Interview Transcripts

James Van Pelt, speculative fiction author: Rising Through the Slush Pile 3/18/04



Legend:
Questions from the Audience are presented in red.
Answers by the Speaker are in black.
The Moderator's comments are in blue.

Mary Rosenblum

Tonight we'll be chatting with James Van Pelt, author in many genres.

 

Welcome to all of you, and I hope you've had a good week!

 

James Van Pelt has published short stories in many major genre markets, including Asimov's, Analog, Weird Tales, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Realms of Fantasy, etc. This year he had stories reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction, The Year's Best Fantasy, and the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror.

 

Tonight he'll be sharing tips with us on how to rise through that slush pile

 

and bring yourself to the editor's attention, among other things!

 

Welcome, Jim!

 

We're glad to have you here!

James Van Pelt

Thanks, Mary. I'm glad you invited me.

Mary Rosenblum

So, Jim, let's start from the beginning here

 

When and how did you begin writing?

James Van Pelt

I really started writing in elementary school. I wanted to be Ray Bradbury, and I was disappointed later to find out that Ray Bradbury was an author and not a job title. But I really didn’t get going with my writing until late in my 20s. I sold my first work (a poem) in 1986 or so, my first short story in 1990, and then I percolated along for a half dozen years selling one or two stories a year. In 1996, though, things took off. I’ve sold 79 short stories now and have a collection out (STRANGERS AND BEGGARS). Along the way I gathered a few awards. This year I’m a finalist for the Nebula award for a short story, “The Last of the O-Forms.”

Mary Rosenblum

And that is a powerful story.

 

I read 'Last of the O Forms' AND voted for it, by the way.

 

I found it to be one of the more disturbing SF stories around. Which impressed me.

 

Takes a LOT to disturb me.

James Van Pelt

Thanks, Mary! I was afraid I'd be the only one. It's heady to be a finalist for an award. There's always the fear that you're not worthy.

Mary Rosenblum

I notice that you're writing in more than one single genre. Are you most focused on SF?

James Van Pelt

I write the stories first and market them second. I don’t have a preferred one, but I grew up reading science fiction. I’m always happy when I put together something with science fiction sensibilities.

coway

What is “Last of the O Forms" about?

Mary Rosenblum

In 25 words or less? LOL...you can take more than that!

James Van Pelt

It's an SF story about our world after it has been struck by a plague of mutations. Nothing is born looking like its parents.

 

For long-lived species like ourselves, that's a sad world to live in.

 

I've written a sequel of a sort to it which will be in Asimov's this year. It's called "The Ice Cream Man."

Mary Rosenblum

I think what I liked about that story...the strength, I felt...is that it's an extreme

 

extrapolation of today's genetic engineering issues. What's Ice Cream about?

James Van Pelt

"The Last of the O Forms" is about 10 years into the plague. "Ice Cream" is twenty-some years later. No children. An ice cream man has to find clients some way.

Mary Rosenblum

Interesting.

sweet_muse

I have that fear a lot. I plug along...but get easily discouraged and so far have been able to pick myself up...What do you recommend for us to read?

 

Besides Strangers and Beggars and Last of the O Forms?

James Van Pelt

For SF, you can't go wrong reading the Year's Best anthologies. I recommend that writers read collections in the genre they love, or the authors they love.

 

Those are your influences. I've probably reread THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES fifty times.

Mary Rosenblum

I don't think I quite managed fifty, but well over 20 I'll bet!

sweet_muse

Where can I find "The Year's Best"?

James Van Pelt

Well, I teach the book too. *g*

 

My local big chain bookstores all carry them. You can order them through Amazon too.

Mary Rosenblum

They stay in print forever.

 

I'm still getting royalties on some stories in past editions.

 

What age level do you teach, by the way?

James Van Pelt

Wow! They pay royalties? They didn't tell me. *g*

 

I teach high school, all levels, and college classes.

 

High school is the day job.

Mary Rosenblum

If I didn't know anything about you, I’d have known you were a teacher after reading Strangers and Beggars.

coway

Is the Years Best a magazine?

