Amazing life stories and proven tips for both writing and illustrating, listen to Contest judges, winners, and industry pros in these personal interviews on the Writers & Illustrators of the Future Podcast. Hover over podcast image to subscribe.
185. Desmond Astaire is career military and Grand Prize writer winner
Desmond Astaire is the Gold Award winner for Writers of the Future Volume 38. He is career Air Force who also aspires to a career as an author.
184. Craig Alanson turned the alien invasion trope on its head
Craig Alanson publishes 3 novels a year. He went from being a paid accountant writing code to a full-time author making 6 figures after only 6 months—as a self-published author! He created Expeditionary Force as a reaction to the “plucky band of soldiers with rifles defeat an alien invasion” trope. These stories are so serious, straight ahead, and unrealistic—how can human soldiers on the ground defeat an alien assault, when the aliens can nuke us from orbit? “I set out to write a military space opera that was a hell of a lot more fun. Enjoy.”
183. Elizabeth Ticknor & Rebecca Treasure making their dreams happen
M. Elizabeth Ticknor and Rebecca E. Treasure discuss the importance of friendship in writing and making their dream of being authors happen. We discuss their journeys, overcoming self-doubt, and persevering to win the Contest.
182. Larry Elmore Dungeons & Dragons and Dragonlance artist
Larry Elmore become an Illustrators of the Future judge in 2012 and is routinely a highlight anytime he attends the annual workshop. Larry discusses how the original D&D art came to be and, following this, Dragonlance art. Larry talks about how he can just look at something, duplicate the shape, and draw it from memory.
181. Dean Wesley Smith discusses the brand new world of publishing
Dean Wesley Smith is one of the most prolific authors today, a master of selling the first draft of his stories. He was the first Writers of the Future winner to be awarded in the history of the Contest. In this podcast, he covers writing what you want to write, what you have fun with. He discusses what today are called “guidelines.” In L. Ron Hubbard’s day, these were called taboos, which he discusses in his how-to article called “Boos and Taboos.” In addition to creating his own worlds, Dean has written Star Trek, Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man, and Men in Black novels and ghostwritten dozens of others.
180. Nancy Cartwright, voice of Bart Simpson, provides 6 steps to survival
Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, wrote and did her own voice-over for her book, I’m Still a 10-Year Old Boy and she is also an artist and sculptor. We discuss her growth and subsequent influence as an artist which includes my favorite chapter, “Six Salient Steps to Successful Survival,” which is very applicable to the aspiring writer and artist … and we talk about all 6 steps!
179. Meet 3 amazing winners from the United Kingdom
The UK is very important to Writers and Illustrators of the Future! Illustrator grand prize winner volume 37 Dan Watson (top), writer winner volume 36 J. L. George (center), and writer winner volume 38 Michael Panter (bottom) were interviewed during the workshop week where we discussed their individual journeys to winner and what they plan to do in the future.
178. Michael Talbot from Jamaica to Boston on being a pro artist
Growing up in Jamaica, Michael Talbot had always had a strong desire to inspire and speak to others through art. In 2012 he left his home country to live in the US and began pursuing his artistic dreams. He earned his BFA in illustration and graphic design with a minor in animation at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, and has since been working as a Boston-based freelance artist on a wide range of projects, exhibitions, and showcases. Michael believes that all art is interconnected in some facet; informing, complimenting and/or enhancing each other. And although his passion and interest for storytelling is forefront in his practice and craft, he tends to draw from his knowledge in as many areas of study as possible to help strengthen this process. Whenever possible, he uses his rich cultural background from his early life in Jamaica to infuse, improve, and “season” whatever project he tackles, often mixing both digital and traditional media.
177. Martin Shoemaker on Kickstarter book publishing strategies
Martin L. Shoemaker, a winner in Writers of the Future Volume 31, announces a new book, Ulla, based on The War of the Worlds storyline, and the use of Kickstarter to help with the book’s release.
176.Kevin J. Anderson co-authoring with Rush lead drummer Neil Peart
International bestselling author and Writers of the Future Contest Judge, Kevin J. Anderson never wanted to be anything but an author his entire life. We discuss the conclusion of the Clockwork Angels Trilogy, Clockwork Destiny, which Kevin considers to be the best book he has ever written out of his 175 published books. We also discuss the importance of storytellers and the importance of transparency in storytelling, that you are so absorbed in the story that you can just enjoy and be involved in the story.
175. How James Rosone became an Amazon Top 100 Author
James Rosone is the Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of the Red Storm Series and World War III military thriller series. He’s an Iraq War veteran who served 3.5 years in a combat zone as a military interrogator and contractor. You can write the best book in the world and no one reads it. Or you can write a garbage book and everyone reads it. It comes down to marketing. And how to do that is what we discuss.
174. Mike Jack Stoumbos from teacher to author and his anti-bullying story
Mike Jack Stoumbos is a teacher who wanted to be an author. This is his story on transitioning from a full-time teacher/part-time writer to a part-time teacher/full-time writer. Mike is a winner published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 38, with his anti-bullying story “The Squid is my Brother.”
173. 3 Australian writers talk about winning Writers of the Future
(top to bottom) J. A. Becker (WOTF 37), Michael Gardner (WOTF 36), and C. Winspear (WOTF 36 Gold Award winner) all won Writers of the Future. They all share amazingly different journeys that led them to Hollywood to celebrate becoming winners. And boy do we have a lot of fun!
172. Damon Courtney how to build fans with BookFunnel
Damon Courtney (writing under the alias Damon J. Courtney) wrote an epic Fantasy series, Dragon Bond, that he desperately wanted to give to the world (whether they liked it or not). He had already published two books, and now the third and final book in his (to him) magnificent trilogy was complete. But, how to find readers… And so begins the story of Book Funnel. BookFunnel delivers more than 2 million ebooks every month for indie authors just like you.
171. Robert J. Sawyer on telling stories only you can tell
Canadian Dean of Science Fiction Robert J. Sawyer says to take a breath. Write the stories that are important to you. Stories that only you can tell. He also gives his reason why he recommends that you submit to Writers of the Future. Learn your craft. Practice. Get really good. Then you can be good enough to sell.
170. Gold Award Winners 2022 Zaine Lodhi and Desmond Astaire
Meet the grand prize winners for 2022 published in Writers of the Future Volume 38. Zaine was ready to quit art and tells how he overcame a total feeling of despair. Desmond tells of what he finally did that took him out of his almost-writer state to being a winner.
169. Art reveal: writers see their art and meet the artists
Each year, the illustrators set up their art in a large room, and then the authors are let in and must find their story’s art at which point the illustrator introduces themself to the author. It is a very emotional event and one I hope you will enjoy listening to.
