3 Questions with Mindy Klasky

On October 1, I celebrated the release of my tenth novel, HOW NOT TO MAKE A WISH (10?  Ack!  There’s no way I’ve been doing this for that long!)  I also celebrated turning in the manuscript for my twelfth novel, and the outline and worldbuilding summary for my thirteenth novel.  Then, I slept.  A lot.  Here’s the cover of the new book – it makes me smile.

Cover of HNTMAW

Now, I’m feeling chatty, and I wanted to answer a handful of the questions that I get most frequently  from readers.  This isn’t a straight Q&A, though.  I want to ask you some questions in return!  I hope that you’ll answer them in comments.

Question:   Which SF conventions do you attend, and how do you choose them?

Answer:  In the past, I’ve always tried to attend World Fantasy, Worldcon, and my local relaxicon, Capclave.  Lately, though, I’ve found that my interest is drifting.  World Fantasy no longer aligns with the commercial material that I write – its emphasis on literary speculative fiction feeds some of my interest as a reader, but almost none as a writer.  Worldcon is even further from the commercial world my books  inhabit; traditional fandom doesn’t stretch far enough across the romance aisle to find me.  I still love Capclave – it’s a great chance to catch up with friends and writer-colleagues.

 Question-in-return:  Which conventions do you attend, and why?

Question:  Are there really genies in your current As You Wish Series?  Why genies?

Answer:  Yep – in fact, the main genie is the character  who continues from book to book, carrying the weight of the series.  Each individual novel completely resolves the story of the specific wisher who finds the genie’s lamp.  I’ve always been fascinated by genies – ever since I realized that a shrewd wisher would simply wish for “three more wishes.”  (And yes, there are brakes in my magical system, so that wishers can’t do that!)  I love writing about unintended consequences – that’s what the entire Glasswrights Series was about (Rani Trader tries to warn a prince about an assassination attempt and enables the murderer to work his evil, resulting in complete upheaval of Rani’s life), along with most of the Jane Madison series (librarian-witch works spells to simplify her life, only to find that each individual spell makes things much more complicated than she ever imagined.)  Genies are a tool to explore unintended consequences.

Question-to-you:  What magical beings would you like to see more of in speculative fiction?

Question:  You always say “speculative fiction.”  Aren’t you writing romance, these days?

Answer:  While I recognize the value of having a genre printed on the spine of a book – booksellers know where to shelve it; readers know where to find it – that genre labeling is extremely confining.  My books involve relationships between individuals who may or may not love each other, so I guess they’re romances.  They also involve imaginary magical creatures that do not exist in the reality of our time-space continuum, so I guess they’re fantasy.  HOW NOT TO MAKE A WISH is set in Minneapolis and is flavored extensively by my former hometown, so I guess it’s regional fiction.  The current series explores theater, and the strength of on-stage myth-making as a way for humanity to work out its greatest social issues, so I guess it’s literature.  ::shrug::  “Speculative fiction” lets me communicate the sense of wonder in the books, so I’ll stick with it as a general catch-all.  But I’ll still answer, when people call me under some other name.

 Question-for-you:  Do you find genre labels helpful?  Harmful?  Are there any that you’d like to see abolished forever?

Thanks, everyone, for checking in on SFNovelists.  I hope to read your comments below!

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  1. 1. Deborah Blake

    Great questions with er…you.

    I don’t get to many conventions–too expensive, not enough time, all that jazz. But I did go to Panthecon (a huge pagan convention) a couple of years ago, to do some author publicity for my nonfiction witchcraft books. And I went to the RWA National convention this year is your new hometown of DC, as you know. Next weekend, I am going to Albacon, a small-ish SciFi convention in Albany, NY, just for the day. I’m looking forward to meeting one of my (other) favorite authors, Rosemary Edghill.

    And I’d like to see more witches, of course :-) Although I read a wonderful series by C. E. Murphy that featured a gargoyle–very unusual.

    Genre labels….well…oy.

    BTW–I read the new book and it ROCKS!!!!

  2. 2. Karen Wester Newton

    I got to WFC when I can afford it (and this year, even though I said I wouldn’t). Worldocn has to be somewhere reasonable for me– not Australia, although I think it’s great it moves and is truly a World-con. I loved your word for Capclave (relaxicon!)

    As for “magical beings”– ANYTHING but vampires.

    Genre labels– I think they work best in ebooks where they become tags and a book can have as many as it needs to find possible readers. In the physical world they are more limiting.

    Can’t wait to start reading HOW NOT TO MAKE A WISH on my Kindle!