James Van Pelt

Hi, coway. No, it's a huge anthology.

 

Well worth the money, too.

Mary Rosenblum

It really is. You get the best of all the magazines and the anthologies and small press.

 

I used to get the issue every year.

James Van Pelt

There are several of them out there: the Gardner Dozois one, also one from David Hartwell, and Ellen Datlow.

 

Robert Silverberg did one last year too.

 

The Dozois and Datlow ones are the most inclusive.

Mary Rosenblum

I have always liked Gardner's the best, but I'm prejudiced.

James Van Pelt

If you like horror, Stephen Jones does his Mammoth Book of Best New Horror in England each year.

Mary Rosenblum

And the Fantasy version is Terry Windling's anthology still, isn't it?

James Van Pelt

That's Datlow and Windling (horror and fantasy). Kelly Link and Gavin Grant have taken over Terry's half of the anthology now. Terry's writing more.

sweet_muse

Thank you. I know where to find Strangers and Beggars. Did you ever anticipate your work getting this much great attention?

James Van Pelt

Hi, Sweet. Absolutely not. I was afraid it would lose the publisher a bundle.

 

Of course, I would have the book in my hand, though, and it would be worth it. *g*

 

Opening a box of your own books for the first time is an amazing rush.

Mary Rosenblum

No kidding. But you know, your work is accessible to people who are NOT hard core SF readers. You remind me of Bradbury that way.

James Van Pelt

Thank you! I also have a tendency to not go for the bleakest of endings, which seems to work for some readers.

roe

What do you contribute to the success you suddenly experienced, after percolating along?

James Van Pelt

That's a great question. Another writer said she thought I had reached "critical mass."

 

I figure I may have just worn the editors down.

Mary Rosenblum

There you go...good reason to keep sending those stories off, people!

 

But more seriously, I think you do accrue name recognition among readers.

 

They start looking for your work and telling their friends.

 

At some point, it is a noticeable interest.

James Van Pelt

A famous writer I know suggested that a writer needs to keep his/her work in front of editors constantly. He wrote a story a week to get started. YMMV on his school of thought.

Mary Rosenblum

YMMV I don't know that one. :-)

James Van Pelt

 YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary.  When I started selling a bunch of stories, though, I didn't have any recognition at all among readers. It was weird when the acceptances started pouring in.

Mary Rosenblum

And editors DO talk to each other you know. At cons.

 

They pass names around, no kidding.

James Van Pelt

That could be. I know Daniel Abraham, another SF writer, was talked about a lot before his first story came out.

coway

Dumb question? Haven't you made enough writing to write full time?

James Van Pelt

No, not a dumb question at all. Short story pay ranges from .01 a word to .20 a word. The most I've made on a story was Fifteen hundred dollars. I'd need to sell two of those a month to be full time.

Mary Rosenblum

And even novels don't really pay enough to live on unless you hit it big with huge sales

Mary Rosenblum

or you write several a year in various genres.

James Van Pelt

STRANGERS AND BEGGARS has sold about 2,500 copies, which is darned good for a single author collection by a writer who hasn't published a novel. I've made several thousand dollars from it.

Mary Rosenblum

That is VERY good for a collection and one from a small press publisher.

James Van Pelt

The money I make takes my family out to dinner more often than we would normally go. And it pays for books and conventions.

smeagol

Greetings! Do you still write poetry? Was your poetry SF/F or some other genre? I am taking a poetry class right now and am finding that it is helping me with developing my "show don't tell" skills.

James Van Pelt

I consider every story as a poem, really. I know that sounds pretentious

 

but it isn't. The attention to language that poetry requires is vital to me when I write prose.

Mary Rosenblum

I think that is especially true of short fiction.

James Van Pelt

When I teach an intro to creative writing class that covers multiple genres, I always start with poetry.

paja

Who published STRANGERS AND BEGGARS? It's nice to talk with you. I came across your website last week.

