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February 17-19, 2023 — Westin Boston Seaport District
January 9, 2019

B56 Mini Interviews with Gene Doucette, Sarah Jean Horwitz & Anne Nydam

Welcome back to the Boskone 56 Mini Interview series! Want to see some more convention photos and memories? How about an author whose character they most closely resemble is a 60,000 year old man? Read about this and more as we talk with Gene Doucette, Sarah Jean Horwitz, and Anne Nydam!

Gene Doucette

Gene Doucette is the author of The Spaceship Next Door, which was re-released in 2018 by John Joseph Adams Books (HMH imprint) after first being self-published in 2015. Gene’s other sci-fi books include The Frequency of Aliens (a sequel to The Spaceship Next Door), Unfiction and Fixer. He also writes a fantasy series of novels and novellas: the Immortal Novel series, and the Immortal Chronicles, and the standalone novelette Immortal Stories: Eve. His latest novel is book five in the Immortal novel series, Immortal From Hell. Gene lives in Cambridge MA.

Visit Gene on his Facebook, Twitter, and Website!

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

Boskone is the first convention I ever visited! I’m a Boston native, so if anything, the problem has been that I didn’t attend nearly as many times as I should have. That said, while I’ve only been to a few conventions, Boskone is by far the most energetic and generous.

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?

Adam, the narrator/main character of my Immortal series, is a 60,000 year old man with a drinking problem, and a somewhat bitter and sarcastic outlook on life, who is decently smooth with women and is just in general an outgoing, fun guy to be around. I am absolutely nothing like this, and yet I know a number of people who’ve read Immortal and told me it was like reading about me talking about myself. I’m not sure whether to be flattered by this or annoyed. (When my wife is around, the answer is definitely ‘annoyed’.) It’s possible Adam is a version of me I like to pretend doesn’t exist.

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?

It’s been a funky few months. Houghton-Mifflin re-released The Spaceship Next Door on September 4th, and I celebrated that by pushing through the second draft of Immortal From Hell. That’s the fifth book in the Immortal novel series, which I published–myself–on November 27th. Sometime in early November, when the final edits were done for Immortal From Hell, I told my readers I could either start work right away on the sixth Immortal book (note that they did not know at the time I posed the question that the fifth book ended in a cliffhanger, so shame on me for leaving that information out) or on the new post-apoc story that’s been rattling around in my head for a while now. What I got was, how about if I finish that sequel to Fixer I’d been promising for two years?

So that’s what I’m working on right now. I’d actually done some work on Fixer Redux (that’s the tentative title) over two years ago, before setting it aside to start work on… something else. I forget what, but it was important, I think. Basically, I was 40,000 words into the sequel that I forgot I’d started writing. I’m hoping to have it finished and published by April or May of 2019.

After that, it’s onto that sixth Immortal book, because readers are emailing me pitchforks and torches over that book five cliffhanger. If I time this right, that will be out by December of 2019.

Sarah Jean Horwitz

Sarah Jean Horwitz is the author of the middle grade steampunk fantasy series CARMER AND GRIT. She loves storytelling in all its forms and holds a B.A. in Visual & Media Arts with a concentration in screenwriting from Emerson College. Sarah’s other interests include circus arts, extensive thematic playlists, improvisational movement, tattoos, curly hair care, and making people eat their vegetables. She currently works as an administrative assistant and lives with her partner near Cambridge, MA. Her next middle grade fantasy novel, THE DARK LORD CLEMENTINE, will be published in fall 2019 by Algonquin Young Readers.

Visit Sarah on her Facebook, Twitter, and Website!

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

I don’t do many events as an author, but I do live close to Boston, so Boskone is a fun chance to get in a whole weekend of meeting other SFF authors, having interesting discussions on panels, and learning about new books…all right in my own back yard!

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.

Boskone 55 last year was the first convention I ever went to as an author, and after one of my panels, a young woman came up to me and said that she had never heard of me before Boskone, but that she liked what I said so much at one panel that she’d been following my schedule to see all my events since then, and she couldn’t wait to check out my books. It was nice to know I’d gained a new reader that day!

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?

My favorite photo from a book event is this one from the launch party for my first novel, THE WINGSNATCHERS. I’m sitting across from one of my best friends, Brooke Mills, who flew all the way from Kentucky to Boston to co-moderate the event with me at Porter Square Books. We met on LiveJournal, what was it…nearly ten years ago, now?…and she has been with me every step of the way on this crazy journey as a writer. I could never have finished or published my book without her support, and to be able to have her there and be surrounded by family and friends…it was overwhelming and joyful and more amazing than I could have imagined.

Who is your favorite literary character of all time? What is it about this character that you admire?

My favorite characters change all the time (I suppose I’m fickle, but there are so many great ones!), but right now I am a huge fan of Shara Thivani from CITY OF STAIRS by Robert Jackson Bennett. She is a brilliant, tiny powerhouse of a lady, and I can’t seem to get her out of my head.

Anne Nydam

Anne E.G. Nydam is an artist of relief block prints celebrating curiosity and the magic of Interesting Things, a writer of fantasy about adventure, creativity, and looking for the best in others and the world, and a negligent housekeeper. Her art and writing (but not the housework) celebrate wonder and serious joy.

Visit Anne on her Website!

In 10 words or less, how would you recommend Boskone to a friend or fan?

Interesting conversations with interesting people about interesting facets of speculative fiction (I went two letters over!)

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?”

It’s impossible to pick just one – A Little Princess? The Listeners? Star Wars (New Hope)? The Tombs of Atuan? The Lord of the Rings? Dorothy L. Sayers? – but I can pinpoint the common magic that they all had. Each of these immersed me in a new world with intriguing characters I cared about. It’s all about the feeling of finding out something new and wonderful with every page, the feeling that good people are struggling to do something that really matters, the feeling that I am being invited to share in this magic, and to have it all given to me in language (in the case of movies, including visual language and music) that is neither careless nor easy but is lovingly and intelligently crafted to evoke that world and its characters with depth and integrity.

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.

Not exactly a convention, but… I do classroom visits to talk about writing fiction, and I remember one particular session with about 70 fourth graders on the topic of developing character in stories. We did an exercise in which they brainstormed ideas about how to show a particular character trait (that Jim is afraid of spiders). The ideas started off slow, but gathered momentum: first some ideas about his reaction to the spider, then, with a little nudging, ideas about planting the knowledge of Jim’s fear earlier in the story, and finally reaching a tsunami in which the kids were popping up in their seats, eyes shining, bursting with excitement about how they could write this story. It was so exhilarating to be part of their excitement, and to see again just how powerful the magic of storytelling can be.

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 have three works “in progress”: a sequel to “The Extraordinary Book of Doors” (upper middle grade fantasy), a young adult fantasy inspired by the Tam Lin legend but focussing on the relationship between a changeling and the family he’s joined, and a medieval-style bestiary of fantasy creatures with block print illustrations, descriptions, and Moral Lessons. At the moment only the third is seeing any progress. (None has a release date yet.)

Register for Boskone 56 today!