This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with fellow indie author Jaleta Clegg.
Jaleta was born some time ago. She’s filled the years since with many diverse activities, such as costuming, quilting, cooking, video games, reading, and writing. She’s been a fan of classic sci-fi books and campy movies since she can remember. Her collection of bad sci-fi movies is only rivalled by her collection of eclectic CD’s (break out the disco accordion polka folk music, please!).
She loves teaching kids of all ages about stars, constellations, nuclear fusion, space travel, mythology, writing, and rocks. She volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America among other groups. She was even on her local library board for a while. She believes in teaching people to think for themselves and to be self-sufficient. It’s self-serving, though. Kids who know how to do housework, laundry, and cooking.
What kind of books do you write?
I write the kinds of books I like to read – lots of action, fast-paced, just a touch of romance and whimsy, with plenty of futuristic gadgets and of course, spaceships. The characters have to be people I like, too. Sometimes I write magic and elves and airships and steampunk powered by magic because I thought it would be fun. And it was. So to put it simply, I write science fiction adventure and magical steampunk with elves and fairies and creatures from legend.
And then there are my short stories. Anything that I want to explore, at least a little, I write into a short story. Weird is almost too normal for most of them. Strange, unsettling, creepy, but still light and silly. A monster made out of green jello isn’t too exotic. Evil little girls who dress like Shirley Temple and dream of conquering the world aren’t either. But it isn’t all dark. I also write about llama barbershop quartets and space battles and evil wizards who won and now are bored.
I dabble in a lot of things. I’m easily bored.
Can you describe your writing why?
The simple answer is that it amuses me. The more complex answer is that I use it for therapy. I write about the things that bother me, the monsters that lurk under my bed and in my subconscious. I write to escape. I write because it forces me to confront emotions that I’d rather keep buried.I write because it makes me feel alive.
I publish because then I can share my stories and it lets me connect with cool people and make all kinds of new friends.
Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most.
That’s a really tough one. I’ve written so many things and they are like my children (who are also many). Each one is my favourite for different reasons. I like this one, even if it’s a little longer than just a paragraph. It’s from a short story, Destiny Date at the Diner. Shirlene is about to meet her destiny, which involves a were-lemming of Viking heritage.
Shirlene thought she’d seen it all. She’d waitressed at the Grizzly Bar for almost ten years. Drunks, cowboys, city dudes, hookers, cops, families—Yep, she’d seen them all. Nothing would surprise her anymore.
She snapped her gum, bored almost to tears as she manned the register. Hank insisted on having someone at the register no matter how slow the restaurant and bar. She picked at a hangnail. Her manicure was showing signs of wear. Time for a new coat of polish. Maybe orange this time, or that new lavender Lois was raving about down at the beauty parlour.
“’Scuse me, miss?”
She looked up through her long fake eyelashes. The man’s deep voice could have belonged to one of those overly handsome romance cover types. The reality was only a little disappointing. He was tall and his wide shoulders promised muscles, but the flannel shirt made it hard to tell. He was too hairy, though. Big bush of a beard, eyebrows that could qualify as epic moustaches if they were located lower, and another full bush up top. Were those braids behind his ear? And whoever did the colouring dye job had really messed up. The beard was red and white but the hair up top was black.
“Yeah?” She snapped her gum again.
The man set his ticket on the counter. “There seems to be a mistake here.” He had buck teeth, not bad, but enough to notice. Enough to bump him off Shirlene’s radar.
Shirlene clicked one pink and white nail on the ticket. “What’s the problem?”
“I ordered a salad, not the chicken platter.”
Salad? What kind of weenie was this buff dude in the plaid shirt?
Tell us about your latest project.
I recently released a collection of short stories featuring non-human characters. Llama Tell You a Story… is sometimes sweet, sometimes frightening, sometimes sad. But the llama barbershop quartet story I wrote didn’t make it into the collection because it was picked up for an anthology, What the Fox? Look for it in volume 2 of Llama Tell You a Story…, which will probably come out next year sometime.
What is your favourite cake?
Hmm, cake isn’t my favourite dessert, but then I’m pretty egalitarian when it comes to sugary confections. I love cakes with fillings and chocolate curls and pudding in the middle. Looks aren’t nearly as important as taste. So I’d have to choose a multi-layer cake with different fillings and flavours, frosted with a nice chocolate buttercream, and garnished with fresh berries and chocolate shavings.