While I’ve been buried in my book and/or in Kyoto (will tell all about it when my sister sends me photos) you lot asked a bunch of interesting quessies. Here are my answers:

    Quessies from Ken Kugler: I was wondering if the deadline given to you pushes you to complete a book before you are really ready to give it to the editor? It seems that if that is the case, writing the book first and being satisfied with the final results before handing it in would be the way to go if you can hold out for money. Also there is the question of payment. Are there financial incentives to consider such as preselling a series at a lower price?
    A: Sure, that definitely happens. So far it hasn’t happened to me. I’m blessed with editors who won’t publish anything from me unless they’re sure it’s the best I can do. I’m running late on the current book and rather than publish prematurely we’ve chosen to skip doing arcs (advance readers’ copies). If this were a standalone book or the first in a series that would be a disaster. Fortunately it’s the third book in a trilogy so it should be okay. I’d much rather be late and unreviewed than publish a sub-par book.
    Typically a starting writer will get more money for a finished book than for a partial (usually a first-time writer can’t sell from a partial at all). There are exceptions obviously. As you get more established and particularly if you become a New York Times bestselling author like Libba Bray or my old man or other exalted folk you can prolly sell a rough idea scribbled down on a napkin for scads of dosh. In my case I imagine I’ll get more money for a finished book (depends on the book, natch). If an agent or editor wants to step in and answer this one I’d love to hear it.
    Now a bunch from Amanda Coppedge to help flesh out my wikipedia entry:What is your favourite book? Er, um. So hard! It used to be The Master and Margarita. Some days it still is.

    Food: mangosteens.

    Colour: Um again. I am tempted to say puce. Easier to tell you what colour I don’t like: yellow. But that’s only cause I look crap in it.

    Animal: my husband.

    Toothpaste: people have a favourite toothpaste?

    Did you always want to be a writer, or did you have other career aspirations as a youngster? I never wanted to be anything else, but I did work on having a main job so that I could support myself. For the longest time that job was being an academic.

    Any awards, degrees, etc. that should really be up there? Not that I can think of. I am award-less. Though I do have a Ph.D so you must all bow down and call me Dr Justine.

    Anything else that just screams “essential Justine bio factoid”? That my religion is the noble sport of cricket.

    Quessie from Marrije: I wonder what stories the taxi drivers in New York tell themselves and each other about black people.

    A: Here are some theories I’ve heard: Cab drivers don’t stop for black men because they think they are more likely to be robbed and/or assaulted by black men then by anyone else. And they don’t stop for black women because they think they are accompanied by hidden black men who are just waiting for the cab to stop so that they can jump out and assault and/or rob them. And even if there is no assault the black passenger will make the cab driver go to an “unsafe” neighbourhood where they will be assaulted and/or robbed.

    Q from Kristine Smith: Have you run this [the idea of writing a book on spec] past your agent?

    A: Yup. She thought it was an excellent idea.

    In response to those (few) folks wanting to read the Cambodian novel: I may well make it available online some day, but only when all possibilities of traditional publication are totally exhausted.

If anyone else has any further theories, answers or questions fire away.

And thanks again for all the fab comments on the writing on spec post. I feel very encouraged by your responses. My loins are now girded. I shall do this thing!


  1. Simone on #

    What do mnagosteens taste like?

    When is the last book in your trilgoy coming out?

    When are you and Scott writing a book together?

    Can you post the first chapter or two of your camodain novel?

  2. Dawn on #

    I didn’t know until just recently that you and Scott were married!! I love both of you as authors, and that’s amazing that you’re married. Random props!

  3. redknight on #

    Of all the books you have written which one was the most fun of them all to write?

    Does being married to another writer make writing for you easier or more difficult?

    Anent the taxis not picking up black people. Another excuse I have heard them give is that black people live in neighborhoods that are too far away and that means they can’t be sure of getting another taxi ride back into the city.

  4. Justine on #

    Simone: What do mangosteens taste like?

    It is impossible to describe. But they’re good, very very very good.

    When is the last book in your trilogy coming out?

    March 2007.

    When are you and Scott writing a book together?

    In the future.

    Can you post the first chapter or two of your Cambodian novel?


    Dawn: Ta. Tis much fun being married to the old bastard.

    Redknight: Of all the books you have written which one was the most fun of them all to write?

    Of the ones I’ve finished definitely Magic or Madness and Magic Lessons. Though so far the mangosteen Elvis cricket fairy book has been a total blast.

    Does being married to another writer make writing for you easier or more difficult?

    Much, much, much easier. I no longer have the whole I-am-so-alone misery. I get to talk over ideas, plot probs, word choice with someone right there in the same room with me. It’s wonderful.

    Thanks for the additional NYC taxi drivers theory.

  5. Rebecca on #

    ooh ooh, I have a quessie! I was actually going to wait and email it to you after you weren’t quite so busy, but now you’ve gone and put up this convenient little post, so don’t blame me. 😛 Anywho: I was playing with Google imaging back when I first read MorM, and I am wondering if Camperdown Memorial Park is the place that the graveyard from MorM and ML is based on. Took me forever to find it because I had no idea what part of Sydney is Newtown. My theory is based on the street names in MorM.

    more quessie-age: What does ‘scads of dosh’ mean? Ditto ‘natch.’ Thanks! 😀

  6. Justine on #

    Rebecca: Tis indeed where the cemetery is. Confusing that the Camperdown park is in Newtown. Camperdown’s the suburb right next door. It’s also called St Stephen’s cause that’s the name of the church there. So well done on finding it!

    “scads of dosh” is lots of money. And “natch” is short for naturally. I believe it’s actually an Americanism. It’s certainly not very common back home.

  7. marrije on #

    Thanks Justine (and redknight) for your thoughts on the taxi thing. it’s still pretty baffling to me, but at least i’m in good company, it seems: even this guy who’s a transportation researcher doesn’t have a clear answer to the question of why black people find it harder to get a cab (he may even be suggesting it’s less a problem of race than one of supply & demand, but i’m of course agnostic on the subject).
    still, fascinating subject to think about, and if i want to obsess more about taxis in new york, this guy schaller has also published a fact book.

  8. Rebecca on #

    “natch” is american? crazy. 😛 Thanks!!

  9. Amanda Coppedge on #

    Well, I don’t know. There was an “etc.” after the word “toothpaste” in case you had other important favorites. 🙂 Off to update wikipedia now.

  10. Amanda Coppedge on #

    Oooh, now you’ve got enough info for a contents box! Also, details about the PhD so I can include that, too, Dr. Larbalestier?

  11. shana on #

    for marrije the hungry cabbie agrees —
    a cabbie “would always rather take a fare to a part of the city where another fare can be found quickly. This is the same reason they never want to go to Brooklyn no matter what race you are.

    The racial profiling occurs when cabbies pass black people by because they assume black people are heading to a neighborhood far from the busy core of Manhattan.”

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