Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

Author Spotlight – Ten Questions with Jody Lynn Nye

Written By: Tracy - Aug• 02•11

If you like humor, you’ll love Jody Lynn Nye. Jody is famous for co-writing the Myth Adventure books along with Robert Asprin. She’s also a frequent collaborator with Anne McCaffrey. Jody’s recent work is called View From The Imperium, which reads very much like Jeeves and Wooster in Space.

P. G. Wodehouse meets space opera, as Ensign Thomas Innes Loche Kinago, fresh from the Academy is given his first command. A crumb from the upper crust, he’s eager to uphold the traditions of his family, and in particular, his mother, a distinguished Admiral of the Imperium. Of course, he’s aware of the importance of always having simply smashing tailored uniforms on hand, and having his camera ready to record memorable moments for his scrapbook. In the meantime, a charismatic leader has arisen who seems able to control the minds of anyone he meets, and may be on his way to taking over the entire galaxy. Can Kinago’s aristocratic bearing and unbridled snobbery stand up to such a challenge? Fortunately, his constant companion, the unflappable Jeeves, er, Parsons, is on hand to look after the young, impulsive master, and somehow help his charge bumble his way through, perhaps even saving the galaxy in the process.

Jody’s other recent novel is Dragon’s Deal, a book that she co-wrote with Robert Asprin before he passed away.

As head dragon and owner of a successful gambling operation in New Orleans, Griffen McCandles has a lot on his plate. Especially since the Krewe of Fafnir-a society of dragons-has asked him to be the king of their Mardi Gras parade. Being the king is a huge honor, and despite the extra responsibilities, Griffen can’t resist the Krewe’s offer to lead the biggest party of the year.

But not everyone is happy with Griffen’s new leadership status. A group of powerful dragons is out to bankrupt his business, from the inside out. And when a young dragon in Griffen’s employ is murdered, it becomes clear that certain dragons will stop at nothing to dethrone the new king…

I caught up with Jody via e-mail recently, where she was kind enough to answer a few (ten, more or less) questions for me.

1. Do you find that writing humorous fantasy is more difficult than writing more serious fantasy? Is it tougher to sell? Is it more subjective?

I find writing humorous fantasy easier than serious fantasy. With the latter, you are walking the path in the huge footsteps of Tolkien, et. al., and it’s daunting. You have to be so careful not to use their terminology (unless it’s from common history) or lean too heavily on their tropes. You can so often tell what mainstream author has read whom. To be funny, you have to rely upon your own sense of humor and your native storytelling ability. Yes, humor is more difficult to sell, partly because what is funny is so subjective. You can be more successful knowing how to write with comic timing than exploring a particular culture’s humor, because some readers won’t get it. They will respond to the inexorable build-up of a situation that results in a satisfying payoff (though the same can be said for serious writing). It is a sad thing that people will adore funny literature, take it to their heart, quote from it, wear out the books, and still refuse to nominate it for awards. They don’t want to waste their votes on something frivolous.

2. Have your cats worked their way into your fiction? Do they influence your work through subliminal mind control? Are cats our future overlords?

My cats are frequently in my fiction. Their names appear here and there. They do influence my writing, sometimes adding to it themselves. My cat Lila once favored me with 75 pages of blank space, beginning in the middle of a word, when I left her alone with the word processor. She had stood upon the ENTER key. Luckily, nothing was erased, but it was a warning. She would also add a word or a few letters to my e-mails. I am still wondering what ‘dxsc’ means. Our current cat, Jeremy, often insists that I set aside my laptop to make room for him to lie on my legs and be petted. It gives me time to contemplate what I will type when I can get back to the keyboard.

Cats are not our future overlords. They are our current overlords. Perhaps you did not receive the memo. Please remember to wear black on Thursdays. I have been reliably informed that today is Cat Appreciation Day. Don’t forget to celebrate it appropriately. In fact, every day is Cat Appreciation Day. Fish is always a suitable offering, and soft places to sleep, the more inconvenient for you the better, should be numerous in your domicile. Catnip and treats are required.

 
3. Dragon’s Deal, the book that you came out with last December combines fantasy with Mardi Gras (which is pretty fantastical in itself). Did the two subjects mesh easily?

Mardi Gras was a natural setting for magic. In fact, the difficulty was in not making it too fantastic. I had to keep the plot to one major suspension of disbelief – beyond the kids who are hereditary dragons, of course. The culture has so many interesting customs that have grown up over time. The krewes are often mysterious on purpose. I asked friends who grew up in the Crescent City area to tell me what Mardi Gras meant to them and what they have done over the years. One of the tough parts was finding four mythical names for my krewes that had never been used.