James Van Pelt

Hi, paja. Fairwood Press did S&B. Patrick Swenson is the the publisher. He also does Talebones, a fine short story magazine. www.fairwoodpress.com

Mary Rosenblum

He was our guest here a few weeks ago. :-)

James Van Pelt

I'm going to stay at his house for the Nebulas in a few weeks.

Mary Rosenblum

Great. I'm looking forward to meeting you in person there!

sweet_muse

I think small press publishers are the wave of the future...I can see many more writers going this way for at least some of their work. I know I will.

Mary Rosenblum

What do you think, Jim?

James Van Pelt

There is a lot of excitement in the small press, that's for sure. There's some predatory behavior there that is worth watching out for, though.

Mary Rosenblum

And there are some really nasty scams, too. Any publisher is worth some research.

coway

What do you mean by predatory behavior?

James Van Pelt

Harlan Ellison says it best when he has rooms full of writer wannabes chant, "The natural flow of money is toward the writer."

Mary Rosenblum

In other words. You don't PAY to get published!!!

James Van Pelt

Tons of "publishers" will take manuscripts and then ask the writer to pitch in to publish it. The "pitching in" is a scam (even by well-intentioned publishers who will deny it).

smeagol

Do you think it is a good idea to enter contests like the Hubbard's "Writers of the Future" contest?

James Van Pelt

Yes on the Hubbard one. No on most others. If there is an entry fee, I wouldn't do it unless you think it's a worthy cause to donate money to.

 

There are a couple of huge contests, like the Warner first novel contest, but most aren't worth the time, and they won't advance your career.

Mary Rosenblum

That is the sad truth. Contests may make you feel good, but they are not going to get a lot of notice from editors.

James Van Pelt

"Writers of the Future" has no fee, the prizes are huge, and the winners are published in a nationally distributed book. THAT'S how a contest should be run.

sweet_muse

Are there sites you can check to see if there are red flags over any publishers?

James Van Pelt

Yes, I think you can get to Predators and Editors through the www.sfwa.org site, or a google search will get you there.

Mary Rosenblum

I have several 'writer beware' links posted on the website in Writing Craft, folks.

paja

What is the youngest age group that you feel can enjoy SF?

James Van Pelt

Also, for SF/F/H, the Speculations Rumor Mill has a topic devoted to it at www.speculations.com

 

Oh, gosh, paja. I think the sense of wonder that can be the root of SF is good for any age group. I started reading it as soon as I could read.

Mary Rosenblum

I've seen some good YA for the 8 - 10 age group, Paja.

James Van Pelt

I haven't heard a slush pile question for a bit. Does someone have one?

speckledorf

Mary said you would be sharing tips to get noticed and out of the slush pile. I guess neon orange envelopes and paper would not be a good way to get noticed.:-)

Mary Rosenblum

Ask and ye shall receive. LOL

James Van Pelt

LOL, speckle. Here's a note on what not to do . . .

 

This is a pretty long list, but to boil it down, basically, don’t be a jerk. Don’t flame people on the web. Don’t write nasty why-didn’t-you-publish-me letters to editors. Don’t send manuscripts in Greco Roman Woodcut font on light pink paper (and putting perfume on it won’t help either). Don’t query on your manuscript a week after you’ve sent it. Don’t muti-submit your manuscripts. Don’t forget to help writers who aren’t as far along as you. Don’t write scathing letters about how a certain reviewer is an idiot. Don’t put one page of your manuscript upside down to see if the editor is reading it. . . You get the picture. Make sure you know what a submitted manuscript should look like. Make sure you send the appropriate manuscripts to the appropriate editors. Keep good records. Take criticism well.

Mary Rosenblum

And don't tell the editor why she MUST buy the story in your cover letter!

James Van Pelt

Sure . . .

James Van Pelt

If the question is, "do I need a killer cover letter," here’s an answer: No. The best a cover letter can do most of the time is not hurt you. If you try to “sell” the story (“This is the best manuscript since GONE WITH THE WIND), or do anything else embarrassingly amateurish, it makes it easier to reject you. A standard cover letter that just says, “Would you please consider the enclosed story, “name of story,” for publication. If this does not fit your publishing needs, please recycle it” works fine. If you have legitimate publishing credit or some other relevant piece of information that could go in the cover letter too. But a great cover letter won’t sell a poor manuscript. A good manuscript will sell itself.

coway

Does that mean not to say that you read their magazine and think your story would fit into it well?

