B55 Mini Interviews with Jane Yolen, Nik Korpon, Ginjer Buchanan & Bracken MacLeod

Jane Yolen

jyolenThis year (2018) Jane Yolen’s 365th and 366th book will be published so you can (literally) be able to read a Yolen book a day for a year–even if it’s a Leap Year. She has won by the numbers, 2 Nebulas, 3 Mythyopoeic Awards, 1 Caldecott, 2 Christopher Medals, 1 World Fantasy Award, 1 Jewish Book Award, 2 Massachusetts Book Awards (as well as being named a Massachusetts Unsung Heroine and New England Public Radio’s 1st ever writer to be given their Arts & Humanities Award), 2 Charlotte Award, 1 California Children’s Book Award, etc,, etc. and is a SFWA Grand Master, SFPA Grand Master, World Fantasy Grand Master, 6 colleges and universities have given her honorary doctorates. And Boskone’s Skylark Award set her good coat on fire. Visit her website, find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @JaneYolen.

There are a number of conventions that you could attend. What is it about Boskone that makes you want to attend this convention?

I can drive there. I have been going for years so I know a lot of people. (I am actually quite shy.)

What is your favorite Boskone memory or experience?

Various birthday events since my birthday is February 11 and is always close (if not right ON) the weekend of the con. Getting to see the latest pictures by artists I admire in the art show. Being on a panel (any pane) with Bruce Coville. Winning the Skylark award. And watching son Adam perform with the music guest of honor, Lojo Russo last year.

In the realm of “truth is stranger than fiction,” what experience from your past would people never believe if it were written into a story?

First you have to know my married name is Stemple, not a common name in Massachusetts.

It was 1960. My husband and I had just returned from a year camping in Europe. He got a job at UMass Amherst, we bought our first old house (7 rooms), moved in and had our first baby all within several weeks. But we only owned three pieces of furniture because we’d sold everything else before going on our long camping trip. We had a brass bed, a roll top desk, and a single dresser. It was time to go to homestead auctions where house contents were being sold. At one–new baby in pram–I bid on a bunch of stuff I didn’t get to look at closely since we got there on baby’s schedule–not mine. One was a dresser for our guest room for which I paid $7. When I got it back home and wrestled it out of the VW van, it was too heavy for me to get it into the house alone and up the stairs. Besides, it was UGLY! Probably overpaid. When I checked the drawers, it was filled with the underclothes of the newly-deceased old man who’d owned the house. A bank! Maybe I could recoup some of the money! But it was made of iron and there was no key. When my husband got back from work, he took a chisel and hammer out of the toolbox. (We had a toolbox????) And cracked the bank open. In it were fifteen dollars in one dollar bills and an obituary for someone named Stemple!

When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What costume did you wear?

This past Halloween I wore a tiara. Not exactly cosplay. But every year Holly and Theo Black have a dress-up New Year’s party. The year it was all about high class British folk, my family and I went as marauding Scots in kilts, swords, targes, and blue face paint. Last year when it was a Bad Fairies theme we went as Red Caps.

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

Really working on #Yolen365, since in 2018 my 365th and 366th books will be published so you will be able to read a Yolen book a day for a year–even if it’s a leap year! To be honest, by year’s end I will be up to 375 books as I have (we think) 12 books out next year. They range from picture books, to a fantasy novel in verse, to a Holocaust novel hung on the armature of Hansel & Gretel, to a nonfiction book from National Geographic about birds, to a book of adult poetry. . .you get the picture.

If you were building a team of 3 (super)heroes to save the world from this trio of (super)villains: The Night King (GOT), the Emperor (Star Wars), and The Master/Missy (Doctor Who), who would you pick? The only catch is that you can’t pick characters from the GOT, Star Wars, or Doctor Who universes. Share why you chose your 3 (super)heroes.

I would choose a writer (Emily Dickinson), a politician (Elizabeth Warren), and a dancer (Misty Copeland) all kick-ass women blazing trails and taking no prisoners along the way. Who needs fantasy figures when we have them? Though we might want to see them dressed as superheroes–my challenge to any illustrator out there. On the sidelines cheering–the Notorious RBG, Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and a kick line of suffragettes.

Nik Korpon

nkorponNik Korpon is the author of The Rebellion’s Last Traitor (Angry Robot), Queen of the Struggle, and The Soul Standard, among others. He lives in Baltimore. Visit his website, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @NikKorpon.

There are a number of conventions that you could attend. What is it about Boskone that makes you want to attend this convention?

I’ve been writing crime and mystery stories for a while and have gone to many of those conferences, but I’ve only just started writing science fiction. I’ve heard from a lot of people that Boskone is one of the best science fiction conventions around. Plus, Boston, in mid-February—what’s not to like?

When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What costume did you wear?

This past Halloween. My son and daughter were a jellyfish and a butterfly, and my wife was a flamingo. I wore a gorilla mask and chased all the neighborhood kids around. I looked like a maniac. It was a ton of fun.

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

“I just turned in the final draft of Queen of the Struggle, the second book in Memory Thief series (the first being The Rebellion’s Last Traitor) and thinking about the one. I’m also editing a science fiction thriller that I keep describing as Die Hard meets The Shield but in space.

With Queen of the Struggle, I’ve never written a series before so it’s challenging to keep in mind what’s come before and make sure it informs what’s coming in the future. And the thriller is just an out-and-out thriller, so it’s a challenge to keep one-upping myself. ”

If you were building a team of 3 (super)heroes to save the world from this trio of (super)villains: The Night King (GOT), the Emperor (Star Wars), and The Master/Missy (Doctor Who), who would you pick? The only catch is that you can’t pick characters from the GOT, Star Wars, or Doctor Who universes.  Share why you chose your 3 (super)heroes.

