6:01am

Tue March 5, 2013
Author Interviews

Colorado Authors, Poets Inspire New Generation of Writers

Internationally acclaimed science fiction writer (and Colorado native) Connie Willis will be a featured presenter at the 12th annual Rosenberry Writers' Conference at the University of Northern Colorado.

The conference takes place Mar. 4 - 6, and features several Colorado writers who will read from their works and answer questions from students and aspiring writers.

Erin O'Toole talks with sci-fi author Connie Willis for All Things Considered

Willis, who lives and writes in Greeley, has published 15 novels and seven collections of short stories. She has won numerous awards, including seven Nebulas and 11 Hugo Awards. Her most recent book, Blackout/All Clear, was awarded the Nebula for best novel in 2010 and the Hugo for best novel in 2011. She has a new collection -- The Best of Connie Willis – coming out in May.

Interview Highlights:

On writing in public places, which she’s quite well known for doing…

"I like working with a little white noise, and I’m really social, so I love being able to talk to people and say hi to people and stuff. If you say hi to too many people, then you don’t get any work done, but I try to maintain a balance. I love working out in the world… and shamelessly eavesdropping on people’s conversations, I have to admit..."

Erin: "Do those ever make it into your stories?"

Connie: "Oh yes, indeed. (laughs) People say the most amazing things… and they say even more amazing things on their phones."

On the state of sci-fi/fantasy…

"It’s a great time to be a science fiction or fantasy writer. Fantasy is obviously flourishing thanks to [young adult novels] Harry Potter, and science fiction has been flourishing since Star Wars. It’s a terrible time to be a writer in terms of what’s going on in publishing, because we’re in the middle of a revolution, and nobody quite knows what’s coming, nobody knows which way to jump. Should you put all your eggs in the basket of [e-reader] Kindle and online publishing, or should you stick with print? How should you approach the new world? I often say to young writers that I’m very glad I’m not attempting to break into the field right now. I think it would be very, very difficult."

On working with aspiring writers…

"I can’t read manuscripts, which I’m frequently asked to do. But I do give lots of advice, and I do work regularly with Sigma Tau Delta -- that’s the English honors society at UNC. Boy, all you need to have your faith revived in the future is to work directly with college students. They’re just great -- they’re full of ideas and can’t wait to get out there and revolutionize everything. That will probably be my favorite part of doing this conference, is when I get to meet with the students."

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The conference is named in honor of the late philanthropist and English teacher Walter Rosenberry, who supported the conference and nonprofit organizations throughout Colorado. The event is free and open to the public.

Conference Schedule:

Monday, March 4

3-4:30 PM poet Dan Beachy-Quick will talk with students. There will be coffee, lemonade and snacks.

7 PM Dan Beachy-Quick will read his work. Short Q & A, reception and book signing to follow.

Tuesday, March 5

9-11 AM Science Fiction writer Connie Willis will talk with students in the Panorama. There will be coffee and pastries.

7 PM Poet aaron a. abeyta will read his work. Short Q & A, reception and book signing to follow.

Wednesday, March 6

9-11 AM aaron a. abeyta will talk with students. There will be coffee and pastries.

7 PM Science fiction writer Connie Willis will discuss her work. Short Q & A, reception and book signing to follow.