James Van Pelt

I wouldn't say that. It should be a given. Plus, it's the editor's job to decide if it fits. Let him or her do the job.

Mary Rosenblum

It might be worthwhile here, Jim, to make the difference between a short story cover letter and a query letter to an agent or editor clear.

James Van Pelt

My cover letters just say, "Would you consider the enclosed short story, "name of story," for publication. If it does not fit your publishing needs, please recyle it."

 

A query on a book to an agent is an entirely different matter. There's some good books on query letters. I like Dwight Swain's TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER.  Mike Resnick has a book called I HAVE THIS NIFTY IDEA that shows how a dozen or so writers sold their books, with query letters and synopses.

arfelin

Who's your favorite poet? Have you ever read any Theodore Roethke poems?

James Van Pelt

Hi, arfelin. I have read Roethke. My favorites are Dylan Thomas and Robert Frost. I like the Beats quite a bit too, particularly Gary Snyder and Lew Welch.

Mary Rosenblum

Jim, you worked at breaking in...you didn't sell five stories in the first month.

 

What would you say is the most important thing for novice writers

 

to keep in mind when they start sending ms out?

James Van Pelt

No. I sold my first story, as I said, in '90, and I didn't sell another for two years .

 

The most important things for novice writers are perseverance and an adamantine sense that you have something worth saying.

Mary Rosenblum

And perhaps that a rejection does not mean that you are a bad writer?

James Van Pelt

I also think it's very important to think of writing and publishing as a growth activity. You are always striving to be better.

 

Gosh, no, no rejection means you're a bad writer.

 

Well, it might, but how do you know? If you love what you're writing, and you think it's worth showing to other people, you keep writing.

Mary Rosenblum

And submitting!

James Van Pelt

The stories of folks who have had great work multiply rejected are legendary. Rejection doesn't mean much.

coway

Do editors take in consideration that novice writer's improve?

James Van Pelt

Absolutely!

 

I watched a panel where five editors talked about that very thing. They were sorry when a particular writer quit submitting.

 

They'd seen real growth and thought he was close to publishing with them, but he gave up.

smeagol

How important is it to attend workshops, conferences, and take writing classes? Did you do this?

James Van Pelt

Yes, and I think they were important to me.

 

I learned so much at my first convention. I got to meet editors/publishers/writers .

 

It put a human face on the entire process. They were just folks like me! I could sell them stuff!

 

I also took a two year sabbatical to get a masters degree in creative writing. Not everyone needs to do that, but I loved all the work on my own stuff without interruption.

arfelin

Do you think editors take you more seriously if they keep seeing your manuscripts on their desk and then are more willing to take a chance on you?

James Van Pelt

Yes, arfelin. A writer who keeps submitting can show both seriousness and growth .

 

More than that, though, if you really have a unique vision, you may need to carve out a niche for yourself.

 

Your writing may not look like anyone else’s, and you'll have to let it grow on them.

 

Ray Bradbury, when he started submitting, wrote a science fiction unlike anyone else’s. He had to educate the editors.

smeagol

Is there a special art to networking? Or should you just be respectful, professional, but still relax and be yourself?

James Van Pelt

Hi, smeagol. I'm a terrible schmoozer. I get uptight in crowded rooms *g*. So, ‘relax and be yourself is all I think you can offer.

 

Just about anything else comes off pushy and obnoxious.

Mary Rosenblum

I think that IS the art...be yourself and relax.

James Van Pelt

If you have a genuine interest in something a person you'd like to have know you is doing, then you have an "in" .

 

I watched a writer come up to an agent, shake her hand and say, "I hear writers should introduce themselves to agents. There, I've done it." Then he walked away. Don't do it like that.

