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"> B57 Mini Interviews with Sarah Jean Horwitz, David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson, and Dr. Jonathan McDowell – Boskone
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New England Science Fiction Association
December 19, 2019

B57 Mini Interviews with Sarah Jean Horwitz, David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson, and Dr. Jonathan McDowell

Today we are interviewing Sarah Jean Horwitz, David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson, and Dr. Jonathan McDowell!

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 their Facebook, Twitter, and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I love the opportunity to chat with other SFF children’s book authors, which surprisingly doesn’t happen that often! Boskone hosts such amazing veterans of the industry – Bruce Coville, Jane Yolen, etc – and it’s an honor to be in their company.

Authors: Fans often ask authors to talk about their favorite main characters, but what about the side characters? Who is one of your favorite sidekicks or secondary/tertiary characters who have had a lesser role in your work?

My current favorite supporting character is Darka Wesk-Starzec, a fierce unicorn huntress on a revenge quest in my latest novel, THE DARK LORD CLEMENTINE.

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

Like many millennials, the Harry Potter series was my introduction to fantasy as a kid. It remains my favorite series to this day.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

I’d like to get my hands on the philosopher’s stone from Harry Potter. I could live forever until I didn’t feel like it anymore, stop taking the stone’s elixir, and then kick the bucket whenever I wanted. Plus, the financial security from all that gold wouldn’t hurt, either.

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David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson

David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson is the author of twenty novels and as many short stories. As D.B. Jackson (http://www.DBJackson-Author.com), he is the author of TIME’S CHILDREN (October 2018), the first book in The Islevale Cycle, a time travel/epic fantasy series from Angry Robot Books. He also writes the Thieftaker Chronicles, a series set in pre-Revolutionary Boston that combines elements of urban fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. Under his own name (http://www.DavidBCoe.com) he has written the Crawford Award-winning LonTobyn Chronicle, the critically acclaimed Winds of the Forelands quintet and Blood of the Southlands trilogy, the novelization Ridley Scott’s, ROBIN HOOD, and a contemporary urban fantasy series, the Case Files of Justis Fearsson. He is the co-author of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion. He is currently working on several projects, including his next book for Angry Robot, his first editing endeavor, and a tie-in project with the History Channel. David has a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Stanford University. His books have been translated into a dozen languages.

Visit David on their Facebook, Twitter, and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I’m relatively new to Boskone. This will be only my second one. What I found last year that made me want to come back was a gathering of fans and professionals that felt small enough to offer an intimate convention experience, but large enough to offer diversity of attendance and programming. There is so much going on, so many interesting people, and one actually has the opportunity to meet and interact with those people. It’s a friendly con, but it also feels weighty, like there are important conversations taking place, in informal settings as well as in panel rooms. And, I will add on a more personal note, that I have ties to New England and the Northeast, both personal (I grew up and went to school in that part of the country) and professionally: The Thieftaker Chronicles, the work for which I’m probably best known, is set in pre-Revolutionary Boston.

Bonus: Up for a challenge? Give us a haiku or limerick about Boskone!

Chowder and cold beer
Stormtroopers march in snow boots
Welcome to Boskone

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

The first piece that turned me on to SF and Fantasy was a dramatized version of THE HOBBIT that I auditioned for at sleep away camp when I was 11 years old. I didn’t know anything about THE HOBBIT at the time, but this was my first summer away at camp and my parents had told my counselors that they thought I should try doing some drama. Fine, okay. So I try out for the play, which has this really odd script, and I get cast as some guy named Bilbo Baggins. The plays at camp had a really fast turnaround. Auditions Monday, performance Sunday and then on to the next production. So for a week I was totally immersed in Tolkien’s world, and I was literally never the same. After that play, I wanted to read all the fantasy I could find, I was desperate to read the actual novel of THE HOBBIT, and soon after THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Truly, it changed my life. And all because my parents were fully aware that I was a total ham…

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Dr. Jonathan McDowell

Dr. Jonathan McDowell is an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, part of the Center for Astrophysics (Harvard and Smithsonian) in Cambridge, MA. A staff member of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC), he studies black holes, quasars and X-ray sources in galaxies, as well as developing data analysis software for the X-ray astronomy community as part of the Chandra X-ray Observatory team. As well as studying distant quasars, McDowell is known for work on the history of space exploration, and maintains the most comprehensive list of satellite and space launches. McDowell’s online newsletter on space launches, Jonathan’s Space Report (since 1989) gives details of all satellite launches, and the associated web site, https://planet4589.org, contains tables of rocket launches and space activities. In 2018 Dr. McDowell published a paper giving physical arguments that the lower boundary of outer space should be at 80 km above the Earth, and not the currently-popular value of 100 km. Main belt asteroid (4589) McDowell is named after him.

Visit Dr Martin Elvis on their Twitter and website.

What is it about Boskone that makes this the convention you choose to attend each year?

Or if this is your first Boskone, what attracted you most to Boskone this year?

I’m a Boston area resident so there’s that. I’ve been a couple times over the decades but usually I am out of town when it happens so I’m glad the schedule works for me this time.

What topics are you most looking forward to talking about at Boskone?

While I love many kinds of SF and fantasy my own expertise is in the reality of space exploration by humans and robots in the 20th and 21st centuries, so I look forward
to sharing some thoughts about that.

If you could be a fly on the wall during any scene or event in literature of film, which scene would it be and why? 

Uncovering the monolith in 2001.Because (a) I love the thrill of discovery.(b) it would mean I’d be on the Moon!(c) most of the other dramatic scenes I can think of take place in universes I am rather happy I don’t live in

Looking back, what was the first piece of work (whether it be from literature, cinema, art, music, video game, toy, or whatever it may be) that first made you love science-fiction and fantasy?

I started watching Dr Who when I was 3 so there’s that. I remember reading the Little Prince as a small kid and that gave me an abiding interest in asteroids. Then at around ten or so I discovered at around the same time Tolkien and Asimov/Clarke/Heinlein.

If you could bring any object or device into the real world from fiction or film, and it would work perfectly, what would you choose? Why would you choose that item?

A human-mind-uploading-to-computer device, like for example the ones in Fred Pohl’s Gateway saga. Because it’s the least implausible avenue to living for ever.

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