Lisa: We’re so pleased to welcome author J. Scott Coatsworth to The Novel Approach today to celebrate the release of his new novel, Lander, from Dreamspinner Press.
Scott, let’s start by having you tell us a bit about yourself that most people don’t know.
J. Scott: My first published work wasn’t my short story in A Taste of Honey in 2014. It was a book about teens and parents called “Raising Each Other” that came out of essays we wrote in junior year and then put into book form with a local publisher. You can still find copies on Amazon, although the publisher has since shut down.
Lisa: If you could spend some real-life time with one of the characters in Lander, who would you choose and why?
J.S.: I really like Jameson’s ex, Jessa. She’s a no-nonsense, take charge person who nevertheless has a real heart, and who has a few touching moments with Xander and Jameson throughout the book. She kind of surprised me when she showed up at the start, and I had a lot of fun writing her.
Lisa: Let’s take off your author cap and put on your reader cap for a moment: what do you look for in a book, what sort of protagonists do you love, and do you have a favorite genre/sub-genre?
J.S.: I like stories that are epic in scope – that take me on an adventure ride with lots of unexpected twists and turns. I’m especially partial to stories that mix sci fi and fantasy, like Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series, and epic fantasies where each book is 1,000 pages or longer.
Lisa: What are your least and most favorite things about being an author?
J.S.: Oooh. I love writing, and talking with people about writing. But I hate waiting on a submission. Will they take it? Is it good enough? Especially when it goes past the standard response time. I start to climb the walls.
Lisa: Have you ever written a line, paragraph, or passage, and thought, “Darn, that’s pretty amazing, even if I do say so myself”? What was it?
J.S.: LOL sort of? I wrote the first three scenes of the story that would eventually become Skythane, and then I put them away. When I came back to the story some twenty years later, I pulled it out and read it, and it was like “damn, this is pretty good.” Which wasn’t the case with everything I wrote back then. But this was the first story I wrote that dealt honestly with being gay, so it had a life to it that much of my other earlier work lacked.
Lisa: What’s the one genre/sub-genre you haven’t written yet, but would love to? What’s kept you from it so far?
J.S.: Hmmm. I’m kinda fascinated by the whole steampunk thing, but I don’t know that I really know enough about it to do it justice, you know? So that’s something I might eventually try my hand at.
Lisa: If you could choose one of your books to be adapted for the silver screen, which would you choose? Why do you think it would translate well to film?
J.S.: I think The Stark Divide would make a fantastic film. It’s really epic, and the visuals of Forever, a generation ship, would look fricking amazing in three dimensions.
Lisa: What’s the one book you’ve read in your lifetime that you wish you’d written? Why did this particular book leave such a lasting impact on you?
J.S.: Daughter of the Empire by Janny Wurts and Raymond Feist – fantastic book, with the most amazing plot. I wish I could write plots like that.
Lisa: What books and authors would you say influenced you to become a writer yourself?
J.S.: Peter Hamilton, for one, with his amazing future tales – I mean, trains to travel between worlds, come on! Anne McCaffrey for her deft interposing of sci fi, fantasy, worldbuilding and amazing characters. And Sherri Tepper for the way her books always made me think for days and days and days.
Lisa: What’s the best piece of writing/author advice you’ve received that you’d pass on to someone else just getting started in the business?
J.S.: Write what you love. Don’t try to catch the popularity train – the odds are it will already have left the station by the time you get there. So go for what fires you up, and the passion will carry you through.
Lisa: If you won the lottery, what’s the first completely self-indulgent thing you’d do?
J.S.: Tough question. Probably buy a condo in Portland. We love that town, but it has gotten soooo expensive. There’s this great fountain in the heart of the Pearl District that we visit every time we are there. The water draws down to nothing, and then rushes back out, and the kids love it. It’s so fun to watch. That’s what Portland is like.
