Interview with J. Scott Coatsworth
Author of “The Shoreless Sea”
Scott Coatsworth is stopping by to celebrate the release of his new book, the final title in the Liminal Sky trilogy with an interview:
What is the Liminal Sky series about?
It’s my first love in writing. Thirty years ago – damn, has it been that long? I started a novel called “On a Shoreless Sea.” It was about a generation ship carrying humanity to the stars. It was my first finished book to be sent out to publishers – ten of the large New York variety – and ultimately the reason I quit writing for twenty years when all ten rejected it. When I came back to writing in my mid-forties, it was the first thing I picked up again. I decided to backtrack and tell the origin story for “Forever,” the gen ship. So it’s the tale of humankind’s first journey to the stars, and how it will change us all.
What is the first book that made you cry?
Oooh, good question. I remember it so clearly. My mom got me started on The Lord of the Rings in third grade. It was in The Two Towers, and it was when Boromir died protecting Sam and Frodo from orcs. I cried for days. I understood he had been working against them, but still… he redeemed himself, and gave his life to do it. I think that might have been when I decided I wanted to be a writer.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing is how I know I am alive. While the process itself is sometimes like flying and sometimes like grinding my way through a pile of sharp rocks, when I am not writing I don’t feel right. I truly believe it’s the thing I was put on this earth to do.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
One of the things we writers go though is a thing called Imposter Syndrome. It’s that feeling that you are a fake, that your writing is boring and trite and derivative, and you in no way should call yourself a writer. It sucks to feel this – I have regular bouts with it – but it also keeps you honest and forces you to keep learning (or quit). After all, if you are not good enough but you feel compelled to write, you need to get better at it, right? I truly believe when you stop feeling this – when you become certain that your writing is perfect and you don’t need to learn anything new, your writing dies.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Not really. My name was literary enough to begin with (I had one review that said my writing was not worthy of such a lofty writing name – I kid you not). And something my grandfather said to me before I started my writing career has always stuck with me. “Be proud of your name.” So I always knew, if I “made” it, it would be under my own name. There are a hundred great reasons to use a pseudonym – and I know many folks who do. But it was never for me.
What are you working on now?
I just finished the next book in the Liminal world – it’s called “Dropnauts: Redemption Book One” – and it takes us back to Earth to find out what happened after the Last War. I’m also writing more shorts – I made it into the Science Fiction Writers’ Association (SFWA) this year as an associate member, but I want to bump that up to full voting status. The writing never ends!