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 His site includes a current list of hundreds of electronic publishers and reviews of their publishing processes.

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