R. T. Coleman is a debut author with her speculative science fiction novel Vagabonder.
R. T. Coleman is a debut author with her speculative science fiction novel Vagabonder. She lives in rural Arkansas, where she works as an instructional designer and university instructor when she’s not writing, reading, or gardening.
R. T. Coleman is a debut author with her novel Vagabonder, a speculative work of science fiction. Her writing ranges from fantasy to science fiction, and her themes include the power of love, resistance to oppression, and what it means to be human in an increasingly complex world. She’s been a professor of English literature and education and an instructional designer for academic, government, and professional institutions. In her spare time, she’s a gardener and steward of a small farm in rural Arkansas, where she’s responsible for long walks, regular treats, and frequent pets for three Very Good Dogs and one Grumpy Kitty.
Where do you get your ideas?
Conversations with my husband and my son, observations of the goings-on in the world, and musings in the shower that always start with “What if…”
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing stories since I learned how to write, and I devoured books as a kid, often requiring multiple trips to the library per week. I always wanted to write professionally; unfortunately, life in a post-capitalist society requires the acquisition of money, so I found myself in several writing-adjacent careers such as teaching, curriculum development, and editing. Writing was a hobby until I had enough material to turn into a book.
How did you become a writer?
I wrote Vagabonder in long-hand on yellow legal pads during the evenings over the course of a decade. At some point, I started putting all the scenes together in a Word document, got some feedback from trusted friends and family, and continued to revise and edit until I felt confident enough to begin querying. I took a chance at a writer’s workshop in Kansas City and pitched my book to Stephanie Hansen of Metamorphosis Literary Agency, and she offered representation within a couple of weeks. After many rejections and tears (on my part!), we found a publisher with Aurelia Leo. I consider myself very lucky to have met many wonderful, supportive people in the book world who continue to encourage me.
How do I become a writer?
I don’t believe there is any one path to becoming a professional writer. I’m still navigating that path myself, and every day I worry that I won’t be able to pull off writing a book again. Few aspects of a writing career are within the control of a writer, but things you can do are 1) write; 2) talk about your writing with other writers; 3) write some more; 4) be patient and gentle with yourself. Imposter Syndrome plagues every writer I know, but it all comes down to your own perseverance and willingness to never give up, no matter how long it takes. Good luck!
What’s next for you?
I haven’t had an answer to that for a few years now. I wrote a book about the aftermath of a global pandemic a decade prior to an actual pandemic. Now that I’ve experienced that situation myself, I’m surprised by how much my creativity has been hindered. I’m currently working slowly but surely on a sequel to Vagabonder, some speculative fantasy, and a science-fiction-meets-detective novella.