Today I am interviewing Julie rafzerneda, editor of the new anthology, Nebula Awards Showcase 2017.
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DJ: Hey Julie! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Julie Czerneda: Hello! Like your readers, I love science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been writing my own since I was ten. In one of those odd twists careers can take, I went from biologist to professional non-fiction author and editor. My first SF anthology as editor was Packing Fraction and Other Tales of Science and Imagination, which came out in 1999 from Trifolium Books. Not surprisingly, it was intended for science classrooms and I wrote an annotated guide for educators No Limits: Developing Scientific Literacy Using Science Fiction.
This was about the time my own fiction writing took off, and I’ve been doing that full time ever since, proud and delighted to be published by DAW Books NY for (gasp) twenty years. Between the novels, I kept doing anthologies because how better to learn the craft than read wonderful authors? The Showcase is my sixteenth.
DJ: What is Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 about? What are some reasons readers that readers like to pick it up?
Julie: Because it’s FABULOUS! ::coughs:: Which is a reason, but I should explain. The Nebula Awards Showcase is the prize we readers get, being able to hold in our hands a cross-section of the works from 2016 recognized as exceptional by the membership of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA). The anthology lists every past and present winner, plus the 2016 nominees, which of itself is fascinating, but best of all? It’s full of stories and their creators’ passion. There are whole short stories, the winning novella and novelettes, plus novel excerpts. There’s an excerpt from the Andre Norton Award winner as well, for best YA. You’ll find the Rhsyling poetry winners. There’s a wealth of material in honour of C.J. Cherryh, who became a SFWA Grand Master in 2016, including an essay by Betsy Wollheim. There’s Michelle Sagara’s moving tribute to the late Sir Terry Pratchett, awarded the Kate Wolhelm Solstice Award for his contributions to the genre, as well as some cool behind-the-scenes about Mad Max: Fury Road by Mark Askwith, the film that won the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. Altogether? It’s, well, fabulous stuff.
DJ: What kinds of stories readers expect in the collection?
Julie: There’s fantasy, horror, and of course science fiction. There’s a wonderful diversity of voice as well, making it fair to say there’s something for every reader. Collections like this, of a single year, also give a nifty snapshot of our field. That’s valuable too.
DJ: The Nebula Awards Showcase series has been running for over two decades now! How did you come to be the editor? And what is the editor’s role for these types of collections?
Julie: They asked me? Seriously, Mike Resnick contacted me on behalf of SFWA to see if I’d be interested. Oh yes. And honoured. Maybe a tiny bit daunted, because I was given free rein to organize and include what I wished. Once I studied the previous editions, I saw how each editor put their own stamp on the Showcase and learned what must be there: the core, if you will. Confidence restored, I was off to the races.
Having decided on the extras I wanted in “my” Showcase, it was my job to contact the authors and publishers to obtain permission. I also wanted to include the wonderful “behind the story” features done for the Nebula program (SFWA Bulletin special) last year. Another bit I felt strongly about was to feature the novel nominees, being myself inclined to indulge in book-length reading, and was gratified by the willingness of the authors etc to provide those.
The essays by Michelle, Mark, and Betsy were perfect and just what the book needed. I will admit I was thrilled to be able to include good-sized excerpts of my two favourite novels by C.J. as tiny samples of her amazing work. Yup, total fan.
DJ: Being an editor, what do you believe makes a good science-fiction and fantasy story?
Julie: With my editor hat on? The story has to be complete, of itself. It must convince me—sweep me away with it—from start to finish. The premise must grab me too. I’m not overly concerned with an author’s choice of writing style; for me, if it works, it works. Oh, and if the anthology has a theme, the story needs to address that.
As a reader, I look for those things too, but am pickier about tone. For instance, I’m not a horror reader. Shivers!
DJ: This will be a difficult question to answer, but what were some of your favorite parts from the stories in Nebula Awards Showcase 2017? I don’t mean what you believe is the best story, but perhaps some stories has a particular setting, theme, message, or character that you stood out to you?
Julie: Not a difficult question at all. I’d read the nominees before the awards. What stood out for me as I did the Showcase were the stories behind the stories, the passion, as I said, each author had for their particular work. Also, I loved the poetry. It doesn’t come across my desk as often as I’d like, and the works in here sparkle.
Another aspect I took away from reading—several times—the stories in here? How amazing our field is. The breadth of ideas between these covers blows me away. We’re in good shape, with that still happening.
DJ: What was your favorite part about editing Nebula Awards Showcase 2017?
Julie: (Is anyone looking?) Okay, not going to lie. Finding out my personal favourite author—and terrific person—C.J. Cherryh had won the Grand Master and it’d be my JOB to write about her and her work. That was before I started. After I was well into the editing, I was delighted to be able to interact with all of these authors. They were, without exception, enthused, professional, gracious, and fun.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Julie: Hmm. Good question. I have to say Michelle’s essay about reading Pratchett. Just thinking about it makes me sigh.
DJ: Now that Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 is released, what is next for you?
Julie: My next SF novel, To Guard Against the Dark will be out this October. It’s the finale of my nine-book Clan Chronicles series, so that’s exciting to see happen. In September, submissions roll in for my next anthology from DAW Books, Tales From Plexis. That’s my heart-felt gift to fans of the Clan Chronicles, where they can write in the worlds I’ve created. Should be great fun and anyone here who is interested? The info’s on my site. Before that? Working on another SF, Search Image, that’s a return to a character of mine who receives more mail than any other: Esen. Bring on the weird biology bits!
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Julie-E.-Czerneda/e/B000APYJLG/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Nebula Awards Showcase 2017that we haven’t talked about yet?
Julie: When you read the introduction—you do promise to read it, I hope—have your “Gollum” voice ready.
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add? (Or add your own question).
Julie: I’d like to add that awards like the Nebulas are important, not only for sales—which feed authors–but to keep us paying attention to what’s being written, and to acknowledge the good, exciting, new stuff as loudly as possible. While members of SFWA take that responsibly seriously, there are many more awards where readers nominate and vote. Participate in those, please. You’ll be making the author of your favourite work very happy and happy authors? Write more of the good stuff!
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Julie: My pleasure!
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*** Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 is published by Pyr and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories of the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). The editor, selected by SFWA’s anthology Committee (chaired by Mike Resnick), is Canadian science fiction and fantasy writer and editor Julie Czerneda. This year’s Nebula Award winners are Naomi Novik, Nnedi Okorafor, Sarah Pinsker, and Alyssa Wong, with Fran Wilde winning the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.
A love of reading turned into a love of writing for Julie E. Czerneda. A former biologist, then writer and editor of non-fiction, in 1997 DAW Books published Julie’s first sf novel, “A Thousand Words for Stranger” and she hasn’t stopped since. Her work has received international acclaim, multiple awards,and best-selling status. You’ll find her work in anthologies as well, as she enjoys working with other writers. Julie is a popular speaker, whether on writing, science, or the use of science fiction to promote scientific literacy. Her recent adventures included being Guest of Honour for the national conventions of New Zealand and Australia, as well as Master of Ceremonies for Anticipation, the Montreal Worldcon.
Having finished editing SFWA’s 2017 Nebula Awards Showcase, Julie is back to the concluding trilogy to The Clan Chronicles, the SF series that began with her first novel. DAW Books has bought a further three titles in her fantasy series, Night’s Edge, but first? More ESEN!
For more on Julie’s work and upcoming events, please visit http://www.czerneda.com
Oh, and when not writing or at conventions? Julie and her photographer husband grab their canoe and disappear into the glorious wilderness surrounding their central Ontario home.