Saturday, June 18, 2016

Women and Wine

In my youth, I once went out with three different women in the span of two weeks.  That's three first dates, all over dinner.

In the course of the meal, all three women drank wine.  (I prefer beer.)  I got all three women to talk about themselves.

And in the course of that conversation, all three women wept.

Now, before you suggest that they were crying because it was a bad date, let me say that I subsequently saw all three of these young women again.  I recall taking one of them to a party.  Another I took to an entertainment venue.  The third I saw for months -- I remember that she later broke up with me on my birthday.

The experience creeped me out, a little.  Three dates, all of whom I reduced to tears?

Later, however, I decided that there was something about talking about one's life that makes many women cry...especially under the influence of alcohol.

Am I wrong?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Susanna Reilly: From Fan Writer to Pro


I met the delightful Susanna Reilly at the Main Line WritersGroup, a club for authors of all skill levels, which meets in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  We both had stories in the group’s first anthology, Unclaimed Baggage: Voices of the Main Line Writers.

Susanna had two stories published in the anthology Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity The second volume in that series, Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity, is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding.  If that campaign meets its fundraising goal, she will have a story in that anthology as well.

Ladies and gentlemen, Susanna Reilly:

1)  Susanna, I understand that, like many writers, you started writing fan fiction for an annual fanzine.  Is that correct?

Thank you for that wonderful introduction Tony.  I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until I got involved with a local science fiction fan club, The U.S.S. Thagard (a chapter of Starfleet: The International Star Trek Fan Association) in the late 1990’s that I believed I could actually be published.  The club put out an annual fanzine titled Norman (followed by number I – XIII depending on the year).  The title came from the first name of the astronaut the club was named after as well as a clone character in one of the iconic Star Trek original series episodes.  I wrote a few short stories in the Star Trek and Highlander universes that were included in three of the late 90s Norman issues.  All proceeds from the fanzines went to charity but it was still a lot of fun to see that “by Susanna Reilly” after the titles.  In the mid 2000’s, after the Thagard folded, I continued writing fan fiction in the Star Trek and Stargate universes (and even one in the Law and Order: Special Victims Unit universe), but I used the website as my publishing outlet.  You can still find some of my earlier work here.  

2)  The convention circuit is an increasingly important place for writers to meet and generate publicity.  I understand that you are a regular at the annual Shore Leave convention.  Is that strictly a Star Trek con?

I started going to the Shore Leave convention (in Hunt Valley, MD)  around 1999 as an attendee.  Back then its main focus was on Star Trek, but over the years it has expanded to include most science fiction/fantasy shows and movies.  Stargate was my favorite fandom for a long time and I was thrilled to meet Amanda Tapping at Shore Leave a few years ago.  The convention not only has media guests, but also discussion panels encompassing all types of fandoms, costuming/cosplaying, as well as a very popular “Meet the Authors” event on Friday evening.  It was a huge thrill to be invited to participate as an author guest two years ago when Somewhere in the Middle of Eternity launched there and I’m equally thrilled that the launch party for Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity will be there in July. 

3)  What do you enjoy most about being a writer?  What do you enjoy the least?

I enjoy the rush I get from coming up with an interesting story idea and following the twists and turns until it becomes a full-fledged story.  I find that I often start out with an idea where the story is going to go, but then it ends up taking a few twists and turns on me before the end.  Sometimes the ending is totally different than I expected it to be, but I learned a long time ago, you can’t force the story to go where you want it to go, you have to let it take its own course.  The thing I enjoy least is trying to find the time in an already very full schedule to write.  It’s very frustrating to have a really cool idea and want to sit down and write it all out but not have an uninterrupted block of time to do so.  I’m a secretary by trade so it’s most natural for me to write at the computer since I’m a pretty fast typist.  Writing longhand or dictating don’t work as well for me.

4)  Let’s finish up with a process question: where and when do you write?  Are you a before-work writer, an after-work writer, or a weekend writer?

My most prolific writing time has always been at night.  I used to be able to start work at 10 p.m. and write straight through until 2 or 3 in the morning and still make it to work on time the next morning.  Now that I’m a bit older, I’m finding it much harder to keep those hours, so finding uninterrupted blocks of time to write has become much more challenging. 

Thanks so much for taking the time to participate in this interview, Susanna!

Thank you so much for asking me, Tony.  I greatly appreciate it.

You can follow Susanna Reilly here on Facebook or on Goodreads

Please support the Kickstarter campaign for Elsewhere in the Middle of Eternity!  If you’re considering whether to back this project, please click here to check out the various donation levels and the rewards offered on Kickstarter