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February 17-19, 2023 — Westin Boston Seaport District
January 2, 2015

Mini Interviews with Chris Jackson, Susan Jane Bigelow, Thomas Sweterlitsch, D. Lynn Smith

Day two of the New Year brings us four brand new Boskone Mini Interviews with program participants who are all new to Boskone. These writers come to Boston from across the country. Help us welcome Chris Jackson, Susan Jane Bigelow, Thomas Sweterlitsch, and D. Lynn Smith.

Chris Jackson

A sailing writer, or writing sailor (still not sure which), Chris A. Jackson is living his dream. Sailing full time since 2009, he and his wife are dividing their time between cruising and writing fantasy. As a sailor, nautical fantasy came naturally. His Scimitar Seas novels have won multiple gold medals, and his debut Pathfinder Tales novels, Pirate’s Honor and Pirate’s Promise have received high praise. The Weapon of Flesh Trilogy has become a Kindle bestseller, spurring international interest. His shorter works include “Blood and Iron,” a nautical novella in the Iron Kingdoms world released in 2014 from Privateer Press, stories in various anthologies, and a short story for Catalyst Game Labs in the Shadowrun universe pending release. More Pathfinder Tales, the Weapon of Fear Trilogy, and other works are coming in 2015. For more information, visit Chris’s website, friend him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisAJackson1.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

Chris Jackson (CJ): I love small, fan-based conventions, but due to my vagabond lifestyle and aversion to cold climes (I’m usually in the Caribbean this time of year), I have not been able to attend a Boskone. That is about to change, and I’m psyched. Love Boston, love fans, love small cons, and some writers I have not seen in years will be here, so there will be some catching up. What could be better?

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

(CJ): Working on my fourth novel for Paizo’s Pathfinder Tales, tentatively titled Pirate’s Curse. Just turned in the manuscript for the third, Pirate’s Prophesy, and the second, Pirate’s Promise, was released in December, so it looks like I’m on a one book a year schedule with this series, and loving it. The challenge is to take it to the next level, as with all series. Things have to progress, to let the reader know that, yes, bad things can happen to the primary characters. No spoilers, but there are going to be some major twists.

How would you describe your work to people who might be unfamiliar with you?

(CJ): Since this is my first Boskone, I’ll jump on this question with both feet. I am a hybrid, writing for both traditional publishers and on my own. The first is as a labor of love. Most of the worlds I write in are shared gaming worlds, and since I’ve been a gamer for about 35 years, I’m having more fun than is usually legal to have with your clothes on writing for these publishers. The second is to pay bills, and be faithful to my fans. I am a character writer, and my fans have fallen in love with several I have created. I cannot abandon them. I firmly believe that plot and setting, while important, are not the primary driving force of story and reader engagement. Readers read to be with the characters, to experience the world, to figure out the mystery, to slay the dragon and save the prince/princess through the character. My characters are real people, they just happen to live in a fantasy world.

Susan Jane Bigelow

Susan Jane Bigelow is an author and political columnist from Connecticut. Her short stories have appeared in Strange Horizons and War Stories, among other places, and her science fiction is published by small press Candlemark & Gleam. Her latest novel, The Seeker Star, was released in November 2014. Visit her website, friend her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter at @whateversusan.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

Susan Jane Bigelow (SJB): This is going to be my first Boskone, so I’m looking forward to all kinds of things! Conventions often involve me wandering wide-eyed through everything like a kid in a candy store. I can’t wait to see all of the art, hear awesome filkers, go to panels, play some games, and spend literally hours in the dealers’ room browsing everything. I like being overwhelmed by a con when I first get there.

But what I know I’m most looking forward to is meeting people—from folks I know from other cons or online to new people.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

(SJB): I always have a ton of projects going on at the same time. Right now, I’m working on the fourth book in the Extrahumans series, which is also the final book. I’m also working on the final book in the Grayline Sisters trilogy. So I’ve been doing a lot of wrapping things up and bidding farewell to characters I may never write again, meaning it’s both satisfying and bittersweet. I will definitely be glad to complete these two series, though—just because I’m the kind of person who really loves finishing things! I’ve also been doing a ton of work on short stories this year, and I expect that will continue.

From a fan perspective, what new book, film, TV show, or comic are you most looking forward to seeing/reading?

(SJB): I am excited beyond belief for the next book in the Fairyland series by Catherynne Valente to come out. I love this series so much, and every book takes me on the best emotional roller-coaster! I will read anything new by Seanan McGuire, especially her October Daye series. I’m also somewhat cautiously excited for the new Star Wars movie—but don’t hold me to that. I was excited for the prequels, too, and that didn’t go so well!

Thomas Sweterlitsch

Thomas Sweterlitsch is the author of Tomorrow and Tomorrow. For twelve years, he worked at the Carnegie Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife and daughter. Visit Thomas’s website, friend him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @letterswitch.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

Thomas Sweterlitsch (TS): I’ve never been to Boskone, I’ve never even been to Boston before—so I’ll be wide-eyed, taking everything in. I’m sure to spend a lot of time in the Dealer’s Room (I’m planning on packing light, so I can fill my suitcase with books), and I’m excited to hear, and maybe even have a chance to meet, some of my favorite writers. The Boskone website lists Charles Stross as a scheduled attendee—I hope I have the chance to ask him to sign a book!

What event or experience stands out as one of those ‘defining moments’ that shaped who you are today?

(TS): I’d always been into Dungeons and Dragons and horror fiction, but the first real engagement I had with science fiction was watching Peter Chung’s Aeon Flux shorts as part of MTV’s Liquid Television when I was in high school. The book responsible for my love of reading science fiction was the “Philip K. Dick Reader,” a collection of his short stories.

From a fan perspective, what new book, film, TV show, or comic are you most looking forward to seeing/reading?

(TS): The two movies I’m most looking forward to are Blomkamp’s “Chappie,” and Garland’s “Ex Machina.” I’m also waiting patiently for the new season of Oprhan Black.

D. Lynn Smith

D. Lynn Smith has spent most of her career writing and producing such television shows as Murder, She Wrote, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and Touched by an Angel. In addition, Debbie has published short stories in the Dark Delicacies, Summer Chills and DOA II: Extreme Horror anthologies. She was nominated for a Scribe Award for her audio drama The Lost Girl which is set in the world of the 60’s classic television show, Dark Shadows. Most recently, Debbie created Kymera Press, a comic book publishing company that supports women in comics. Kymera’s first offering is Gates of Midnight, created by Debbie. Debbie lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with husband Paul, Jack Russell Terrier, Mad Max, cat Mr. Grant and desert tortoise Hermione. For more information, visit Debbie’s website and friend her on Facebook.

What are you looking forward to at Boskone?

This is my first Boskone so I’m looking forward to everything. I’ve heard such good things about this convention. I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. I’m also looking forward to visiting Boston as I’ve never been there either.

What are you working on now? What excites or challenges you about this project?

I recently started a new comic book press called Kymera Press. Kymera was formed to support female artists and comic book creators. Our first outing is my own comic, Gates of Midnight. All of the artists involved are women.

I love writing comics and working with all the artists to bring my stories to life. It’s very similar to working in the collaborative environment of television, except I have more power over my creative choices.

Absolutely everything is challenging about this endeavor: learning all of the aspects of running a business, learning all the aspects of putting together a comic book, finding artists, finding printers, getting distribution—everything. But I really love it. In 2015 Kymera will produce a second comic book series. A third and a fourth are in the works. I’m excited to work with all of these talented women and to give their art a voice in comics.