James Van Pelt is a Colorado based English teacher and speculative fiction writer who has written over 100 short stories, novels and has four collections of his short work. His fiction has appeared in publications including Analog, Asimov’s, Realms Of Fantasy, Weird Tales, numerous anthologies and several Year’s Best anthologies. He’s written nonfiction for Tangent and was a 1999 finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He’s received several Nebula and Stoker nominations for his stories. A father and husband, he can be found online via his website or his blog.
SFFWRTCHT: First things first, where’d your interest in science fiction and fantasy come from?
James Van Pelt: For science fiction, my dad had a big influence. He was an aeronautical engineer who love astronomy, space, rockets and science fiction. When I was little, we’d go to the drive-in to watch science fiction films that my mom didn’t want to see. We’d see all of them: junk, good stuff, it didn’t matter. He’d point out where the science was bad during the film. It was like being entertained and being in class at the same time. My interest in fantasy didn’t come until later, when I found a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring in the student center of Metro State College. I fell into that book and didn’t emerge for a week. Tolkien is responsible for my poor grades that quarter.