B54 Mini Interviews: Juliana Spink Mills, Tom Kidd and Trisha J. Wooldridge

 

Juliana Spink Mills

Juliana Spink Mills was born in London, England, but moved to São Paulo, Brazil at the age of eight, which probably explains her love of stories that take the reader through rabbit holes or wardrobes and into strange, new worlds. She grew up bilingual and bicultural. Now living in Connecticut, she writes mainly young adult and middle grade fantasy and science fiction. Her recent work includes short stories in two upcoming anthologies (Aliens, Tickety Boo Press, UK; and Journeys, Woodbridge Press, Canada). Heart Blade, her first novel, will be published in February 2017 by Woodbridge Press. Heart Blade is book 1 of the Blade Hunt Chronicles, a young adult urban fantasy series. Juliana is a member of the SCBWI and NESFA, and part of the interview team at SFFWorld.com. Find her online at her website and Twitter.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

At the moment I’m working on Night Blade, the second novel in my young adult Blade Hunt Chronicles series. It’s wonderful and exciting to get a chance to expand the world I introduced in book 1, Heart Blade. At the same time, it’s been a challenge to keep things fresh and new, without losing track of all those plot threads. With two more books planned for the series, I also have to make sure I leave enough room for the story to grow.

What is it that you enjoy most about Boskone?

Boskone was the first SF/F convention I ever attended. That first year, I was really nervous about going to a convention by myself, without knowing anyone, but I was very quickly set at ease. I love the friendly atmosphere, the great conversation and, of course, the excellent programming.

Who is your all-time favorite fictional character? What is it about this character that you love?

C.S. Lewis’ Lucy Pevensie was my first ever favorite and I still love her to this day. She’s brave, loyal, and always ready to stick up for others and do the right thing, no matter how scared she may be.

 

Tom Kidd

tomkidd_245Tom’s publishing clients include William Morrow, Harper Collins, (for whom he produced cover of HG Well’s War of the Worlds), Ballantine Books, Del Rey Books, Doubleday Books, Penguin Books, Warner Books, MacMillan & Co., St. Martin’s Press, Marvel Comics, Random House and Reader’s Digest. In the design field he has worked for Walt Disney Feature Animation, Universal Studios, Landmark Entertainment, Franklin Mint, and International Robotics.

He has exhibits of his work at the Canton Museum of Art, Delaware Art Museum, Society of Illustrators, Words & Pictures Museum, RSVP Dreams Competition, and NASA Future Art. Find him online at his website and Facebook.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

Something I hope to finally have completed by World Fantasy Con in 2018, my illustrated book “Gnemo.” I’ll be their guest artist that year so it seems like a nice challenge to make that deadline.

If you could recommend a book to your teenage-self, what book would you recommend? Why did you pick that book?

It’s not science fiction, and it wasn’t yet written when I was a teenager, but its importance is that it filled in a gap in my mathematical education.:The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. If science fiction, then my older teenage self has already told my younger teenage self to read The Dying Earth for its sheer beauty.

Who is your all-time favorite fictional character? What is it about this character that you love?

Dr. Susan Calvin, Asimov’s robot-psychologist. I liked how complex a problem could be with just a few basic elements and how difficult it was to solve those problems. Calvin’s ability to break it all down to those simple restrictions is not unlike how the rules of physics make the universe.

 

Trisha J. Wooldridge

Trisha J. Wooldridge has been a freelance editor, copywriter, journalist, and author for over thirteen years. She’s edited over fifty books, three online courses, four tutoring manuals, several issues of Massachusetts Horse magazine, mutual fund resource information, and the text for the Dungeons & Dragons: Stormreach, massive multi-player online role playing game. As a journalist, she’s reviewed restaurants, wine, beer, and whiskey; she’s covered international food trade and controversy over migrant tomato workers; and she’s spotlighted over two dozen horsewomen and horse rescues throughout Massachusetts. Her fiction includes over a dozen short stories and poems, including pieces in the EPIC award-winning Bad-Ass Faeries anthologies and the Stoker award-nominated New England Horror Writer anthologies. Under the name T.J. Wooldridge, she’s published three middle grade novels: The Kelpie, The Earl’s Childe, and Silent Starsong. She is the former president of Broad Universe, as well as a member of New England Horror Writers, the Horror Writers Association, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Because she has belief issues when it comes to free time, she also does event coordinating for Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester and teaches Tarot classes at a local apothecary. Find her online at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?

Dark, whimsical, and fantastical. I like to explore stories, excavate and observe them with the tools of science. And I like stories as ways to explore the limits of what we assume we know in science. I do a lot of research, though it doesn’t always show up on the page. I love faery tales, myths, and folklore – and the philosophies and psychologies that go into those stories. Most of all, I love the people who populate stories. If I’m not interested in the person, I won’t care about their stories…so while I have a lot of science, folklore, research, and such woven into my work, they are all very character-driven.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

“Confession: This interview popped into my email in perfect time to procrastinate on my NaNoWriMo project… so, when not procrastinating, I’m working on a new children’s book, age/reading level of Graveyard Book or Coraline, in which the escaped fragments of our dreams are living beings who find each other and create their own societies – traveling circuses under our beds.

This idea struck me some time ago – it’s one that I don’t have a definite “”a-ha”” spark that I can remember. I’ve always had lucid dreaming, waking dreams, physical effects from dreams, and remembered my dreams. Mixed into that is the “”666 Rules”” song from The Devil’s Carnival, a rock-opera, fable-exploring movie by Terrance Zdunich and Darren Bousman.

So, these little beings, these “”Figments””, have a set of rules to protect them. Though they know the Dreamers created them, they are very aware of how many ways the Dreamers can destroy them: being seen by a fully grown Dreamer, being burnt by sunlight, or hit with the beam of a lamp or flashlight… They protect each other in adopted families and the families form communities. And everything is going fine until one young Figment is captured by a Dreamer child. The circus family must decide between keeping each other safe by following the rules, or breaking them to rescue their child.

What intrigues me most is exploring the world and culture of the Circuses. They have a very different view of the world, of how they define themselves, and what their purpose for existing is… and when how so many things change when what they “”know”” to be true is challenged.”

Who is your all-time favorite fictional character? What is it about this character that you love?

Tasslehoff Burrfoot from the DragonLance Chronicles. I was absolutely fascinated by the kender culture created in these books – their dangerous curiosity, their…unique…sense of property, their fearlessness, and the particular mix of frightening insight and total obliviousness both when reading the people with whom they interact. It was the first secondary world race that, I felt, was really different from other things I read – and also completely identifiable to me. As for Tas, himself, he had all those traits of his race/ethnicity, but they worked within his individual personality. Despite the extent of impossibility in his culture’s existence, he was a very real character and it was his fault (or rather, authors Weis’s and Hickman’s fault) that I first felt the horrifying thrill of throwing a book across a room and damaging a wall.

About Brenda Noiseux

Product Owner by day/Sci-fi geek and community builder by night. Using my super hero powers for the good of all kind. I'm the organizer several groups, including the League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen, a women's comics discussion group and a writer for Women Write About Comics.
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