M. N. Jolley talks autistic representation and relatable characters

Scifipulse recently had the privilege of interviewing M. N. Jolley. Born and raised in Kansas City. Jolley began writing seriously in 2016 and is the author of The Stone Warrior

Scifipulse recently had the privilege of interviewing M. N. Jolley. Born and raised in Kansas City. Jolley began writing seriously in 2016 and is the author of The Stone Warrior. The first book in The Sacrosanct Records. During this interview, Jolley discusses his planned spinoff to his The KC Warlock Weekly. As well as his advice for aspiring writers.

 

SFP: What made you want to be a writer?

 

M. N. Jolley: I’ve been writing for as long as I’ve been able to string coherent sentences together on paper. I still have the old Composition Notebook with one of my earliest attempts at a story, scribbled in sloppy block letters with no idea where the plot was going.

 

SFP: Do you think it is important that writers read outside their preferred genre of books?

 

M. N. Jolley: That depends on how we’re defining “important”. For me, reading outside my preferred genre often inspires me and gives me ideas for stories – it’s important to me, but if another author doesn’t read outside their preferred genre, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Writers should do what works best for them, and if they either don’t want to or have found that it doesn’t help them to read outside their genre, I’m not going to criticize that choice.

 

SFP: What do you think has not yet been done in autistic and LGBTQ representation in sci-fi that could be done?

 

M. N. Jolley: I couldn’t say, because I don’t read as much sci-fi as I do fantasy. (In general, sci-fi has far more autism rep than fantasy, though.) I can find several examples of mainstream sci-fi novels where the main character or at least an important character is autistic. I cannot say the same for fantasy, unless we count characters who are vaguely coded to be autistic or have some autistic traits, but are never labeled as such either in-canon or without. If I could see one change within the realm of fiction, it’s that I’d like authors to be more blatant – Just include autistic characters, and if there’s not a chance to say as much within the book, say it outside the book.

 

SFP: What would you say is the secret to creating a character that readers can identify with but who is also someone they can look up to and admire?

 

M. N. Jolley: I don’t set out trying to write characters who are “admirable”. I think that comes naturally with the narrative; if my character makes admirable choices they might be admired, and vice versa if they make reprehensible choices. Just make characters that are relatable, and then throw those characters at your story’s conflict. The character will do the rest.

 

SFP: What are you working on at the moment?

 

M. N. Jolley: Right now, I’m working on a spinoff novel to my urban fantasy series, “The KC Warlock Weekly”. There was a minor character in the first book, Maggie Cartwright, an elf mechanic who I decided to write a short story about. Well of course the character decided she was too big for a short story, so now she’s getting a novel.

 

SFP: Would you ever write for film or TV?

 

M. N. Jolley: It’s a different skillset than writing novels. I’ve dabbled in a few scripts and even produced a short film, (“The Fixer”, a paranormal drama,) so I’d definitely write more if the opportunity arose.

 

SFP: What to you is the best form of autistic representation in any form of media?

 

M. N. Jolley: I don’t want to answer this question.

 

SFP: And finally, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

 

M. N. Jolley: You’ve all heard, “Write every day”, so I’ll skip that. If you have lots of ideas but have trouble getting words out onto paper, or you’ve started projects but struggle to finish anything, then I suggest you come up with an idea that is simple enough that you know you can finish it. Maybe a short story, maybe a novella, but keep the plot simple – come up with an idea that you can complete. Then, once you’ve got a finished story under your belt, work your way up – increase the complexity, or the length, and gradually you’ll find yourself more and more able to handle bigger projects. (And you’ll become a better writer, too!)

 

Scifipulse would like to extend our most heartfelt thanks and warmest best wishes to M. N. Jolley for so graciously taking the time to answer our questions.

 

M. N. Jolley’s website: M.N. Jolley Writing (mnjolleywriting.com)

 

His Twitter: @MNJolleyWriting

 

Check out our Adrian Tchaikovsky interview here

 

Check out our Lauren Melissa interview here

I'm an autistic writer who loves sci-fi, cosplay and poetry. I'm also an actor with Theatre of the Senses.
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