Sue Lange has two books of science fiction satire out: Tritcheon Hash and We, Robots. Her multimedia extravaganza, The Textile Planet, was published by Book View Cafe (BVC) in 2008. BVC also recently put out her collection, Uncategorized, and they will be publishing We, Robots as an ebook in March.
Thanks for the interview, Sue! Why don't you start by telling us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it?
My latest book is Uncategorized, a collection of my previously published short stories. The collection is aptly named. There is no one genre that they fit in, except, maybe slipstream. There's an air of weirdness to each one, but other than that they are pretty much unrelated. Each story was inspired by a different thing, so there's no easy way to answer that question. Interestingly enough, though, I included a paragraph or two before each story to talk about what it was that inspired each story. That was a nice thing to be able to do since, for the most part, it didn't get done when they had been published in the magazines or zines or wherever they were first put out.
I've never had this problem, but that's mostly because I've never had to write to a deadline. I don't have a contract to write three novels by the end of the year. It would be nice to know someone is waiting for my work, but on the other hand, I'm not a fan of pressure so it's good that I don't have that sort of contract to work under. I like things to happen in their own sweet time. So if I don't have something to write about, I don't write. I don't consider it a writer's block, I just don't have anything to say. People with writer's block either have no deadlines or have nothing to say. Or maybe they have something to say but something like fear is preventing them from saying it.
What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?
I've never looked hard for a publisher. I've worked with two different ones now. The first one, Metropolis Ink, I happened upon because a friend of mine had just published with them. I asked her about whether or not they were taking on new authors and she suggested I send them a manuscript. They were in a position to accept it so it all worked out. I didn't really know about agents or anything, I just contacted the publisher directly. I came across the second publisher, Aqueduct Press, when I was doing an event with Nancy Jane Moore after Tritcheon Hash got published. I got to know the publisher, Timmi Duchamp, and eventually sent her the manuscript for We, Robots. I do try to get agents interested in my work, but so far I have not been fortunate in that area. It's hard to find agents for weird, slipstream type stuff. I guess. The only advice I have is if you can't find an agent or a publisher, hire an editor before you self-publish. And absolutely do not self-publish is you are not a salesman before you are a writer.
What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?
For book promotion, I like live events, but it's harder to get people out for live events than it is to get them to buy books so I'm not sure it's a cost effective method of promotion. I just like doing them. I enjoy performance. Other than that, I like writing my blog because I like to write. I despise talking about my books and trying to get people to buy them so I don't do it well, therefore it doesn't seem to work for me.
Share with us some writing tips!
Read what you like. Steal ideas from what you read. Rinse and repeat. (Oh, and when you get caught for plagiarism, please don't tell anybody Sue Lange told you to do that.)
What authors or type of books do you read for fun?
I love Stansilaw Lem. And I'm trying to concentrate on short stories in my own writing so I've been reading a lot of anthologies. I recently discovered Brian Evenson and Dan Marcus. Dan Marcus suggested I check out a slipstream collection edited by James Patrick Kelly so I'm enjoying that. I like anything that's intellectually funny. Garrison Keillor. I'm not overly fond of slapstick or farce. I think fart jokes are overrated. I'm done with scatological humor. But anything else is fabulous.
Do you think a critique group is essential for a writer?
These days yes. There are so many people writing nowadays, you can't just be talented. You have to be polished and perfect. Besides writing is a lonely undertaking. Best to get out and meet up at a bar or bookstore or somebody's house and share a cup of coffee or a shot of whiskey or a bag of pot.
Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?
Do you have another novel on the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects?
I'm working through some short stories, a novel entitled The Perpetual Motion Club, and a non-fiction memoir-type thing called RTFM: My life and times in tech. By the time this interview is published, I'm sure all of this will change.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?
Buy an ebook reader and enjoy the future.