The Debut Drive-by: Jaime Lee Moyer

Jaime Lee Moyer lives in San Antonio with writer Marshall Payne, three cats, three guitars and a growing collection of books and music.

Her first novel, DELIA’S SHADOW, will be published by TOR Books in February 2013. Her novels are represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.

Jaime has sold short fiction to Lone Star Stories, Daily Science Fiction, and to the Triangulations: End of the Rainbow, and Triangulations: Last Contact anthologies. She was poetry editor for Ideomancer Speculative Fiction for five years and edited the 2010 Rhysling Award Anthology for the Science Fiction Poetry Association. A poet in her own right, she’s sold more than her share of poetry.

She writes a lot. She reads as much as she can.

1. I first knew I was a writer when …
I began telling stories before I could actually write words on paper. I’d make up characters and elaborate stories, often acting them out and playing all the parts. I remember once when I was five or six one of the neighbors came over to ask my mother what was wrong with me.

But I think that I really knew in my bones that I was a writer at eleven. I wrote a story and showed it to my best friend Neil’s mother. His mother read the entire thing, sat quietly for a moment, and then told me that what I’d written wasn’t appropriate for a girl my age to write about.

Then she kept the story! She took it into her bedroom and refused to give it back. I was both angry that she’d taken something that belonged to me and thrilled that something I’d written got a reaction from another person.

To a kid, that was pretty heady feeling, one I wanted to have again. I’d known I wanted to write, but from that day on I knew I was a writer.

2. The idea behind my first novel came from …
I’m going to tell you about is the idea for my first published novel, Delia’s Shadow, which is coming out from TOR in late 2012 or early 2013.

As mystical as it sounds, this novel grew from a dream. I dreamed about a young woman standing on a train platform, steam from the locomotive billowing around her in swirling white clouds. This unnamed woman was looking back over her shoulder, watching for the person she knew was following her. It was all very noir and spooky.

After I woke up, I couldn’t stop thinking about this dream. And I asked myself, what if this young woman with the carpetbag satchel was being followed by a ghost, a ghost who desperately needed her to do something? What would this ghost want from her? How does she feel about being haunted and seeing things no one else can see? And just where is this train platform?

As it turned out, that train platform was in 1915 San Francisco, a city full of ghosts. The novel blossomed from there.

3. What do you believe makes a good story?
For me, a good story allows me to step outside of myself and into someone else’s life. It’s a magical combination of characters I care about, emotion and setting, and a narrative that sucks me into the story and keeps me there.

Standard writer advice 1A is to write the kind of stories you want to read. I do my best to write books full of a “good story” that give a reader the same reading experience that I crave. Telling a good story, with characters people can care about and a world they can believe in, is my most important job as a writer.

Also the most difficult.

4. You get to be a writer in any era … when do you choose and what do you write?
I kind of like being a writer right now, in 2011. Even with all the uncertainty in the business of publishing and the changes that come at an increasingly rapid pace, I think this might be the best time to be a writer. And I’m not one to romanticize the past as an idyllic place to live or write. I spend too much time researching history to believe in that.

As to what I’d write, that stays the same too—Science Fiction and Fantasy. It was my first love as a child and it still is.

5. Donuts or danishes?
Cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. Best. Thing. Ever.

You can find Jaime on Goodreads and on LiveJournal.

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