Jacey Bedford is a British writer with a three book deal from DAW. Empire of Dust, a Psi-tech novel came out in 2014. Crossways, its sequel, follows in 2015 and Winterwood, a historical fantasy, in 2016. Her short stories have been published on both sides of the Atlantic in anthologies and magazines. She lives on the edge of Yorkshire’s Pennine hills with her songwriter husband and a long-haired, black German Shepherd (a dog not an actual shepherd from Germany). She’s been a librarian, a postmistress, a rag-doll maker and a folk singer with the vocal harmony trio, Artisan.
1. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve written all my life, encouraged by my mum when I was 6. I started my first novel when I was 15 and wrote intermittently through my early married years when my kids were small. I didn’t start taking it seriously until I got the opportunity to submit a short story for a DAW anthology edited by Elizabeth A. Scarborough. That was 1997. It took another 16 years to get my first novel publication, though I sold more short stories in the meantime.
Apply the seat of your pants to your chair, fingers on keyboard and write. Finish what you write. Polish it. Send it out. If it comes whistling back with a rejection slip, shrug and send it out again. In the meantime, write more… Rinse and repeat.
3. Are there any writing resources, such as books or websites, you’d like to recommend?
The two books that helped me when I first started were Plot by Ansen Dibell and Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Brown and King. When you have a bit more experience try The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. Join a good critique group if you can find one – preferably one that understands your genre and gives you genuinely useful critique. I am much indebted to my fellow authors who attend the Milford UK SF Wrtiers’ Conference (http://www.milfordSF.co.uk) for their honest and helpful critique over the years.
4. What is your favorite type of fiction and who are your favorite authors?
I mostly read fantasy and science fiction with a little bit of historical fiction on the side. My absolute favourite author is Lois McMaster Bujold, in particular her fantasy book The Curse of Chalion and her science fiction series about Miles Vorkosigan. Either start with Codelia’s Honour (about Miles’ parents) or Warrior’s Apprentice which is the first Miles book chronologically. I also love Patricia Briggs, Joe Abercrombie, Terry Pratchett, Kari Sperring, Liz Williams, and Jaine Fenn. I’m happy to read fiction for adults and younger readers. If it’s good, it’s good.
5. What tips do you have for finding time to write?
You have to make time for creativity. Give yourself time to think as well as time to write. If it’s important to you, you’ll find the time. If it’s not important you’ll keep going on about how you wish you could find time… but you’ll never quite manage it. Sort out your priorities. In the words of Yoda: ‘There is no try, there is only do.’
6. Do you prefer to outline a story in advance or write on the fly? Why?
I do both. Quite often I write the first twenty to thirty thousand words by the seat of my pants and then make a few notes as to where it’s going. I don’t like plotting in too much detail otherwise I feel as though I’ve written the book already by the time I get as far as writing.
7. How do you deal with rejections?
I shrug and keep going. Always remember a rejection isn’t personal. Getting a sale is a matter of landing the right piece on the right desk at the right time. Sometimes you manage it, other times you don’t. When a piece comes back send it straight out to another market. I’ve sold some pieces on the first time out, others on their twentieth.
8. What are your writing goals for the next twelve months?
Finish polishing the novel (Crossways) that’s due on my editor’s desk by Friday. Write a couple of short stories for light relief, then edit the novel that’s due out in February 2016 from DAW. In the meantime write the third Psi-Tech novel.
9. For the next five years?
I have some novels already written that I’d like to get out there, in particular a fantasy set in the Baltic States called The Long Game, but I want to write more from scratch, as well. I’m very pleased to be published by DAW in the USA and hope to be with them a long time, but I’d also like to find a British publisher.
Empire of Dust, my first Psi-Tech novel (a space opera) came out last November and the sequel, Crossways, is due in August 2015. Details here on my website: http://www.jaceybedford.co.uk