Ben: To celebrate his release of The Stark Divide, I have Scott Coatsworth here for a quick and fascinating interview, and then we’ll dig into all The Stark Divide goodies.
Thanks, Scott, for coming.
Scott: Thanks for having me.
Ben: Let’s get down to it! When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover you were good at it?
Scott: Wow… two very different questions. 🙂
I’ve always wanted to write, for as long as I can remember. I think the first time I realized it was when read The Lord of the Rings in third grade. It was the first time I was fully immersed in someone else’s world and I knew I wanted to do that, to make entire worlds that other people would read and enjoy.
When I knew I was good at it? I always hoped I would be. I’m still not 100% sure. But when Dreamspinner bought my first story, I figured I must be at least half decent at it.
Ben: I would say so! Did you always want to be a writer?
Scott: I wanted to be an astronomer. I remember seeing a lunar eclipse in our neighbor’s back yard when I was little. Similar to this one:
Ben: That’s pretty cool.
Scott: Yeah, I grew up loving space and the stars, thanks to my mom’s love of sci-fi. Mom took me to Planetfest in Pasasena in 1981 for the Voyager 2 flyby of Saturn. We watched in amazement as the pictures streamed in live across millions of miles, literally ran into Carl Sagan, and attended a symphony performance of “The Planets”.
Ben: Holy hell…. I’m totally jealous.
Scott: I had the bug and I had it bad. What happened to my childhood dream? I found out being an astronomer required a shitload of math. I hated math. So I became a writer. 🙂
Ben: *laughs* I can’t blame you there. Okay, now for the less serious questions. If you could be any animal, what would you be?
Scott: I am totally a mongoose. Not only ‘cause I loved Rikki Tiki Tavi as a kid, but because the mongoose is the the mascot of the web design company, Mongoose on the Loose, that I run with my husband Mark. I’ve kind of adopted it as my own as a writer, with a rainbow tail twist.
Plus, mongeese are super smart, sly, and cute as hell. 😛
Ben: Yup, that’s totally you. Do mongooses have any strange writing habits?
Scott: I write every day from 12-1:30 PM.
[Ben: He means 1200 to 1330.]
Scott: It’s my time to work on my craft and I try to be as regular as I can at it. It’s the only way I can get to my goal.
Ben: That’s pretty regular. I can’t think of a single thing I do at the same time every day. Final question: if you could create a new holiday, what would it be?
Scott: Second Christmas. With mandatory gifts. You can never have enough Christmases.
Ben: Okay, I’m sold. When were you thinking of having second Christmas?
Scott: Probably in July. When I was a kid, I had five Christmases each year, with my mom, my Dad, my mom’s parents, my Dad’s parents, and my stepmom’s parents. Nothing like being the child of divorce.
Gee, that does explain a lot, doesn’t it?
Ben: Well, I’m not sure about that, but Second Christmas does sound pretty awesome.
Thanks, Scott! Good to have you on the blog and good luck on your release day! Eat some Oreos.
Scott: Thanks for having me!
Title: The Stark Divide
Series: Liminal Sky #1
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Genre: LGBTQ+ Science Fiction
Publisher: DSP Publications (buy link)
Length: 284 Pages
Some stories are epic.
The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.
Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.
From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.
Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.
“DRESSLER, SCHEMATIC,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.
A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.
Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.
“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.
“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.
He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.
All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.
At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.
The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.
“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.
The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.
“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”
The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.
Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”
A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.
“Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.
Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.
He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.
All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.
We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.
Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.
He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.
He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/
DSP Publications (paperback): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-416-b
DSP Publications (eBook): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-415-b
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-stark-divide-j-scott-coatsworth/1126901106?ean=9781635338324