Jul 10 2016

Interview with Judy Rubin

Published by at 8:22 am under Interview

Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.

Judy Rubin

They Came at Night,” Judy Rubin’s debut Science Fiction story, is featured in the upcoming anthology, Clash of the Titles. An accomplished Children’s Book author, Judy Rubin has previously focused in Historical and Fantasy fiction, but she has demonstrated her considerable talent. Judy shares with us her experience in the crafting of her story for the anthology, and her writing in general.

How did you find out about the anthology, Clash of the Titles?

Information about the anthology appeared on a few Facebook writing sites that I follow. The concept was intriguing, including the promise of close work with Gil Bavel, the editor.

What made you want to submit to it? How did you choose your title?

Coming in late to the process, titles that I would have chosen were already selected, but when I saw the title, “They Came at Night”, I re-developed a concept that I was working on into a stronger story than fit the title’s direction.

Would you consider doing it again, if the opportunity arose?

Given the opportunity to work closely with an editor is always a benefit. Gil Bavel made the journey a rare treat that I will gladly revisit.

How did you find the workshop process–what are your feelings about it?

 Gil Bavel and I shared our visits via telephone and email, both of which worked beautifully. Before sending a manuscript, I edit and revise it at least twenty times, a process that works well for my story development. Gil’s process, though, resulted in four more revisions that tightened plot and characters, providing the outcome of a much stronger story. Also, having time between revisions, allowed me an opportunity to set the manuscript aside and revisit it weeks later, giving me time to play, replay, and redirect characters and plot.

What do you think is the most important thing that readers need to know about Clash of the Titles?

 We are a collective of diverse writers with varying backgrounds and publication credentials. Based on the selection of title premise, we re-interpreted existing concepts, giving a new direction to our chosen title.

 It’s said that the editor will make a new anthology every year. Even if the “I pick the titles, you write the story” conceit isn’t used again, would you work with the editor again? Why or why not?

 Gil is a joy to work with. His sincerity, humor, and overall desire to make each story the best that it can be is a major factor in revisiting the workshop and submitting a new manuscript. Knowing the premise and the one-on-one process should make the next encounter even more enjoyable.

What do you think is the most important thing for booksellers, libraries, and other outlets to know about Clash of the Titles that they don’t know? What about bookstores, websites, and, particularly, at WorldCon/MidAmericon II?

 Not having read the other stories, I am not completely certain of the direction and content of Clash of the Titles. Our diverse range of authors, known and unknown, in science fiction, is a factor. The cover mock-up is intriguing and enticing. As a writer, editor, and librarian, I rely on reviews and excerpts. Also, an early release of story illustrations entices and draws readers, as well as purchasers, into the process. Blurbs will help the understanding, while reading and/or listening to interviews will cull the interest of purchasers, as well as future participants.

Would you recommend the process to other writers; how did you find working with this editor to be compared to others?

 I love working closely with editors. Fortunately, each of the editors with whom I have worked with in prior publications, has worked closely with me, to the point where they have even sent preview illustrations of picture books and allowed me to provide input. Interaction is essential in developing a manuscript’s potential. One of the benefits of working with Gil, though, is that he gave me ample time to revise and redirect characters and plot, a luxury that I usually do not have with editors and publishers. Being able to set the story aside, then revisit it, lets me view and revise with fresh eyes and mind.

What excites you most about the process and the anthology in general?

I look forward to reading how titles were interpreted by the authors selected for the anthology. Each title entices, gives rise to imaginative interpretation and lets you wonder how you might have interpreted it. Reading Clash of the Titles will reveal these interpretations, an exciting aspect and result of the process, especially since readers with knowledge of titles and their origins will factor that into the reading equation.

Did your story grow in ways that you didn’t expect due to the workshop nature of the process? How?

Thanks to Gil’s suggestions,”They Came at Night” moved in a direction entirely different from my initial intent. Change is difficult, especially when your concept evolves and moves into a different direction; but the results made the revision process
worthwhile, giving me stronger characters and a new conclusion to my plot.

Please describe your favorite experience in working with Clash of the Titles.

Inventing and reinventing new aspects of “They Came at Night” occurred as each interaction with Gil gave a unique momentum to the story’s writing process, quite different from my initial intent. At times, my story moved away from my original concept; yet, ultimately, I embraced the changes and watched “They Came at Night” evolve and, once again, become my own.

What other projects are you working on, besides Clash of the Titles?

 “They Came at Night” is my first science fiction story. I write primarily historical fiction and fantasy, as well as picture books. Recent publications include: The Blanket (Caramel Tree) and When Mama Reads to Me, (Be There Bedtime Stories), both picture books. As a contributing author, I collaborated in: Story Sprouts: Voice, Story Sprouts: Setting, Kayla Wayman, Time Time-Traveler: Lost in the Stream, and Stepmothers and the Big Bad Wolf. Projects in their final revision include: Babi Yar and Matteo (historical fiction) and Wanderer’s Way (fantasy).

Can you sum up your story, “They Came at Night,” in a single sentence?

Let the macabre notes of the calliope lure you to the carousel and slip into an intergalactic ride of your life.

You can find Judy Rubin on Facebook.

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