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The following is the text of the March 19, 1998 Chat Session at
Talk City's Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Series.


CCCanard: *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Welcome to SciFiLit's continuing celebration
CCCanard: of Science Fiction and Fantasy !!
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: TalkCity continues to bring you the best in
CCCanard: literary figures to converse with you, to CCCanard: challenge you, to entertain you !!
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CCCanard: ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
CCCanard: Before I introduce our honored guest for
CCCanard: the evening, a reminder: this is a protocol
CCCanard: conference, as we want everyone to have a
CCCanard: chance to speak with our guest. So, once
CCCanard: the queue is open, please type a ? into the
CCCanard: room, and you will be added to the queue.
CCCanard: When you reach the head of the queue,
CCCanard: have your question ready, and wait for the
CCCanard: "Go Ahead" (GA) before asking your question.
CCCanard: I want to take a moment to thank you all for coming. It is for you, our citizens, that we continue to bring you the authors that you love to read.

CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Our guest today is Martha Wells.
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Martha Wells was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University
CCCanard: with a B.A. in Anthropology.
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Her real-life adventures have included discovering a human burial site while on an archeological dig in the desert southwest and attending a Voodoo ceremony in New Orleans.
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Her first novel, The Element of Fire, was published by Tor in hardcover in July 1993 and is currently available in paperback. The Element of Fire was a finalist for the 1993 Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Award and a runner-up for the 1994 Crawford Award.
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Her second novel for Tor, City of Bones, was a 1995 hardcover and June 1996 paperback release. Both novels were on the Locus
CCCanard: recommended reading lists.
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: She is now working on the first of two novels for Avon, a fantasy set in the same world as The Element of Fire.
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: She shares her new home in College Station, Texas, with her three favorite things: her cats, her husband, and her tapes of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Please join me in welcoming
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Martha Wells
CCCanard: Yeah Martha!!!!!
CCCanard: {}{}{}{}{} *Turning Applause Sign on*
StephenRS: ACTION claps and shouts "Yeah! Welcome Martha!"
zcat: a TEXAN! welcome Martha!! got2getalife: welcome, Martha!
CCCanard: Thank you for joining us in TalkCity.
CCCanard: . CCCanard: We are going to start off with some general questions regarding your background,style of writing and habits, and then we'll open up the queue!
CCCanard: How did you begin writing? Did you always intend to become an author?
MarthaW: Let's see...
MarthaW: I started writing when I was very young. I probably didn't intend to become a writer till I was in college. I went to a workshop given by Steven Gould... and he gave me a lot of encouragement. I think I wanted to be a writer.... but it wasn't till then that I realized that I COULD be a writer.

StephenRS: ?
CCCanard: GA StephenRS
StephenRS: Do you find that workshops are at all helpful to young, starting authors?
MarthaW: I think they are for a lot of people. You have to find the right workshop for you. Some are too advanced. Some may be too easy. If you writing genre fiction. You probably want to look for a 'genre' workshop. You may have trouble with a creative writing class if the people teaching it don't really know genre fiction and if you are writing Science Fiction.... then you need to find a workshop... where the instructor knows SF and can give you a good critique....

CCCanard: Could you describe the mundane details of writing:
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Things like....How many hours a day do you devote to writing?
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Do you write a draft on paper or compose directly at a keyboard?
MarthaW: Let's see... I use to write a draft on paper then type it in but since I've got a better computer... and have a laptop... I just compose at the computer... I get a lot more done that way... And I try to spend a couple of hours a day writing and right now.. I'm behind on my book.. so have to spend more... :-)

shawks: How do you plan your workday? . . Do you write @ home . . & how do you avoid the inevitable distractions? When is your most "creative" time of day?
MarthaW: Most creative time of day is definitely morning right now.. I have a day job that takes about 30 hours a week but I can pretty much set my own hours. As for Distractions the last job I had... I was in systems administration in programming. I use to wait for calls to come in.. and write while waiting... It was an extremely tiny office.. with another person and a mainframe computer so it was alternately very cold or very hot and the drives made a lot of noise so there was just every possible distraction.. and got use to it. And I was there for 9 years... so I think it affected my hearing... it was not a fun place to work!

