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Member Spotlight: Donald Jacob Uitvlugt

1. Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?

renards coverFor my furry writing, I’m in the process of revising a novel set in the same fantasy world as my short story “Irula’s Apprentice,” but a couple of generations later. In this world, I envision what a society of intelligent lions might look like if one takes existing lion behavior as a given. It’s also been interesting to see how a leonine society might take on different dimensions depending on the setting.

The novel is in a lot rougher shape than I’d like it to be, but I’ll be looking for a publisher when I get it in a shape that I like.

With my non-furry work, I recently had a piece of flash fiction accepted for publication that combines aspects of the Cthulhu mythos with the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. A science fiction story will soon be released by the Wily Writers podcast.

2. What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?

Most of my stories have a fairly long period of rumination, where I’m working out story issues in my head. I tend to do a lot of research, which I may or may not use in my writing. I try to write a first draft as quickly as I can; sometimes I have a broad outline, sometimes I know what I want to do in the next couple of sections. And sometimes I just write to see where the characters and concept will take me. I try to revise as best as I can, and then try to get beta readers involved before I make a submission-ready draft — although deadlines don’t always allow me to exercise the full process.

3. What’s your favorite kind of story to write?

Most of my stories tend to be speculative fiction of one sort or another, with horror and dark fantasy predominating lately. Often my stories focus on individuals thrust into extreme situations and how their choices wind up making or breaking them. World creation is important, and I hope I do it reasonably well, but in the end I want the characters to be most important.

4. Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?

I would probably say Raalfarinoor from my lion novel. While I don’t think he’s a Mary Sue/Gary Shrew, there are a lot of ways he represents an idealized version of myself. His courage, his integrity, his humor and his curiosity are all something I strive for.

5. Which authors or books have most influenced your work?

I tend to draw from a number of influences, depending on the nature of the project I’m working on. My earliest influences include C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Norton Juster’s Phantom Tollbooth, and Lewis Carroll’s Alice books. Later influences include G. K. Chesterton, Charles de Lint, Cordwainer Smith and the haiku poets Basho and Buson.

6. What’s the last book you read that you really loved?

I absolutely loved everything about Andre Norton’s Breed to Come. I highly recommend it to all readers of science fiction.

7. Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

I’m a very avid reader, reading somewhere between one and two novels a week. I like nonfiction too, but that generally goes a little more slowly. I also enjoy spending time with my wife and playing with our cat.

8. Advice for other writers?

ABW: Always Be Writing. One hundred percent of the stories never written are never read. You can fix just about anything in the rewrites, if you have something to fix. Leave out the boring parts, or at least delete them in the rewrites. Learn what makes a good story by reading good stories. Take the time to revise your work. And never stop writing.

9. Where can readers find your work?

I was very fortunate to have audio versions of two of my furry stories produced by Anthro Dreams. I mentioned “Irula’s Apprentice” earlier. “C.Moira’s Choice” is an homage to the science fiction of Cordwainer Smith. Anyone interested in my non-furry stuff can get in touch with me via Twitter (@haikufictiondju) or my blog: http://haikufiction.blogspot.com.DJU

10. What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom?

I’ve always appreciated how accepting the furry fandom is. You decide what species and gender your fursona is, with almost infinite possibilities. You decide how furry you are as an individual — are you an artist, a writer, a fursuiter, a lifestyler, a fan? Some combination of all of the above? You choose, and the furry fandom accepts the you that you choose to be. I’m aware of no other fandom that is that accepting.

 

Check out Donald Jacob Uitvlugt’s member bio here!

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