Author Jamieson Wolf Joins us at The DragonAfter the interview, you can post your questions for Jamieson through the comments feature
All this week we've featured articles that introduce both Jamieson Wolf and his latest fiction release Garden City
. Now we'll dive right into the interview in which he'll answer some questions not just about that new collection of fiction, but about the business of publishing as well.Sandy Lender: Your book Garden City contains stories that feature elements of the supernatural both as characters’ learned, “special” abilities and as the dénouement or deus ex machina. Tell visitors to The Dragon why speculative fiction elements are so intriguing to you. What inspires you about (or what first turned you on to) this genre?Jamieson Wolf:
I’m always inspired by what others consider the impossible. I keep telling myself that anything is possible, as long as you believe hard enough. Urban fantasy has always been intriguing to me because it’s the ultimate in conflict: a normal person confronted by something they do not believe in or do not understand.
When I first started writing, one of my big inspirations was Charles de Lint. Here was a writer who took the contemporary setting I loved and added mystery to it with magic. At first, I wrote stories loosely based around his stuff but found it lacking. While Charles de Lint is fantastic at what he does; I found I wasn’t as fantastic at writing Charles de Lint. So I started writing my own stuff with my own idea of what fantasy should be. I found that I could create my own worlds or, if set in reality, my own rules. I love speculative fiction because anything can happen; even the impossible.Sandy Lender: For my novel, Choices Meant for Gods, I created a fantasy world where I could make up rules as I went along (within reason). For your book, Garden City, your characters live in the real world, but have supernatural encounters that many readers may recognize or expect you to have “correct”, such as the use of a pentacle or a ghost stopping in to get her story finally told to the world, etc. How much time do you typically spend in research of magic to construct something accurate and “within the genre rules” for a short story or a chapter in a longer work?Jamieson Wolf:
Oddly enough, I spend quite a bit of time in research, but not when I’m writing a story. I have a talent for being interested in what others would consider “useless information”. I love old myths and histories, urban legends, and tales of the unknown. I’m constantly delving into information about ghosts and spirits, cults, and witchcraft.
When I find something that strikes a chord, a story or a novel grows from there. My short story Sight Unseen
, for example, came from learning about The Delphi Oracle. My short story The Three Fates
came to me after I was reading about muses and their influences while I was preparing a course I teach; the Three Fates popped up in a variety of myths and legends and I wanted to put my own particular spin on this old legend.
While a lot of what I write is based in fantasy, I realize that it has to be grounded in reality, too. Having a contemporary setting limits the rules a bit and I have to make sure my information, such as it is, is correct. If I’m talking about witchcraft, for example, I have to make sure that it’s properly represented. The last thing I need is a coven of angry Witches out to get me.Sandy Lender: Are you a member of the Speculative Fiction Society, SFWA, or any other genre-specific group? How useful do you think such groups are to a writer’s development as a writer? And—the all-important publishing question—how useful do you think such groups are to a writer’s C.V. or list of credentials when querying agents or publishers?Jamieson Wolf:
Actually, I don’t belong to any genre-specific groups. I do belong to a writers group, The Writersville Gang, and we’re from all walks of life and we all write different types of things. I used to belong to a Harry Potter fan fiction group when I first started writing, but I soon found that I wanted to write with my own characters, my own worlds; not someone else’s.
I’m not too sure the idea of a genre-specific group appeals to me, mostly because I write so many different things. I write fantasy, fiction, romance, horror, and children’s books. While a lot of those elements are sometimes melded together in one particular story or novel, I don’t like being boxed in. I’d like to think of my work as not being placeable in any particular genre but open to all of them.
Writers groups are VERY important to a C.V., however. They’re also important for your writing. Though constructive criticism is a hard thing to take for most writers, writers groups can be a great sounding board for your work and give you good experience as a writer.Sandy Lender: When you realized you had enough short stories of a similar genre ready for publication in Garden City, what was your next step? I just mentioned querying agents and publishers, but, as most visitors to The Dragon will tell you, it’s difficult to find any of those folks who will represent anthologies. Do you regard Garden City as an anthology, and how did you go about getting it ready for consumers?
I resisted calling Garden City
a book of short stories; instead I called it "collected fiction". The stories span almost my entire writing career; Crossroads
, for example, was one of my first short stories, followed shortly thereafter by Thirteen
. So, yes, I do look at it as an anthology of my work, my stories. Having started my writing with short stories, I’m quite fond of them.
I realized when looking through them that I had set them all in the same place, even some of the fantasy stories, without meaning to. I thought I had been placing the stories in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, but in the story Time's Malaise
, the Goddess of Time calls the place Garden City. Knowing that I had set them in the same place helped me to see I had a collection of stories, an anthology, rather than separate stories. As well, some of the characters are featured in a number of stories, linking them together. Owen, for instance, shows up in Crossroads, Bride, Pandora’s Box, Magic Man, Boozehound,
. Once I saw that the stories were all connected, it was easier to make them a collection.
To put them together in a collection, I started with three stories: Time’s Malaise, Sight Unseen,
as these are the three stories that are not in a contemporary setting. They were my beginning, middle, and ending. Then I looked through the stories with Owen in them and tried to place them accordingly, as it seemed he would be our guide through most of Garden City.
I played around with the placing of the stories for a bit, as I was unsure of how I wanted them to progress. I decided to keep the second half of the book consisting of Pandora’s Box, Dim, Beauty, People Watching, Realties Real,
and Crow Dreams Vibrant
the darker half, easing readers into the darker side of Garden City. I wanted to start the readers off with the lighter side of things as the darker underbelly of something is usually revealed after you get to know someone or get to know a place.
I then had to design the cover. This took longer than I thought it would. I wanted the cover to be inviting but worrying at the same time. I can only hope I succeeded.
All in all, to get Garden City
ready for consumers, it’s taken me about ten years. It’s been a long stay in Garden City and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to leave.Sandy Lender: You have three other fiction novels completed – Electric Pink, Electric Blue, and Hope Falls. If I understand correctly, the Electrics are available as eBooks and Hope Falls is under contract with a publisher to be released in early 2008. Will you correct my facts here and let visitors know how they can get their hands on these three novels (and when)? And tell us how we can order Garden City!
Jamieson Wolf: You’re correct. Electric Pink
and Electric Blue,
the first two books in the Electric Trilogy,
are both currently available as eBooks. I will start writing Electric Red
later this year, so it should be available next year as an eBook. No date set, but hopefully sooner rather than later.Hope Falls
is indeed under contract with a publisher and has undergone three rewrites with a possible publication date of early 2008. I’ll know more soon, hopefully. You can still read Hope Falls
in its original form and the other three novels in the Hope Falls Series, Eagle Valley, Dragon’s Cove,
at the web site I created for Hope Falls.
You can visit Hope Falls here: http://hope-falls.tripod.com/
You can order Garden City, Electric Pink,
and Electric Blue,
as well as a nonfiction book I wrote called Finding the Muse,
through my web site at: http://jamiesonwolf.tripod.com/Sandy Lender: Thank you for visiting The Dragon, Jamieson. I’ve invited visitors to ask questions in the comments section so I hope we have some aspiring authors who’ve been inspired by your answers and your work to give you something to respond to today.
You’re welcome Sandy! Thank you so much for having me. I’ve enjoyed my stay and look forward to any questions readers may have! "Some days, you just want the dragon to win."
Labels: author interview, Jamieson