168. Hugh Howey, bestselling self-published author of Wool
In this interview, we talk with international bestselling author Hugh Howey. We discuss self-publishing vs indie publishing vs traditional publishing; how his earlier work ethic, gaining experience doing all forms of jobs, affected his later ability as an author; and, his experience working at a bookstore and its impact on his writing choices. We also cover how his novel Wool came to be.
167. Philippa Werner ensuring you get all royalties owed to you
Philippa Werner is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at Scribecount, overseeing the customer interaction, content, and overall service side of the company. Her main objective is to ensure copyright holders never miss out on royalties owed to them! With 19 novels to her name, including 2 USA Today Bestsellers, Philippa speaks the complicated language of indie-author very well.
166. Laura Crenshaw stabilizing and expanding the storytelling industry
Laura Crenshaw, Founder & CEO of Mythulu.com. Mythulu mission is to stabilize and expand the storytelling industry. The world is hungry for new stories. You’re ready to tell them.
Our goal is to be the belt to your Batman. Check out what else we’re about to slip into your arsenal: Explain your decks, the premise of how they were created and all the perceptics they use.
165. Marta Sprout, thriller stories gives a safe way to unravel why people are violent
When not writing, Marta Sprout loves skiing big mountains, scuba diving, and snorkeling with 40’ whale sharks. She teaches at the police academy and has done training scenarios with cadets and SWAT. In addition to the pursuit of an accurate and credible story, the bond she has with law enforcement, military, and firefighters comes from a deep respect for those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect total strangers. She has one personal story that rocked her world that set the direction of her life which we will discuss a bit later in this podcast. Today, writing thrillers gives us all a safe way to unravel why some are violent, to honor victims and bravery, and to wonder what you or I would do in the shoes of a hero.
164. Judith Anderle: Publishing Contracts & Rights
Judith Anderle, who along with her husband, Michael, has built an indie publishing empire and created the 20Booksto50K annual conference. We discuss a topic not covered before in the 3 years of this podcast: publishing contracts and publishing rights.
163. Michael Anderle founder of 20BooksTo50K
Michael Anderle is a top 30 Bestselling Amazon Author and CEO of LMBPN Publishing. He has used what he learned from his first two decades reading science fiction and fantasy to segue into writing Urban Fantasy and Military Fiction in the next decade. We discuss his Kurtherian Gambit, and one of my favorite characters of fiction—Anne, along with how he has grown as an author and helped so many other authors along the way.
162. Turkish artist Max Cavun bringing the best out of fellow artists
Irmak (Max) Cavun has been creating art all her life, using anything she could draw with on anything she could draw on. She now runs creative teams in creating games at USC and loves working with artists to bring out their best in creating art.
161. Nina Kiriki Hoffman on writer’s block
Nina Kiriki Hoffman was a winner from the very first volume of Writers of the Future and later became a Contest judge. In this interview, she covers writer’s block and how to deal with it. She also discusses how if you want to write short stories try taking characters from your novel and write something about that character before they got to the book, i.e. a right of passage before they became a character in the novel. Write a story about them and you get to know your character that much better when you write your novel.
160. How to become an author: Zack Be, Storm Humbert, Luke Wildman
Listen to the Writers and Illustrators of the Future podcast on writing with Writers of the Future winners Zack Be (WOTF 36), Storm Humbert (WOTF 36), and Luke Wildman (WOTF 37) on what winning has meant to them and how to become an author.
159. Jeff Edwards how to write about ordinary people doing extraordinary things
If you enjoy military thrillers as well as science fiction, you will love Jeff Edwards. Jeff served over two decades in the US Navy where he was an Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist and Chief Petty Officer. He specializes in writing about ordinary men and women working together to do extraordinary things which was something he experienced in his military career. In his own words, Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the determination that some things are more important than fear.
158. NYT bestselling author Douglas E. Richards from UFO non-believer to believer
Douglas E. Richards is a multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of science-fiction thrillers that have sold over two million copies. I was initially introduced to him through his book Seeker which left a very refreshing view on the future of humanity. After reading Seeker, I asked him for a recommended next read and he suggested the newly released Unidentified a book that opens and closes with the author participating on a large podcast. He had me at the word “podcast”! He has gone from being a biotech executive and Director of biotechnology licensing with a BS in microbiology from the Ohio State University, and a master’s degree in genetic engineering from the University of Wisconsin—where he engineered mutant viruses now named after him—and an MBA from the University of Chicago.
157. Tom Wood from humble beginnings to world class artist
Tom Wood is a world-class fantasy art illustrator who is among the best-selling poster artists in the US and Canada. Art is hard work. If you want to be good at it, it’s an obsession. The “Tom Wood Fantasy Art” brand has sold millions of products since 2005. Tom’s creations of dragons and medieval, death-defying warriors have become iconic images of fantasy culture across America, Europe, and Asia. In addition as a commercial artist, Tom’s clients have included well-known companies: Warner Brothers, Disney, NBA, NFL, MLS, Reebok, Gatorade, and the NCAA as well as ICP (Insane Clown Posse) and The Gathering of the Juggalos. He became an Illustrators of the Future judge in 2021.
156. Anj Dockrey Filipina-American author, artist, educator, mother on persistence
Filipina-American author, artist, educator, and a new mother, Anj Dockrey, was recently published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 37 with her story, “Argentum.” She has been entering the Writers of the Future Contest for nearly two decades and now having won has a wonderful story of persistence and dedication to finally achieving her goal that I wanted to share with you.
155. Kary English Do’s, Dont’s, and WTF on submitting to Writers of the Future
Kary English was published in WOTF 31 and has since become the First Reader for Writers of the Future. The goal of this podcast is to cut down on Contest rejects so we discuss the do’s, don’ts, and WTF for submitting to the Writers of the Future Contest.
154. A.G. Riddle a self-publishing sensation with The Atlantis Gene
A.G. Riddle has become a household sensation within our offices with his Origin Mystery Series series. Writing under a pseudonym, Gerry, along with his wife and partner Anne, are better known in the publishing world as AG Riddle. He released his first novel, The Atlantis Gene, in March of 2013. It became the first book in The Origin Mystery Trilogy. He also released his fourth novel, Departure, which follows the survivors of a flight that takes off in the present and crash-lands in a changed world. Riddle was born and raised in a small town in North Carolina and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. No matter where he is, he tries to set aside time every day to write and answer e-mails.
153. Bea Jackson illustration from Michelle Obama to LeBron James
Brittany “Bea” Jackson discusses her career from aspiring artist, to winning the Illustrators of the Future Golden Brush Award, to multiple NYT bestselling children’s books, and now Illustrators of the Future Judge.
