Mol (mollyringle) wrote,

Swamp Things, dragons, and tidy barbarians: meet author Jennifer Schwabach.

Help me welcome today's actual live published author willing to let me interview her: Jennifer Schwabach!

Welcome! First tell us a little about your two published novels with Double Dragon.
First of all, thanks! Dark Winter was written first, but Curse's Captive was accepted and came out first. (On some listings, it's called Captive's Curse.)

DW has lots of zombies, because what's life without zombies? And necromancers, because that's where zombies come from. Saril is a lost colony world that has an extra element to its electromagnetic field. Some people can learn to manipulate it, and thus perform magic. A very small percentage can actually transfer the energy into an object -- such as a recently vacated body. The original colonists were criminals of the worst sort. That is to say, they loved to play with DNA just to see what would happen. So they made elves and goblins and trolls and some dragons, because, what the heck. One day (about 60 years before the story takes place) all of these people rose up and killed their creators. So now they're getting around to living on their world. Except there's this one necromancer who's been dead for centuries, who just won't let that stop him from trying to destroy the world. And he's stronger than any army, because every soldier who falls immediately joins his side. How do you stop something like that? Well, you've heard "set a thief to catch a thief…."

CC is much shorter -- more of a novella, since it comes in a bit under the 40K minimum for a novel. It tells the story of the Dimwitty Family Curse, and John Dimwitty's friend Walter, who comes to visit and ends up helping to fight the curse. It's definitely in the paranormal romance category, because there is romance (John has a sister.) John's sister, Anne, is the next up on the Curse's chopping block. So there's a romantic element. With a Swamp Thing in.

Now your short stories--of which you've had over fifty published (congratulations!)--what are some of the latest and where can we find them?

First of all, thanks! 2010 has not been a big sale year so far, alas. Currently I have a poem up in Spaceports and Spidersilk. My short story "Down From a Duck" appeared in Emerald Tales this Spring. (Volume 2, Number 2.) "Good Fences," which is geared toward a younger audience, is due out in Beyond Centauri this Winter. I also have a handful of stories available at Including the one mentioned down there in the "line I really love" question!

What drew you to sci-fi/fantasy as opposed to any other genres?
I think it was the "anything can happen" aspect. As a kid, I was fairly eclectic in my reading tastes. I grew up in a town without television (nobody believes it, but it's true, I swear!) and every kid read, even the troublemakers. But even before I was literate, the stories I wanted read to me were the ones where something was different. Oh, I read the classics, and nonfiction and whatever else I could get my hands on, but when it came to deciding what I wanted to write, there was no contest. Wouldn't David Copperfield have liked a dragon?

Give us a line from one of your stories that you personally love.
Ooh, that's a hard one. When I'm working on funny, I'm working on funny. I guess I would have to go with the opening line of "When We Slew Dragons":
Gorbag the Barbarian set down his fork and wiped his mouth carefully with his napkin.
"WWSD" appeared in the wonderful but sadly now-defunct Flytrap in late 2006.

Your sister and brother are both published authors as well, in various forms. How has your family helped shape your writing life?
Both of our parents are writers, though they both write non-fiction. I think the fact that we grew up simply thinking of writing as something real people did helped a lot. My family is very supportive of writing as a profession. Several years ago, I had almost given up on writing. My mother found an ad for the Writers Workshop In Science Fiction taught at the University of Kansas. She wrote to James Gunn, who purportedly retired from teaching it this year (the Workshop will go on, I'm told). Much to my astonishment, he wrote directly to me, asking to see a sample. He was highly complimentary, so I bit the bullet and went. Six months later, I made my first sale, which is a story in itself. My father took me to my first con when I was six, and has supplied typewriters, advice, etc. I remember when we got our first computer, he finally pried my brother off it and said, "There's something I really want to show Jenny." Yup. Word processor.

In all of science fiction (including films and TV, if you wish), which world would you most like to visit? How about in all of fantasy?
In science fiction, it would be Pern. No contest. I was completely hooked on Pern from the start. I mean, imagine having a best friend who was 40 feet long, could fly, teleport and breathe fire… Fantasy is probably a bit harder. Part of me thinks Darkover, but then, Darkover was partially based on Upstate New York, so I sort of already live there. Middle Earth is too easy an answer, but when I think of it, nobody outside the Shire has much fun. Maybe I'll cheat and move Pern down to "Fantasy," because as long as we're including TV, can you think of anything more fun that being a passenger on the TARDIS?

What's your most unusual hobby, aside from writing?
Hob-by? What is this "hobby" of which you speak? I've been known to latch-hook rugs, draw, collect dragons, and I spend a lot of time learning to walk. Three times, so far.

What's up next for you and your writing?
Hopefully, an agent. I adore the people at Double Dragon, make no mistake. They are lovely people and I have no complaints about the treatment I've received from them, or the interactions I've had with them. I think they do very good work.

I do at some point want to sell work to large presses, and to do that, I think an agent is key. After all, all fantasy writers have a fantasy about quitting our day job.

I am also partnering in a 2012 poetry anthology that will be coming out from Sam's Dot Publishing. (Working title is Musing At the End Of the World.)


Thank you, Jennifer! Visit Jennifer Schwabach here on LJ (jjschwabach) and check out her ebooks at Double Dragon.
Tags: interviews, writing

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