Mary Rosenblum

My eyes are rolling!

smeagol

Would you recommend getting an MFA or a degree in creative writing? Or if you take enough writing classes will that suffice without the expense of an MFA?

James Van Pelt

Tons of writers you read and respect never earned an MFA or MA in creative writing. That's a path that worked for me. If you have the time, inclination, and can find a program that you think looks good, then I'd suggest doing it. But it's not a requirement.

 

Writing classes can be a trap if you think you have to take a bunch of them before you begin writing. Write while you take them. Don't wait.

Mary Rosenblum

But there may be some excellent writing courses you can take locally without committing to a degree. And I ditto the write first, take courses after!

James Van Pelt

If you find a good teacher, hang on to every word.

coway

If you get a personal letter back from an associate editor, with a question and wishing you luck on the story, should you send the next story to that associate editor's attention?

James Van Pelt

That sounds like some good feedback. That would be a good idea. You've made a connection.

 

Remind the editor of your previous correspondence when you send your next piece.

Mary Rosenblum

In my experience, any feedback from the editor is worth pursuing.

paja

You are such an encouragement! Simple cover letters and don't sweat college degrees. Thanks.

James Van Pelt

Editors see an extraordinary amount of material. Any individual feedback means they think highly of what you've done.

 

They see something worth pursuing.

 

Thanks, paja. We're here to serve *g*.

coway

The editor's question was about hazel eyes looking blue, he thinks they are brown. So next submission I'm saying: Just a tidbit of info...Hazel eyes do change color.

James Van Pelt

LOL! I don't think you need to correct him. Thank him for the feedback on eye color, and say, "Would you please consider this next piece . . ."

roe

What is the best way to remind the editor of the previous correspondence?

James Van Pelt

Well, in coway's case, it might be as simple as the first sentence of the cover letter that says, "Thank you for the feedback on eye color in my last story, 'name of story,' would you consider this new piece for publication?"

 

All that does is remind the editor that he took extra time with the last submission.

 

It could be a way to begin a correspondence.

smeagol

I had one editor keep asking me to send more. He said he liked my stuff. This happened over a period of two years. He never published any of it, but kept saying that he "loved it." How long should a writer keep submitting to one particular editor or mag before they should move on?

James Van Pelt

I exchanged letters like that for years with George Scithers at Weird Tales before he bought a story from me (he corrected a spelling in my first paragraph on my first submission)

 

Never move on. Asimov's magazine accepted a story from me two years ago. It was the 39th story I'd sent them.

Mary Rosenblum

Editors don't string you along. If one says he or she likes your work, that editor DOES.

James Van Pelt

Never give up on a story you believe in either. I sold a story to the 49th market to see it several years ago.

 

That story ended up as an honorable mention in the Year's Best SF anthology we talked about earlier.

Mary Rosenblum

There you go, folks! Write that down and hang it on the wall above your monitor, please!

babbles

In the past year I have met a variety of authors would it be crass of me to ask them to read some of my work and get their opinion?

James Van Pelt

What I have hanging above my monitor is what SF writer Connie Willis told me once, "Never forget why you loved writing in the first place."

Mary Rosenblum

That's a good one. :-)

James Van Pelt

Hi, babbles. Well, probably. If the writer asks to see your work, then go for it. Otherwise, that's something writers get asked a lot, and they're too busy writing to do it.

 

Show it to a writer's group if you have one, or join one online.

Mary Rosenblum

Want to talk about writers groups a bit? How do you feel about them

 

as a tool for improving your writing?

James Van Pelt

Writer's groups can be incredibly useful if you have a good crowd and they all want each other to succeed.

 

The problem is that it's hard to tell if a group will be good for you until you get involved.

 

Some writers' groups can be down right toxic, and those are the kinds to run away from.

 

I've been involved with writers' groups of one kind or another for fifteen years now. I quit one that was meeting at my house when it went bad . . .

 

Now I'm involved with an odd one that meets on the phone (conference call), with two of the writers in Seattle, two in east Colorado and two in west Colorado. We e-mail stories before the meeting to each other.