152. Jenna Moreci Three important tips to reach GenZ and Millennials
Meet Jenna Moreci, bestselling author, and YouTube influencer. We discuss three important tips to reach GenZ and Millennials whether you are an author or marketer and you will soon realize why Jenna’s YouTube platform is so popular!
151. Dean Wesley Smith publishing 70 books in one year to celebrate his 70th birthday
Dean Wesley Smith was the first writer to be awarded by Writers of the Future in volume 1. He has been a Contest judge and is one of the most prolific writers alive today. We discuss how he emulated L. Ron Hubbard’s speed and ability to cross genres. In celebration of his 70th birthday, Dean is publishing 70 novels in one year!
150. Gold Award Winners 2021 Anh Le and Barbara Lund
Two of our most recent Gold Award winners, writer winner Barbara Lund with her story “Sixers” in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 37, and illustrator winner Anh Le with his illustration of “Stolen Sky” in Volume 36, discuss their career, the workshop week, what it was like to win the grand prize, and their plans for the future.
149. The Value of Mentors with Wulf Moon and Brittany Rainsdon
In this podcast Wulf Moon, a mentor, and Brittany Rainsdon, mentee, discuss the value of a good mentor and how it differs from writing groups and beta-readers.
148. Blake Casselman on creating pop-culture conventions
Salt Lake City Fan-X is one of the largest pop-culture events in the United States. This year there were over 40,000 fans, hundreds of exhibitors and celebrities, several hundred panels and events, and a barrel full of protocols to deal with. And the man who oversees all of this is Blake Casselman, the Director of Programming. Listen as we discuss what goes into to making a successful convention and why the SLC FanX works so well.
147. The Big Art Reveal!
A feeling of anticipation hung in the air of the Hollywood Roosevelt as the Illustrator winners of L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests revealed their art to the writer winners at one of the special events during a week-long workshop attended by the annual winners of both Contests. In a world where new artists—whether authors or illustrators desperately in need of that vote of confidence to persist and not give up—have the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests to provide that much-needed recognition.
146. Writing Panel with Brandon Sanderson, David Farland, SM Stirling, Eric James Stone, Darci Stone
Over 250 fans joined us in Salt Lake City, Utah for FanX—one of the largest pop-culture events in the United States—for an hour-long Writers of the Future panel titled “Writers of the Future: Learn How to Engage Readers” featuring Contest judges Brandon Sanderson, David Farland, S.M. Sterling, and winners Eric James Stone and Darci Stone while I acted as the moderator. The first half was moderator questions to the panel, the second half was devoted to audience Q&A which made for an amazing panel.
145. CEO of Dragon Con Pat Henry on what makes Dragon Con so important
While recently attending Dragon Con in Atlanta, I was able to meet up with the convention CEO and good friend, Pat Henry. I have known Pat since he was a comic store owner when he was first creating Dragon Con with several of his friends. In this podcast, we discuss what makes DragonCon different than other events, why it is so important to writers and artists, and how conventions help establishing, building, and continuing a career in Science Fiction and Fantasy.
144. Alexi Vandenberg on marketing and conventions
Alexi Vandenberg is a marketing specialist with his company Rabid Fanboy Marketing. He has also created a traveling bookstore called Bard’s Tower that tours from convention to convention, bringing some of the hottest talent in pop culture entertainment to book lovers. We connected up in Atlanta at Dragon Con and again in Salt Lake City at Fanx. We discuss marketing and the value of conventions and what types are great for book sales.
143. Dragon Con: How to survive as an artist
So you can draw, paint and sculpt. But how do you turn that into a profession you can support yourself with? Award-winning artist and Illustrators of the Future judge Dan dos Santos and illustrator winner, Bruce Brenneise, discuss the Contest and tips on the business of art, from creating portfolios to working with art directors.
142. Dragon Con: Story Prompts on the Writers of the Future Panel
S.M. Sterling, Jody Lynn Nye, Kevin J. Anderson with moderator John Goodwin discuss how to become one of the 12 winners to be published in the annual anthology? Writers of the Future judges and bestselling authors discuss the Contest, tips on story prompts, and short fiction. Then in the 2nd half, enjoy Q&A.
141. Joe Montaldo on politics in science fiction
In this episode, we tackle a very sensitive subject, often used, and more often misused in science fiction—politics. And to talk about it is Joe Montaldo—the host of multiple award-winning shows: UFO Paranormal, News on the Flip Side, and the Centralist Radio Show. Science fiction is an inherently political genre, in that any future or alternate history it imagines is either a wish about how things should be or a warning of what could happen.
140. Todd McCaffrey NYT bestselling author on indie vs traditional publishing
Todd McCaffrey is a multiple New York Times and indie bestselling author. His mother, Anne McCaffrey, turned over the Dragon Riders of Pern series to Todd and we have fun discussing the passing of that torch. As a successful indie author, we cover the pros and cons of traditional versus independent publishing and some tips on how to be a success as an indie author.
139. Robin Whitten Founder of AudioFile Mag on the history of audiobooks
Robin Whitten is the Editor and Founder of AudioFile Magazine, the premier publication for the audiobook industry. Audiobooks is the fastest-growing segment in the book publishing industry which fact makes having Robin as a guest so special. I don’t know that anyone knows audiobooks better than her and in this interview, we will discuss the history of the audiobook industry.
138. David Farland: Why he is called the Story Doctor
David Farland is a multiple New York Times bestselling author and Writers of the Future Coordinating Judge. He has been dubbed the Story Doctor as he has mentored so many of today’s bestselling authors from Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight). We discuss what to look for in a writing instructor. From there we cover how to plot a novel, how to analyze an audience, how to actually draft a novel, and revising a story to greatness.
137. Exec Dir of Audio Publishers Assn Michele Cobb on explosive growth of the audio industry
Michele Cobb is the Executive Director of the Audio Publishers Association, the Director of Audio Publishing for LA Theatre Works, and the Publisher of Audiofile Magazine. She has become for all intents and purposes the spokesperson for the Audiobook Industry. Audiobooks have become the largest growth segment of the publishing industry. In our interview, we discuss how this has come to be and how you can publish your own audiobook.
136. Katherine Kurtz created the historical fantasy sub-genre
This week’s guest is internationally bestselling author Katherine Kurtz. Combining her study of medieval English at university with the popularity of J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, she evolved a new sub-genre of world fantasy called historical fantasy set in close parallels to our own medieval period and featuring “magic” that much resembles what some of us might call extrasensory perception. She has gone on to author 16 historical fantasy novels in the Deryni series, as well as occult and urban fantasy.
