Interview with J. Lee Ellorris

Claudie Arseneault/ September 9, 2015/ Community, Wings of Renewal/ 0 comments

Another interview! I bet you’re surprised. Today we talk with Jesse, who submitted a lovely story with two old dragons in love. This anthology wasn’t the first time I worked with Jesse, but the roles are usually reversed! Her magazine, Vitality, published my short story in their first issue. And now, on with the questions!

1. What inspired your short story? Where did the idea come from?

Oh, the dreaded “where do your ideas come from” question! I had never written solarpunk before, but wanted to try my hand at it. So I just sat on my bed and pictured a solarpunk city, trying to get the setting in my mind. But as I did that, I found myself seeing it from above, and how new it was compared to the age of the mountain. I wound up in the mind of this old, old dragon looking down at a city that was so different and new, that she didn’t really know anymore, but which she still loved.

That wistful nostalgia really evolved into the entire story. It’s about being in the in-between, when one thing is turning into something new, and how terrifying and amazing that can be. That feeling created the entire idea behind the story.

2. Had you heard of solarpunk before this call for submission? What do you like about the genre?
I had heard of Solarpunk through Claudie, who wrote a post about it for Vitality, the LGBT magazine I run. Before that, I had only seen a few tumblr posts about it, but never researched it in depth. I definitely like imagining a future that isn’t dismal, and love the idea of beautiful science that isn’t just a mask for something sinister. I think living when we do, when there are reports every day that the damage we’ve done to the planet is staggering and there’s not much hope for the future, we need to be told not to give up hope, and to be presented with a vision of the hopeful future. To see a possibility that doesn’t end in, you know, apocalypse and zombies and death.
3. What genre do you usually write in? Talk about your projects!
I usually write fantasy and science fiction. And Dragon Age fanfiction, but we maybe don’t need to talk about that. 😉 I also have started writing romance pretty heavily, which is something I never would have explored if not for fanfiction. I just really, really like writing about kissing.
As far as current projects… I’m working on several short stories right now, but nothing interesting to share yet! Just a lot of scattered ideas. Most recent ideas have involved minotaurs, witches, Beauty and the Beast, and time travel. So, you know. The usual.
4. What do you love the most about dragons?
Um, everything. Powerful beasts that can fly and breathe fire. What’s not to love? I love the possibilities of them. They’re naturally awesome, but I’ve read books that give them culture, magic, language, and a symbiotic relationship with humans, and all the different takes on them are fascinating to me. My favorites are when writers create dragons that are sentient creatures in their own right. I love R. Cooper’s take on them in A Boy and His Dragon as overly romantic creatures that seek value in people and things that they can cherish. And Rachel Hartman’s dragons that hoard music and scientific knowledge in her Seraphina books.
VitalityMag1.25. What do you do when you’re not writing? Any day jobs or passion?
My day job is nonstop, heart-pounding excitement… office work! Closer to my heart, I run Vitality Magazine – a literary magazine publishing positive genre fiction featuring LGBT characters. I also have two teacup pomeranians – Taffy and Bubbles – that I take way too many pictures of. I play a lot of video games and read a lot of books. And I collect piggy banks.
6. What’s your favorite book or TV show? Why?
My favorite book is the Count of Monte Cristo. I love the interweaving of a dozen stories that all tie together, and how I can pick it up, turn to any page, and be immediately enthralled. As for TV shows… I would have to go with Doctor Who – just Ten’s run, for the same reason I love Solarpunk – it has a spirit of fierce hope and intentional wonder.
7. Where can we find more of your work?
I have a fairly new little author website/blog – http://thewritingj.wordpress.com – or there’s always Vitality’s website – http://www.readvitality.com.

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