Lisa: If you could sit down to dinner with any author, past or present, who would you choose, and why? What are some things you’d want to chat about?
J.S.: I wish I could have met Anne McCaffrey. I had these dreams of finding out where she lived and knocking on her door. I know, it sounds a bit stalkerish. But I dreamed about the amazing writerly conversations we would have.
Lisa: If you were stranded on a desert island, what are three things you’d absolutely have to have?
J.S.: My husband, Mark. My Robotech DVD collection. And a laptop with an endless power supply so I could write.
Lisa: If you could travel back in time, with all your years of experience and wisdom intact, what advice would you give to your teenage self?
J.S.: Don’t give up on your writing. Even when everyone rejects you, keep going. Find a way through it.
Lisa: Thanks so much for taking the time out of our tour schedule to be here today, Scott, it’s been great chatting with you!
Readers, here’s a bit more info about the book, and a short excerpt to whet your appetites. And, don’t forget to check out the giveaway details too!
About the Book
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Tuesday, February 13th, 2018
Length: 294 Pages
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Genres: Sci Fi, MM Romance
Pairings: MM, also includes FF
Tropes: second chances, ex-lovers
Keywords/Categories: Wingfic, Gay, LGBT fiction, Queer Sci Fi
Series Title: Oberon Cycle
Position in Series: Book Two
Necessary to Read Previous Books: Yes
Blurb: Sometimes the world needs saving twice.
In the sequel to the Rainbow-Award-winning Skythane, Xander and Jameson thought they’d fulfilled their destiny when they brought the worlds of Oberon and Titania back together, but their short-lived moment of triumph is over.
Reunification has thrown the world into chaos. A great storm ravaged Xander’s kingdom of Gaelan, leaving the winged skythane people struggling to survive. Their old enemy, Obercorp, is biding its time, waiting to strike. And to the north, a dangerous new adversary gathers strength, while an unexpected ally awaits them.
In the midst of it all, Xander’s ex Alix returns, and Xander and Jameson discover that their love for each other may have been drug-induced.
Are they truly destined for each other, or is what they feel concocted? And can they face an even greater challenge when their world needs them most?
About the Series
Xander is a skythane man whose wings have always been a liability on the lander-dominated half world of Oberon.
Jameson is a lander who has been sent to Oberon to find out why the supply of the psycho-amoratic drug pith has dropped off.
What neither knows is that they have a shared destiny that will change the two of them – and all of Oberon – forever.
Xander stared at the torrent of water pouring over the cavern entrance. Somewhere out there, Quince and the others were lost in the storm.
“What happened to everyone else?” Jameson shouted, putting his hand on Xander’s shoulder.
“I don’t know. Last I saw them was before the lightning strike.” How had things changed so quickly?
Jameson started toward the exit. “We have to look for them!”
Xander pulled him back.
Jameson’s eyes were wild.
He squeezed Jameson’s hands, trying to reassure him. “Hey, calm down. There’s nothing we can do right now.”
“We already lost Morgan.” Jameson’s eyes pleaded with him. “I can’t lose the rest of them.”
Xander shook his head. “It’s no use. We’ll never find them in this tempest. They’re seasoned veterans. They can take care of themselves. We’ll go looking after the storm passes.” The loss of Morgan weighed on him too, though he was less and less certain that Morgan had been a human boy at all.
Jameson looked doubtful.
Xander felt it too, but there really was nothing they could do. “Hey, it’s gonna be all right.” He pulled Jameson to him, enfolding the two of them with his wings. Jameson was soaked, but Xander didn’t care.
Jameson nodded against his chest. “You’re right. Gods, I know you’re right. I’m sorry. I thought we were done with all this.”
Xander held him out at arm’s length. “Gods, huh? We’re doing the plural thing now?”
Jameson gave him a half smile. “Trying it out? When in Rome….”
“How’s your hearing?”
Jameson cocked his head. “It’s better. But everything sounds muffled.”