135. Academy award-winner Roger Christian on the making of Battlefield Earth
We have a very special episode for you this week. Roger Christian is an Academy Award-winning art director for the very first Star Wars movie: A New Hope. He was later nominated for an Oscar for his work on Alien. He directed second unit on Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, The Sender, and Nostradamus. He was also the director of the movie Battlefield Earth. There has been so much false information about the movie over the years that he wanted an opportunity to discuss the facts of the movie, and as Roger puts it to put the truth out there.
134. Michelle Desrochers & Amelia Pisano on paranormal in creative writing
Special guests Michelle Desrochers and Amelia Pisano, are hosts of “The Outer Realm.” We not only talk about their specialties, Michelle with her vast experience in the paranormal, helping with TV shows and movies to get it right, And Amelia with her remote viewing to help save children. We also discuss right and wrong ways to treat the subject of the paranormal in writing fantasy and dark fantasy with examples in books, television, and movies.
133. Andrew Gulli editor-in-chief of Strand Magazine on Mystery Sci-Fi
Andrew Gulli is the editor-in-chief of The Strand Magazine, one of the most established and popular journals of mystery fiction active today. Mystery Sci-Fi has been a popular genre being a mix of both Science Fiction and Mystery. In this episode, we will discuss examples of what has worked and what hasn’t work in mystery sci-fi as well as discuss all different types of mystery sub-genres.
132. Mickey Mikkelson on the value of a publicist
Many questions over the years on the need to promote oneself have been addressed. But I’ve never addressed the role of an actual publicist. In this show of the Writers & Illustrators of the Future Podcast, meet Mickey Mikkelson from Creative Edge Publicity and we will discuss how having a “brand” works, when does it become important for an author or artist, and what is the role of a publicist to boost your career?
131. Robert Hogg discusses Mars rover Perseverance as the D/Mission Manager
Robert Hogg is the Deputy Mission Manager for NASA’s Mars 2020 project, NASA’s latest Mars rover. The Perseverance will search for signs of past life on Mars using seven advanced instruments. In addition to the science of the mission, we discuss what would happen if the rover, while drilling, found evidence of earlier alien civilizations. We have a lot of fun. And you will too.
130. Brittany Rainsdon overcoming life issues to become an author
Brittany Rainsdon is a registered nurse, a young mother of four, and is working very hard at becoming a published author. She has won the Writers of the Future competition and is published in Deep Magic magazine and selected for their Best Of issue. In this episode, we discuss how Brittany has overcome real-life issues to pursue her dream of becoming a published author.
129. Dan dos Santos world-famous-artist on the importance of art education
Dan dos Santos has been a professional artist for over two decades and has been an Illustrators of the Future Judge since 2019. You will have certainly recognized his art if you are a book reader—from Dan Brown, Danielle Steele, and Patricia Briggs, to Brandon Sanderson, Diana Rowland, and JK Rowling. He has worked for clients such as Disney, Universal Studios, Activision, Boeing Aircraft, Scholastic Books, Random House, and DC Comics. And we have a wonderful time discussing tips for aspiring artists or for people interested in learning more about art and the importance of art education for a career in art.
128. Ace Antonio Hall “Nzondi” on how to present yourself
Ace Antonio Hall—pen name Nzondi—is an American urban fantasy and horror writer. His novel, Oware Mosaic, won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Young Adult Fiction. He is a former Director of Education for NYC schools and the Sylvan Learning Center. I initially met Nzondi through the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, when he, as Vice President, made a presentation on the 80th Anniversary of L. Ron Hubbard as a professional author. In this episode of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Podcast, Nzondi, will discuss the need for a good headshot, a good bio that interests, and how to present yourself for that all-important good first impression.
127. Mary Jane Popp on the KISS of self promotion
This week’s guest is Mary Jane Popp and she talks about KISS (Keeping It Simple Stupid) of doing media interviews and promoting yourself. She has worked in radio and television for over 40 years as a reporter, producer, and talk show host. She is now the host of the syndicated radio magazine show “Poppoff” out of Sacramento, California. So be sure to listen to the next episode of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Podcast with Mary Jane Popp as she provides insight into how to effectively promote yourself through the media.
126. Kimberly Quigley on pitching stories for TV and doing interviews
Kimberly Quigley has had a lifetime of experience in the media industry beginning with print and runway modeling as a teen. Her work soon evolved into writing and directing short films and TV programming. I met her as the Creator and producer of the celebrity interview show The Red Booth—which she grew from local TV to now being broadcast in multiple countries. In this interview, we continue to explore do’s and don’ts of how to give a good media interview as well as how to pitch your story for TV and movies.
125. Show Host Frank MacKay What Makes a Good Radio/TV Interview
At some point in your career as a writer or artist, you will need to tackle being interviewed by the media. So what makes a good interview and what makes a bad interview? How do you prepare for one? And what is a reporter or show host looking for? In our next episode of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future podcast, we ask long-time show host, Frank MacKay. He has interviewed presidents, senators, judges, and famous actors. Listen in as Frank MacKay breaks down how to do a good interview.
124. S. M. Stirling: History is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to be plausible. History doesn’t.
In this interview, S.M. Stirling discusses how history is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to be plausible. History doesn’t. As the saying goes, you can’t just wait for the Inspiration Fairy to sprinkle you with idea-dust. She’s very fickle. At least not if you’re a professional. So says multiple New York Times best-selling author S.M. Stirling. Learn where his amazing ideas come from … whether mystery, thriller, science fiction or fantasy.
123. Andy Dibble speaks of religion in sci-fi & fantasy and idea driven storytelling
Andy Dibble, as an undergraduate, completed four majors—religious studies, philosophy, Asian studies, and computer science—and published a paper on two of India’s great epics, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavata Purana. He holds a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. In this episode, we will be discussing religion in science fiction.
122. John Haas When life gets in the way, dreams can still be made to happen
John Haas has wanted to be a pro writer for most of his life … but life kept getting in his way. He kept persisting and now finds himself on the cusp of realizing that dream. For any who aspire to living their dream, whatever that dream, listen to this episode of the Writers and Illustrators of the Future Podcast with Writers of the Future winner and author John Haas. After all, dreams can be made to happen.
121. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan, and John Carter Explained
Edgar Rice Burroughs was best known for Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars.
He failed in nearly every enterprise he tried. And yet he became one of the most successful adventure writers in history! In this interview you will learn about Edgar Rice Burroughs from adventurer to reporter to world class author with our very special guests, the president of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jim Sullos, and Director of Publishing, Christopher Paul Carey.
