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Jody Lynn Nye
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Jody Lynn Nye   Jody Lynn Nye has co-authored several books with world-famous authors such as Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, and Robert Asprin. Sheís also written a humorous set of fantasy novels of her own called the Mythology series. More recently, Jody co-authored with the late Robert Asprin several books in the New York Times bestselling Myth-Adventures series. She now plans to continue the Myth-Adventures series on her own.

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This episode originally aired on 10/15/2009 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Jody Lynn Nye

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Matthew Peterson: My next guest is Jody Lynn Nye, an author who has not only written quite a few books on her own, but who has also co-authored several novels with Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, and Robert Asprin. Welcome to the show Jody.

Jody Lynn Nye: Thank you very much.

Matthew Peterson: Letís go back in time, just for a moment. I know you collaborated with books with Anne McCaffrey. How did that come about?

Jody Lynn Nye: That came about . . . I have to go even farther back in time. My husband, or at the time, husband-to-be, was part owner of a game company called MayFair Games.

Matthew Peterson: Okay.

Jody Lynn Nye: And they produced the Dragon Riders first role playing game. And Todd McCaffery, still in college at the time, was their intern for the summer and helped work on his motherís universeís game. So, Bill was already friends with the family at the time that he came up with a project for Tor Books called Cross Roads.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, okay.

Jody Lynn Nye: And in the late Ď80's, Choose Your Own Adventures were very popular, but they were very simplistic. They were . . . you open the door, you see a monster, do you hack and slash, or do you run?

Matthew Peterson: I remember those when I was a kid. Thatís great!

Jody Lynn Nye: Thatís exactly . . . But Billís concept was to bring in known science fiction/fantasy roles, and create, not only individual adventures, but also group adventures, and Combat Command for ACE Books, you command in an army or a fleet, also from a noted fantasy world, such as Hammerís Slammers, Dave Drakeís world.

Matthew Peterson: Oh.

Jody Lynn Nye: After some persuading, he got Anne to agree to be part of it. And I dropped a couple of books that I had asked to write so that I could do the Pern books and the Xanth books, as a matter of fact. So, theyíre both included in it. And over the course of the next two years, I wrote Dragon Harper and Dragonfire for the Cross Roads series in Pern and Encyclopedia of Xanth and Ghost of a Chance in the Xanth Universe. So those were the first of them.

Matthew Peterson: The Xanth Universe was Piers Anthony.

Jody Lynn Nye: Piers Anthonyís work, pun-filled, humorous, but also some serious fantasy adventures that has been running for many years now.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, Iím going to be speaking with Piers right after this section. So thatís ironic

Jody Lynn Nye: Well, itís fortunate circumstance, as I call it. So, I was already familiar with Anne, and she was already familiar with working with me and knew that I respected her work, when another Bill project came up and this was to help Anne write books in universes that she had established that she had no time to write entirely on her own. And the first was based upon her Dinosaur Planet Books. There were 3 books in the series and the first of them chronologically, was The Death of Sleep, which I wrote with Anne. And the subsequent books were written with Elizabeth Moon.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, okay.

Jody Lynn Nye: And after that, more of these projects sort of came up. It was a terrific experience working with Anne. She is a tremendously warm and generous person and taught me a great deal about my craft. So it was on-the-job training as well as a working gig. But Iím very proud of those books.

Matthew Peterson: And you helped write the Dragon Loversí Guide to Pern.

Jody Lynn Nye: Yes.

Matthew Peterson: And Anne McCaffery, I assume, had a lot of input with that.

Jody Lynn Nye: Oh heavens! We went to Ireland, along with the primary artist of the project, Todd Cameron Hamilton. His beautiful work is throughout the book. And in fact, his portrait of me is on my website. Take a look. And we sat in her front room and interviewed her for several days on tape and give her questions, probing details, the kind of things she sort of knew instinctively, if not openly and put them on paper, so that her fans could enjoy details about their favorite roles. Itís sort of like a gadgeteer or a history to Pern.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. I know her son, now, Todd, has been continuing on the mantle, I guess, with the Pern novels. Do you ever see a future, maybe, doing another collaboration with Anne, or with Todd?

Jody Lynn Nye: Probably not with Todd, heís clicking along right now like gang-busters.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Jody Lynn Nye: I would always welcome a chance to work with Anne if I could. But I canít be that greedy.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah.

Jody Lynn Nye: Iíve had many chances to work with her and Iíve enjoyed them.

Matthew Peterson: Thereís quite a few books in the Pern Universe. Iíve read most of them, actually. So, thatís great. And with Piers Anthony and the Xanth series, I just actually started reading those a couple months ago.

Jody Lynn Nye: Oh youíve got treats in store.

Matthew Peterson: Yes, I know, I didnít realize all the puns and . . . I understand that youíve actually written some humorous fantasies. I donít know if theyíre similar, but I thought the names were interesting. ĎCause youíve also written some books with Robert Asprin, with the Myth-Adventure Books. And weíll talk about that in just a moment. But I wanted to talk a little bit about your Mythology Series?

Jody Lynn Nye: Yes.

Matthew Peterson: Is there any correlation with the Myth-Adventure series and the Mythology series?

Jody Lynn Nye: Because they were set in a college, I meant the titles to sound like text books. And that is why the first one is called Mythology 101. Like a course book. The similarity between Piers Anthonyís Xanth series and the Myth-Adventure series, if you will, is that I have a young eager teenager, starting out in life. And making all the kinds of mistakes you can make in a humorous fashion. And I suppose that is a sort of tie to it, but mine are set in a college, in central Illinois, and of course very few colleges that I know of in Illinois actually have little people living in the basement of the library.

