Aleta Clegg, writing as Jaleta Clegg:
And welcome to another Broad Universe Blog Out interview series. Jaleta, since you were the one who suggested it, why not step up to the mic and introduce yourself?
I was born some time ago. I’ve filled the years since dabbling in many things – cooking, sewing, rock hounding, costuming, quilting, slaughtering virtual zombies, freeing zillions of Snoods, and of course, much storytelling. I caught the writing bug over fifteen years ago although I’ve only recently reached publication status. My first novel, Nexus Point: The Fall of the Altairan Empire Book One, came out in December. The second one is scheduled for release in early 2011.
I live in Utah with a horde of my own children, my husband, and one elderly, toothless cat. Cats are required for SF/F authors, aren’t they? Thanks for hosting me on your blog. It’s been a pleasure meeting you, at least in cyberspace.
Jaleta, tell us about your writing – what genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you’ve written are your personal favourites? Anything new coming up?
J Clegg: I write mainly science fiction – space opera, where the characters and stories are the main focus. My first novel, Nexus Point came out late last year. It’s a tale of desperate survival on a primitive planet. Only sort of – the main character literally crashes into the middle of a undercover investigation into drug smuggling on a planet that for cultural reasons can’t know about advanced technology. Complicated? Yes. Add in a dash of romance to complicate everything further. It was lot of fun to write. I absolutely love the characters.
I’ve got several short stories in print, mostly comic horror. I’m working on a vampire story that just makes me laugh. What happens to the poor vampires when people become too medicated with high cholesterol? I love twisting things on their heads and poking fun at tradition. The first section of the vampire story is on my website as a teaser.
And what do you do to relax? What are your favourite movies or tv shows? What hobbies do you have?
JC: I love quirky shows like White Collar or Psych. I also love bad, campy sci-fi and disaster movies. Nothing beats a bowl of popcorn and an atrociously bad movie. My kids and I make fun of them mercilessly. Myster Science Theater 3000 doesn’t hold a candle to our voiceovers.
I also love piecing quilts, playing with colors and textures and shapes, fitting them to the person I’m making the quilt for. I hate the quilting part, though.
I love my day job, too. Where else can you walk into work in a full Star Trek Admiral’s uniform and no one bats an eye? I get to make costumes for the actors at work. I love playing with all the funky fabric that would never be worn by normal people. We’re getting a digital planetarium system this summer. I can’t wait to start playing with it! http:///www.spacecamputah.org
What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to any music? If you do, care to share your playlist?
JC: Music sets my mood. It really depends on what I’m writing, although once I get involved, I don’t even notice the music any more. I was writing a big fight scene, very intense and gory. I finished the scene and realized my background music was the overture from “Somewhere in Time.” Didn’t fit at all, but I didn’t even realize it was so wrong.
Nexus Point was written mostly to Air Supply’s Greatest Hits. My iTunes library is a source of wonder to teens. It has a little bit of everything from very strange folk songs and Dr. Dimento to New Age spirituals to Heavy Metal to Classic Rock. I’ve even got opera in my playlists.
I keep reading that “all writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction.” Do you have a stand on this one? Any cute pictures of your kitty or other pet?
JC: I laugh. So many author photos include their cats you’d think it was a requirement, especially if you write speculative fiction. We own a cat, the second one recently died. Considering she was 16, it was about time. The one we have left is just as old, toothless, and a source of endless amusement. I’m not much of a pet person, though. I can kill any houseplant in a matter of weeks. How do you think pets fare? The cat belongs to my husband and kids, not me. He stole a spot in my author picture by climbing into my lap while we were shooting. As soon as the camera left, so did he. Silly animal.
What organizations do you recommend for those wanting to become writers? Do you have any advice you’d like to share about writing?
JC: Main advice: Just do it. Write, and write, then write more. Keep at it. Eventually you’ll think, “This is good enough to be published.” At that point, find some good editors who aren’t necessarily your friends to read through it and rip it apart for you. If you can’t handle that, you aren’t ready for publication.
Broad Universe is a great resource for those newly publish and established. If you’re a woman author, especially in science fiction, it’s hard to be taken seriously. BU helps promote works by women writers. It’s also a great source for support and friendship.
For those still looking for direction and help, Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com) is great, although it can be overwhelmingly large. Critters (http://www.critters.org) is also a great resource if you’re looking for feedback and aren’t quite ready for the brutal editing phase.
What writers inspired you to become an author?
JC: Andre Norton always wove such incredible tales of worlds that never existed and made space travel so exciting. I love her classic SF.
I’ve been fortunate to meet lots of authors by working several local conventions. Each of them inspires me. Watching Brandon Sanderson go from newbie to NYT bestseller has been very inspirational. He’s not the only local author that’s made it to the big time, either. Dan Wells (I am not a Serial Killer), James Dashner (Mazerunner), Julie Bellon (my neighbor who writes LDS Romance), Howard Tayler (Schlock Mercenary) – It’s fun to meet them and find out how they made it. Each did it their way and all of them are successful. Not to mention funny.
Are there any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
JC: CONduit in Salt Lake City UT the end of May. Fun local con. I do the hospitality suite. This is my first year attending as a published author not just a local fan. I’m excited for our Guest of Honor – Barbara Hambly, another one on my list of author favorites.
Priestess of the Eggstone: The Fall of the Altairan Empire Book 2 will be out early next year.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.
My website is http://www.jaletac.com, Facebook under Jaleta Clegg, Twitter under ursulasquid, and my blog is The Far Edge of Normal on Blogspot.
NEXUS POINT is published by CyberWizard Productions, Altered Dimensions imprint. To find out more, go to the Nexus Point URLhere.
Many thanks for stopping by, Jaleta!
A Big Perilous Welcome to Jaleta Clegg!