4. I noticed on the Myth Adventures Website that you will be bringing out more Myth Adventures and another book in the Dragon’s series. Can you give us a little taste of what we can look forward to with each series?

There will be more Myth-Adventures. This November (2011), Ace Books will be bringing out their mass-market edition of Myth-Fortunes, previously published in trade paperback by Wildside Press (and still available in that edition). In December, Ace publishes Myth-Quoted, the first Myth I’ve written since Bob died (in 2008). They have also purchased the electronic rights to the series, so e-Myths should be available in the future. I don’t have any information yet. Watch mythadventures.net for updates.

In Myth-Quoted, Bunny undertakes a job to ensure that a long delayed election takes place. No one seems to know what is holding things up, but the campaign has gone on for five years, and everyone in Tipicanoo is fed up with the process. Skeeve and the rest of M.Y.T.H., Inc. go along to help her, but Aahz rubs the clients the wrong way and gets tossed off the job. Corruption, false accusations, sabotage and open slander pop up, further impeding the candidates from agreeing on a date. In the end, Bunny and Skeeve need a major catalyst to force the polls, and what better than one scaly, yellow-eyed Pervect?

The Dragons book is currently under construction, so I’d prefer not to discuss that plot, other than to say it begins two days after Dragons Deal leaves off. The next Myth-Adventures book will be written when that one goes in.

5. Your most recent release, View From the Imperium, is as far removed from Dragons and Mardi Gras as you can get. Tell me a little bit about it. Where did you get the idea for Thomas Kinago and Jeeves–sorry–Parsons.

View From the Imperium is a book I have been hoping to write for years. I love the Jeeves books by PG Wodehouse, and I love space opera. I saw no reason why we shouldn’t have noble classes in the future, nor why they should be any more use than they are today. Thomas Kinago, as a frivolous, good-hearted, over-moneyed silly ass about town – er, galaxy – struck me as a terrific hero. He’s not tied to a job or a family, he has plenty of money to spend, he has hobbies and interests (which he indulges at will). His impetuous nature and boundless curiosity can get him into plenty of trouble, which (one hopes) his rather surprising intelligence, honed skills, hobbies and faithful friend Parsons can get him out of. He means well, he really does, but it doesn’t stop him from blundering forward and saving the galaxy in the meanwhile. I can’t wait to write the next one. Wait until you see what Thomas’s next ‘enthusiasm’ is.

6. There is no number six.

I am not a number. I am a free radical.
7. Imagine that I’ve just invented a time-traveling telephone and given it to you. With it, you can call yourself on the day that you just decided to become a writer. What advice would you give yourself?

Don’t wait for anyone to give you permission to write. Do what you like. Trust your instincts. You left the travel wallet with the foreign currency in the china cabinet under the tablecloths.

8. Where can people find you online?

My website is www.jodynye.com. Please stop by and check out my cover gallery and excerpts from my books. The wonderful Ruta Duhon (willowbrookdesigns.com) created my site, and I think she does a splendid job. I also maintain www.mythadventures.net for the series I share with and am continuing from Robert Asprin. I Twitter (@jodylynnnye) and have a page on Facebook (Jody Lynn Nye), though I only get on FB about once a month. (If you send me a friend request, PLEASE be patient. I will get to it.)

 
9. Where can we find your books?

Almost every book I have written can be had from Amazon.com. Baen Books sells my work in print direct as well as some e-books from their site. Check out Baen.com. I have a short story in International House of Bubbas, which you should buy direct from Yard Dog Press, either on line or at conventions. I keep a downloadable bibliography on my site at jodynye.com for a complete list of the forty-some books, the hundred or so short stories I have in anthologies and half-dozen essays in BenBella PopSmart books.

 
10. What are your upcoming appearances?

I will be at DragonCon in Atlanta, GA, over Labor Day weekend (Sept. 1-4, 2011). I appear next on an Authors panel at the Palatine, IL, Public Library on Sept. 10. WindyCon, my major local regional, is Nov. 11-13 in Lombard, IL. I am very proud to say that I have been asked to be the Guest of Honor at BaltiCon over Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27, 2012. I have been told under pain of death by my editor/publisher Toni Weisskopf to be at Deep South Con in Huntsville, AL, the following weekend (June 1-3, 2012). For a complete list of my upcoming activities, please see the Appearances section of my website.

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One Comment

  1. “Don’t wait for anyone to give you permission to write.” I like that. Also a lover of space opera albeit drama/humor rather than mostly humor. But Jeeves meets space opera sounds like a romp. Have a fondness for the books authors always wanted to write, too. 🙂