120. Michael Z. Williamson on military SF, military fiction, and libertarian themed fiction
Michael Z. Williamson is an author who writes both military fiction and science fiction and is best known for his libertarian-themed Freehold series, exploring military and political themes as well as first contact with alien beings. With 25 years of service in the Army and Air Force, he has consulted on military matters and disaster preparedness for Discovery Channel and Outdoor Channel and is Editor-at-Large for Survivalblog.
119. Otto Penzler on the key element to all storytelling
Otto Penzler has been involved with publishing since 1975, when he founded The Mysterious Press, dedicated to publishing the best books by the best authors. We talk about the one vital element in storytelling that is common to all genre-fiction and that sets a story above others and makes it timeless.
118. The power of story and censorship with David Doering
In this podcast, we discuss the Power of Story in society, that a successful society is a society of successful stories. Our guest, David Doering, creator of the Life, the Universe and Everything convention, addresses how all human endeavors are storytelling. We will cover all forms of storytelling from gossip … to biography … to history … to criticism … to fiction … and its antithesis, censorship, and book burning.
117. Sara Frazetta, granddaughter of Frank and founder of Frazetta Girls
Many know Frank Frazetta as the godfather of fantasy art noted for comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters, record album covers, and other media. While his work is world-renowned, what about the man, or in this case, the grandfather? Sara Frazetta is the granddaughter of Frank Frazetta and founder of Frazetta Girls, a family initiative dedicated to maintaining the legacy of Frank Frazetta. If you are a fan of fantasy art, you won’t want to miss this episode.
116. Ed Hulse, Pulp Fiction expert and its impact on today’s popular culture
What do you ask someone who knows virtually everything there is to know about the pulp fiction era and its impact on today’s popular fiction? Anything and everything. That’s what I tried to do when he was the keynote speaker at Writers of the Future Awards ceremony a few years ago. And that’s what I attempt on this episode of the Writers & Illustrators of the Future Podcast with our very special guest, editor, author, and publisher of Murania Press, and my good friend, Mr. Ed Hulse.
115. Dragon Con CEO, Pat Henry, on the importance of conventions
What began as a childhood hobby grew into a full-fledged passion. It eventually led Pat Henry, along with a few friends, to co-found Dragon Con, one of the largest fantasy conventions in the world in Atlanta, Georgia, of which Pat is now CEO. We will discuss why conventions are important to a writer and artist and why DragonCon is one of the biggest supporters of Writers & Illustrators of the Future.
114. Kevin J. Anderson paying it forward to the next generation of authors
Kevin J. Anderson has published more than 165 books, 56 of which have been national or international bestsellers. He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes. He has been a judge for Writers of the Future for 25 years and has a simple philosophy: I’m successful at this, but I feel it’s important to pay forward to the next generation of writers.” He also teaches a Masters Program in Publishing which we discuss.
113. Bhagyashree Prabhutendolkar, publisher of India youth magazine for positive change
India has recently taken the #2 spot behind the United States with students participating in the Writers of the Future Online Workshop and Bhagyashree Prabhutendolkar is the driving force behind that. She is a published author, illustrator, public speaker, and the founder of Youth Magazine, an international youth-led publication aimed to bring positive change in the world. She is a former recipient of ‘The Hindustan Times Scholarship Award’ and her work has been published in prominent newspapers such as Hindustan Times, Times of India, Mumbai Times and she was nominated for the Crossword Book Awards ’19 as well. She was also selected as Yale University’s Yale Young Global Scholars 2021.
112. How the Sci-Fi West Was Won with Dakota Livesay
The Space Western Science Fiction sub-genre has had great success beyond the page in the television and movie industries—Longmire, Firefly, Serenity, Avatar, not to mention Han Solo, Bobba Fett and the Mandalorian. To make western sci-fi work, though, you have to know what makes the western work and that’s our guest in the next episode of the Writers of the Future Podcast. Learn how the sci-fi west was won with this week’s guest, Dakota Livesay.
111. Dr. Beatrice Kondo of Johns Hopkins Univ on biotechnology and science fiction
Dr. Beatrice Kondo is the Assistant Program Director for the Masters of Science program in Biotechnology at Johns Hopkins University. Yes, the same university providing up to date information on the current pandemic. Biotechnology is now moving so fast that a lot of the science that not so long ago was just fiction is now part of our daily lives. If you are an author and are interested in biotechnology in your science fiction, then you will enjoy this episode.
110. Eric Flint bestselling author combined 7 trade unions and a Master’s in History
Combine a Master’s degree in history with a quarter-century working as a longshoreman, truck driver, auto worker, steelworker, meatpacker, glassblower, and machinist to become an international top-selling science fiction and alternate history author and you have Eric Flint.
109. Canadian Author Mark Leslie Lefebvre: On Passion and Werewolves
Mark Leslie Lefebvre is a Canadian author, professional speaker, and bookseller who talks about passion and getting published. Storytelling is all about “story” and this has to be your ultimate drive and passion as a writer. We also discuss his novel A Canadian Werewolf in New York and his homage to Spider-Man! As a Canadian, Mark provides advice to the aspiring Canadian author which he then bridges over to any aspiring writer.
108. Joe Montaldo’s New Year’s Resolution to Write a Story
Joe Montaldo and John Goodwin discuss Joe’s long term desire to write a story and how he has been taking the L, Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Online Workshop to accomplish this as his New Year’s Resolution.
107. Bill Fawcett ABCs of Getting Published
In this interview with Bill Fawcett, we discuss the history and future of publishing. We discuss the repeated “collapse” of publishing going back to the 1930s and how it continues to evolve. As an author Bill Fawcett has written or co-authored over a dozen fiction books plus close to one hundred articles and short stories. Bill collaborated on several mystery novels with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro including the Authorized Mycroft Holmes novels. He interviewed for and edited two oral histories of the US Navy SEALs Hunters and Shooters and The Teams. As an anthologist, Bill has edited or co-edited over 40 SF anthologies. Bill Fawcett & Associates has packaged over 400 books science fiction, fantasy, military, non-fiction, and licensed books for major publishers.
106. Steven L. Sears, one of Hollywood’s most successful screenwriters
Steven L. Sears is one of Hollywood’s most successful and productive screenwriters. He wrote for Riptide, Xena, Sheena, Swamp Thing, A-Team, Stingray, Starbuck, The Highwayman, Raven, and others. In this interview, Steven discusses how he became a screenwriter along a path that he did not expect. We discuss what is lazy writing. He also defines dynamic writing and its importance in succeeding as a writer, no matter what type of writing you want to pursue.
105. Wulf Moon discusses the value of the Writers of the Future Forum to improving one’s craft
Wulf Moon was a published winner in Writers of the Future and discusses the value of diversifying income streams to survive no matter the circumstances. He is also the moderator of the Writers of the Future Forum and discusses how it is a tool to help grow as a writer as you are with other writers who want to help each other.