Mary Rosenblum

I hope you have a good calling plan! LOL

smeagol

What do you mean by "went bad" and "toxic?" Any concrete examples?

James Van Pelt

Yes, if there are members of the group who are not growing, or who like to score points by making others feel terrible, or who get defensive about criticism, or who just don't get your stuff, etc.

 

What you want are knowledgeable, honest, perceptive people who desperately want to see you succeed.

smeagol

Is it a good idea to take advantage of paid critiquing services if they are part of a professional organization, like the SCBWI?

James Van Pelt

Argh! No, smeagol!!! Ooops, did I say that out loud?

Mary Rosenblum

Ditto.

James Van Pelt

Ahem, I mean, I'd seriously consider not investing your money that way. All you will be doing is paying for an expensive, private writing lesson, and that's if they are any good. Otherwise, it's a scam.

Mary Rosenblum

You know, this might be a good time to talk about what slush is like.

 

Numbers...quality.

James Van Pelt

All right, the numbers game: Upwards of a 1,000 manuscripts a month at some short story markets, and about that many novel manuscripts at some publishing houses. Some of those manuscripts are coming from professional writers whose mortgages depend on selling work. For most markets, there’s no “newbie” division. That’s why it’s worth paying attention to the markets for new markets. The savvy writer can get a manuscript in early to a new market before it is flooded.

James Van Pelt

That's 1,000 novel manuscripts a year, not a month.

Mary Rosenblum

What about quality in general, Jim? Do you have input on that?

James Van Pelt

The quality of slush is mostly terrible. Here's an easy way to beat 50% of the competition: Actually, beating ½ the slush pile is easier than you would think. If you just do the following four things, you will be better than ½ of everything that is submitted: 1) If you use action verbs in the first paragraph. 2) If you do not use a cliché in the first paragraph. 3) If you do not use unneeded words in the first paragraph. 4) If you name things specifically in the first paragraph . . .

 

This list might make you better than 3/4 of many slush piles.

Mary Rosenblum

I was going to suggest better than 3/4! I've seen some typical examples.

James Van Pelt

I read slush for two years. It was mind numbing. I don't know how the editors who've been around for a long time do it.

 

I got so that if I read a decent first paragraph, I'd stop strangers to read it out loud to them.

Mary Rosenblum

So how important is that first paragraph, since you've read slush?

James Van Pelt

Someone once said that the editor's job really is just to find a reason to reject the manuscript. So the first paragraph can't have egregious missteps, the sort of thing that announces to the editor, "amateur on board."

Mary Rosenblum

As in???

James Van Pelt

Badly handled passive voice. Clichés. Stumbling sentences.

 

There's a lot of those in the slush .

 

Choosing writing is a lot like, I don't know, picking players on a walk-on tryout for a baseball team .

 

A coach only has to hit one ground ball to the player to see if she/he knows how to field one. The player doesn't even have to catch it. She/he just has to move correctly. Writing can be like that. You can tell when you're in the hands of someone who is in control of the language.

Mary Rosenblum

Why even deal with the slush pile? Why not go Print on Demand where there IS no slush pile?

James Van Pelt

Ouch. This can be a tricky question, and your mileage may vary here too. But, if you want to be professional (as in make money and/or gain prestige in the writing field) just about the only venue is through the editors. Going around the editing/publishing process looks like you have a manuscript that CAN NOT make it through. If you have a specialty project, of course, like a family history or a cookbook or something where you know that you are only trying to reach a small audience, then the nontraditional venues might be perfect. However, publishing on your own, and then trumpeting to the world that you are now published is not the way it works.

 

And I know there are exceptions to this.

Mary Rosenblum

There are, but not many, I think.

babbles

Format is a very confusing thing for me, put name on all pages, don't put name, page # goes where? Left or right? I find different publishers seem to want it differently? Is that as true as it seems?

Mary Rosenblum

Tips on format?

James Van Pelt

I think SFWA.ORG has a whole article on format . . .

 

In general, though, standard format is one-inch margins, double-spaced, Courier 12 pt.

 

name/title/page on every top right after the first page.

