Welcome to this week’s Superversive Sunday Spotlight. Every week we will chat with a Superversive author that you really should be reading.
This week we welcome Superversive author, Becky R. Jones:
How long have you been writing?
Non-fiction since 1998 or so. Fiction only since spring/summer of 2018. I started while on a sabbatical that spring. I was unhappy as a faculty member but didn’t really know how to get out of it. I mean, who quits a job you can’t get fired from? I had a research project I was supposed to be doing that semester, but I ended up blasting my way through all of Larry Correia’s stuff, Dresden Files, Iron Druid, and anything else I could find. I started reading through a bunch of writing “how-tos” and other nuts and bolts type stuff on According to Hoyt and Mad Genius Club. Then I started writing. First stab was atrocious, but I kept going. I released my first book in June 2020,..and people liked it! My last day as a faculty member was June 30, 2020.
Which writers inspire you?
All of them. I read a LOT as a kid. I worked my way through the children’s section of our small library in town by the time I was 10 or so (we’d moved there when I was 8). I had to get my mom’s permission to check out books in the YA section. I found Tolkien, Heinlein, Asimov, Norton, T.H. White, Moorcock. If you put it in front of me, I read it. I loved stories about finding new worlds, parallel universes. Any place I could lose myself in. I wished I could create worlds like the ones I was reading about. I put myself into the stories…what would I do in those situations? How would I react? They sort of gave me a template for real life. Life was not bad or anything, far from it. We lived by the beach. I just loved reading that much. Nothing like a book at the beach.
So, what have you written?
Just two fiction pieces. My first book, Academic Magic is the one that came out in June 2020, and a short story in Fantastic Schools Vol. 2 came out in October 2020. It is exciting to have a story in the same book as Jagi Lamplighter, Christopher Nuttall, and others. Hopefully Book 2 of Academic Magic will be out by January or February 2021.
What draws you to Superversive writing?
Honestly, I didn’t know what it was at first. I just knew I liked the stuff that did just that: shine a light from above, clear out the dark corners. I guess I see it as hopeful, guiding, looking at the “what if?” questions, exposing the nasty stuff in the corners and dealing with it, finding a way even if it seems impossible, working through. I like stories about people dealing with completely unexpected circumstances. In the couple of worlds I’ve created so far, that’s what my protagonists do…work through unexpected problems thrown their way and surprising changes in their own circumstances.
I am drawn to the idea that, as a FB meme put it a while ago, humans are the “hold my beer” species, or space Orcs. Human ingenuity, adaptability, and never say die attitude…those are the characters we’re all drawn to in fiction and in real life. We just keep trying. I think the idea of humanity as flawed but hopeful has been driven out of traditional publishing and writing. I hope with my writing to bring back at least a little of that optimism in the face of ugly odds, or die trying attitude.
What are you working on at the minute?
Book 2 in my Academic Magic series, another novel which may be the beginning of another series based on some prompt responses over at More Odds Than Ends, and a couple more short stories.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Maybe read too much? I can easily lose an entire day powering through something. I went for a long time, maybe a couple of years, without really reading anything out of stress (this was before I got tenure), and it bothered me the whole time, but my brain did not feel capable of handling anything more complex than the L.L. Bean catalog.
I don’t know that I have specific favorite authors. I do like Larry Correia, Sarah Hoyt, Cedar Sanderson, Jagi Lamplighter, Alma Boykin – those are authors that are recent finds for me. Tolkien, Pratchett, Eddings, Heinlein. I also have books I go back to in times of stress. My husband knows that I’m seriously stressed when he sees me reading David Eddings. I like the white hat/black hat aspect of those. Much simpler and more straightforward than anything I’m dealing with at the moment. Otherwise, I’m pretty eclectic in my choice of reading material. I love swords and sorcery, sci-fi, spies (Trevanian, Le Carre), military fiction (like Clancy), biographies (especially musicians and bands), history, trashy romances, mysteries, off-the-wall sort of stuff like Armistead Maupin’s Barbary Lane stories. I do tend to avoid the books everyone says you are “supposed” to read…like all the best-sellers or novels meant to convey lessons. I don’t want lessons, at least not thrown in my face. I want escape.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
I blog at ornerydragon.com and you can follow my author page on Amazon.
Thanks for sharing Becky. Be sure to check out Becky’s books and be sure to check back next Sunday for our next chat with a Superversive author.