B56 Mini Interviews with Gerald Coleman, Leigh Perry & Daniel M. Kimmel

Happy Wednesday, Boskone fans! With only a week to go, are you ready to meet some of our fabulous program participants? Grab a coffee and read on!

 

Gerald L. Coleman

m5AO_29012Gerald L. Coleman is a Philosopher, Theologian, Poet, and Author residing in Atlanta. Born in Lexington, he did his undergraduate work in Philosophy and English at the University of Kentucky. He followed that by completing a degree in Religious Studies, concluding with a Master’s degree in Theology at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville. His most recent poetry appears in, Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, Drawn To Marvel: Poems From The Comic Books, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel Vol. 18, Black Bone Anthology, the 10th Anniversary Issue of Diode Poetry Journal, and About Place Journal. He is a speculative fiction author with short stories published in these Anthologies: The Science Fiction, Cyberfunk Anthology: The City, the Rococoa Anthology by Roaring Lion, Terminus Urban Fantasy Anthology, and the Dark Universe: Bright Empire. He is the author of the Epic Fantasy novel saga, The Three Gifts, which currently includes When Night Falls  (Book One) and A Plague of Shadows (Book Two). He has been a Guest Author and Attending Professional at DragonCon, Boskone, Blacktasticon, JordanCon, Atlanta Science Fiction & Fantasy Expo, The Outer Dark Symposium, World Horror Con, and Imaginarium. He has recently joined the staff of WorldCon Dublin as its Programme Content Consultant, and Multiverse Con as a Director in programming. He is a co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets and has released three collections of poetry entitled the road is long, falling to earth, and microphone check.

Visit Gerald on Facebook, Twitter or via his website.

With many conventions to choose from and limited time in your schedule, what attracts you to Boskone?

As an African American author you have to choose conventions wisely. The fandom, Con, scifi/fantasy community is just a microcosm of the broader culture – though we’d like to think we are special. As a consequence, the same cultural and social problems that exist in the broader culture also exist in our community. So, you have to do some real research about conventions before you agree to go. Who are the guests? Who is on the staff? What are the topics being discussed? What’s the harassment policy? Is that policy enforced? If you don’t you can very easily end up on a panel with someone who doesn’t think you should even be a part of science fiction and fantasy. You may be subjected to bias, prejudice, or outright racist ideas and behavior. I have had the experience of being on a panel and having a panelist claim that people of color don’t experience racism or disadvantages and other nonsensical and ugly behavior. So, you have to really screen potential Cons to be sure that if you go you aren’t going to be subjected to an unwelcoming environment.

This will be my second year at Boskone. I’m returning because Boskone was incredibly welcoming from the moment I arrived and I was able to just relax and enjoy fandom and all its wonderful attributes without the specter of prejudice, racism, or privilege. My fellow panelists were insightful and engaging and I had some of the most intellectually stimulating conversations about SFF that I’ve ever had. Boskone seems committed to creating an environment where bias, prejudice, and racism are not welcome. They seem to understand that it?s important that we all get to play. These are just a few of the reasons Boskone is at the top of my list for Cons to attend.

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?”

There are so many. The first time I discovered science fiction and fantasy and realized there were thousands of books to read is one of the moments. Standing in the SFF section of my local bookstore as a 13 year old and seeing all the adventures I could go was like being a kid on Christmas morning. Seeing Dune, The Faded Sun series, The Black Company, Elric Of Melniboné and so many others just sitting on the shelf waiting is an indelible moment in my memory. Seeing The Matrix was another one. I had seen a trailer but was really fuzzy about what the movie was about. Sitting in the theater and experiencing it for the first time was just so delicious. I didn’t want it to end.

What is your favorite memory of a fan interaction at a convention? It could be you as a pro interacting with one of your fans or you as a fan meeting someone you admire.

This wasn’t actually a fan interaction in my book, but it’s an interaction I’ll never forget. I was sitting at a table at JordanCon selling books. It was the first book in my fantasy series, When Night Falls. A woman saw the poster with my book cover on it, looked at me, and approached my table. We smiled and said hello. She picked up the book and gave it a thorough examination. I sat quietly and gave her the space to do that and waited to answer any questions she had. When she finished, she placed the book back on the table and said, “One day they’ll be lined up around the block to get you to sign your books.” I thanked her for her kind words, we smiled at each other and she walked off into the convention. I didn’t think much about it, you often get people who are just browsing and that’s completely ok. It was only later after seeing her and someone pointed to her and mentioned her in a conversation that I realized it was Harriet McDougal, the wife of and editor for, Robert Jordan the author of The Wheel Of Time series. It was like being given a blessing and an affirmation that my work was good enough to be in the company of the best fantasy of my generation.

Can you share some details about upcoming projects or what you’re working on now?