  3. 3. Keith

    For a while I was a regular attendee for Archon, a major local SF con, but its starting to get too expensive, but I did attend a small and inexpensive Anime Con, it was there first and it was a bit rough around the edges and the venue wasn’t very good, but I did get to attend a few interesting panels

    I don’t read much fantasy, but one novel I did pick up and read was “The Misenchanted Sword”, about a warrior trap behind enemy lines forces a neutral wizard to forge a magical sword under duress and he gets one but it doesn’t quite work as expected, it keeps him alive,but not from harm, once its drawn it can’t be sheathed til it kills and it can only kill human men

    genre labels, hmmm, I mainly look for SF, Science Fiction

  4. 4. Nobody

    very interesting questions… wish i had answers as interesting!

    1) i don’t attend any SF Conventions. i’m a stay at home mom of 2, and don’t get much time to do what I want to do. if i had to choose between a SFC and the playground… i’d pick the playground, simply because it means the kids will be happier. and i can find a playground 5 minutes from my house, but there are no SFC’s within several hours of my hometown. oh, and i just don’t have the money. :) i guess that’s the deciding factor, ultimately. the playground is just plain cheaper. :)

    2) magical beings… hmmm. i’m rather fond of the many different perceptions of elves and dragons. i love reading new fantasy fiction with elves and dragons in them, just to see how the author will choose to portray them. so far, my favorite are the Sithi- they are the elven beings in Angus Well’s Memory Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, and the dragons in Jane Yolen’s Pit Dragon trilogy. as Karen pointed out above, the different takes on Vampires are WAY overdone as of now. let’s move on to something different, eh?

    3) i don’t particularly care for genre labels. i always feel a little silly buying a book from the teen or romance section despite loving several novels in each. mostly, i browse the fantasy shelves, but i know i’m missing out on several good paranormal novels that have been stuck in horror, romance, teen, or just plain fiction. finding good books in stores nowadays is like sifting for gems, and sadly i mostly come up with dirt.

    on another note… i loved all the others, and can’t wait to read your new book. :D

  5. 5. Mindy Klasky

    Thanks, all, for your comments!

    I think that we’re in agreement that conventions can be really pricey – I know that I’ve really had to cut back on my attendance.

    As for magical beings, I came up with an idea for a new urban fantasy the other night, with a creature I haven’t seen anyone else use… I’m excited to do more research!

    And as for genre labels – ptui! I am increasingly frustrated with labels – of most types!

    Thanks for chatting, folks!

  6. 6. Elias McClellan

    Late to this party and I can’t believe that I almost missed it. I’ve yet to attend any conventions and at 40, I’m feeling very old. Any suggestions to an aspiring/wanna-be/will-be writer?

    While I’m very new to fantasy, I’m also growing very found of it. Still, I’d like to see more of the most mythical of beings; plain-old, run of the mundane, humans. Out-classed, out-mystified, out-prettied, humans, contending with the more malevolent forms.

    I could got the rest of my 20 years, (in addition to SF/F, I also am fond of fried food and cigars) never hear ‘speculative fiction/alternate history’ again and be pleased as punch.

    Thanks for the thought-food. This was fun.

  7. 7. Mindy Klasky

    Elias – Thanks for stopping by and for jumping in!

    As for finding a good “first” convention, it sort of depends on what you’re looking for. The World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”) is ***huge*** and has something for everyone; it can, however, be really overwhelming. There are typically 5-10 things going on in any one timeslot. Worldcon is run by fans for fans – most of the panels are designed to be attractive to readers/watchers/gamers in the field, rather than to authors building and maintaining their careers. This convention has lots of people wearing costumes, a full track on filking (songs related to SF and fantasy), gaming, etc.

    The World Fantasy Convention is smaller and much more focused. It is generally called more “professional” than Worldcon; most of the attendees are writers or very dedicated readers.

    If you’ve never been to a con, you might want to check out a small local one in your community. Those usually last for two days, over a weekend, and they typically have one or maybe two tracks of programming. It’s easier to meet people and to get a feeling for the SF/fantasy world. You can find a list of cons on the Locus website – http://www.locusmag.com

    Good luck!

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Author Information

Mindy Klasky

Mindy Klasky is the author of eleven novels, including WHEN GOOD WISHES GO BAD and HOW NOT TO MAKE A WISH in the As You Wish Series. She also wrote GIRL'S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT, SORCERY AND THE SINGLE GIRL, and MAGIC AND THE MODERN GIRL, about a librarian who finds out she's a witch. Mindy also wrote the award-winning, best-selling Glasswrights series and the stand-alone fantasy novel, SEASON OF SACRIFICE. Visit site.

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