Interview with Jaleta Clegg

Do you remember the first science fiction book you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I discovered an old copy of "The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet" when I was eight. I wanted to build my own spaceship, just like the boys in the story. The idea of traveling to another planet and meeting aliens intrigued me to the point I went looking for more stories like it.
That led to "A Wrinkle in Time" and Andre Norton's space adventure stories which led to a magical section of the library known as science fiction/fantasy. I've never looked back.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
That's like asking me to name my favorite children. The answer would be the same - ALL of them! I have shelves and shelves of science fiction and fantasy books and I love them all. They invoke a sense of wonder, sometimes fear and trepidation, sometimes hope, but always something new.
A better question would be to name my five favorite authors. I can list the ones I currently read and enjoy - Terry Pratchett, Andre Norton, Julie Czerneda, Frances Pauli, and Patricia McKillip. There are others, like Elizabeth Moon and Patricia C. Wrede and Robin McKinley and Jack L. Chalker and Isaac Asimove and... I could go on all day. Which book and which author are my favorite depend on my mood, the phase of the moon, whether it's raining or not, and which cover looked most appealing. I'm always open to new favorites, too.
What do you read for pleasure?
Pretty much anything. Seriously. I read shampoo bottles and lotion labels and cereal boxes and whatever I can get my hands on. I do prefer science fiction and adventure, but I'm open to almost any genre. I love a good mystery story or a non-fiction book about cacti or a graphic novel. I love reading and I always have. It's a great way to learn new things, explore new thoughts, or just escape for a while.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love getting to know my characters. And then I love tormenting them by tossing problems at them. But my biggest joy comes when someone contacts me to tell me my story touched them, made them smile, made them cry, made them laugh, or just entertained them for a day or two.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love my fans. They're people like me who enjoyed the story I told. I'm a fan, too. I understand. I'm tickled that people have taken my stories and made them part of their experience. It's flattering, but also humbling.
It's the same reason I love teaching, which is my day job. I can touch lives, but they touch me in return.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I was hesitant to try an ereader. I'm old-fashioned. I prefer paper books. Or so I thought.
I was headed out of town and decided to try an ebook app on my iPod. I downloaded a bunch of free books to try out, thinking I'd never enjoy it. The screen was too small. It couldn't possibly work for me. Boy, was I wrong. I was hooked. The size of the screen wasn't a problem. In fact, the small size and portability were a bonus. Plus I could load hundreds of books in the little device without adding an ounce to my luggage.
I now own a Kindle, a Nook, and my trusty iPod, which has seven different reading apps on it.
How do you approach cover design?
I want something that speaks to the spirit of the book. It's a visceral reaction. It needs to be clean and readable, too, but it's the image that has to capture me. I've done graphic design for years so designing my own covers wasn't much of a stretch. Some of them, like "Vicar's Revenge", were way too much fun and let me explore my silly side, much like the story.
What is your writing process?
I start at the beginning and end at the end. I usually have an idea of where I want to start and where I want to end and who the main players are, but the rest I make up as I go. Editing was invented to fix the problems that inevitably happen when you write. My middles tend to wander in the rough drafts. Sometimes my ending isn't what I envisioned when I started, it's even better. And my characters gain depth and personalities as I go.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Some days it's hard. Real life is not easy. But real life also gets me up and moving. Kids need carpooled to school. Dishes need done. Food needs cooked. I need to get myself to work. But the knowledge that somewhere in the middle of all that real life, I can escape to faraway worlds with spaceships and aliens or magic and fascinating characters, that keeps me smiling. Telling stories is my reward for dealing with the mundane. Sometimes the mundane transforms into the fantastical. All it takes is imagination.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Living the glamorous life of an author, of course. It's all tropical beaches and fruity drinks with umbrellas and luxurious yachts.
I'm such a liar. I spend most of my time dealing with the mundane things. Dog barf on the carpet. Kids spilling dinner on the floor (but we have a dog! He can clean that up!). Cooking the dinner the kids are spilling. Making sure the twenty loads of laundry are done for the week (yeah, I have that many kids). Paying the bills. Buying the groceries. Corralling kids into homework and chores. Spending a few minutes with my husband. Removing the cat from the clean laundry before it isn't clean anymore. Digging the dandelions out of the lawn then realizing the lawn *is* dandelions.
I also enjoy quilting and crocheting. I find it soothing to play with yarn and fabric and end up with something unique when I'm done. Plus, it isn't like housework. When you sew a quilt block, it stays sewed. It's a visual outlet for creativity for those days when words just won't come.
Published 2013-09-12.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Obsidian Tears
By Jaleta Clegg
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 119,890. Language: American English. Published: December 18, 2013. Category: Fiction
When Tayvis goes missing, Dace can't turn her back on Lowell's request for her to investigate. Especially not when he hands her the shattered remains of the Eggstone. But her decision might cost her heart and her freedom.
Jericho Falling
By Jaleta Clegg
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 120,940. Language: American English. Published: December 17, 2013. Category: Fiction
When a desperate stranger accosts Dace to demand her help, it leads to a tangled morass of treason and secrets that could destroy everything she loves.
Kumadai Run
By Jaleta Clegg
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 100,040. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2013. Category: Fiction
If you ever find yourself as crew on a ship with newlyweds, don't go. Dace wishes she'd taken her own advice. But the route looked safe enough, until they spring a trap five hundred years old and end up trapped on a planet teetering on the brink of destruction.
Cold Revenge
By Jaleta Clegg
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 137,750. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2013. Category: Fiction
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Jerimon is about to serve Dace to the Targon syndicate. On ice. It doesn't matter that he's doing it on Lowell's orders. Targon wants Dace's blood. They won't stop until their revenge is complete and her life is in ruins. And they won't wait for the Patrol's trap to snap shut first.
Second Chances
By Jaleta Clegg
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: Free! Words: 7,490. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2013. Category: Fiction
Paltronis may not have started the fight, but she ended it. And her future with the Patrol. Facing criminal charges, she gets one last chance to prove she's not a total screw-up.
Dusting Wars
By Jaleta Clegg
Price: Free! Words: 1,020. Language: English. Published: June 18, 2013. Category: Fiction
General DB and his dust army fight off a horrendous monster with the help of the outlawed Ferrous One.
By Jaleta Clegg
Price: Free! Words: 3,610. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2013. Category: Fiction
Tori Jespers, private investigator, tackles the unusual in her small town of Goose Falls. When wolves move in, it's up to her to stop their rampage.
Have You Seen Tarum?
By Jaleta Clegg
Price: Free! Words: 3,400. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2010. Category: Fiction
Kimberly has given up hope of having anything more in her life than her grandmother, until crazy old Mr. Jeffries asks, "Have you seen Tarum?"
By Jaleta Clegg
Price: Free! Words: 2,790. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2010. Category: Fiction
The invention of the Emoticator promises to free mankind from regret, but is that really such a great idea?
The Vicar's Revenge
By Jaleta Clegg
Price: Free! Words: 1,950. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2010. Category: Fiction
Magic berries, shapechanging, and the end of the Vicar's patience add up to mayhem in the small parish of Terrington Green.
Letting Go
By Jaleta Clegg
Price: Free! Words: 2,140. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2010. Category: Fiction
If you could keep your loved ones forever, would you? Susan must choose whether to watch her mother slowly fade away or preserve her.
Nexus Point
By Jaleta Clegg
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 98,440. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2010. Category: Fiction
Stranded on a primitive world, betrayed by her crew, facing death at the hands of the natives, hunted by drug smugglers, Captain Dace has one hope of survival - convince the Patrol agent trying to kill her that she's innocent. But on Dadilan, no one is innocent.