Mary Rosenblum

Underline instead of italic

James Van Pelt

If the publisher specifies something different, go with that.

Mary Rosenblum

And some of the e-publishers DO want specific formats.

 

If they don't specify, use what Jim described.

smeagol

What do you think is the future of speculative fiction? There are fewer and fewer magazines out now, and the markets for short stories and pulp seem to be drying up a bit.

James Van Pelt

I compose in Times New Roman, and I've submitted a ton of stories that way that have sold. Courier is traditional, though.

 

I think the perception that the market is drying up for speculative fiction is false. www.ralan.com lists over a hundred markets .

 

Amazing Stories is coming back, Argosy is brand new, and the big four (Asimov's, Analog, F&SF and Realms of Fantasy) seem to be holding there own.

babbles

Speculative fiction?

James Van Pelt

Certainly the book stores have huge sections for speculative fiction. SOMEONE is writing all those books.

 

Hi, babbles. Science fiction, fantasy, horror.

sweet_muse

I like sci-fi, suspense, horror, romance..? Besides sci-fi, what would be your next favorite genre to read or to write in?

James Van Pelt

Fantasy, I think, sweet. I dabble in horror imagery sometimes, but I'm not at heart a horror writer.

sweet_muse

Where can I get "The Last of The O Forms"?

James Van Pelt

It's online at www.asimovs.com  since it's a finalist for the Nebula.

 

They have posted all the Asimov’s finalists. Read them all!

Mary Rosenblum

I wanted to give you some time to talk about what you have coming up, Jim.

 

Didn't you say that you have a novel and a collection on deck?

James Van Pelt

Thanks, Mary. I have a story in the next Year's Best from Asimov's. Also, I just sold a story to Brutarian. Two other stories are on slate at Asimov's. STRANGERS AND BEGGARS is still selling well. When the legs fall out from under it, we'll do a second collection.

Mary Rosenblum

I don't think I know Brutarian. What is that?

James Van Pelt

It's an in-house publication with Barnes and Noble.

 

They do an eclectic mix of stuff.

Mary Rosenblum

I'll put a link to Fairwood press in the transcript where Strangers and Beggars is published. www.fairwoodpress.com

James Van Pelt

thanks!

Mary Rosenblum

Any novels coming up?

James Van Pelt

None! I actually have a bigish-name agent who has been pestering me for a novel for two years! I keep writing the short stories instead.

Mary Rosenblum

Sigh...another short story first person. That irritates my agent, too.

 

Well, the collection is doing just fine!

James Van Pelt

Connie Willis told me once, though, that the market for short stories will always be open because so many fine story writers go for the big bucks of novels.

 

Big bucks relatively speaking, that is.

Mary Rosenblum

Very relatively speaking, lol.

 

Well, thank you Jim for coming tonight.

 

We really enjoyed the visit and I really appreciate your time!

James Van Pelt

Thank you very much for having me. Good questions.

Mary Rosenblum

You have been a great guest, and I highly recommend Strangers and Beggars.

 

Even if you're not a SF person, the stories are very enjoyable.

 

Thanks for coming all!

 

Good night all!

 

 

Return to Interview Transcripts


Home | Writing Course | Short Story | Full Story Writing Test 
 
Send Me Full Info | Enroll | Our Instructors | Our CredentialsSample Lesson 
College Credits | Tax Deductibility | From Overseas  | Writer's Bookstore  
Free Writer's News | Life Support for Writers | Chat Room  | Live Forum | Writing Craft
Calendar of Events | Professional Connection | Transcripts | Post a Note | Surviving & Thriving
 
Student Center | Privacy Policy | Web EditorComments | Writing for Children 

LongRidge Writers Group
91 Long Ridge Road, West Redding, Connecticut 06896
Telephone: 1-800-624-1476 ~ Fax: 203-792-8406
Email:
InformationService@LongRidgeWritersGroup.com

Copyright © Writer's Institute, Inc., 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
No part of the electronic transmission to which this notice is appended may be reproduced or redistributed in any form or manner without the express written permission of Writer's Institute, Inc.