Keeping Up With Cindy Koepp

Today’s Portals and Pathways features a return visit with science-fiction novelist and editor Cindy Koepp.  Cindy’s a fascinating lady who writes fascinating stuff, and you can check out all her work at right here.

For this conversation, rather than the typical Q and A format, I used my initials, CG, for the questions, and Cindy’s initials for her replies.  Enjoy!

CG:  It’s been a while since we had a chat. What’s your year looking like? Any recent publications or current projects you’d like to tell us about?
CK :I’ve had a very busy publishing year so far.
– In January, PDMI Publishing released my science fiction novel Like Herding the Wind. WHOOT!
About that time, editing began on The Condemned Courier, a fantasy serial turned novel, also with PDMI. Yay!
– Bear Publications invited me to participate in an anthology called Victorian Venus. I contributed a steampunk (sorta) story about an Inuit dog-sledding team called “Chasing the Sun.” It should release soon. Happy Day!
– Bear Publications produced another anthology called Avatars of WebSurfer. I have 4 short stories in there: “Jewel Among the Stones,” “Interference,” “The Fall of the Invincible Man,” and “Hard Knocks.” *Round of Applause*
– Under the Moon will soon release The Loudest Actions, the sequel to my first novel Remnant in the Stars. *RAWKFIST*
– I started on the sequel to Lines of Succession, which I’m tentatively calling A Suitable Arrangement. Under the Moon published the first one, so I’m hoping they’ll go for Part 2.
Some of my editing projects have been going on, too.
– I completed edits for Lori Robbin’s Lesson Plan for Murder, which is now in Barking Rain Press’ queue to be formatted.
– I also edited Victoria Adams’ book-length analysis of the Book of Job: Why Me?
– PDMI has given me Lawayne Childrey’s book Peeling Back the Layers for editing; and Barking Rain Press gave me Sheri Levy’s Starting Over, the sequel to the MG/YA book Seven Days to Goodbye.
I feel like I’ve forgotten something, but I think that’s all of them.

CG:  The passing of time always brings new growth and new opportunities for people, especially writers. How have you grown the most as a writer in the past year? What’s the most exciting new opportunity that’s come your way recently?
CK: I tried my hand at writing flash fiction. *snicker* Yeah, that didn’t work. The shortest one was still 3000 words long, but that’s about 3000 words shorter than my previous shortest one. So, progress?
During the edits of The Loudest Actions, the editor at Under the Moon had me go do some research on how to show emotion and tone for characters, particularly in dialogue. I’ve now added a line to my self-editing checklist: “Watch out for Vulcans and Greek Stoics.”
The most exciting opportunity I had was an invitation to be on a podcast called Lasers, Dragons, and Keyboards. I’ve done these blog interview kinds of things but never anything like that before.
Another exciting opportunity coming soon: A book signing at a Barnes and Noble near where I live.
An exciting editorial opportunity was starting my own freelance editing service: Time Koepp.

CG : Writers grow from all sorts of things—books we read, music we listen to, people we meet. Have you read anything good recently? Listened to any new favorite music? What other things do you find inspiring you these days?
CK:  Unfortunately, I haven’t had much of a chance to read for fun, and I only listen to music on road trips. I don’t go to movies in theatres very often these days because so many of them use flashing light special effects.
The vast majority of my reading has been from either my editing projects or doing research for my writing projects. The only music I’ve listened to lately was the soundtrack for Les Miserables and a Kansas album Somewhere to Elsewhere while road tripping to and from my parents’ place.
People often speak of things that inspire them to write or make other art, but I don’t know if I can identify anything that consistently generates ideas for me. Sometimes Scripture, sometimes a movie or old TV show I have on disc, and sometimes the ideas pop into my brain without a return address.

CG:  One of the things I enjoy personally about your work, Cindy, is that many of your stories deal with people learning to get along—humans and aliens, aliens and aliens, and humans and other humans. What do you think is the most important thing about getting along with others?

CK: When learning to get along with someone else, we need to avoid two very common pastimes: conclusion-jumping and keyword-listening.
For example, I’m a white, conservative, Christian (Southern Baptist, at the moment), 40-something, Texan female. This does not mean I hate homosexuals, despise the poor, whack people upside the head with my Bible, try to drag people to a baptistery, go hunting, or own a horse. In fact, none of those things are true, but different people have jumped to each of those conclusions.
Listening for keywords and jumping to the conclusions are often done to save time in our busy day. Arriving at the conclusion that I must be a deadly shot with a pistol because I live in Texas spares the listener the time it would take to find out if I actually own one. The problem comes when misconceptions develop.
The only real barrier to truth is the assumption we already have it. If we think we already know what we need to know about someone, we’re not very likely to pay attention to what really is true. Instead of assuming something is true, take the time to get to know the person. You might be surprised.

CG:  Anything else you’d like to say to our Portals and Pathways readers?

CK: As violence escalates between racial lines, class lines, and even job descriptions, more than ever, we need to listen carefully and demonstrate love for others. Remember, love is a verb, not an emotion. It’s a choice to put the needs of others first. The first step is listening, really paying attention to what other people have to say.
Truly loving someone doesn’t mean we must necessarily agree on everything. “I disagree with you” is not synonymous with “I hate you.”
Y’all stay safe out there!

CG: Thanks so much for being my guest!
:CK: Thanks for letting me come play again.


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