104. RJ Ellory on the difference between a writer and an aspiring writer
UK author Roger Ellory is a thriller author who discusses the book that started him along a successful path as a professional writer, L. Ron Hubbard: The Writer. It contained essays and articles by Mr. Hubbard on the craft of writing which are as applicable now as when he wrote them, regardless the genre one decides to write in. One essay, “The Manuscript Factory,” addresses output and how to achieve it. Mr. Hubbard produced 50,000 words a month, which Roger has taken to heart and he has written 50,000 words per month himself since becoming a writer. Roger discusses the passion necessary to write a book that generates sufficient enthusiasm to engage a reader. He was first published in 2002 and has now published 15 novels, winning numerous awards globally and translated into 26 languages.
103. Charles Gannon discusses world-building and use of exosapients and exobiospheres
Charles Gannon is an award-winning SF author with his Tales of the Terran Republic series as well as being a Distinguished Professor of English. We discuss believable world-building, xeno-world-building, exosapients (aliens), and exobiospheres (other inhabitable planets).
102. Lezli Robyn, editor of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, discusses what a rejection means
Lezli Robyn is the editor of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine and Assistant Publisher at Arc Manor, and she discusses her introduction to science fiction and what she now looks for to be published in her publications and what a rejection from a magazine means. The value of short fiction to getting discovered, building one’s name, and maintaining one’s audience, especially with magazines going digital, is increasing the popularity of short fiction as it provides bite-sized escapes from the world.
101. Scot Noel publisher of DreamForge Magazine discusses how to get published
Scot Noel was published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 6 in 1990 which helped launch a very successful career as a writer and in starting his own science fiction and fantasy magazine, DreamForge. This is his story. He also reveals what he is looking for from authors wanting to be published.
100. Toni Weisskopf, Publisher of Baen Books, discusses history of Baen and future of publishing
Writers of the Future and Toni originally met in New York in 1989 where she was a volunteer helping at the Awards event! She has since worked with Jim Baen, working under him as an editor and wearing every hat in a publishing house. With Jim’s passing, Toni became the owner and publisher of Baen Books and is going strong! In this interview, we talk about the future of publishing and we also talk about one of her book projects from 1995, Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts.
99. Alan Smale is a NASA engineer and award winning alternate history author
With a Bachelors in Physics and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Oxford in England, Alan Smale came to America in the late 80s to work with NASA and never went back. In addition to being a research scientist with NASA, Alan writes alternate history and historical fantasy, and is an a capella vocalist. He was a WOTF 13 winner with his story, “Wings.” Alan discusses his process in writing alternate history and the extent of his research to provide an accurate base and then weave in his alternate history aspect. He also covers how he manages a full time job with NASA, performing his music, and writing … including an immense amount of research that results in a lengthy novel a year.
98. Lazarus Chernik gives the role of an art director and what they are looking for
Lazarus Chernik has been an art director for over 20 years working with Fortune 100 giants as well as small businesses in need of reaching their next level. He was asked to discuss do’s and don’ts of working with an art director. He provides key and vital things artists need to know to work with an art director and things to avoid. He does this by explaining what the art director’s job is and explaining what the artist’s job is.
97. Larry Niven creator of Known Space discusses writing hard sci fi
Larry discusses how to write hard science fiction and pitfalls to avoid based on what he learned in writing Ring World. He does concede that readers will forgive a mistake if it’s a really good story. We also discuss his laws of collaboration and what is important to make collaboration work, discussing writing with Jerry Pournelle. Larry also explains how he became an author and the two times he felt like a real writer.
96. Nancy Kress gives the 3 key points of world-building
Nancy Kress is the author of thirty-three books, including twenty-six novels, four collections of short stories, and three books on writing. Her work has won six Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and has been translated into two dozen languages, including Klingon. In addition to writing, Kress often teaches at various venues around the country and abroad, including a visiting lectureship at the University of Leipzig, a 2017 writing class in Beijing, and the annual intensive workshop Taos Toolbox, which she teaches every summer with Walter Jon Williams.
95. Dave Chesson, the Kindlepreneur, discusses the evolution of self-publishing
Dave Chesson created Kindlepreneur to help authors get started with Amazon. In our interview, he discusses the evolution of self-publishing and the relevance of self-published authors comparing them to free-agents in sports. Self-publishing makes it easier for a publishing house to know who to take on. Self-publishing used to be the junior varsity team but this has evolved.
94. Echo Chernik discusses talent, skill, and diversity in art
Echo Chernik is a freelance artist who has diversified her skills and creates art in all mediums which is important from her experience as she is able to ride with any bumps in the economy and changes in demand. In addition to being well known in corporate America for brands such as Celestial Seasonings tea packaging, she also created two now-famous decks of playing cards for Name of the Wind by Pat Rothfuss (WOTF 18).
93. Liz Busby discusses the value of SF&F to address religious issues
Liz Busby is a mom, homeschooler, SF critic, and superfan, and this interview was done to provide a perspective to writers on what fans are looking for in an author: turn-on and turn-off. We also discuss how to deal with religious themes in SF&F, its origin, and the current trend.
92. Elizabeth Chatsworth successfully maneuvers a mid-life career change
Meet Elizabeth Chatsworth, originally from the UK and now living in the US, the first winner from WOTF 37 to be interviewed. After a successful career in marketing in the UK, Elizabeth began writing as a late-in-life second career writing fiction in her late 40s. She has now won Writers of the Future, sold her first novel, and was very happy to tell the story of how she approached learning to write. We also discuss the creation of steampunk as a subgenre and reference the article by Tim Powers.
91. Sean Patrick Hazlett combines real-world paranormal with dark fantasy
We met Sean Patrick Hazlett in 2017 when he was a winner in Writers of the Future Volume 33 with his short dark fantasy (horror) story, “Adramelech.” He is an Army veteran with the elite 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, a finance executive in SFO Bay area, with an AB in history and BS in electrical engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In this podcast we discuss creating horror and dark fantasy and the form he likes. Sean is the editor of “Weird World War III” which combines real-world paranormal with dark fantasy. He acknowledges the late Mike Resnick for providing him with the knowhow to create this anthology.
90. Craig Elliott: from illustration to animation with Disney, Dreamworks, to Netflix
Craig Elliott is an illustrator, visual development artist, and layout artist who works in the animation industry. After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California in 1996, he went on to work on numerous films for Disney Feature Animation, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon, and Fox Animation Studios. He is now the Director of Animation for Netflix and is now a judge for the Illustrators of the Future.
