MA: Today’s guest-blogger is Nexus Point author, Jaleta Clegg, and I have to warn you…she’s a hoot! Jaleta was born some time ago, so she tells me. 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 rivaled by her collection of eclectic CD’s (polka, opera, or Irish folk songs, anyone?).
Her day job involves an inflatable planetarium, numerous school children, and starship simulators. Her summer job involves cooking alien food for space camp. She writes a regular column in Abandoned Towers Magazine–fancy dinner menus for themed parties.
Her first novel, Nexus Point (www.nexuspoint.info), is now in print from Cyberwizard Productions. She has stories published in Bewildering Tales, Abandoned Towers, and Darwin’s Evolutions.
Jaleta lives in Utah with her husband, a horde of her own children, and two ancient, toothless cats. She wants to be either Han Solo or Ursula the Sea Witch when she grows up. If she ever does.
She also detests referring to herself in the third person, but sometimes she bows to necessity.
(Chuckling) So, you mentioned to me earlier that you were a geek. What’s that about?
JC: I’m a geek, always have been even before it was popular. I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy my whole life. Astronomy and space travel fascinate me. I spent all three years in high school taking electronics, usually as the only female in the class, so I’m comfortable in my geekiness. I ended up with a BS in Geology, Earth Science Education, and a Minor in Math Education. I currently work at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center introducing school children to physics, astronomy, science in general and science fiction in particular. Yes, I do fly a starship! I also love telling stories, which is what we do in the starship simulators.
MA: Ha! I love space. Before I retired from the USAF, I was the Commander of OSI Region 8 at Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, CO. I used to say, “If it enters or exits the atmosphere, I have a dog in the fight!” What brought you to write novels?
JC: Self-therapy. I spent quite a few years as a stay-at-home mom to my eight children, many with special needs. I had to do something to stay sane. I escaped into my imagination and wrote quite a few novels and stories. I learned how to write by doing. I fell in love with the process and can happily say I am now addicted to writing.
MA: (Still trying to get my head around EIGHT kids!) We have three children…a handful; I can’t even imagine eight, but I can understand the need to find some escape. I imagine with your love of writing , and love of space, that there was a good marriage between the two?
JC: My novels are science fiction, space opera adventure – lots of action and just a touch of romance. The short stories I’ve published are all comic horror and fantasy. My website has links to all of them plus some stories for free download.
MA: I’ve not read much of your particular genre in the past, but you mentioned a hero before, someone named Dace? Tell us more.
JC: Dace has evolved since the first draft of the first novel. She sort of grew into the part. Most first-time novelists write what they know – themselves. The trick is to get the character to become someone separate and distinct from the author. Finding her voice was a matter of trial and error and numerous drafts.
MA: I hear that…been told by close friends that they see too much Mike Angley in my protagonist, Patrick O’Donnell. What makes Dace unique?
JC: Dace is tough, she has to be. She’s been on her own most of her life, fighting for everything. It’s also her biggest weakness. In Nexus Point, she gets into trouble much too deep to handle by herself but she has a hard time trusting anyone or admitting she can’t handle it by herself.
MA: And is there a particular evil nemesis that Dace must face?
JC: Nexus Point has several “bad guys.” I won’t spoil things by mentioning who because part of the plot revolves around finding out who is and who isn’t. Dace’s actions have repercussions in future books. Some of them come back to haunt her.
MA: Ahhh, a bit of a mystery, too, I see. In Nexus Point, does art imitate life?
JC: I’ve never crash landed an escape pod, run away from knife/sword fights, investigated drug smugglers, lived in a medieval society, shot anyone, been sold as a slave, burned at the stake, or shoved over a cliff. But I’ve got a great imagination and I know what it’s like to feel lost and overwhelmed. I’ve got some experience falling in love.
MA: (smiling) So what comes after Nexus Point?
JC: Nexus Point is the first in an eleven book series. I’ve got a contract for all of them. One a year until they are all published. And I promise, all of them are complete stories. I hate it when authors leave their readers hanging off a cliff until the next book comes out. I’m also working on some middle-grade science fiction and a few fantasy novels. If I’m not in the middle of at least five different projects, I don’t feel busy enough.
Dace is the protagonist for the entire series. Many of the characters from Nexus Point do appear in other books, especially Tayvis. The underlying story arc for the series is her relationship with him, so he’d better be in the books. Yes, the series is a romance, but in a very understated way. Book 2, tentatively titled Priestess of the Eggstone, should be coming out about this time next year.
MA: Your series sounds fascinating, and I’m sure my readers will enjoy learning more. Folks, visit Jaleta’s two websites for more information about Dace and space: