Jay Dee Archer
Born in a very small town in Alberta, Canada, I went through an atypical childhood as a nerd, all the way up until university. I have been living in Fujisawa, Japan, which is near Tokyo, for nearly ten years now. I’m an English teacher, but writing is my passion. I’m married and have one daughter. We will be returning to Canada next year, where I will hopefully find a lot more time to write, and a lot more privacy. Although I teach English and write, I have a university degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia. This helped fuel my obsession with everything science related, including science-fiction. When I’m not writing (which is most of the time), I’m playing with my daughter, going out hiking and walking, and blogging. Through my walking, I also like doing photography, and have gone on some very long walks of up to 35 km or 250 pictures.
What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?
Back in high school, which was in the early 1990s, my English class did some creative writing. That’s when I wrote my first short story. I wrote about the space shuttle getting hit by some small asteroids, and the astronauts having to make an emergency landing. My first foray into science-fiction writing.
What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?
I love creating new worlds. I can make something totally unique and build a society, people, and stories around it. It’s my world, and it only fully exists within my mind.
I don’t like the moments when I reread my writing and find that it sounds stiff or a bit corny. I really have to watch both my dialogue and narration. Editing is a friend.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?
It’s hard to say if I’ve ever had writer’s block, as I have other things that prevent me from writing. Usually excuses, such as my daughter, lack of privacy, being cold in winter, and YouTube. To me, writer’s block is a form of procrastination. If I have trouble thinking about what to write, I go off and do something else. But to beat this, I find inspiration in strange places. Whenever I go for a walk or take a shower, my mind wanders into my world, and I can think of entire scenes very clearly. After that, I either write down my ideas so I won’t forget, or go straight to my computer and write. For other people, I would say just start writing. Anything. It’ll get your mind into it. It doesn’t have to be your work in progress, just write.
What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?
I’m currently writing a web serial called Journey to Ariadne. It’s a prequel to my science-fiction series, which is mostly planned out, but not written yet. This web serial is a window into the preparations of an interstellar colonization attempt, focusing on the characters rather than the action. I will eventually incorporate these brief stories into a novel. What’s most difficult is not so much the writing itself, but finding the time to do it. It’s so episodic in nature that I also worry about flow between the parts. However, massive rewriting should solve that problem in the future.
What supports you in your writing?
Determination, basically. But since I write science fiction, particularly about space and planets, I can draw on my education to give me an accurate depiction of the science involved.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading two books at the same time. When I have time to sit down and read, I read a paperback. That is Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson. It’s a great, gritty fantasy based in the extensive world of Malazan. The other is an eBook, and I read those when I can’t sit down. So, when I’m on the go, I usually have it open on my phone. I’m reading In Her Name: First Contact by Michael R. Hicks. It’s a military science fiction series which has strong characterisation and plenty of action.
Where can our readers find you and your books online?
You can find me easiest where I’m most active, on my blog, I Read Encyclopedias For Fun (https://ireadencyclopedias.wordpress.com).
You can find my writing, including Journey to Ariadne on my official site (http://jaydeearcher.wordpress.com).