skip to Main Content

Guest Star: J. Scott Coatsworth

Guest Star: J. Scott Coatsworth

Today’s special guest is sci-fi author J. Scott Coatsworth. His latest novel, The Stark Divide, drops today. Happy Book Birthday, J. Scott! Before we learn about this epic sci-fi novel, let’s get to know a little about J. Scott.

Oleander Plume: How long have you been writing, J.?

J. Scott Coatsworth: LOL… since I was in fourth grade? I didn’t get serious about it until I was sixteen or seventeen, and then there was a long lapse from about 25- 45 after my first novel was rejected by ten NY publishers. But now, steadily, since 2014.

OP: Do you outline or do you just sit down and go for it? In other words, please tell us about your writing process.

JSC: I used to be a total pantser, and I have a drawerful of started but never finished stories to prove it. Now I usually outline the general story – I know how it starts and how it will end – but it’s a high-level outline that leaves me room for creativity as I go.

OP: Is there a sub-genre of fiction you haven’t explored but would like to?

JSC: I’m kinda fascinated by steampunk, dieselpunk and the like. It would be fun to write a story set in one of those subgenres of sci fi, but I haven’t come up with a compelling story yet that needs to be told.

OP: What keeps you reading a book, and, what causes you to slam the book shut (or throw your Kindle across the room)?

JSC: I love books that are continually peeling away the layers of an onion – those aha! moments you kinda suspected and the “holy shit” ones you never saw coming, but that make sense in retrospect.

I never throw books – they are too precious to me. But a boring or plodding storytelling pace will often stop me in my tracks.

OP: What’s next to you when you write? Can you tell us about your writing space?

JSC: I share an office with my hubby Mark – it’s our business space, but also my writing cave. I have a few things to inspire me, including my Buddah Board – you paint on it with water, very zen – and my graphite hour glass. I alsp have some inspirational wall art – the cover of Guy Gavriel Kay’s “Tigana”, the Lord of the Rings, and a really cool painting by a local artist that reminds me of Mars. Oh, and of course, Marvin the Martian.

OP: Please tell us about your next writing project.

JSC: I’m just finishing the sequel to The Stark Divide, called The Rising Tide. Once that is done, I’m back to my Oberon Cycle series – Skythane (out now), Lander (out in Feb/Mar 2018) and Ithani – the one I have to write next. it will wrap up the trilogy, and I’m really excited to write it.

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book One of Liminal Sky

Sounds intriguing! How about an excerpt?

DRESSLER, SCHEMATIC,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.

A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.

Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.

“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.

“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.

He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.

All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.

At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.

The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.

“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.

The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.

“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”

The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.

Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”

A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.

Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.

Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.

He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.

All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.

We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.

Wow! This one is definitely on my list of must reads! You can purchase The Stark Divide at the following locations:

DSP Publications (paperback) (e-book)


Learn more about the book at Goodreads and QueeRomance Ink.

About J. Scott Coatsworth:

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Author Links:

Author Website

Facebook (personal)

Facebook (author page)



QueeRomance Ink


Back To Top