On My Mind

-thoughts of a wife, mom, author, illustrator, juggler, toy designer, teacher, camp director, ...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Interview with author Piers Anthony

I have loved reading science fiction/fantasy books since I first read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle in third grade. I love the magic, the time travel, the adventure. I give Ms. L'Engle the credit for introducing me to a whole genre of exciting stories. Shortly after, I was given A Spell for Chameleon by: Piers Anthony. This is the first in his Xanth series and I was literally spellbound by it. I was transported to the magical world of "Xanth" where characters have magical talents, travel on adventures, and fight battles for power. Piers Anthony is extremely talented at hiding puns throughout his stories, adding to the fun of reading them. He continues to write books in this series with it now having a total of 34 titles and his website lists "more to come." The magical land of Xanth shares similar geographic locations with the state of Florida and as a native of Illinois, I used to compare the locations in the stories to the Florida page in our family atlas.

I recently emailed Piers Anthony and explained that I was a new author with a blog and a long time fan of his writing. In my email, I asked if he would answer a few interview questions and he responded with these candid answers:

Q: "How long did it take you to get your fist book contracted with a publisher and once under contract, how long before it hit the shelves?"

A: "My novel Chthon was rejected by three publishers in the course of a year or so. When the fourth one had held it for five months without response, I queried, and then got an offer. The contract specified publication within a year, but it took longer than that, perhaps my first evidence of the publisher's indifference to legalities. When I took legal action to make them honor other terms of the contract, they blacklisted me for six years, until new ownership changed the picture entirely."

Q: "Which series that you have written (or are in the process of writing) has been the most fun to write?"

A: "I believe it was the ChroMagic fantasy series starting with Key to Havoc. Big publishers did not want it, so it went to a small publisher Mundania."

Q: "When writing a new manuscript, what is your process?"

A: "I usually summarize the novel, then summarize the first chapter in more detail, and work from there. But it varies. I just did a collaboration, Aladdin Relighted with J.R. Rain, wherein each author wrote a chapter at a time, alternating."

Q: "What suggestions do you have for other new writers?"

A: "Be aware that challenging as writing is, that is only half of it. The other half is getting it published. My first novel was never published. So don't expect too much."

Piers Anthony's website can be found at www.hipiers.com/. His site includes a current list of hundreds of electronic publishers http://www.blogger.com/www.hipiers.com/publishing.html and reviews of their publishing processes.

Thank you, Piers Anthony, for taking the time to respond to my questions.

Monday, January 10, 2011


I have loved books since I was in elementary school and read every Archie comic and Encyclopedia Brown book that I could get my hands on.

In third grade, my teacher told me that I had to read books that were more difficult. I didn't care about difficulty, I just wanted to read books that interested me. She recommended many different titles but none of them sounded as fun as a boy detective solving cases around the neighborhood.

I went to my mom to get advice. She asked me a series of questions and then told me that if I wanted to read about independent kids doing really exciting things, I should read A Wrinkle in Time by: Madeline L'Engle. I did. I zipped through it in three days.

More than thirty years later, I still love to read the same kinds of books and now I am working on writing fun books for children. My first book is getting published this year. Look for FLAP! in the fall of 2011.

In other book news, I am happy to say that I read thirteen novels in 2010. Some were mid-grade, many YA, but most were both fabulous and inspiring. Reading great books is like going on an adventure anywhere you want to go. Being a mom, an author, and filing candidacy papers in 2010, gave me little time to read. (Yes, I am running for Village Trustee of Hoffman Estates in the April 2011 election.) I made a goal for myself of 10 novels in 2010 and I managed to pass that goal. In future posts, I may list those books with a little information about each one.

I started this year with a new book. Millicent Min: Girl Genius by: Lisa Yee is a mid-grade book about an eleven year old genius. So far it is a fun read.

Look for more posts about the campaigning process and publishing updates in the future.