Matthew Peterson: [Laughs] Little people, like dwarves, or like little fairies?

Jody Lynn Nye: Well . . . leprechauns.

Matthew Peterson: Leprechauns? Okay.

Jody Lynn Nye: And I wrote 4 books in that series. And I would love to be able to continue on with it someday.

Matthew Peterson: And I noticed that you did write one book this year, or it came out this year, A Forthcoming Wizard.

Jody Lynn Nye: Itís actually the second book in a duology the first book is called An Unexpected Apprentice and thatís as close to a fantasy epic as I have ever written.

Matthew Peterson: And that duology, is finished then, you have both of those books?

Jody Lynn Nye: Yes.

Matthew Peterson: Good. I wanted to talk, just a little bit, about your work with Robert Asprin. Now I was actually very saddened to hear that he had passed on. That was just last year, I think.

Jody Lynn Nye: I know.

Matthew Peterson: And I have to say the Myth-Adventure books, I remember reading those years ago, years, years ago. I think they were probably the first series that I ever read with humor in it. And I just remember those covers were quite interesting. And then I noticed that a lot of time seemed to go by . . . at least my library never picked any more up. And then the other day I was looking online and I was like, ďOh no, he passed on! I didnít realize that.Ē And then I noticed that you had been co-authoring some books with him and might actually continue the series. How did you start writing with Robert Asprin? How did that come about?

Jody Lynn Nye: Well because we were both writing humor. Now let me back track just a little bit. I had found the first Myth Adventures book, when I was just in college. They came out that long ago. And yes, there was a long hiatus between books 10 and 11 and we started talking about whether or not we should work together. Weíd written about that in the preface for a couple of the books that have been re-published, as a matter of fact. How we decided that we should start working together, everybody kept saying, ďOh you two both write humor! You should work together!Ē

Matthew Peterson: You should do it together, yeah!

Jody Lynn Nye: We sort of eyed each other suspiciously. ĎCause while we were both funny, and while we both got along tremendously well, and we did. We both had our own way of doing things. But I had every hope that we could do it. I thought it would be huge fun because I was a fan of his. I loved Myth Adventures Books. Of course, the first book that we did together was not a Myth Adventures book, it was a solo book called License Invoked. And it involved two brand new characters and it was set in New Orleans and it had to do with spies, rock and roll and magic.

Matthew Peterson: Ahh.

Jody Lynn Nye: And when Robert was having some issues about getting started back with the Adventure series. Itís funny how when youíve left something alone for a little while, you sort of rev up again and go and rediscover all of your details and get back into the series. It was suggested that maybe I would work with him and I thought that this was a good idea. And Bob had trusted me by this time and thought it was a good idea. So, we broached the idea and once Bob was finished with, what actually was an original contract of 12 novels, we did actually begin to work together. And we talked about what would happen with the structure of the books if we followed on with the action that had occurred in the original 12, where he had left Skeev and the others. And he covered Skeev and Aahz in different books for a while. He thought that that would be interesting and get people interested again in the series, because there had been a gap in publication and he wanted to see if people would accept me as a collaborator. At first, naturally there was some resistance, with a few people, but most people were so happy to have more Myth-Adventures, that they accepted me, because Bob did.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Jody Lynn Nye: And I respect the series and I respect the characters and Iím a pretty good mimic. So having worked with a couple of other noted authors before, I was ready to work with Bob, and because it was his series, do the things that he thought would fit.

Matthew Peterson: Are there any plans in the future for another Myth-Adventures novel?

Jody Lynn Nye: Oh, yes.

Matthew Peterson: And so you will be taking on that then. Thatís great! Yeah, because I know that thatís one of the series that I think millions of people are familiar with. Thatís one of those series that Iíd hate to see go by and so Iím excited to see that it continue on.

Jody Lynn Nye: More than that . . . I have been given a contract by Ace Books to write the next in the series that Bob began and the second book was actually sent to the publisher not long before he died. And I actually did a copy on it, which is called Dragons and the main character is named Griffen McCandles. Who discovers that he is a hereditary dragon. They too are set in New Orleans, also before Katrina. So, Iíve been asked to write the third book. So, weíll see how that goes. We had other projects that we were going to work on. A few new things, as well as more Myth-Adventures. So, I plan to carry on with them.

Matthew Peterson: Oh thatís great!

Jody Lynn Nye: Theyíre too much fun, I love them, I miss Bob, but because the publisher is interested, well, who are we to say no?

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah, donít say no. I think thatís great. You know, I know thereís a lot of authors right now that are getting the opportunity to finish off series that were never finished because the authors had passed on, like the Myth-Adventure series, and The Wheel of Time Series is another one. And I just finished interviewing Eoin Colfer in the last segment, and he just finished up Douglas Adamís Hitchhikerís Guide to the Galaxy series. So thatís exciting. I know that Brandon Sanderson, who is finishing Robert Jordanís Wheel of Times and I think Iím going to have him on the show. Weíll talk about that later, but that is exciting.

Iím so grateful to be able to speak with you Jody. Iíve been speaking with Jody Lynn Nye. Well, thank you so much for being on the radio show.

Jody Lynn Nye: Thank you very much.

Matthew Peterson: Alright everyone, before we go to a commercial break, I thought Iíd give you a little trivia. Robert Asprin, who started the Myth-Adventures series, died May 22, 2008, in bed, where he had been reading a Terry Pratchett novel. What a nice way to go! It makes you wonder, which novel was he reading? Donít go away, Piers Anthony, best selling author of the Xanth series, is cominí up next.

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