, workshopping, and meeting individually with students. What do you think is the most important advice you can give to developing writers?

To write books for their reader selves, rather than the books they think they’re supposed to write. You are your best audience. Continue reading “Interview: Guest Lecturer Holly Black”

Interview: Guest Lecturer Nisi Shawl

Hewlett-PackardAward-winning author Nisi Shawl will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Writing Workshop. She wrote the 2016 Nebula finalist and Tiptree Honor novel Everfair, and the 2008 Tiptree Award-winning collection Filter House. In 2005 she co-wrote Writing the Other: A Practical Approach, a standard text on inclusive representation in the imaginative genres. Her short stories have appeared in Analog and Asimov’s magazines, and many other publications. Shawl is a founder of the Carl Brandon Society and a Clarion West board member.


As a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Workshop, you’ll be lecturing, workshopping, and meeting individually with students. What do you think is the most important advice you can give to developing writers?

Listen to your inner bell. That’s a maddeningly vague tip, I know, but it’s the closest I can come to describing what it’s like to understand when something just is not working, or when something needs a little tweak to make it work smashingly well, or when you’re laboring over something that is not going to ever work, no matter how you tweak and nudge and sweat and polish it. I’m an aural writer, so I think of it in terms of sound; others may metaphorize the idea differently, but most of you will recognize it. For me, it’s “clunk” versus “bonggg.” Continue reading “Interview: Guest Lecturer Nisi Shawl”

Interview: Adria Laycraft

2012 bio pic (1)Adria Laycraft is a grateful member of IFWA and a proud survivor of the 2006 Odyssey Writing Workshop. She works as a freelance writer and editor. Look for her stories in Tesseracts 16, Neo-opsis, On-Spec, James Gunn’s Ad Astra, Hypersonic Tales, DKA Magazine, and In Places Between. Author of Be a Freelance Writer Now, Adria lives in Calgary with her husband and son. She and Janice Blaine have co-edited the Urban Green Man Anthology, forthcoming this August from EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

Visit the Urban Green Man Anthology site for up-to-date news on authors, art, and release date.

Congratulations to you and co-editor Janice Blaine on the upcoming publication of Urban Green Man! The Green Man (or Woman) is a multi-faceted but ambiguous figure in Celtic mythology, associated with the turning of the seasons and usually found in rural settings. How did you come up with the idea for this anthology? What drew you to the Green Man? Continue reading “Interview: Adria Laycraft”

Interview: Douglas Cohen

Doug CohenDouglas Cohen is a 2000 graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy and Science Fiction Writing Workshop.  He is the former editor of Realms of Fantasy, where he worked for six and a half years.  In the magazine’s final year, they published their 100th issue, won a Nebula Award, and were nominated for a second one.  Along with John Joseph Adams, he is the co-editor of Oz Reimagined, whose contributors include Seanan McGuire, Tad Williams and Jane Yolen, among many more.  His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in such venues as Space & Time, Fantastic Stories, Weird Tales, and Interzone.  He is currently putting another layer of polish on his novel.

Find Douglas Cohen on Twitter: @Douglas_Cohen.

Keep up with Oz Reimagined news at:  http://www.johnjosephadams.com/oz-reimagined/.


Congratulations on the launch of Oz Reimagined!  What first brought this idea to light? Continue reading “Interview: Douglas Cohen”

Interview: Sheila Williams

Sheila WilliamsSheila Williams will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Writing Workshop. She is the two-time Hugo-Award-winning editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. She started at Asimov’s in June  1982 and served as the executive editor of Analog from 1998 until 2004. She is also the co-founder of the Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing  (formerly the Isaac Asimov Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing). In addition, she coordinates the websites for Asimov’s(www.asimovs.com).

Sheila is the editor or co-editor of twenty-five anthologies. The most recent are Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine’s 30th Anniversary Anthology (Tachyon Publications, 2007), which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was on the 2007 Locus Recommended Reading list, and the 2010 Enter A Future: Fantastic Tales from Asimov’s Science Fiction, which is exclusively available for Amazon’s Kindle.

Sheila received her bachelor’s degree from Elmira College in Elmira, New York, and her master’s from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. During her junior year she studied at the London School of Economics. She lives in New York City with her husband, David Bruce, and her two daughters.


What is the most common mistake that writers make in their manuscript submissions to you? Most editors develop pet peeves as they encounter manuscripts that continually violate submission guidelines or make some other irritating mistake. Which one bothers you the most? Continue reading “Interview: Sheila Williams”

Interview: Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne Gilman will be the writer-in-residence at this summer’s Odyssey workshop. Before she took the first plunge into murky writing waters and submitted her first story to a professional market, she was an editorial assistant at the Berkley Publishing Group in 1994. An almost immediate sale to Amazing Stories followed. She didn’t make another fiction sale for more than a year, which taught her humility and patience. And the fine art of perseverance.

Over the next few years, in addition to a number of short stories published in magazines and anthologies (many garnering “Year’s Best” honorable mentions), she wrote or co-wrote four media tie-in novels (Quantum Leap: Double or Nothing; Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Visitors and Deep Water; and Poltergeist: The Legacy: The Shadows Between). In the meanwhile, she moved up the corporate ladder to be Executive Editor at NAL/Penguin USA.

In 2003, after a great deal of planning and soul-searching–and with a three book contract in-hand–she left editorial to become a full-time writer. In 2004, her first original novel, the urban fantasy Staying Dead was published by Luna. It was followed by Curse The Dark, Bring It On, Burning Bridges, Free Fall, and Blood From Stone. The first in a spinoff series, Hard Magic, will be published in May 2010.

The first book in The Vineart War trilogy, Flesh and Fire, was published by Pocket Books in October 2009. The second book, Weight of Stone, will be available October 2010.

To-date, she has sold over thirty works of short fiction, ranging from mainstream to science fiction to horror. She is also the author of the Grail Quest YA trilogy for HarperCollins (2006), and a number of nonfiction books for teenagers. Writing as “Anna Leonard,” she has also written four paranormal romances (The Night Serpent, Dreamcatcher, The Hunted, and Mustang).

Laura Anne also co-edited the anthologies OtherWere: Stories of Transformation (Ace), Treachery & Treason (Roc) and The Shadow Conspiracy (Book View Press). As part of the Book View Café (http://www.bookviewcafe.com/), she is involved in expanding the definition of publishing beyond the traditional models, experimenting with the writer-to-reader connection.

More details about her work can be found at http://lauraannegilman.net.

Once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first piece? What were you doing wrong in your writing in those early days?

I have a terrible confession to make. I sold the first short story I ever submitted to either the first or second place I sent it to (“All The Comforts of Home,” Amazing Stories, 1994). It freaked me out a little, because I knew damn well it wasn’t supposed to be that easy. But it took another eighteen months to get past the form rejection stage for anything else, so the scales balanced.

Continue reading “Interview: Laura Anne Gilman”