Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is very happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer Gerald L. Coleman. When asked to tell us briefly a little bit about himself and his writing, this was his response:
First, thank you for this opportunity to talk about my work. I appreciate it deeply. I normally go by Gerald L. Coleman. I began using my middle initial when I realized that a google search turns up a professional hockey player and a catholic priest. I am neither of those men. But if you use my middle initial I usually appear in the search.
I’m originally from Lexington, Kentucky. I really began writing with poetry in high school and that became a more serious avocation in college. By the time I was matriculating at university I realized that at some point I wanted to write science fiction and fantasy. I’d been reading it my entire life and I knew that someday I wanted to write it. In the meantime I continued writing poetry, co-founded the Affrilachian Poets, getting poems published, went to grad school, and got on with life. I’m glad I waited. I wasn’t a mature enough writer until now to really write the stories I wanted to write. I’ve been writing scifi & fantasy seriously for the last twelve years. I’ve appeared in several anthologies and have published the first two books in my epic fantasy series.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
You can find my work at all the usual suspects: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booksamillion, Powell’s, Apple iBooks, Kobo, and a bunch of other booksellers worldwide. I’m really excited right now about Bookshop.com. It’s a new endeavor meant to compete with Amazon with a focus on indie bookstores. In fact, they donate a percentage of every sale to indie bookstores around the country. So I try to send people that way these days.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
The best way to follow me is my website. You can find me at Geraldlcoleman.com.
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from you?
My main series is epic fantasy. I generally describe it as Wheel of Time (or Lord of the Rings) meets Black Panther. I’ve been reading speculative fiction since I was in elementary school. I started with Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Watership Down, and the wonders of the Scholastic Bookfair. I was also reading comic books. I graduated to the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings in middle school, followed by The Three Musketeers, The Black Company, Dragonriders of Pern, The Faded Sun Series, Elric of Melniboné, and everything I could get my hands on. What helped move me to write what I write is that as much as I loved all the scifi & fantasy I was reading there weren’t any protagonists in any of the stories who looked like me. So much of my impetus for story is about writing scifi & fantasy from a different perspective. I think it’s one of the things that’s really renewing the genre because of a lot of new writers are doing the same thing.
As for what’s coming from me? I’m working on a scifi novel that I would describe as Star Wars meets Doctor Who meets Black Panther. And I’m working on the third book in my epic fantasy series.
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Be courageous in your writing. And by that I mean a few things. I mean be ambitious in the scope of your writing and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and the industry expectations. I see a lot of writers writing to “the market” and listening to a lot of people who say “this is how you should write.” And that’s a death knell for creativity. You end up with a lot of reheated leftovers instead of interesting, new, and exiting fare. And don’t be afraid to write yourself into a corner. There are plot lines that will become apparent but you might scare yourself away from something magnificent because you’re initially unsure of how to write your way out of it. I’ve found that if you trust yourself your subconscious will be working on the problem. If you give yourself time a solution will present itself. But you have to trust yourself.
What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?
There’s a lot of new things I’ve been exposed to since I began pursuing writing as a career in earnest. One of my favorite things are Cons. After I published the first book in my epic fantasy series, When Night Falls, I began looking at ways to get it out in the world. I found some scifi & fantasy groups, other writers who were working in the genre, and I found scifi & fantasy conventions. I began applying to be a Guest and once I started being accepted and attending I found this whole other world filled with people who loved the sane things I do. It’s been a joyous and fulfilling experience.
Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions, Gerald.