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The Dragonrider books by Anne McCaffrey series reading order and synopsis
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Julie Czerneda

answers the Usual Questions

Writer Julie Czerneda, photograph courtesy Roger Czerneda Photography; 220x378

Julie Czerneda
Photograph courtesy Roger Czerneda Photography

Canadian science fiction and fantasy writer Julie Czerneda is a reader who loves to write. Her enjoyment of the genres has overflowed into friendships with other writers and fans.

She shares her enthusiasm for the craft of writing, including educational support materials on her web site.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

As I look back, I'm more struck by what hasn't been affected. I admit to terror the first moment I realized Other People would be reading my stories. Then wonder, because I'm a reader myself, first and foremost, and I love my favourites. To have someone show me a ragged copy of one of my books they've loved almost to oblivion?

I not only get that, I'm beside myself with joy. Gratification, reassurance, support. My readers, my fans, have been instrumental in giving me more than I've ever given them.

There's also friendship. What you read is pretty much how I am, so it stands to reason that many of those who contacted me first because they enjoyed reading my stories are now dear friends. Still, it was a very pleasant surprise.

I have a great respect for my readers as well. They care about the details and love the characters; getting those right is a responsibility I take seriously indeed. As much as I can, given that I know where I've planned a story to go and readers don't, not till they have it in their hands. When they do, I wait with a little of that old terror for their reaction. Though there's fun as well. If a minor character gets fan mail, you can be sure to see a little more in a sequel. And then there's the "I don't read romance" fan/reader/friend I love dearly enough to ensure there's almost always a scene with a torn shirt -- knowing she'll blush.

I always come back to work from a convention or event re-energized. The interest and passion of those who read my work -- and that of other creative folk -- is the best tonic of all. Thank you, every one.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

Recently? Yes. I spent over three years on a project dear to my heart (and our daughter's). When A Turn of Light was ready to be read, I had it rushed to Ed Greenwood, who'd been cheering me on in this fantasy thing (I'd never written it before) for my first blurb. He wrote back: "I sat right down to read it, finished it in one long rush, then started over again so I could enjoy it a second time. It's that good. I am in awe." I cried. I'll never forget that moment.

On the flipside, I've had readers contact me to say they won't read anything that isn't about Sira, so would I hurry up and get back to her storyline. Hey, it's all good. They care.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Once I discovered science fiction, I knew I'd come home. I fondly remember being allowed to take my supper on a tv tray to watch Star Trek. (In black and white. I'm still startled by coloured uniforms.) I've always been a reader as well. Everything I could find in the libraries near home -- I was the only person allowed to take more than ten titles out at a time, because I'd have them back by the next weekend. My shelves are full of Andre Norton and C.J. Cherryh, as well as Patricia McKillip and many others. Doc Savage and Tarzan. Dr Who. I've mysteries -- most of those old and British. Westerns. Fantasy, oh yes. Films? We rewatch Lord of the Rings and Firefly at least once a year -- if not more. I realize this is more a list of my library, but to be honest, I love them all. If there's been any influence, it's been to recognize where my own taste lies and that there's nothing wrong or right about that. This is me and what I like. I hope that honesty comes through in my work. It's the best influence of all.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

In a lift? Someone I've never met before. That way, we'll have more to talk about -- and all new stories. (And double our chances of people coming to get us out of the lift.)

In a spaceship? Chris Hadfield. What the man doesn't know about space? Plus I've met him. He's as nice as he seems.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

A cannibal. In either case. Okay, or anyone who doesn't get SF. I can be polite to anyone -- and am -- but I demand imagination and an open mind on my side in a crunch.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

My best friend and other half, Roger. (I just asked him the same question, and he said his Swiss Army knife. We're going to have a talk later.)

If it was to be a one-way trip, I'd also want viable genetic material for everything on this planet, including a nice diversity of us. I love life.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

When I write the ending of a story and cry (I'm a bit mushy) from the joy or the power or simply because it's right ending and I did it, sitting here alone -- that's why I write. That's what I get and achieve.

Though I'd never say no to a movie. I've family who aren't readers who'd love to watch what I've done. Or a soundtrack. Or fan art. Or someone throwing back a quote at me. That interaction is delightful, which is why I so love seeing my cover art. Another mind, creating from my words.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

That I can make a living having so much fun and giving pleasure to others? I still feel I'll be caught out one day and told to get a Real Job.

I think there comes a point in any creative person's life when they look up, faintly astonished, to discover their creations have taken on a life of their own. That art, once made and shared, takes hold of other hearts and minds, to be part of them as surely as of the artist. It's nothing I'd imagined when I first put my writing in front of a publisher, just for the heck of it. Now, it's something I find gives me remarkable joy.

submitted by Julie Czerneda

8 September 2013

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: Ontario Canada
Resides: Ontario Canada
4 time Winner of Canada's top award for speculative fiction, the Prix Aurora Awards, for long-form, short-form fiction in English, plus editing.
Nebula nominee, Philip K. Dick finalist
Julie Czerneda's Bibliography

Web site:
Julie Czerneda Fan Page
The Clan Chronicles
Species Imperative
Goodreads as Julie Czerneda
Twitter as @julieczerneda


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