Tell us who you are, a little about your work and what you enjoy other than writing.
My name is Ethan D. N. Jones. I’m a 40 year old writer who works as a paralegal to pay the bills. I live in Portland with my husband, a 16 year old youngling, and way too many dogs.
I like to write stories that contain elements of sci-fi, fantasy, and/or horror, but I also like to challenge myself to write beyond the constraints of genre fiction. My primary literary influences include Lovecraft, China Mieville, Douglas Adams, and Ursula LeGuin (among dozens of others).
I’m currently working on a podcast called Write Sinister where I’ll read some of my work and challenge my listeners to write stories based on quirky prompts. You can find more info at facebook.com/writesinister. I’ll record the first episode any day now.
What do I enjoy other than writing? Good food, travel, reading everything I can get my hands on, collecting vintage computers and game consoles, and training in wing chun kung fu. I’m an avid scooter rider, and I don’t mean those dinky things littering every sidewalk – I ride a Vespa 300. I also own an ill-advised but very fun sports car that I love flinging down twisty country roads. I’m a sci fi geek and a Trekkie, and my husband and I bonded partly because we could each hold our own in long and very arcane discussions of Trek lore. I can also probably beat you at Scrabble.
What is your story about in On loss (don’t give us any spoilers)!
It’s called “Resolution” and it’s about a man trying to find the colors again after the death of his husband.
Where did you learn of the On Loss anthology. Did you have a story in mind or write your story specifically for the anthology?
I heard about the anthology in a Facebook group. The story I submitted is a revised version of a story I originally wrote for NYC Midnight, a prompt-based short story contest. The prompts I had to work with were “drama, an exterminator, new year’s resolution,” and this story advanced me to the next round of the contest.
What else have you written or are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of this story, because it’s the first thing I’ve ever had published.
I’ve written a lot of short stories, and I’ve half-written several half-novels that tend to stall somewhere around 40,000 words. Endings are the bane of my existence. Endings and middles. Beginnings are easy. I can write beginnings all day.
What is your current work in progress?
I’ve got a few things I’m working on. I’m writing a horror short story that I’m going to try to submit to another anthology. I’m also planning to record the first episode of my podcast any day now.
What’s your specialty: short stories, novels, poetry?
Short stories, mostly. Like I said, I tend to get lost around 40,000 words into a novel. The short story form helps me focus my ideas and get to an ending. I used to write poetry, but I haven’t written any new poems in many years.
Do you self-publish, traditionally publish or both?
I’d like to focus more on traditional publishing, because I’m not great at sales and marketing and networking and suchlike. Having said that, this is the first thing I’ve ever had published, so I really can’t say for sure how things will go from here.
What’s your favorite genre of books to read
I’ve become a little bit obsessed with what’s known as weird fiction – stories that subvert genre conventions or create new genres entirely – cosmic horror, slipstream, science fantasy, etc. I’m also just a huge sci-fi geek. My favorite author is still Douglas Adams (although my favorite living author is China Mieville).
What advice would you offer new writers
Write outside your comfort zone. Look for writing contests based on prompts that force you to write specific things that you wouldn’t write otherwise. Read everything you can get your hands on. Try National Novel Writing Month at least once, even if you’ve never written more than a few pages. Most importantly, just keep writing.
Leave us with a favorite quote!
I once tweeted to Neil Gaiman something about wanting to write like him, but knowing I didn’t have the skill or the talent, at least not yet. He responded to my tweet with three words: “Just keep going.” That really resonated.