New Release: The Autumn Lands; by J. Scott Coatsworth—Author Interview
I’d like to welcome J. Scott Coatsworth to the Land of Make Believe today. Scott is a tireless crusader in the quest for inclusive Sci-fi/Fantasy and he proves that it is more than just a passing interest with his newest release. He’s agreed to answer a few questions about the book today. As an aside, I’m in the middle of reading it now (I’m a slow reader) but it’s well worth $3.99 so go get a copy today.
What is “The Autumn Lands” about?
Hmmm… that’s a tough one. It’s about a place where it’s always fall. And it’s about a young man coming to terms with his sexuality. And it’s about an elf with a past that he can’t remember.
And there’s a twist. In my stories, there’s almost always a twist.
Is it a romance?
Not really. I mean, yeah, there’s a relationship in the book. But it’s more of a quest, as Caspian tries to recover his lost memories and return home to the Autumn Lands. I like romances, but I also like to write on the fantasy and sci fi side of things. I read lots of sci fi by the likes of Clarke and Asimov and McCaffrey and Tepper growing up, and that’s what I most want to write, but with LGBT characters.
What was the inspiration for the story?
The folks at Mischief Corner Books asked me to write a fall themed story for a new anthology, “Travels Through the Scarlet Equinox”. I could have gone in almost any direction with it. So I went through the stories I’d started but never finished, and I found this snippet about a boy who’d kissed another boy, and was running away from it. And I knew it was something I could work with. So I laid out the basics of the story, and off I went.
Did you model any of the characters on people you know?
Good question. In a way, I suppose. When I wrote the snippet that became the story, I had just come out, and was trying to work through what it meant to be gay through my fiction. So there’s a bit of me in Jerrith. I can’t make myself invisible (though I have felt that way sometimes) and my husband isn’t an elf the last time I checked. But he carries a little bit of my DNA.
What are you working on next?
My plate is overflowing. I’m writing a weekly serial on my own blog – “The River City Chronicles’. I’m also finishing up my final draft of “Oberon”, the first novel I’ve written in two decades. Already in the pipeline are “Repetition”, a short in the Spring MCB Quarterly; “Through the Veil”, an urban fantasy set in post-climate change San Francisco; and “Flames”, a novella in the forthcoming marriage equality anthology “A More Perfect Union”, due out from Dreamspinner in June to celebrate the first anniversary of marriage equality. Plus I have another novel on the back burner.
Thanks for letting me stop by your blog, Andrew!
Caspian still hasn’t figured out why he kissed Jerrith, but he’s running too. Since he was exiled from the Autumn Lands, his past has been hazy, and his future uncertain.
But when a stray memory brings things into focus, the two decide to run toward something together. What they uncover will change how they see the world, and themselves, forever.
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay
Release Date: 1/27/16
Jerrith Ladner ran down Dyer’s Alley in Althos, winded but not daring to stop. He swung left down Chaplain’s Lane where the lanterns cast a crazy patchwork of light across cobbles, uneven enough to give even the Night Guard pause. His lungs hurt, but he didn’t slow down and didn’t dare glance back.
The occasional passerby stared at him as he flashed past, but he ignored them. Several times he stumbled and fell, and blood dripped down his bare leg from a skinned knee. The outskirts of town were silent, with almost everyone already indoors for the night.
His recent past was a blur, with snatches of it flitting by in his head like birds, flapping and confusing him with their unsteady rhythm:
The unexpected shock of it.
The glimpse of the Autumn Lands through the Nevris man’s golden eyes.
At last, exhausted, Jerrith ducked behind a low wall that ran along the fields just outside of town and looked back.
It was quiet. There was nothing but blackness crisscrossed by lamplight at even intervals.
Almost sobbing, he sat down with his back to the wall and curled up into himself, scarcely noticing the pain that traced the lines of his rib cage or even the bright line of red on his leg.
Ever so slowly, his heavy breathing eased and his jumbled mind began to sort things out.
He had been walking to the Smithy in the early morning when the Nevris caravan had passed him by, six wagons of merchandise from the Autumn Lands covered with heavy tarps, crossing through town on its way to the stables on the far side of the village. A stranger had drawn his attention—an outrider for the caravan.
Tall and slender where Jerrith was stocky and muscled, he was a young man, more or less Jerrith’s own age. His blond hair had been pulled back behind his pointed ears, the mark of the Nevris. He moved with a quiet and restrained grace.
His eyes were wide and golden, and they’d met his as Jerrith crossed the town square on the way to ‘prentice to the blacksmith. The man’s gaze had filled Jerrith with something hot and impulsive, a sense of anticipation. Something that he had no name for.
Then he’d been gone.
Jerrith had spent the long, dizzying hours of work in the Smithy, hammering out heated metal into a new plowshare for Farmer Angus, the hot breath of the bellows tempered only by the cool springtime air from outside. Trying to forget those eyes.
The heat of the oven only served to fuel the heat he felt inside, until he thought he might explode.
Sent home at last well after nightfall, he’d heard a whispered voice from the dark alleyway between the Alchemist’s shop and the Rutting Crow. Jerrith had looked around to see if anyone was watching, then slipped into the alley, his heart beating faster and the bulge in his pants stiffening.
The man had kissed him hard and rough, and he’d returned the kiss passionately as the Nevris man pulled him close.
About the Author:
Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
Where to find Scott: