LJ Cohen: Stand and Deliver

Hey! I’m LJ Cohen, writer of SF&F novels for adults and young adults and I’m thrilled to be a part of The Scriptors. Writing can be such a lonely endeavor. It’s a real joy to find a group of fellow writers to share the journey with. As a way of introduction, Rachel Desilets, our fearless leader, has asked each of us to write a post and gave us a bunch of questions to get the ball rolling. I’m looking forward to learning more about my fellow authors, and getting to know you, our readers.

Five Influential Authors:
I have been influenced by a broad range of writers. Choosing just five is a tough task. In no particular order, I’ll list  CS Lewis, Madeline L’Engle, Patricia McKillip, Ursula K LeGuin, and Rainer Maria Rilke.

So which of these things is not like the other? Rilke was a Bohemian/Austrian poet whose “Letters to a Young Poet” spoke to me on a deep level, letting me know that the longing to write was a passion to nurture and follow. I have lost count of the number of copies I have given away to friends. The other writers are all, to one extent or another, genre writers in the SF&F area. All of them have influenced me to some degree or another. The Chronicles of Narnia were the first books I took out of the library on my own. A Wrinkle in Time was the book I read until it fell to pieces, bought a new copy and did the same again. It was the story that convinced me of what I wanted to do when I grew up. If I could write a single sentence with the lyrical power of Patricia McKillip’s prose, I  would die a happy woman. And Ursula LeGuin’s work continues to push the boundaries of what SF is and can be.

Why I Write:
I write because the written word has always been the way I best express myself. If I can write it, then I can untangle the morass of my feelings. And also, I write because the stories in my head won’t let me ignore them.

Why I love Writing SF&F:
It’s what I love reading the most. I love the sweep and scope of fantasy and the possibilities and sheer imagination of SF. Stories of the mundane world just twist into strange directions under my hands.

First story I ever wrote (meaning, back when you were a kid… think about it!):
A story about homonyms. About a new pet gnu. Seriously. My dad still has it. I’m thinking 3rd grade?

Things that inspire me:
Oh, man, what doesn’t might be easier to answer! Okay, I’ll try. Walking. Being near the water. Reading. Poetry. Listening to NPR can generate eleventy-three ideas before breakfast. Working in the ceramics studio. (My hobby is wheelthrowing and hand building pottery.)

My desk:

My beloved desk!

My beloved desk!

I have the world’s biggest desk. And it’s mine. All mine. . . The joy of ones own office cannot be overstated. This is a long, narrow room off our living room that used to be the repository of anything that didn’t have a home in our house. AKA the junk room. Now it’s mine. I’m the only one allowed to pile crap on it.

Works in progress:
TIME AND TITHE, the sequel to my first novel, THE BETWEEN.
I’ll be drafting the next book in the DERELICT universe this summer.

Ice cream flavor:
Hmmmm. Chocolate chip and Moose Tracks are two favorites.

Shenanigans:
Always.

LJ Cohen

LJ Cohen is the writing persona of Lisa Janice Cohen, poet, novelist, blogger, local food enthusiast, Doctor Who fan, reading omnivore, and relentless optimist. Lisa lives just outside of Boston with her family, two dogs (only one of which actually ever listens to her) and the occasional international student. In love with words since early childhood, Lisa filled dozens of notebooks with her scribbles long before there were such a thing as word processors.

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