Today’s 7 Questions is with Sci Fi author, J Scott Coatsworth. His new book The Stark Divide is out this week, and we caught up with him whilst he was on his launch tour to find out more.
1. So, you have been writing since 2014, what did you do before that?
My husband Mark and I run a number of directories for the queer community, including PurpleRoofs.com, GayRealtyNetwork.com, and PurpleUnions.com. We started the first of these in 1998, and have been working on them ever sense.
Before that, I worked a variety of jobs, but many of them related to publishing – I was the marketing head, promotions director and customer service manager for Hunter House Publishing (it was a very small publisher). I worked for a few years at Barnes and Noble selling books in a retail environment. And I was the Customer Service Key Accounts manager for Publisher’s Group West, a much bigger company than Hunter House that distributed hundreds of independent presses.
And as for writing? Well, I started that when I was in fifth grade, and stopped in the mid-nineties when ten publishers rejected my first novel.
Funny how things change. 🙂
2. In 2017, a lot of sci fi and fantasy series are trying to be more inclusive with their characters, what else would you say needs to be done to make more people feel represented in the genre?
I love writing characters who aren’t like me – I’ve written gay characters, trans and lesbian ones, bi characters, an asexual character, characters of color, and even one with OCD. I always try to be respectful of different kinds of people, and to find someone who’s a part of that community to read what I’ve written and to steer me right where I’ve gone wrong.
But I think it’s also important for folks from each of those communities (and others) to write their own stories and their own truths. And even more important, for their stories to be published, read, and celebrated. While gay male representation has greatly increased in print and in TV and film, we’re still lacking representation for the rest of the LGBTIQA rainbow, and for people of colour as well.
I’d love to see the same TV shows that proudly announce a new white gay character announce a black lesbian, or a Mexican aromantic asexual, or a non-binary Mayor of New York City.
And then we have to read and watch these stories.
3. For people looking to read more sci fi with LGBT characters, where would you recommend they start?
It depends. I have a few faves in the “mainstream” sci fi and fantasy realm.
Swordpoint, by Ellen Kushner The Chronicles of Arun, by Elizabeth K. Lynn Ethan of Athos, Lois McMaster Bujold Larque on the Wing, by Nancy Springer
But there are also a lot of great writers working today, especially in sci fi romance:
Angel Martinez Carole Cummings Amy Lane Fletcher Delancy Jo Tannah Wendy Rathbone Jamie Fessenden Andrew Q. Gordon Ben Brock Arshad Ahsanuddin
and many more.
You can find these and more here:
4. What inspired The Stark Divide? If you had to compare it to something else (I know, that’s always a tough question) what would it be?
It sprang off the novel I mentioned above – “The Stark Divide” is actually the backstory of that tale. But it was also influenced by works by other authors—from Peter F. Hamilton’s Commonwealth series, to which I owe a debt of gratitude for the idea of a living world—to “Rendezvous With Rama” for the generation ship/cylinder world idea.
And of course, a lifetime of reading sci fi.
5. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, fictional or real, who would it be?
Oooh, tough one.
I think I’d have to pick Anne McCaffrey. She wrote books that really spoke to me when I was growing up—books that made me laugh and cry and sigh in wonder. And she had gay characters in her stories, even if they were minor ones.
I used to dream about going to Ireland and showing up on her doorstep to have tea with her—though when I say it out loud, it sounds a little stalkery. But still, it would have been amazing to meet her and to have a little time with her.
6. Speaking of dinner, describe your ideal sandwich.
Multi grain bread, roast turkey breast, avocado, bacon, light on the mayo, with a side of fries. Yeah. That’s it.
7. Where do you stand on the topic of pet couture?
I support every pet’s right to be fabulous. Except Shar Peis. They are fabulous in their naked skin.
And Scott is all over the internet. Find him below.