I am currently working on a science fiction novel about a young black woman. Think: Shuri from Black Panther, Rey from Star Wars, and the 13th Doctor, mixed together. I am also working on book three in my fantasy series, The Three Gifts.

 

lperry

Leigh Perry (Toni L.P. Kelner)

Leigh Perry is two authors in one. As Leigh, she writes the Family Skeleton series about an adjunct English professor who solves mysteries with her best friend, Sid, an ambulatory skeleton. The Skeleton Makes a Friend is the most recent. As Toni L.P. Kelner, she’s the author of eleven novels: eight Laura Fleming mysteries and three “Where are they now?” mysteries, and has published a number of short stories. Along with New York Times bestseller Charlaine Harris, she co-edited a series of bestselling urban fantasy anthologies. She won the Agatha Award for Best Short Story for “Sleeping With The Plush,” and a RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award for Mystery Series. She’s also been nominated for the Anthony, the Macavity, and the Derringer awards. Leigh and her husband, fellow author Stephen P. Kelner, live north of Boston with one of the daughters, a guinea pig named Clara and a whole lot of books.

Visit her on Facebook, Twitter or via her website.

With many conventions to choose from and limited time in your schedule, what attracts you to Boskone?

Boskone has everything that first attracted me to science fiction: books, science, art, more books, discussions of other genres, SF and fantasy movies, still more books, short stories, history. And of course, books.

They say you can find hints of creators in their work. Looking back at your work, which character, piece of art, song, poem, article, etc. most closely resembles you? Why?

My three series characters are kind of like snapshots of me. The Laura Fleming series–books about a Southerner who moved to Massachusetts–reflect me as I was when I started writing the series: young, married, no children yet, working hard to develop an identity, and trying reconcile myself with being part of an extended family when I didn’t feel all that comfortable with them. The “Where are they now?” series–books about a freelance entertainment reporter fascinated by the formerly famous–showed my snarky side, my new identity as a New Englander, and the ambition. The Family Skeleton series–what I’m writing now–are about an older character with a daughter who is an amalgam of my own girls, still trying to decide what’s most important in her life. So me again!

What is your favorite memory of a fan interaction at a convention? It could be you as a pro interacting with one of your fans or you as a fan meeting someone you admire.

Years ago, when my second book had just come out, I was at a mystery convention chatting with Charlaine Harris, when she was pretty well established in mystery circles but not the publishing juggernaut she is today. A fan walked up and started telling Charlaine how much she like her books. Then she looked at my author tag, and said, “I don’t know you.” Charlaine, with the grace for which she is known, introduced me, described my books, and recommended them highly. The fan did not look convinced. But later on in the weekend, she sought me out and said, “I bought your book and started to read it. It’s pretty good.”

This represents everything about being a writer: 1) There’s always going to be writers more successful than I am. 2) The nicest writers are always willing to help out a newbie. 3) Fans can be single-minded in their adoration. and 4) The best fans are always interested in finding new stuff.

Do you have a favorite photo from a book event or literary convention? If so, when and where was it taken? What do you enjoy most about this photo?

Agatha BanquetIn 2015 I was Toastmaster at Malice Domestic, and it was truly one of the best weekends of my professional life. This picture shows me with the giant teacup which is given to toastmasters, which now lives in glory on my mantel, and me with my family. For us, conventions are a family affair: this is my daughter Maggie, me, my daughter Valerie, and my husband Steve. (The rogue hand on the left is my agent, Joshua Bilmes, adding to the gaiety.) There are better pictures of the four of us all dressed up, but this one is a perfect illustration of how we roll.

Can you share some details about upcoming projects or what you’re working on now? Do you have releases in 2019 that readers should look for?

I’m working on a new book for Diversion Books, but they’ve asked me not to say what it’s going to be quiet yet. (If you hit me up at the bar, I might give you a hint.)

 

dkimmelDaniel M. Kimmel

Veteran film critic Daniel M. Kimmel is the author of the Hugo nominated collection of essays “Jar Jar Binks Must Die.” He has branched out into humorous SF/F and has had a number of short stories published as well as three novels, the most recent of which is “Father of the Bride of Frankenstein.”

Visit Daniel on Facebook, Twitter or via his website.

Can you share some details about upcoming projects or what you’re working on now? Do you have releases in 2019 that readers should look for?

My latest comic novel, Father of the Bride of Frankenstein, comes out in January and will be available at Boskone. I also have a half dozen short stories currently set for publication, with stories in the second issue of AMAZING stories, “Release the Virgins” (Fantastic Books), “End Games” (B Cubed Press), and “Transcendence” (Transmundane Press) likely to be out by Boskone.

About Brenda Noiseux

Community builder, artist, convention organizer, gamer, geek writer @womenoncomics @SidequestZone. Product Maven @almostagame. Owner, Bittenby Studios (She/Her)
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