89. Cassandre Bolan, surviving as an artist, a single mom with kids, and a midlife crisis
Cassandre was an illustrator winner in volume 30 where she painted two pieces of art for that volume. And this year, she created the art for the L. Ron Hubbard story, “Borrowed Glory,” where she was her own model for both people in the painting. She believes that art and writing can change the world. The interview was done at a Panera Bread Restaurant in Chicago.
88. Martin Shoemaker talks about Hard Sci-fi that he calls Neo-Apollo
Martin Shoemaker is a winner published in volume 31, with his story “Unrefined,” a sub-genre he refers to as Neo-Apollo, a concept based on the next era of space exploration after the Apollo generation where humanity is struggling to reach the stars. He now has well over 60 publications including 3 novels. Today I am Carey is a ground-breaking novel following his award-winning short story, Today I am Paul. Martin is now Assistant Editor Galaxy’s Edge Magazine and is able to pay it forward, providing an avenue for new writers to get a start.
87. Stoney Compton on the importance of research in historical fiction
Stoney Compton was a winner in 1993, published in WOTF 9, with his story, “Messages.” Stoney writes historical fiction and alternate history published by Ring of Fire Press with Eric Flint, a co-winner in volume 9. He discusses the importance of good research in writing either genre. He also discusses self-publishing vs traditional publishing.
86. Nnedi Okorafor from sports to writing to bestselling author, Black Panther, and Hollywood
Nnedimma Nkemdili “Nnedi” Okorafor (WOTF 18) grew up a great student and athlete, competing semi-pro Tennis. As a result of a surgery, she was paralyzed from the waist down. She turned to writing. The very first story she wrote was the character in her winning story “Windseekers” published in volume 18. She could fly, which was special to Nnedi who could not walk at that time. She became a Contest judge in 2013 and provided her first how-to essay for the contest, “The Sport of Writing.” Her philosophy: if you don’t love the craft and art of it, you’ll never experience this pure form of success. It grows from that love.
Her take on a blank page: if you fear something, you give it power over you. She is now writing screenplays for Hollywood comics in the Black Panther universe with her Shuri books for Marvel.
85. Illustrator Mark Payton talks about his career and the Star Trek fan film Axanar
Mark Payton was an Illustrators of the Future winner in volume 25. At 57, he is now back in school studying graphic illustration. Currently, he is one of four production artists of the Star Trek fan film Axanar and has created illustrations for social media promotion and portraits of the cast of the first part of the production called, “Prelude to Axanar.” Mark discusses the history of Axanar, the thousands of fans who have supported it, and the battle with CBS and Paramount to continue producing the fan movie. Beyond this, Mark has been doing spot character design work for non-profits, the Salvation Factory, and magazine illustrations of turn-of-the-century architecture for the “Landmark Society of Western NY.”
84. Melissa Yuan-Innes: From medical doctor to fantasy author
Melissa Yuan-Innes (WOTF 16) loved reading and writing as a child. She was taught to play “the safe” game for her career. So she put off being a writer. Instead, she became a medical doctor working as an emergency room doctor. That accomplished, she returned to seriously addressing her writing and has gone on to publish nearly 15 novels in SF, Fantasy, and Medical Thrillers (as Melissa Yi).
83. Bea Jackson discusses her success by growing with the art industry
Brittany Jackson had a different set of artistic goals when she started out with her career: comics or video games. She eventually realized that for a bright future she would have to make changes. With the constantly changing art environment, she has evolved and is making a living illustrating children’s books as a full-time artist, with an agency representing her.
82. James Glass from writing to PhD in Physics back to writing
James C. Glass, the 1991 Grand prize winning author (WOTF 7) has written 10 novels and 4 compilations, primarily hard science fiction. His first love was writing which transitioned to education for a career with twin Masters in Astronomy and Physics and then a PhD in Physics. After a long successful career, kids grown up, he transitioned back to writing in 1987 when he published his first story. He entered WOTF initially in 1987 after being introduced to the Contest by Algis Budrys, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Dean Wesley Smith.
81. Jean-Paul Garnier Indie owner Space Cowboy Bookstore talks about SF
Jean-Paul Garnier is a poet, science fiction author and has become an indie bookstore owner—Space Cowboy Bookstore in Joshua Tree, CA—to pay back the joy he has gotten from science fiction. He talks about the value of science fiction, both as a fan, writer, and bookstore owner. He discusses how his involvement with Writers of the Future has paralleled his involvement with science fiction.
80. Michael Michera from Poland: It’s hard work that gets you in the right place at the right time
Michael Michera, from Warsaw, Poland, was Illustrators of the Future Golden Brush Award winner for volume 33. He worked three weeks on the art he submitted to win. That is his work ethic: it requires hard work to be in the right place at the right time. And he has several examples to prove how this works. Since winning the Contest, he has been extremely busy to the point of not looking for new work as it comes to him.
79. L. Ron Hubbard Writing Tips: “Suspense” with Tim Powers
Multiple World Fantasy Award-winner Tim Powers discusses suspense in storytelling. How do Ian Flemming, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly do it? They don’t tell you. Luckily Hubbard did. It’s a whole article. You know suspense when you read it. But with this article it helps crystalize with the examples and descriptions, you can see where you fall short and are so half-way to doing it.”
The essay is available in the free L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Online Workshop.
78. Dustin Panzino discusses surviving as an artist with no conventions
Dustin Panzino won Illustrators of the Future in 2011 when he was 19. Two judges in particular, Cliff Nielsen and Steven Hickman, made an impression on him to move beyond being a gallery artist with his oil paintings. He now survives well through his art as a full time profession. He transitioned from being a traditional oil painter to many other styles, including digital. When the shut down occurred, it took a few weeks to adjust his attitude, which has a lot to do with being successful during the current times. He also discusses the importance of setting goals as an artist and then moving forward and how social media has helped to keep him visible and selling. He discusses the importance of a portfolio for the type of art you want to pursue.
77. Corry Lee: from a Harvard Physics PhD to a science fiction novelist
Corry Lee graduated with a PhD in Physics from Harvard, but had wanted to be a writer since a young girl. She was published in Writers of the Future Volume 28 with her story, “Shut Down.” Writing short fiction has improved her craft of writing overall. Now, as a PhD physicist, award winning science teacher, data geek, mom, and with the support of her husband, she has now released her first fantasy novel, Weave the Lightning (Solaris Books).
76. Iranian winner Mason Matak and his challenges creating art in Iran
Our first-ever illustrator winner from Iran, Mason Matak, talks about the importance of art in Iran and the challenges he has in practicing art as a profession. He has a message for his fellow countrymen who pursue art. But his message is actually for anyone who loves creating art.
