2002, James Milton
Moderator James Milton is an Australian, born in Brisbane -- a wonderful city to
grow up in, retaining, at that time, the charm of a small city with all the
facilities expected from the capital of Australia's fastest-growing state.
childhood love of science -- particularly astronomy, archaeology and
paleontology -- misled him into thinking he would be a scientist.
But when he discovered the sheer fun of writing and the wonders of giving
someone pleasure through the incantatory magic of words on paper, he was lost.
When he stumbled upon Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine at the age
of thirteen, followed in quick succession by the novels of Asimov, Heinlein,
Edgar Rice Burroughs, William Hope Hodgson, Clark Ashton Smith, and others, he
realized exactly which nation of the written word he was lost in: science
fiction and fantasy.
bought a cheap typewriter and taught himself to type, and through adolescence
earnestly pursued publication, sending dreadful short story after dreadful short
story to every unfortunate editor in North America.
senior high school, his family had moved to country north-west Queensland.
In the mining town of Mount Isa -- permanently swathed in clouds of
sulfur dioxide, rocked regularly by underground explosions -- he began receiving "positive" rejections (no thanks, but
please send more). After a move to coastal North Queensland, he placed two short
stories with Aurealis, the Australian magazine of fantasy and science
attempt to join the Queensland police service failed on the grounds of
bumping-into-walls blindness, and led to an unexpected library career in the
world's most dreadful library...Whereupon he stopped writing.
years of grinding mediocrity later, it finally dawned on him that he was choking
to death on unfulfilled dreams. He
began writing again, enrolled in a course taught by Amy Sterling Casil and
joined a great group of talented, supportive fellow students.
Still, writing remained a struggle.
hospitalised, he underwent ten hours of emergency surgery then almost died of
complications. Five weeks in
hospital, two brushes with death, and he finally got the message: memento
mori. Every life ends in a full
stop. In the absence of action,
every dream dies.
he started pursuing his dreams as if they mattered.
He found Forward Motion, adored the work ethic there, the support, and
the generosity. Through the classes, he encountered Sheila Viehl, whose guidance
and stunning generosity led to the submission of his first novel proposal to BBC
Books in the United Kingdom. Now,
he is at work on a young adult fantasy titled Touching God.
it is an audience he never considered until recently, he has a ridiculous number
of young adult novel ideas in the pipeline.
he were arrogant enough to offer advice to other new writers, it would be this:
naysayers. Ignore self-doubt.
Do not fall for the charlatans who tell you that you must commune with
the Angels of Art in order to write. Who
you are is enough. What you do is
enough. Mere existence grants you the right to run your dream to the ground and
grapple it by the throat. Do it.
You have no time for crap. Write
without fear. Finish no matter