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B. A. Chepaitis lives in Upstate New York with her husband. They built their house on land surrounded by woods and trails and wildlife like otters, foxes, herons, eagles, swarms of honeybees, and even cougars. "The land here cradles me when I need soothing, and wakes me up when I'm feeling dull."

Interview with B. A. Chepaitis

Do you have any pet peeves about science fiction writing?

I've often been on panels where discussion centered around whether science fiction should be based on 'character' or 'concepts', and I do have a peeve with that. How can any book be written with just one or the other? And how can you separate the two, since character is the vehicle for ideas? In my Jaguar Addams novels, I'm exploring states of consciousness, so I have an idea, but it would be nothing without Jaguar and Alex and all their friends. I think the notion that you can have one without the other grows from the origin of the genre in the world of science, but as it's matured - and particularly as women have entered the field - I hear less and less of that argument.

If you had a book club, what would it be reading and why?

Of course, if I had a book club, they'd be reading The Green Memory of Fear, my latest Jaguar Addams novel. Of course! And they'd be reading it not just because it's mine, but because there's so much to talk about in it. The relationship between Alex and Jaguar is heating up, and how Alex responds to Jaguar's continuing disturbance is an interesting point of discussion about men and women, who they are to each other and who they want to be. Also, the darker parts of the novel have a lot to say about how we heal, what it takes to do so. Oh, we'd definitely be reading Green Memory.

What is a typical writing day like for you? Do you have a work set schedule? What are your surroundings?

My day starts with walking my two labs, Luna and Ziggy, in the woods around my house. It's an off-leash walk, since I'm an off-leash kind of woman, and we've had some interesting adventures, such as the time Luna and I met a cougar. Even without adventures, that walk helps me set my mind toward what I'm writing, helps me organize my day in a quiet space. Then, it's back inside for their breakfast, my coffee, and after that it's upstairs to my office to work. From where I sit, I have a bank of south-facing windows that look out over the mountains nearby, and at night the moon rides in the sky beyond the ancient Shagbark Hickory tree in the yard. It's a great place to work, and if all is going well, I'll just keep at it until someone makes me stop.

Did you ever regret wanting to be a writer?

You know, that's a difficult question to answer because 'wanting' to be a writer doesn't really express the relationship I've had with writing. I never 'wanted' to be a writer. I just always wrote, and eventually decided that since I was always doing it, I should probably find a way to sell it as well, so I could do more of it. That said, there have been times when I wished the field itself was easier, but that's about the field, not me.
What is the best writing advice you've ever been given?

Someone who's not a writer once said to me "the only difference between a published and an unpublished writer is persistence." I've repeated those words very often to my students, to other aspiring writers. Of course, that means persistence across all realms - in learning your craft, in following your obsessions, in seeking publication and in promoting what you write.

Do you ever base characters on real people you have known?

Most of my characters will have a piece of someone I know, and that can range from someone I met briefly, on a train, to family members. My friends are all aware that who they are, what they do and say, may show up somewhere in altered form. I'll also rely on events in my life as a source of inspiration. For instance, The Green Memory of Fear was inspired by a real-life court case I witnessed against a doctor accused of abusing one of his patients. It was an intense experience, and needed to be honored in some way.

Do you believe it is important for authors to have a strong online presence?

These days it's apparently crucial. As agents and publishers rely more and more on their authors to actively promote their works, they often insist that they start Facebook pages, get on twitter, have a blog and website and so on. In some ways the internet has made it easier for us to find our reading public, but it's also meant we spend a lot of time online.
If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

There's no fictional character I want to be, but I've often thought it would be fun if another writer used my life as the inspiration for a fictional character. Since I spend so much time writing other people, it would be cool to reverse that and see how someone else writes me.

eBooks found: 5
A Strangled Cry of Fear ePub (Adobe DRM) download by B. A. Chepaitis
A Strangled Cry of Fear
B. A. Chepaitis
Wildside Press, June 2013
ISBN: 9781434446053
Format: ePub, PDF
List Price: $3.49 Our price: $2.99
The Green Memory of Fear: Jaguar Addams #5 PDF (Adobe DRM) download by B. A. Chepaitis
The Green Memory of Fear
B. A. Chepaitis
Wildside Press, February 2012
ISBN: 9781434430762
Format: PDF, ePub
List Price: $4.99 Our price: $3.99
The Fear Principle: Jaguar Addams #1 ePub (Adobe DRM) download by B. A. Chepaitis
The Fear Principle
B. A. Chepaitis
Wildside Press, February 2012
ISBN: 9781434430632
Format: ePub
List Price: $4.99 Our price: $3.99
A Lunatic Fear: Jaguar Addams #4 ePub (Adobe DRM) download by B. A. Chepaitis
A Lunatic Fear
B. A. Chepaitis
Wildside Press, January 2012
ISBN: 9781434430755
Format: ePub
List Price: $4.99 Our price: $3.99
The Fear Principle ePub (Adobe DRM) download by B. A. Chepaitis
The Fear Principle
B. A. Chepaitis
Wildside Press, March 2011
ISBN: 9781434438881
Format: ePub
Our price: $4.99