CCCanard: Do you have a favorite location for writing?
MarthaW: Actually... up in the Master bedroom... sitting on the bed... with the TV on... watching old movies....
CCCanard: ACTION chuckles
MarthaW: It really helped my writing when we got AMC.... ;-)
StephenRS: !
MarthaW: Oh.. and Columbo.. that is good to write to too... :-)


StephenRS: Let me guess . . . watching John Wayne?
Arabella: ? zcat: ? DemoCCC: StephenRS, GA.
MarthaW: No actually... Betty Davis... Cary Grant... or Katherine Hepburn... ;-)


CCCanard: GA WillowGreen WillowGreen: How did you make it out of the slush pile?
MarthaW: Actually I was really lucky! I had been going to workshops with Steve Gould for a couple of years..When Steve started writing his novels...he had a couple of agents approach him and I was writing Element of Fire.. and he recommended me to one of the agents The agent looked at the book, and wanted to represent me. When it was finished, he started shopping around and it was accepted by the second publisher. I tried to sell Short stories, but couldn't. After my novel was published, then I could sell them :-)

WillowGreen: Great! Thanks.
CCCanard: The imagery in "City of Bones" is wonderful...Do you
CCCanard: find it difficult to create as many details as you do?
MarthaW: Thank you CCCanard...
MarthaW: I do a lot of research to get those details and yes, it is hard sometimes... but really.. the more research you do, the easier it is... there are so many rich cultural sources that you can use...

CCCanard: GA zcat StephenRS: ? zcat: hi! do you think that it would have been impossible to get out of the slush pile by starting with short stories?
zcat: ...considering what you just mentioned?
zcat: it seems easier to try and start with something shorter -- a novel is a daunting prospect for a new writer.. yes?
MarthaW: I'm not a very good short story writer. If I'd just gone with short stories, I think it would have taken longer. My first book was published in 93.. the next in 95... so it was a while between books...

CCCanard: Do you write in the order the story will go? Or
CCCanard: do you jump from one topic to the next?
MarthaW: I'll move around within a chapter but I usually plot more than few pages in advance...
shawks: interesting interview! wish I could stay! Thanks MarthaW . . I enjoyed this immensely!
MarthaW: Don't plot more than a few pages in advance so pretty much have to go from beginning to end.


CCCanard: GA Arabella
HarryBo: ?
Arabella: Martha, I loved your first two books, and I've been wondering when your next book will finally be out?
MarthaW: July... title "The Death of the Necromancer" and thanks for the compliments!


CCCanard: Martha...this question we have asked most all of our visiting authors... what is the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy for you? MarthaW: I don't think there is a big difference for me... MarthaW: "The City of Bones" was written by me as a fantasy... MarthaW: but was thought by many to be science fiction... MarthaW: I've always writing in 'fantasy'....

CCCanard: GA StephenRS StephenRS: Do you feel that a lot of the older hands - like Bova, Brooks, etc. - look down on a lot of us fledglings, considering that any one of us could ultimately unseat them as the best writer in Sci-Fi or Fantasy, or do you find a lot of them who like Gould who are supportive of beginning authors? StephenRS: ga Denise: ? MarthaW: Actually I've' met a lot of people that are supportive... MarthaW: especially in a workshop environment... MarthaW: If you are at a con.. or haven't had a chance to look at your work... MarthaW: there are so many people that want to be writers... MarthaW: and you can't tell who are the ones that 'want' to be... MarthaW: from the ones that 'are'.... StephenRS: ! StephenRS: So, going to a con is not the best way to go to get critique on your skills . . . right? MarthaW: The problem is that the well established writers.. don't have the time to teach... or they aren't interested anymore. MarthaW: Pretty much... unless there is a workshop or contest.. where you submit a story before that... MarthaW: then that would be ok... MarthaW: I know that a lot more con's seem to be doing that now days... MarthaW: There was one in Dallas that had one for artists... that was a neat idea!

CCCanard: GA HarryBo HarryBo: You mentioned your new novel earlier. Is it a sequel to City of Bones? That was my favorite. HarryBo: Or is it another new story? I've noticed you haven't done any sequels yet. ga MarthaW: No... It's not a sequel to any book.. but takes place in the Element of Fire universe... but is a completely new story MarthaW: I would like to do a sequel to City... but will have to wait till the other two are finished.

CCCanard: While reading 'City of Bones', I was seeing this as a possibility..a multi-tiered city..is there a place that made you envision this or is it purely from your imagination? MarthaW: Hmmm.... MarthaW: I really don't remember how I came up with that idea... MarthaW: cause I was writing that in 94. MarthaW: I remember that when I got the idea for the tiered city... MarthaW: that really crystallized the story for me...

CCCanard: GA Denise Denise: What is the best way to find an agent? MarthaW: Oh. The best way to NOT to find one is from writer's magazines. The best way is .. if you have a manuscript... that a publisher's interested.. check with other writers or go to the SFWA site.. and ask there.. The best thing to remember is you want to have an agent in New York... and a real agency will NOT ask you for money for anything... NEVER give money to someone that says they can get you published. It's a scam!

RustyAllenn: ? CCCanard: does it pay to follow your dreams?
MarthaW: Yes it does! Even it if doesn't turn out the way you want it.. or even very well you will regret not trying.

CCCanard: Other authors that have appeared here have had many interesting uses for rejection slips..a known fact that most receive many before being published.
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Do you have any unusual uses for these torrid slips of paper?
MarthaW: LOL...Not really. I have them stuck in a file somewhere... :-) MarthaW: There was only one rejection that really really bothered me... that was very rude and nasty... that wasn't called for.... CCCanard: ACTION chuckles
CCCanard: one you throw darts at?


