A Conversation With Jody Lynn Nye, Part 1

Interview conducted by Carl Fink

I first met Jody Lynn Nye at I-CON, where she and her husband Bill Fawcett were appearing. Like so many accomplished writers, both of them were remarkably down-to-earth and friendly and I really enjoyed talking to them, both there and at another convention. (Conventions are great places to have conversations—one among me, Jody, Bill and Mike Resnick I will probably remember for the rest of my life.) I still enjoy talking to both of them, and that made them naturals to invite to the first convention I am in charge of. I asked Jody to sit for an email interview as a way to introduce her to any fans who might not know her.

LI-CON: Hi, Jody. To start with, have you every done a job besides professional writing?

JLN: My last job was as the Technical Operations Manager at WFBN-TV (Joliet/Chicago). I had 11 engineers and operators working for me. Before that, I had been an accounting clerk, customer service ‘associate’, file clerk, stereo/audio saleswoman, assistant costume maker and sales assistant (my grandmother’s shop) and office assistant (my father’s accounting office).

LI-CON: I had no idea you had a TV background, or that you were knowledgeable about fields as different as accounting and electronics. Does having such a varied set of skills and experiences make it easier to write fiction, especially works like your Mythology series that happen in (almost) our own world?

JLN: No experience is wasted. I always find myself drawing upon things I have done or read (or heard people discuss) in the past for inspiration and verisimilitude.

LI-CON: Do you base your characters on the people you know or knew, or do you make them up?

JLN: No, except for Tuckerizations and various cats, I do not base my characters on anyone I know. Some writers I know like to put celebrities or friends in books, but I find that distracting.

LI-CON: Do you perceive yourself as a feminist writer? I ask because you’ve worked with other writers, Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon, who are seen that way (truthful or useful as that may be) and the Ship Who Sang series that you have continued is felt to have a feminist theme.

JLN: I’m happy to be perceived as a feminist writer, but I hope any reader will see that I treat my characters evenly, regardless of gender, origin, stature, etc. I think the “Ship” series is empowering especially to the disabled, not just females. The stories prove that if you have the wit and intelligence to succeed, the limitations of your body should not hold you back.

LI-CON Can you tell us some of the writers who have influenced you?

JLN: Mark Twain, Rex Stout, Dorothy L. Sayers, Isaac Asimov, TH White, Madeleine L’Engle, Joseph Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Robert Asprin, Mary Stewart, Andre Norton, all deeply influential for different reasons. There are many more whose works made me step back in wonder. I don’t want to go back to the days before I read PG Wodehouse, Anne McCaffrey, Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle. My entire literary pantheon is a large one.

(More to come in Part 2.)