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

Priestess of the Eggstone
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 101,280. Language: English. Published: October 21, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Pursued by the Targon Crime Syndicate bent on revenge, the Patrol intent on recruitment, and the Sessimoniss who want their god back, the last thing Captain Dace needs is a handsome copilot with romance on his mind.
Bite-Sized Stories
Price: Free! Words: 38,660. Language: English. Published: September 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Flash fiction, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
Looking for some short but high-quality entertainment over coffee or a snack? Grab Bite-Sized Stories and fill your stolen moments with 33 indie flash fiction tales. Just 5 minutes per engaging story.
Interagency Cooperation
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,410. Language: English. Published: August 8, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Tess gets an abrupt introduction to the F.B.I. - Fairyland Border Investigations - when two redcaps cross into Goose Creek and go on a killing rampage.
Dark Dancer
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 52,170. Language: English. Published: August 25, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
A strange prophecy haunts the Seligh lords, rulers of the Fey and controllers of all magic in the Summerlands, a prophecy that foretells their fall. At its heart, is a young human woman with no memory of her power or potential to destroy their world.
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 129,370. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
The Empire is disintegrating, leaving all civilization on the brink of collapse. Roland sends Dace to Linas-Drias as his ambassador, to try to salvage what she can. But things are worse than anyone suspected. Not even Dace can save the Emperor from the mysterious Ice Queen and her plotting.
Phoenix in Flames
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 135,290. Language: English. Published: June 10, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
The Phoenix is deep in syndicate territory and they're out for blood. Lowell's power base is broken and Dace is left unprotected. Jasyn will have to marshal all her resources to rescue Dace from the wrath of her enemies.
An Indecent Proposal
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 152,100. Language: English. Published: May 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Dace faces her most challenging assignment yet - mingling with the high society of Linas-Drias, capital of the Empire. Vance hands her a golden opportunity to look for the traitors pulling the Empire apart, but when her pretend engagement becomes all too real, she's in too deep to escape.
Chain of Secrets
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 133,350. Language: English. Published: April 29, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Dace believes Tayvis is dead, so when Lowell sends her to her homeworld to start a civil war, she doesn't care if she survives or not. But as she struggles through the tangle of deceit, betrayal, and lies and startling revelations about her own past, Dace finds she does want to live. But her chances of survival are dwindling with every hour.
Soul Windows
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 40,230. Language: English. Published: April 23, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The eyes are windows to the soul. What would you find if you could look deep enough? These ten tales of science fiction and fantasy explore characters good and evil, placid and troubled, dark and light. Journey through the windows of the soul. You may be surprised by what you find. Original stories by Jaleta Clegg.
Brain Candy
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 48,720. Language: English. Published: April 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
From evil nine-year-old Shirley Temple look-a-likes with possessed collectibles to green gelatin salad blob monsters to incompetent vampires to dyslexic witches, these stories feature silly and not-so-silly horror. Nineteen tales to send chills up your funny bone and tickle your spine. Or is the other way around? Come explore the strange imaginings of Jaleta Clegg with these short stories.
Obsidian Tears
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 119,890. Language: American English. Published: December 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
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
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 120,940. Language: American English. Published: December 17, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
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
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 100,040. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
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
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 137,750. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
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
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,490. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
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
Price: Free! Words: 1,020. Language: English. Published: June 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
General DB and his dust army fight off a horrendous monster with the help of the outlawed Ferrous One.
Price: Free! Words: 3,610. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
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?
Price: Free! Words: 3,380. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
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?"
Price: Free! Words: 2,780. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The invention of the Emoticator promises to free mankind from regret, but is that really such a great idea?
The Vicar's Revenge
Price: Free! Words: 1,960. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Magic berries, shapechanging, and the end of the Vicar's patience add up to mayhem in the small parish of Terrington Green.
Letting Go
Price: Free! Words: 2,090. Language: English. Published: September 11, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
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
Series: The Fall of the Altairan Empire. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 98,390. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
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.