18 August 2020

Author Spotlight || J.D. Sanderson


Today on Cats Luv Coffee is J.D. Sanderson, science fiction writer and author of a new anthology uniquely influenced by 1950s radio.  Read on for the full interview!



What's your latest release?

Around the Dark Dial


Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 


Around the Dark Dial is a collection of eleven short science fiction stories. I wrote it over a two week period last year when my wife and daughter were on vacation visiting her grandmother. I didn't have enough vacation time for the trip, so I stayed home. I wrote one story a night as a way to distract myself. After a while I realized it might make a nice collection.

Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?


Aside from the circumstances I found myself in, I found myself reaching back to one of my first real loves in science fiction. When I was ten, I was given a collection of X-Minus One on cassette tape. It was so cool to sit and listen to these Old Time Radio dramas. They let your imagination fill in all the gaps.

After writing the first of these short stories, I noticed it had a similar feel to the radio plays I grew up enjoying, so I leaned into that.

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?


I never plan anything when I write. I start off with a premise and wing it. Sometimes it's an idea, sometimes it's a setting or a character. I love letting my fingers dance and seeing where the story ends up.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?


The two main characters in my story Caller Four are my favorite. Terrence and Taye, the host and board op of a late night paranormal radio show. I loved watching their personalities bounce off each other as the story unfolded.

What was more important to you when you were writing: character development or plot?


For me, plot always serves characters and their development.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about yourself, etc.) while writing?


I learned I could actually write in this format! Aside from my story First Swarm in the Remnants anthology, I'd never had any luck with shorter tales.  My first two books made up one large tale. I love longer, serialized stories. There are a few surprises in this collection, though, including a piece called The Simulant, which ties into my old series.

What books or authors influenced your own writing?


Charles Sheffield was a huge one, as were Isaac Asimov and Clifford D. Simak. I also grew up loving the works of Michael Crichton and Richard Adams.

Lately, I've been more inspired by streaming shows like The OA on Netflix than books. Blasphemy, I know!

What led you to start writing?


I tried to write a story for 15 years. Between the ages of 15-30, I gave up on ten different books. After watching The OA in late 2016, I said, "That. I want to do THAT in a book." I started throwing out everything I'd seen, heard, or read before. If anything was at all familiar, I didn't write it. Instead I went out of my way to be original. It may not be for everyone, or what the experts tell you will sell, but it works for me.

My wife was also incredibly encouraging, which always helps!

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?


Science fiction, to me, is the perfect genre for examining the human condition. 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?


"Don't try to emulate your favorites."

Which animal would you say is your spirit animal while writing?


My dogs fill that role nicely.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?


You can find me on twitter at www.twitter.com/ascifiwriter 

What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?


Write the story you want to read.


Be sure to check out Around the Dark Dial!




 

J.D. Sanderson lives with his wife, daughter, and mini poodle in South Dakota. A lifelong fan of science fiction, J.D. is eagerly awaiting the release of his first short story collection “Around the Dark Dial.” When he's not writing, you'll find him spending time with his family or walking his spunky poodle Banjo.



Thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee today!