This week, my accent is on J. Scott Coatsworth, a friend and a man I know from his Queer Romance Ink and Queer Sci Fi Facebook sites.
Your logo tells me much, Scott! You’re funny, original, outgoing, and inventive…for starts! Let’s get personal in this very public venue. 😀
~~~What ten words do you think best describe you personally?
Manic. Multitasking. Optimistic. Deeply Weird.
Driven. Creative. Loyal. Gay. Oreos.
~~~Give us a very brief overview of your life—where you come from, where you grew up, your schooling, a few places you’ve worked—whatever paragraph you feel best encapsulates you as an individual.
Hmmm… that’s a tall order. I was born in SoCal – yes, I’m an actual California native, we do exist! But my parents moved to Tucson when I was very little, and I grew up in the Sonora desert. A part of my heart is still there.
When I was in high school, I got involved in a book project via a publisher who was friends with our English teacher, and a group of five of us and our teacher put together a book about teens and parents called “Raising Each Other.” It was my first published book, and you can still find used copies on Amazon.
I started college; but then I dropped out to take a job at the publisher and worked there from 1988-1992. In the intervening years, I worked at a book distributor and at a bookstore, so I’ve literally been in all parts of the book business. I also worked as a store planner (the guy who decides how much product stores get) for the Discovery Channel outlet stores.
Now Mark and I work for ourselves (for 18 years!) creating directories for the queer community.
~~~I’m a happy participant in your QRI “directory,” a wonderful venue for selling/strutting our books.
[Aside to readers and authors: QRI is here: https://www.queeromanceink.com
I urge you to check it out. There’s a button for joining if you decide that this is a great showcase for your glbt+ themed work. All my own work is there!]
Back to our discussion… Scott, what else do you think sets you aside from other writers in your genre?
There are some amazing folks writing mm romance, writing sci fi, writing magical realism. I don’t know that I will ever be able to stack up to the giants of the genre. But I love writing. I love spinning whole worlds out of nothing but the gray matter in my head, and I think that enthusiasm comes across to my readers too.
~~~I agree about the world-building. Your astonishing worlds are among the best I’ve read, in any genre.
Give us a quick look at your homoerotica novel or novels. If you have several, how about presenting them in chronological order with a sentence or two that best describes them?
I don’t know that I’d call them homoerotic? LOL… but here are the main ones:
Skythane: The first book in my Oberon Cycle – it’s sci fi meets fantasy with beautiful winged men.
Lander: The sequel to Skythane, in which the skythane and landers have to fight once again to save the world.
The Stark Divide: My queer sci fi tale with a wide-ranging cast. It’s told in three epic parts, and begins the Liminal Sky series, mankind’s journey to the stars.
The River City Chronicles: My magical realism tale, set in my hometown of Sacramento—a group of friends who all have secrets.
The Rising Tide, book two in the Liminal Sky series, comes out in late October, and Ithani, the final book in the Oberon trilogy, comes out in February 2019.
~~~~I’ve read a few of these, and I’m a believer! You have a wide-ranging imagination and a knack for both world-building and character-building. I’m curious, though, Scott. Would you describe yourself first as a writer of gay themes/characters; or first as a writer, period, without limiting yourself to any genre or sub-genre?
I see myself as a sci fi/fantasy writer at heart. It’s what I was weaned on, having read The Lord of the Rings in third grade. But over time I’ve evolved to become a queer writer too, and I try to make all my fiction inclusive.
~~~What is your opinion of exploring the angst of the gay lifestyle in your writing? Or do you write about characters who happen to be gay and whose sexual preference is not their most defining characteristic or even an important part of the story? Maybe some of both?
In my early career, I wrote a few “he’s dying of AIDS, he’s being attacked because he’s gay” stories. I think these kinds of stories, and coming out stories, etc., are important. But I also think they’ve been done, and maybe it’s more radical to envision a future where being queer is NOT something characters have to be afraid of or hide.
~~~I love that concept: a world where being queer is part of being human, period.
Many romance/erotica authors struggle with the bedroom stuff. Do you get turned on writing sex scenes, or skip and go lightly?
I can write erotica, but it’s not what I want to write. A few years ago, a now defunct publisher asked me to sex up one of my stories a bit. I did, but it was an odd and somewhat off-putting experience for me, and I’d prefer not to do it again. I am most comfortable with fade to black sex scenes, and I think it suits my style of writing. But hey, if you like writing sex and it fits your story, go for it!
~~~What excites you most as a writer ?
Starting a new story. That fresh story smell sends me over the moon. That and selling tons of books. 😛
~~~Ha. That fresh story smell is intoxicating! By the same token, what turns you off? What are the nuts-and-bolts part of writing that you’d rather skip, but that have to be confronted and conquered?
I HATE writing summaries. Literally wanna pull my hair out. So I write them as I go, scene by scene, and then I can just pull the notes together at the end with minimal pain.
~~~Now flesh out your ideal readers. Who do you wish you could reach out and speak to, call your fans, help you spread the word about your books? And how have you tried to do that (if at all)?
