Who do you like best, Jerry or Tom?
Oh, always the mouse. Ever notice how the cartoon mouse is always the badass? Look at Itchy and Scratchy, or mighty mouse… I think it's a whole playing against type thing. I LOVE playing against type.
Have you ever gone out in public, realized your shirt is on backwards, and just don’t care?
Um, would you laugh if I said it was a weekly occurrence? It' not so much that I don't care – it's more that I often don't even notice. I'm kind of an absent minded professor, mostly 'cause I always have so much work to get done. And pile writing on top of that…
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I'm not writing or working? Sleeping. Seriously — I work something like 70-80 hours a week, and write maybe ten. When I have downtime, I try to read, and yes, grab some shut-eye.
Hmmm… yes, those slogs when characters are going on a quest from here to there, and you have to find something to fill their time besides "look, another pretty tree."
What’s the best part of being an author?
When someone reads your story and just gets it. I believe as a writer that you have to write for yourself. If you try to write what's hot or what you think other people want to read, you'll miss the boat nine times out of ten. But when you write for yourself and a reader contacts you and says that your writing touched them—that's magic.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Just that I have a very limited amount of writing time each day, so I have to be sure my butt is in my chair at 12 PM sharp, or I won't make my goals. Oh, and there may or may not be a miniature Marvin the Martian at my desk who brings me good luck.
Your stories cover a mix of genres. Do you have a favorite to write?
My stories generally fall into two camps—magical realism or sci fi-fantasy. I like both for different reasons – sci fi-fantasy lets me explore really cool worlds and concepts that come into my brain, while magical realism tends to focus me more on character.
Is Autumn Lands an older story you wrote and revised for publication now or a new story freshly plotted?
Hmmm… that's a hard one to answer. The seed of the story was something I wrote twenty some years ago. I started it but it never went anywhere. I pulled out those few pages when I was asked to write something for a fall-themed anthology, and so it was initially published as part of Travels Though the Scarlet Equinox in November. But it's now getting a stand-alone release.
Did the characters or the plot of Autumn Lands come to you first?
The character of Jerrith was the impetus for the original scenes – the idea of being outed and running away was very much on my mind, not too long after my own coming out. The plot came much, much later, when I pulled the snippet off the shelf to write a full story. The original scene was all of 800 word long, and Jerrith's name back then was Jarris.
What kind of elves are in your story? The High Elf ethereal type or the Earth Warden nature type?
If I told you that, I'd have to kill you. Seriously. Let's just say they're not your run-of-the-mill elves.
Do you have a favorite moment in the story you can share without giving too much away?
Yes, the scene a few chapters in where Cas and Jerrith are waiting out a storm and really have a chance to slow down and talk, and connect. I loved writing these two characters. Jerrith is a little bit me, and Cas… well, Cas is Cas. LOL…
What comes next for you?
I am so busy this year. In addition to running the Queer Sci Fi site, I have two more works already scheduled. The first one, through the veil, is what I call my San Francisco Climate Change Urban Elf story – a novella in an anthology I put together with Gus Li, Sky Hegyes, and Brandon Witt that's coming out in the spring. Then there's Flames, my favorite story to date, about a gay couple in Tucson who is struck by tragedy, and what happens next. It's part of a marriage equality-themed anthology that BG Thomas pulled together for Dreamspinner, and that we're hoping will be out in late June.
I'm also writing The River City Chronicles, a weekly serial project on my blog, and am involved in another group project launching soon.
And as if that wasn’t enough, I am getting ready to submit my NaNo novel (part one of three), and have another novel project on tap.
It's gonna be a crazy year.
Thanks for having me!
Press Kit – The Autumn Lands
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 1/27/16
Jerrith is running. Kissed by an elf, he can't remain in his hometown of Althos any more. Not that he wanted to stay.
Caspian still hasn't figured out why he kissed Jerrith, but he's running too. Since he was exiled from the Autumn Lands, his past has been hazy, and his future uncertain.
But when a stray memory brings things into focus, the two decide to run toward something together. What they uncover will change how they see the world, and themselves, forever.
Jerrith Ladner ran down Dyer's Alley in Althos, winded but not daring to stop. He swung left down Chaplain's Lane where the lanterns cast a crazy patchwork of light across cobbles, uneven enough to give even the Night Guard pause. His lungs hurt, but he didn't slow down and didn't dare glance back.
The occasional passerby stared at him as he flashed past, but he ignored them. Several times he stumbled and fell, and blood dripped down his bare leg from a skinned knee. The outskirts of town were silent, with almost everyone already indoors for the night.
His recent past was a blur, with snatches of it flitting by in his head like birds, flapping and confusing him with their unsteady rhythm:
The unexpected shock of it.
The glimpse of the Autumn Lands through the Nevris man's golden eyes.
At last, exhausted, Jerrith ducked behind a low wall that ran along the fields just outside of town and looked back.
It was quiet. There was nothing but blackness crisscrossed by lamplight at even intervals.
Almost sobbing, he sat down with his back to the wall and curled up into himself, scarcely noticing the pain that traced the lines of his rib cage or even the bright line of red on his leg.
Ever so slowly, his heavy breathing eased and his jumbled mind began to sort things out.
He had been walking to the Smithy in the early morning when the Nevris caravan had passed him by, six wagons of merchandise from the Autumn Lands covered with heavy tarps, crossing through town on its way to the stables on the far side of the village. A stranger had drawn his attention—an outrider for the caravan.
Tall and slender where Jerrith was stocky and muscled, he was a young man, more or less Jerrith's own age. His blond hair had been pulled back behind his pointed ears, the mark of the Nevris. He moved with a quiet and restrained grace.
His eyes were wide and golden, and they'd met his as Jerrith crossed the town square on the way to 'prentice to the blacksmith. The man's gaze had filled Jerrith with something hot and impulsive, a sense of anticipation. Something that he had no name for.
Then he'd been gone.
Jerrith had spent the long, dizzying hours of work in the Smithy, hammering out heated metal into a new plowshare for Farmer Angus, the hot breath of the bellows tempered only by the cool springtime air from outside. Trying to forget those eyes.
The heat of the oven only served to fuel the heat he felt inside, until he thought he might explode.
Sent home at last well after nightfall, he'd heard a whispered voice from the dark alleyway between the Alchemist's shop and the Rutting Crow. Jerrith had looked around to see if anyone was watching, then slipped into the alley, his heart beating faster and the bulge in his pants stiffening.
The man had kissed him hard and rough, and he'd returned the kiss passionately as the Nevris man pulled him close.
Mischief Corner Books (info only): http://www.bookstrand.com/the-autumn-lands
Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.