First of all, tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Boulder, Colorado, settled down in the Seattle area a decade or two ago, and in between lived all over the U.S. and Canada. My wife, our housemate, and I have three large dogs. They’re rescues from a PAWS animal shelter, now the beneficiaries of the charity anthologies I’m heading up with Writerpunk Press.
I’m the author of the alternate-history/Emergent Steampunk epistolary series Dawn of Steam along with a YA Fantasy series, a YA sci-fi thriller, and a decidedly not-YA urban fantasy.
How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?
This is my 7th NaNoWriMo. I’ve succeeded in the word-count goal every time, though I haven’t always published the results. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as dramatic as my first, in 2009. My editor-now-turned-co-writer loves to go on about how much I lost sleep and turned off the more grammatical parts of my brain to write the rough drafts of the Dawn of Steam trilogy.
Each year, I have appreciated how supportive the Seattle-area NaNoWriMo community and the international community have been.
What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?
This year’s primary NaNo project (I’m actually multi-tasking on a few stories) is A Fair Fight, the third book of my YA Fantasy series, the Fair Folk Chronicles. The first, Foul is Fair, was released this year, and the second, Street Fair, is coming out in January.
Having seen our ADHD Faerie Princess through adventures involving two of the Four Treasures of Ireland in two Lost Cities on two holidays (Halloween and the Summer Solstice), my co-writer Katherine and I are working on sending her questing after another in time for May Day of her senior year of high school. Throughout the series, we’ve tried to go a little beyond Celtic mythology into world folklore, particularly touching on Hawaiian menhune, but A Fair Fight is our opportunity to really broaden things a little.
How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?
This time around, I’m just trying to find some calm within the general storm of marketing six books and the charity anthologies while living in a noisy house. I do a lot of my writing in the wee hours of morning when everyone else in the house has gone to bed.
There are several important things to remember to get through NaNoWriMo.
One is that, as the late Sir Terry Pratchett said, the first draft is just you telling yourself the story. Another is to make sure to find the time to write every day, even if some days you can only manage a little while. Another is to set relaxation rewards for after you’ve gotten some writing done.
One particular caution is not to worry too much about how everyone else is doing. The community motivation of NaNo is great, but there’s no point dwelling on the people who are faster or may just have more time on their hands. It’s your own goal that matters.
And in the end, have fun with it.
If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?
www.clockworkdragon.net is a great consortium of speculative fiction writers with whom I’m involved.
My official author facebook is www.facebook.com/dawnofsteamtrilogy, but my personal account is easily found for friending through things like the Writerpunk community. Writerpunk also has a site at www.punkwriters.com
My amazon author page is http://www.amazon.com/Jeffrey-Cook/e/B00IRMC3H6/
www.authorjeffreycook.com is having longterm update and coding issues, but should be fixed eventually.
And on Twitter, @jeffreycook74
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Once More Unto the Breach: Shakespeare Goes Punk 2 is coming out at the beginning of December. It is the follow up to this spring’s Sound & Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk. In the first anthology, alongside colleagues with a Cyberpunk Macbeth and a Dieselpunk Othello, Katherine and I did our Steampunk version of “The Winter’s Tale,” with 500% more being pursued by a bear. For Once More… we did more dieselpunk adaptations. Katherine helped me write “Dogs of War,” a Mad-Max-like rendition of “Julius Caesar,” and I helped her write an “As You Like It” with an alternate-Dust-Bowl twist.
All profits go to PAWS. The first anthology has been used to fund a large dog kennel for a year, and we hope to double that next year.