Interview with J Alan Erwine

Published 2013-09-22.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love spending time with my wife and my three kids, and when time allows, I like watching old sci-fi reruns, and of course I try to read whenever I can.
What is your writing process?
I almost have to laugh at this one. I used to have a writing process, but now with kids and a full time job, I just have to write whenever I can. I love to listen to classical music when I write, and I generally am the type of writer that plods through the entire manuscript, and then goes back and does a tremendous amount of editing later.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Only five? In no particular order: The Foundation series (I know it's a series, but I'm calling it a book), the Hyperion series (same as the previous), The Stranger, Stranger in a Strange Land, and Dune (not the series...just the book).
What do you read for pleasure?
I still mostly read science fiction when I'm not reading unpublished manuscripts. Lately I've been reading a lot of Robert Sawyer. I've been a big fan of his for years, and I'm working my way through his WWW series as I have time.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing as soon as I learned to put a subject and a predicate together, some time before I started kindergarten. Obviously the stories were truly dreadful, and I hope they no longer exist.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I think there are actually two greatest joys. The first is the act of actually creating the piece, and the second is seeing the piece in publication. It's all the in-between stuff that's so hard!
What are you working on next?
I'm torn between two novels. I have the first chapter of a YA novel written about a duo of orphans trying to avoid being taken back to Mars. The other story is sort of playing around in my head. It's a dystopia in which corporations have completely taken over the Earth...or maybe it's realistic fiction...hard to say.
Who are your favorite authors?
In science fiction, it would be Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Pohl, Simmons, Sawyer, Brin and many more. For non-science fiction, it would be Camus, Kafka, Shakespeare, and a few others.
Describe your desk
One word: mess!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My last novel, A Problem in Translation, came about because I wanted to write a space opera, but I wanted it to say something at the same time. I didn't want to write something that would be just fun to read. This made me think about how hard it is for any of us as human beings to really understand one another. So, I started thinking, how hard would it be to understand truly alien aliens? Thus was born the novel...
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Sectors Fifty-Five to Fifty-Nine in "Deep Space" are filled with conflict. All five of the "Deep Space" species have outposts in these sectors, and the threat of violence is always there. Plus, there are numerous mysteries to be solved by intrepid explorers. A supplement for the Ephemeris Science Fiction RPG.
Ephemeris Encyclopedia Galactica: Sectors Fifty - Fifty-Four
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Future Syndicate II
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The exploration of “Deep Space” continues. Welcome to Sector Forty-Nine, the home sector of the Ernya. Here you’ll find their homeworld, and many of the worlds they’ve colonized. You’ll also find mysteries just waiting to be solved. The Ernya can be a brutal race, often antagonizing the other species, as well as their own kind, but like all of the species, there's more them than just that...
The Fifth Di... June 2019
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After more than 20 years of continuous publication, the June issue of The Fifth Di… will be the final issue. In this issue, you’ll find fiction from Robert N. Stephenson, Lawrence Buentello, Jeffery Scott Sims, Kendall Evans, and J Alan Erwine. So, join us for one final trip into The Fifth Di…
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