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.

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