75. How to write fantasy with World Fantasy Award winner Tim Powers
Multiple World Fantasy Award-Winning Author (Last Call and Declare) and author of On Stranger Tides, Tim Powers has been a Writers of the Future judge for over 30 years. In this interview, he discusses the craft of writing fantasy, both World Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy.
74. L. Ron Hubbard Writing Tips: “Manuscript Factory” with David Farland
David Farland discusses L. Ron Hubbard’s writing essay, “Manuscript Factory” and how it was an eye-opener for him. His instructors in college had been hobby-writers and didn’t write to make a living. He used this advice to help build his very successful career as a writer with his own manuscript factory.
73. Kevin J. Anderson talks about publishing today and his Masters program
Multiple NYT bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson has been a Writers of the Future Judge since 1996 and now teaches a Masters Program at Western Colorado University. In this interview, we talk about publishing in today’s world from writing, to the need for agents, to self-promotion, and what the future holds. Oh yeah, we also talk about Writers of the Future and its impact on science fiction & fantasy.
72. UK winner Mike Wood has “retired” to his new career as an author
Mike Wood won Writers of the Future in 2009 and was published in volume 25 which provided him his first trip to the US. Now having completed a career he has set a new direction, that of an author.
71. David D’Amico transitions to writing as a vocation from a hobby
David D’Amico was a Writers of the Future winner in volume 27. He has retired his job to embrace his lifelong dream of being a published author. This is his journey.
70. Sean Williams on making story collaboration work for you
Sean Williams has been very successful with his story collaborations. He originally read an article on collaboration by Larry Niven who famously co-wrote with Jerry Pournelle. This interview takes what he learned from that essay and expands on that theme with his own experience. Sean also covers this subject in more detail in his article entitled “Making Collaboration Work for You or Co-Writing with Larry and Sean” published in Writers of the Future Volume 36.
International bestselling author Sean Williams was a Writers of the Future winner in volume 23 and became a Contest judge in 2003. Aurealis has called him “the premier Australian speculative fiction writer of the age.”
69. Diane Dillon, one of the most acclaimed illustrators of our time
Diane Dillon has been an Illustrators of the Future Judge since 1998. She along with her husband Leo (now deceased) lived by this motto: “Dream the dream, aim for the best you can do, and make the next job better than your last.” In this interview, we discuss how she and Leo began their career in art and design, as students at Parsons and the amazing obstacles they had to overcome to survive as artists. She provides personal stories that can help other aspiring artists. When we recorded this interview, she had only just found out that she had won the well-deserved Chesley Lifetime Achievement Award.
68. L. Ron Hubbard Writing Tips: “Magic Out of a Hat” with Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card discusses L. Ron Hubbard’s writing essay “Magic Out of a Hat” and how it is as valid today as it was when he wrote it. He compares the styles and techniques of several early masters and why Hubbard’s work remains memorable.
67. Matthew Rotundo discusses how to start a story
Matthew Rotundo (WOTF 25) wrote his first story when he was 8 years old and later in life remembered that story and became certain he wanted to be a writer. In this interview, he explains how to start a story and then watch it totally change direction as he proceeded with his trilogy, Petra: The Prison World Revolt.
66. Ken Scholes from preacher to author to musician
Ken Scholes was rejected 75 times before his first story sale. After winning Writers of the Future in 2005, he sold his first novel within a year, got an agent and sold a 5-book series, The Psalms of Isaak. He has been a gospel singer, preacher, a multiple award-winning writer, and a performing musician. He is a single dad with 10-year-old twins, still writes, and performs his own music as well around Portland!! Ken talks about his journey, successes and losses, and how he maintains his #1 priority, “I have to create.”
65. Illustrator Bea Jackson approaches digital art using traditional methods
Illustrators of the Future Golden Brush Award winner Bea Jackson (vol 24) has been creating art all her life. She discusses the importance of communicating the words of the author through her art. She approaches digital art using traditional methods which she explains. She is an introvert who must step out of her comfort zone to meet new people, nerves, shakes, and all! But it has paid off. She tries to learn from other artists, who she doesn’t see as competition. She recently had her illustration book Parker Looks Up hit the NYT bestseller list and became a finalist in the NAACP Achievement Awards. As regards the Illustrators of the Future Contest, her simple advice is, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Enter the Contest.”
64. Jason Fischer mentors creative people on the autism spectrum
Jason Fischer (WOTF 26 winner, 2010) is a speculative fiction writer from South Australia who himself is on the autism spectrum. He runs Spectrum Writing to mentor young people anywhere on the autism spectrum who aspire to be a storyteller. He is predominantly recognized as a writer in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. He talks about the value of Writers & Illustrators of the Future for students he works with as everyone is welcomed to enter and the only judging done is on the story or art submitted!
63. Laurie Tom details how she successfully outlines her short fiction
Laurie Tom is a Chinese American living in Southern California. She won Writers of the Future in 2010 and was published in volume 26. She starting writing when she was 12 and has been writing 10 years before submitting her first story to F&SF and promptly got her first reject. Her skill eventually caught up with her enthusiasm. She can’t not write. She is a compulsive outliner for her short stories which makes for amazing short fiction.
62. Kary English quit writing in her teens and is now Contest winner and 1st reader
Kary English originally entered Writers of the Future as a high school student, quit, resumed after a successful career and discovered that a favorite author, Brad Torgerson, was a winner and the forum moderator. After several more entries, she won the Contest and a few years later was invited by David Farland to be Contest First Reader … and here is her story.
61. David Farland: How to Make More Money With Your Novel
Writers of the Future Coordinating Judge David Farland discusses how your novel doesn’t have to just be a novel and how you can take it to the next level as an intellectual property generating considerable additional revenue.
60. Terry Madden provides tips on juggling a career while becoming a writer
Terry Madden was published in WOTF 30. Trained in biology and chemistry combined with a background in screenwriting and historical fiction, she has shifted gears and is currently working on a science fiction adventure. She provides tips on how to move forward as a writer, whether short fiction or novels.
59. Tom Doherty, Publisher of Tor, on the history of SF and value of Writers of the Future
Tom Doherty, Publisher of Tor, talks about the history of science fiction book publishing. He also publishes most of the Writers of the Future judges and discusses the value of the Writers of the Future program.
58. Grand Master Robert Silverberg discusses SF, Asimov, Campbell, Heinlein, Hubbard
Robert Silverberg was first published in 1955 at the tail end of science fiction’s golden age. He has always and only been a writer and so has lived his dream. He got to know the pro’s of the time and discusses his relationship with them. He was one of the first judges for Writers of the Future. Bob speaks about the current trends in SF, good and bad.