1. What name(s) do you go by?
For the most part, Justine Graykin will do nicely. However, I do pen some non-fiction
newspaper columns and articles under the name of Mel Graykin.
2. Where can we find your fabulous work (both online and IRL)?
JustineGraykin.com is probably the best place to start. That has links to all my published work plus samples of other stuff. And of course the fabulous Journal of WLoAD.
3. What piece would you want to use for a "first impression"?
Depends on who I’m trying to impress. And how.
4. How did you learn your skill/craft/discipline?
Practice, man, practice. And studying the work of writers I admire, such as Ray Bradbury, Terry Prachett, and Shirley Jackson.
5. What inspires you?
I read every science article I can get my hands on. I have “The Scientist” website bookmarked. There’s copies of Smithsonian, Discovery, and National Geographic all over the house. I read Sagan, Dyson, Feynman, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, James Burke and Michio Kaku, listen to Symphony of Science and watch Star Trek episodes. I have more ideas than I know what to do with. If all else fails, I go hiking and just think about how mind-blowingly amazing the cosmos is on every level.
6. How do you cope with the inevitable discouraging days?
Hide in bed with my laptop and write. Or read. Or hike. A supply of Guinness Stout doesn’t hurt, either.
7. What are your goals for your work?
Get as many of the ideas in my head crafted into excellent stories as I can. Getting published is fine. I would enjoy success and praise for what I do. I’d be thrilled to be able to earn enough to live on, so I could indulge my obsession with writing all the time. Who wouldn’t? But I go by the principle of Sibi Scribere. If I don’t enjoy reading it, do I really give a damn if anyone else does? There’s enough popular crap in the world.
8. What wisdom from your own experience would you pass on to other WLoAD
Success is never worth making yourself miserable for. The odds against your achieving it are still staggeringly great no matter how much you want it, visualize it, and sacrifice for it. And even if you achieve it, you’re always running scared that you’ll lose it. Instead, strive for contentment in a Zen balance between what truly satisfies you and the possible (which, contrary to popular belief, has its limits). I also recommend employing the phrase “To hell with it,” whenever anxiety looms.
9. If you received a million dollar grant, how would you make use of it?
Put aside a sum sufficient to generate a comfortable annual dividend, and then see what
good I could do in the world with the rest. Probably something to do with education.
Like buying good science texts for schools blighted by poverty or Intelligent Design. Oh,
and acquire a really nice matched set of the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft.
10. WLoADed stars need not actually drink ale: what's your fave bevvie?
Depends. Vodka gimlet straight up with lime wedge is a standard. But I’ve been known to do shots of Cuervo with salt and lemon when I’m serious about the business. I’d never turn down a good merlot, or chardonnay. And then there’s champagne, of course. One’s wrist must be flexible.