MarthaW: LOL....
CCCanard: GA RustyAllenn
MarthaW: I probably rather throw darts at the person that wrote it!
MarthaW: It happened about 11 or 12 years ago...
StephenRS: ACTION chuckles . . .
Denise: ?
RustyAllenn: AT what point in writing do you get your greatest joy
MarthaW: Hmmm....
RustyAllenn: and what point do you get your second great joy ga
MarthaW: It's probably when I've written a theme that really works.
MarthaW: Sometimes you aren't sure.... until others read it...
MarthaW: also... finishing a book is a real thrill.


CCCanard: GA BigToe
MarthaW: Rusty...
RustyAllenn: yep?
MarthaW: when the galley is proofed it the second one!
BIGTOE1: if following your dreams is right then why do so many artist get let down ga
MarthaW: That is just life.
MarthaW: You pays your money and you take your chances.
MarthaW: GA
BIGTOE1: ?
CCCanard: GA Denise
Denise: From the time you began actively writing your first novel, how long did it take you to get published, ga
MarthaW: Let's see....
MarthaW: I think I began writing it in 91 and it sold just a few months after I finished it. but it was about 2 years defore it came out because there was a contract dispute with the publisher... so it was a while before it was put on the schedule.

CCCanard: The characters that you've written about seemed to be strong in
intellect rather than physical strength. Do you find this to be a better
model for most of your readers?
MarthaW: I don't know if it's a model for my readers. I prefer to read about people that are intelligent so I write that kind of book. I pretty much write the kind of stuff I like to read.


CCCanard: GA BigToe
BIGTOE1: who is your all time favorite author ga
MarthaW: Probably Jane Austin....
MarthaW: of modern authors... hmm..
CCCanard: Queue is closed
MarthaW: Probably be Barbara Hambly... or Judith Tarr... or CJ Cherryh...
StephenRS: ?
MarthaW: and Andre Norton.


CCCanard: GA Clifton
Clifton: Are you working on anything now? Can you tell us anything about it?
MarthaW: Yes... on second book.... fantasy..... doesn't have a title yet set in an all new world...with a kind of a female sorcerer as the main character.

CCCanard: Are you planning on going to any conventions this year?
MarthaW: I'm going to Armadillo Con in TX....
MarthaW: Austin..
MarthaW: and also Conestoga in Ok....
Denise: ?
MarthaW: and maybe the World Fantasy in Monterey Ca


CCCanard: What is your opinion of FanFiction? DemoCCC: Sorry, Denise - our queue is closed....
MarthaW: I like it! I am a BIG Star Wars fan..and I LOVE movies... love Hercules and Xena.. (have Xena on without sound right now :-) and grew up on Star Trek. I haven't had a chance to read lately... so I will go on the Star Trek and Star Was fan sites and read that. And I buy fanzines.

StephenRS: !
CCCanard: Thank you for being patient with our questions and as our last two questions:
CCCanard: Thank you for being patient with our questions and as our last two questions:
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Do you have any advice for writers trying to break into the market?
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: Is there anything you'd like to say the audience before we close for tonight?
CCCanard: ACTION chuckles
MarthaW: Try to find out as much as you can.. go to SFWA website and subscribe to the bulletin. If you go to cons... go to the 'advise to writers' panels there are many writers orgs.. check them out, that kind of thing... but KNOW what is going on in the area you are writing. Well... Thank you all for coming... the questions were great.... I enjoyed it very much!

DemoCCC: Thank YOU, Martha !
StephenRS: Martha, if you love Fanfiction, try the Gargoyles Fan fic site .
. . www.gargoyles-fans.org! I look forward to your next book . . .
CCCanard: The following website is available to read more about Martha Wells:
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: http://www.rtis.com/mwells
CCCanard: Martha Wells' Homepage!
CCCanard: To purchase these books on-line:
CCCanard: City of Bones
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: http://www.talkcity.com/cgi-bin/buyabook.cgi?0312856865/7540-7250519-701998
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: The Element of Fire
CCCanard: Unavailable-but keep checking back
CCCanard: .
CCCanard: http://www.talkcity.com/cgi-bin/buyabook.cgi?0812520971/7540-7250519-701998
CCCanard: Lets give a big round of applause for Martha Wells!!
CCCanard: {}{}{}{}{}{} Thank you so much Martha!!
StephenRS: ACTION applauds . . .
StephenRS: Waydigo Martha!
Clifton: Thanks Martha :)
DemoCCC: ACTION struggles out from under his question queue to say "Thanks, Martha !"
Denise: Thanks very much, Martha
MarthaW: Thank you all!
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[ MarthaWells.com | About the Author | Biography | Live Journal Blog | Contact/Agent Information | Appearances | Interviews and Question | Buy Books Online | Bibliography ]