“Sarah Manning (Orphan Black) because she’s a straight-up bad ass and she always finds a way to get out of a situation. Sydney Bristow (Alias) because, well, see Sarah Manning. Tim Bisley (Spaced) because, while he’s pretty worthless at fighting (except that finger-gun shootout), he knows everything about science fiction and fantasy and could help me figure out how to destroy the baddies.”

Ginjer Buchanan

While a student at Carnegie Mellon University, Ginjer Buchanan helped start the Western Pennsylvania Science Fiction Association. In the early 1970s, she moved from Pittsburgh to New York City where she made her living as a social worker, while doing free-lance editorial work. In 1984, she took a job as an editor at Ace Books before becoming an acquisitions editor for Penguin USA, which includes Putnam, Berkley and Ace Books. Ginjer is now retired and will be on of the Guests of Honor at the Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon.

There are a number of conventions that you could attend. What is it about Boskone that makes you want to attend this convention?

When I was working, it was a convention which a lot of my authors attended (It was the one time a year I could reliably expect to see Charlie Stross) Now that I’m retired, I have a lot of fan friends who attend. It’s a great con, with the absolute best art shows!

What is your favorite Boskone memory or experience?

There are a lot of years of memories. From way back when the con was at the Pru Center, getting blizzard-ed in. That may sound odd but it was kinda magical. More recently, being given the Skylark Award. What an honor!

If you could relive your first experience with any book or film, which one would you pick? What is it about this book or film that you want to experience again for the “first time?”

Hmm– I guess the first Star Wars movie. To recapture the sense of wonder. There are a lot of books I re-read, but I remember how The Stars My Destination. It absolutely blew me away when I first read it. I loved the scope and sweep of the story and the strong female characters, particularly Jisbella McQueen. It would be be great to have that sense of first discovering a kind of sf that really spoke to me.

When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What costume did you wear?

A couple years ago, at the last company Halloween party. The editors were zombies and I was a zombie hunter, vaguely modeled on Woody Harrelson in Zombieland.

If you were building a team of 3 (super)heroes to save the world from this trio of (super)villains: The Night King (GOT), the Emperor (Star Wars), and The Master/Missy (Doctor Who), who would you pick? The only catch is that you can’t pick characters from the GOT, Star Wars, or Doctor Who universes.  Share why you chose your 3 (super)heroes.

Buffy because–well,she’s Buffy. Wonder Woman, because–well, she’s Wonder Woman. And Wolverine,because–well,he’s Hugh Jackman.

 

Bracken MacLeod

Bracken MacLeod has worked as a martial arts teacher, a university philosophy instructor, for a children’s non-profit, and as a trial attorney. He is the author of the novels, Mountain Home, Come to Dust, and Stranded for Tor Books which is in active development at Warner Bros. Television. His short fiction has appeared in several magazines and anthologies including LampLight, ThugLit, and Splatterpunk and has been collected in 13 Views of the Suicide Woods by ChiZine Publications. He lives outside of Boston with his wife and son, where he is at work on his next novel. Visit his website, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @BrackenMacLeod.

There are a number of conventions that you could attend. What is it about Boskone that makes you want to attend this convention?

Boskone has been strongly recommended to me by several friends in the industry for quite a while now. I’m looking forward to my first experience there.

If you could relive your first experience with any book or film, which one would you pick? What is it about this book or film that you want to experience again for the “first time?”

I wish I could see Alien for the first time again. It wasn’t just seeing Alien, but the fact that I was 10 years old and was sneaking it on late night cable. That movie completely captivated me and I made a note in the cable guide of every time it was going to be on so I could try to watch it as much as possible (we didn’t have a VCR, but we had stolen cable). I’d already been reading scary books, but this was my first experience with several different things that blew my mind as a kid. First, I’d never seen a frightening *space* movie before. Up until then, it was Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and Battle Beyond the Stars. I had no idea the two could go together. Also, that was my first look at H.R. Giger’s work and it revolutionized how I thought of both aliens and terrestrial monsters. Even though it was a guy in a suit, it was so convincing and unworldly the age of believing people in monster suits pretty much ended for me right there. Finally, and probably most importantly, I was the only child of a single mother, and seeing Ellen Ripley fight to survive resounded with me considerably. At the end she was protecting a cat, not a kid (like in the sequel), but for 10 year old me without any real strong male figures in my life beyond my grandfather, I really identified with her as a child who relied on a mother. Her as a survivor, but also as an unapologetic and enthusiastic fighter, meant a ton to me. 1979’s Ripley still informs the kind of stories I like to tell. Yeah, I wish I could see Alien again with 11 year old eyes.

When was the last time you dressed up for Halloween? What costume did you wear?

I dress up every year. This year I went as David S. Pumpkin’s lesser known (but much funnier) twin brother, Bracken (NMI) Pumpkins. David’s got more hair, but I wear the suit better.

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

After two supernatural books in a row (Stranded, a science fiction thriller, and Come to Dust, a straight-up horror novel) I am working on a a “secular horror” thriller more like my first novel, Mountain Home. Closing Costs is a home invasion thriller about a couple who buy a house with stolen money from a man who isn’t ready to give it up. His secrets and theirs collide in a way that could cost all of them everything. It’s about all those little expenses that aren’t part of the asking price, and can sink the deal if you aren’t prepared for them.

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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