Within the Bounds - Getting Personal with J. Scott Coatsworth — Tale Talk



When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?

My first story was actually written in fifth grade for a University of Arizona writing contest. It was loosely inspired by the Jetsons, and was gloriously illustrated in full-color crayon. :P And I won! There may still be a copy banging around somewhere at the UofA library.

Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?

I try to write every day from 12-1:30 PM, but when I’m on deadline, that often expands, and can include evening hours and late night wake-ups.

Briefly, describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense of it?

I used to just dive in without a plan, and I have a drawerful of unfinished stories to attest to it. In fact, some of my recent publications have come from those “story starters.”

Now I usually have a plan – an idea what the story arc will be, and a chapter by chapter basic outline. I don’t like to put too much detail into my outlines, as I find it stifles the creative process for me. I like to leave room for things to change and shift.

Where did the desire to write LGBTQIA+ stories come from?

I grew up reading sci fi and fantasy, but very rarely did it have any queer characters. A few standouts pointed me toward what I wanted to do as a writer – include people like me and my closest friends in the fiction that I love.

Now I’m doing just that, and it’s a blast. :)

How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?

It really depends on the story. On some of them, I have to do a lot, up to and including the trip we took to San Francisco to see how high forty feet of water would be for a future post-climate change story I was working on. More often, it involves a lot of googling and apple mapping. And for my sci-fi stuff, I have reached out to experts to verify some of the science.

What’s harder—naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?

LOL… good question. Usually, I don’t have a problem with any of those, but I do have a particular sickness when it comes to character names. I tend to name them all after the same few letters – C and K are HUGE for me – so I often end up renaming a few before sending them off to the publisher. Which is weird, because I have gotten used to them being their old names, you know? And I still tend to use the old name for the next story.

Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.

I’m working through the beta reads of “The Rising Tide,” the sequel to “The Stark Divide.” It’s slated for an October 2018 release.

I just returned edits on “Lander,” The second book in my other trilogy, the Oberon Cycle – that will be out on 2/13/18.

I have a Christmas short coming out on 12/27 from Mischief Corner Books – “I Only Want to Be With You.” And “The River City Chronicles,” my blog serial tale, is in process to come out as a book next spring, in English and Italian.

Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?

Keep at it, write what you love, and find your community of people who will love it.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

Totally Superman. I idolized him since I was a kid. He was good and kind and strong, all the kinds of things I wanted to be. Or maybe the Flash. I always wanted to be fast.

If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?

Hmmm… in a cabin in the woods, very quiet, a good stack of firewood, and no other distractions for miles.

When you got your very first manuscript acceptance letter, what was your initial reaction and who was the first person you told?

I danced and jumped up and down. Then I told my husband Mark, who gave me the biggest grin and hug. He’s my support system and my everything. :)

Thank you, Scott, it's a pleasure having you and congratulations on your latest release! :)


About the Author


Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.


He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.


His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.


Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.


He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.


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