A Nebula Award winner and Hugo nominee, Eric James Stone has been published in Year’s Best SF, Analog, and elsewhere. Eric is a Writers of the Future winner, graduate of Orson Scott Card’s writing workshop, and assistant editor at Intergalactic Medicine Show.
Eric lives in Utah. His website is www.ericjamesstone.com.
David Steffen: This has been quite a year for you, winning your first Nebula award, and being nominated for a Hugo for the same story. Have these awards been a major goal for you? What’s next?
Eric James Stone: I remember reading Hugo and Nebula anthologies when I was a teenager, so I felt incredibly honored to be nominated for both awards. While I did dream about being nominated for a Nebula or Hugo, I didn’t think it was all that likely because there are so many excellent authors writing today.
David: Where did the idea for your Nebula-winning, Hugo-nominated story “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” come from?
Eric: It came from an assignment at a writing workshop taught by Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Sheila Williams. The prompt was: “You are in the middle of the sun and can’t get a date.” Because my religion is a big part of my life, and because I hadn’t seen a story with a believing Mormon protagonist in a high-tech future, I decided to write such a story. I wrote the first third of the story while at the workshop, but I had no idea what would happen in the rest of the story. Fortunately, I received a lot of encouragement from friends to finish the story, so I did. At the time, of course, I had no idea it would get nominated for anything.
David: Do you find your view on writing has changed since you took the role as assistant editor at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show?
Eric: I’ve really learned the importance of a satisfying ending. One of the worst things for an editor is to read a story with a good beginning and middle, but which falls apart at the end.
David: Has writing gotten easier for you over the years, or harder?
Eric: Both. It’s gotten easier in some ways, because I think I have a better feel for what makes stories work. But it’s gotten harder in other ways, because I notice my weaknesses more but haven’t quite figured out how to solve them.
Eric: I took some creative writing classes in college. I thought one of the stories I had written might be publishable, so I submitted it twice and got rejected both times. That discouraged me enough that I quit writing stories for over ten years. My advice to new writers is not to be as big of an idiot as I was. Keep writing.
David: What’s your happiest memory?
Eric: 2009 was a really happy year for me for reasons mostly unrelated to writing, so I look back on it rather fondly.
David: What fictional place would you most like to visit?
Eric: The U.S.S. Enterprise.
Eric: I’m in the process of editing a novel for a publisher who may be interested, but I can’t go into specifics about it.
David: Any upcoming publications?
Eric: I have new stories forthcoming in Analog Science Fiction, Daily Science Fiction, Digital Science Fiction, and Blood Lite 3: Aftertaste. (For some reason, I have the sudden urge to sing “One of These Things Is Not Like the Others.”) My Nebula-Award-winning story will be reprinted in an anthology called Monsters & Mormons, as well as the Nebula Awards Showcase volume coming out next year.
Eric: Mission of Honor by David Weber. His Honor Harrington series is my favorite series.
David: Your favorite book?
Eric: Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton.
Eric: When I was a teenager, it was Isaac Asimov. Later, it was Orson Scott Card. Now, I’ve read so many fantastic stories by great authors that I really can’t choose a favorite.
Eric: The last movie I saw in a theater was X-Men: First Class. I think the last movie I watched at home was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.
Eric: Probably Raiders of the Lost Ark.
David: Eric, thanks for taking the time for the interview.
Image Copyright © 2008 by Eric James Stone.