Xander nodded. “I can tell.”
Jameson blushed. “Am I talking too loud?”
“Just a little.”
Jameson smiled sheepishly. “It’s weird. It feels like my ears are full of water.”
Xander kissed him gently. “It’ll pass.” He looked around the cavern at last, his eyes gradually adjusting to the dim blue light.
The place was a faeryland, filled with rows of golden stalactites and stalagmites, like the bulwarks of an eldritch castle. Each one was a miracle of minute detail, like candle wax dripped from above. The whole cavern was lit by a turquoise-blue glow.
Xander looked around for the source. It came from pools of water on either side of the cavern. The scintillating light shimmered along the walls, creating complex, ever-changing patterns.
“Look, Jameson… it’s beautiful.” They were both a muddy mess. “We’re stuck here until the storm blows itself out. Why don’t we get cleaned up and try to rest? Then we can figure out what to do next. We have a long flight to Gaelan.” He was still shivering from the rain.
“A bath sounds like heaven.” Jameson let Xander lead him to one of the glowing ponds.
“Do you think it’s safe to go in?” Xander asked, pulling off his boots and testing the water with his toes. It was warm.
Jameson looked queasy, but then he smiled. “They called them faery ponds. There’s a microscopic organism that makes the light. It’s harmless, but beautiful.” He grinned. “Romantic, even.”
Ah, that’s how you knew this place. “You’ve been here before, haven’t you?” he said, slowly and clearly, gesturing to indicate Jameson and the cavern. His own generational memories were still fleeting, occasional things.
Jameson’s smile fled. He shrugged. “Not me personally….”
“Shhh. I know.” If he closed his eyes and focused, he could see this place too, but he seemed to be able to block them out when they were inconvenient. “Too many memories.” Xander pointed at his head.
Jameson nodded. He looked relieved. He reached out and pulled Xander close, his hands warm on Xander’s waist.
Xander slipped his arms around Jameson and kissed him once, twice. He wrinkled his nose. “You’re filthy and you stink! So do I.” He held up his shirt as proof. It was covered in mud stains.
Jameson laughed. “We can fix that.”
He helped Jameson unlace the sides of his shirt, pulling it off to reveal the naked skin underneath. Jameson returned the favor, his hands lingering for a moment before withdrawing to pull down his own pants.
They shucked their wet and dirty clothes and descended into the water. It was surprisingly warm, silky and smooth around Xander’s waist.
The pool was about three meters across and sloped down to about a meter deep at the far end. There was a warm, gentle current drifting past Xander’s legs, and the stone beneath his feet had been worn smooth by water and time.
Xander washed the grime off his skin, and it drifted off into the water around him.
Jameson pulled him in deeper and gestured for him to lower his head.
Xander lay in Jameson’s arms, and warm water washed over him, carrying the mud and dirt out of his hair. Jameson massaged his scalp, pulling away the twigs and bits of gunk he’d accumulated on the mad run through the forest in the storm.
Xander’s desire threatened to overwhelm him at Jameson’s gentle touch. He dipped his face into the water and rinsed off. It was so fucking good to get clean.
He shook his head, splashing Jameson, who shot him an aggrieved look.
The look turned into a wicked grin, and Jameson splashed him back. Then they were going after each other and laughing, a fine mist of water flying through the air.
Damn, it’s good to hear you laugh again. Xander grabbed Jameson and kissed him, harder this time, and Jameson’s body responded. They fell back into the water, and Jameson was hard against him, his own need naked before Xander’s desire.
After all that had happened, Xander needed to feel human and alive again. He tugged Jameson back to the shallow part of the pool and pulled his skythane down on top of him, Jameson’s skin warm against his own.
He kissed Jameson’s neck and nibbled on his ear, eliciting a low moan.
Jameson wanted this as much as he did. He could tell.
For a long, slow, ecstatic hour, Xander forgot all about the storm.
About the Author
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. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.