Just a quick update to let folks know I've been featured in several really wonderful interviews of late. The first by author, editor, and social media expert, Belinda Hughes.
Belinda really made me work with her cogent and insightful interview questions, one of which was about the diversity in DERELICT and why I chose to develop the characters I developed. I've reproduced part of my answer below, but please go and read the entire interview. It was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot about my own process in answering Belinda's questions.
It was important to me to have an ensemble cast that mirrored the world in which we live, and I couldn’t imagine a space-faring future that would be less diverse than our planet-bound present. Having grown up on a healthy dose of Star Trek, what else could I believe?
It was interesting to me to turn some assumptions on their heads in having the station doctor be of South African descent, for example, with her sons (Jem and Barre Durbin) clearly described as Black. Representation is important, especially in stories about the future.
I didn’t pre-plan any of the characters to any great extent, with the exception of Ro. And her sexuality wasn’t one of the things I pre-planned. Her relationship with Nomi grew out of their interactions and the needs of the story.
My own sexuality is privileged in our society and I’m very conscious of that. My goal was to present a relationship that was utterly normative within the world of the story. It’s not a coming out story. It’s not a bullying narrative. It’s just a relationship. In 2014, that shouldn’t be subversive, but somehow it still seems to be.
I was also featured in today's edition of the Boston Globe, in an interview by Maggie Quick in which she focuses on the business side of the independent author/publisher/entrepreneur world.
“If there’s one thing I have learned in the past 10 years of trying to be a professional writer, you’re going to get rejected,” Cohen said. “It’s not you; it’s the words on the page. If you make it about you, it’s too painful.”And finally, writer and blogger Matthew Graybosch wrote a wonderful review of DERELICT in which he compared it to the early Heinlein SF stories that I grew up reading.
First, a bit of context. Before SF grandmaster Robert Heinlein wrote novels like Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Stranger in a Strange Land, and Time Enough for Love, he wrote a set of novels for Scribner’s between 1947 and 1958 that reviewers and critics refer to as the “Heinlein Juveniles”. These were novels primarily aimed at teenage boys, and intended to present challenging content to young readers, but proved enjoyable for readers of all ages and genders. I’ve read several of them myself, so I think it’s fair to suggest that indie novelist LJ Cohen’s Derelict is a modern YA space opera in the tradition of Heinlein’s young-adult works.