Jaleta has a new story out in an anthology called Tales From The Underground: Twelve tales of hidden legends.
Under our feet lie countless realms of possibility. Join twelve writers as they explore those realms - discovering lands of fantasy, lands from our far future, lands of mystery.
There are places full of wonders, full of terrors, full of visions of what could be.
Join us, down here, in the dark.
Today we talk to Jaleta.
What do you find most challenging about writing (other than finding the time)?
Keeping my stories from growing out of control, especially the short stories. I keep finding all sorts of interesting sub-plots and avenues to explore. If I'm not careful I end up with a tangled mess that needs to become a novel.
What authors inspire you and/or do you regularly read?
Julie Czerneda is always an inspiration. Her aliens are awesome. I also love the classics: Andre Norton, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Terry Pratchett, and so many others. I've got Mary Stewart's classic Merlin trilogy on my nightstand right now.
Why did you start writing?
To make the voices in my head shut up. Sorry, that was the pat answer. I really started writing as an escape from my kids. Being a stay-at-home mom of young kids can be very isolating. I started writing as a way to stay sane, to do something for me that wasn't on a preschool level.
What do you love about writing?
Blowing stuff up. No mess to clean up.
I love to dream up places I want to visit, and some I never want to visit. There are no limits on the imagination. I can go anytime, anyplace, as anyone or anything.
What do you hate about writing?
My brain goes at least ten times faster than my fingers can type. I can't keep up with the flow of ideas and stories. I also hate it when I dream up the perfect dialogue and scene in my head at night, then when I go to write it down, it never comes out as good as it sounded in my head.
Where do you write? A set-aside place or just anywhere?
Anywhere I can get my laptop. I've written on camping trips, at stores, at schools, in the car, every room in the house including the bathroom and coat closet, in the backyard, everywhere. Except the swimming pool or the bathtub. Water and computers just don't mix well. It isn't pretty.
What is your writing process? Plotter, Pantser?
I pants the first few chapters or scenes, then have to back off and write a loose outline. If I don't know where I'm headed, I tend to wander all over the place. Pratchett can get away with that because he's very entertaining. I can't. I know I'm not that entertaining to read when I'm wandering.
What do you have planned in the future/what's in the works?
I'm working on a whole pile of short stories and the sequel to Dark Dancer - The Winterqueen's War. That book's been in the works for several years now off and on. I really need to get it finished up. Then on to a whole lot of new novels and short stories.
Do you have a writing ritual? Have to wear the same shirt, listen to the same music?
If I had to do that kind of thing, I'd never get anything written. Mostly, I just have to close down all my online games, find some great mood music on YouTube, put on my headphones, then ignore everyone and everything while I get words out. Sometimes I just open up the file and write snatches as I can, but that's usually not very productive for me. I need a good half hour at a time.
How do you overcome writers' block?
I've never had writers' block. I've had burnout - the ideas are there but I just can't make myself sit down and write them out. I've been stuck in a story but that was because I hadn't figured out the character's motivations all the way. As soon as I got that sorted out, the story flowed again. Ideas are everywhere. It's the process of turning them into coherent stories that's hard.
Do you have a favorite place to relax?
On the couch in front of the TV with my crocheting in my lap and the dogs snoring in the corners. Mostly because I can't afford my own private tropical paradise.
Any hobbies, interests (other than writing)?
Reading, cooking weird foods, costuming, piecing quilts, crocheting all sorts of things out of yarn (hedgehogs and tiny cthulhus lately), making pickles, and playing the piano. I'm attempting to learn the organ but that's slow going.
Why should anyone buy your book?
Tales of the Underground should be in your library because it isn't just me in there. It's twelve fabulous authors with very different stories. You get to sample a full dozen authors that you've probably never heard of. But the stories are good. Trust me.
What motivates and inspires you?
Chocolate. And doughnuts. Pretty much food in general.
Jaleta Clegg enjoys spinning tales that range from the creepy and serious to the strange and silly. She writes epic space opera with her Fall of the Altairan Empire series (www.altairanempire.com), steampunk fairies with Dark Dancer, silly horror with her Brain Candy collection, and a whole lot of other stories all across the speculative fiction genres. She lives in Washington state with two elderly dogs, a massive stink-beast cat, a diminishing horde of children, and a very patient husband.
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