People who love sci fi, fantasy, and magical realism, with queer characters. I love it when readers tell me they see themselves reflected in my work, or that I made them cry. And I especially love it when they stay up all night and neglect personal hygiene in order to finish my book. And as far as finding them…I don’t know…mostly they find me? But if you know where they congregate…
~~~I’m a fan, and I congregate mostly in front of my computer, and yet I found you. Or you found me. Good writing has a way of shooting an arrow into one’s heart, and you’ve wounded me a few times.
Scott, please describe your proudest moment or crowning achievement.
Of late, it was getting one of my books, The Stark Divide, to the top of the gay sci fi chart on Amazon earlier this month. It showed me I could do it. And if I could do it once, I can do it again.
~~~Readers will find my review of that book today on my site, right here: https://bit.ly/2LXx5cj
~~~Please ask a question you’ve always wanted someone to ask you . . . and then answer it.
Boxers or briefs?
Who needs either?
Funny! My own favorite word, beyond a doubt, is an f-word. So I ask you,
~~~What is your favorite word? Why?
Schenectady. I mean, come on… who wouldn’t love that word? A close second: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
~~~You’re half witty. 😀 Um, I mean… Sell a book. Give us a reason to buy it. Present an excerpt for us.
LOL… ok, so how about The River City Chronicles? I’ll let Melanie at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words introduce it:
“Like visiting that restaurant you have picked out as yours and visit over and over because the food is perfect, the atmosphere warm and welcoming, the people inside familiar and everything about the place makes you anticipate an evening that will fill your heart with love and memories. That’s how The River City Chronicles makes me feel as well. I hope that J. Scott Coatsworth feels that there’s more tales to tell here. I certainly hope so. Ragazzi is doing so well, so are the cooking classes. Who knows who will show up next? Scott, are you listening? This book is magical.”
A car honked loudly right next to him.
Marcos Ramirez practically jumped out of his skin. He loved hanging out here at the Everyday Grind, sitting under the shade of the giant oak tree that towered over the wooden patio fronting the MARRS Building. But the noisy traffic along J Street, just feet away, sometimes got the better of him.
Still today was a good day. He had a new paying client—River City Real Estate, a local company that badly needed to update their circa-2005 website. OK, so he kinda hated this sort of work. He missed the good old days when web design had been an art, when you built sites from scratch with a little HTML and some graphic design expertise. These days it was much more rote. Start with WordPress (or Blogger or Joomla), add a few extensions (or plugins or widgets) and upload a few pictures and boom… instant website.
Plus no one had ever told him that the bulk of his time would go into all the other boring stuff—finding new clients, cold calls, invoicing, tracking and reports. And taxes.
Oh God, how he hated taxes.
But today the sun was shining, the Farmer’s Market was in full swing on the street in front of him, and he had an honest-to-goodness paying client to work for.
He took a deep breath and sipped his extra-hot decaf two-pump sugar-free skinny vanilla latte and dove in.
The next two hours flew by. Although the work had grown a bit boring, he knew his stuff. He found a template he liked and got into the guts of it, redesigning it to match the look and feel of his client’s logo and style. He added one of his favorite database extensions and configured it to handle the fields he needed to import from the old site. Then he downloaded the data from the existing site and imported it to the new one.
Soon he had a rough first draft to ship back to his contact at River City.
“Can you spare a dollar?” a young girl with blond spiky hair asked from the sidewalk below.
“Just a sec.” He rummaged through his wallet and handed her a five.
“Thanks,” she said, flashing him a bright smile.
“‘Welcome!” He downed the last of his now-cold coffee and stood, stretching and working out the kinks in his neck from being hunched over his laptop.
“Working hard, I see,” a guy at the next table said.
He was handsome enough—maybe five years younger than Marcos’s thirty-nine. He had fine features, thick blond hair, and blue eyes and wore a sharp dark-gray suit with a black shirt and yellow tie.
“I always hated that crap.” The guy half-stood and held out a hand. “I’m Dennis.” His smile was just a little too white.
“Marcos,” he replied, taking the man’s hand. Nice firm handshake. “So what do you do?”
“Me? I’m a salesman. I’m in town for the American Cheese Society convention.”
Marcos snorted. “Seriously?”
“Seriously. I represent Swisstown Cheese.” He handed over a card.
“Okay, that’s just awesome.”
“Thanks, I think.” He ran a hand through his thick blond hair. “Can I ask you something?”
Marcos closed his laptop. “Sure,” he said. “Shoot.”
“What is there for a guy to do in Sacramento for the afternoon?”
“Let’s see. Well, there’s the Sac Brew Bike, if you like pub crawls. Or the Crocker, if you like art. And Sacramento has some great theatre, although most of that’s at night.”
Dennis was grinning.
“I was hoping for something a little more… personal.”
Marcos was a good-looking guy. His salt-and-pepper hair had only made him more distinguished, and he wasn’t too bad looking for his age. But rarely was someone so forward with him, at least not out on the street.
He kinda liked it.
“Sure.… Your place or mine?
~~~This is great! I love witty dialog and I even laughed at my own “blog mania,” insta-blog creativity pfft! Nail on the ol’ head there, my friend.
Thanks for your visit, Scott. I hope you’ve won some new readers today. As a lover of carefully crafted and imaginative writing, I highly recommend your books to all readers, especially lovers of s/f.
Just so our readers know:
Scott runs 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 reality.
Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/
Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/jscoatsworth
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth
Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/
Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