eSpec Books interviews Jean Rabe, contributor to The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson, a tribute anthology,


How did you meet CJ Henderson?  Brian Thomsen, my co-editor for a DAW Books anthology, introduced us, said C.J. would give me a great dog story.

What is your favorite memory of him? I guess that would be opening a Knight book and discovering he’d dedicated it to me.

Of CJ’s vast body of works, which one has impacted you the most? “All the Virtues of Man”, the first short story he wrote for one of my anthologies.

What was it about his writing that spoke to you? Not so much his writing … it was him. We’d have lovely long telephone conversations. That’s what “spoke” to me. Clever, insightful, funny, and always warm.

What is your favorite part of his sales pitch? “I have this new book.”

Can you share with us a non-convention memory involving CJ? We discovered in a phone call a mutual friend who owns a Chinese restaurant in Lake Geneva, WI. Su Wing. A relative of Tin, CJ worked a county fair for Su one summer. Su Wing’s was my favorite restaurant when I worked for TSR in Lake Geneva. Small world.

What is the one characteristic of CJ as a person that has stuck with you? His laugh. His wonderful belly laugh.

If you were to recommend just one of CJ’s books for a new reader to read, which one would it be and why? I would recommend Dance Like a Monkey, which has two of his short stories. It’s an important collection because soooooooooo many writers came together to support him. You read that, then you want to go read his books. But if I HAVE to recommend a book, the Piers Knight trilogy.

For the interested reader, what are some of the books where they can find works by both you and CJ? Dance Like a Monkey was the only anthology we both appeared in … to my knowledge. However, he appeared in many anthologies that I edited: Creature Fantastic, Hot and Steamy, Steampunked to name a few.

What can you tell us about your contribution in The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson? CJ and I used to talk about movies a lot. We liked westerns, and he recommended I go see Cowboys & Aliens. I waited until it hit one of the movie channels. He liked it much more than I did. But my story is in homage to that conversation.

Is there anything you have written that was inspired by CJ? Well…I’m working on a SF book, and it has a talking gun. The gun makes references to old movies. I used to throw out movie titles like: “If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium.” And CJ would answer: “Yeah, and With Six You Get Eggroll.”

What are some of your own works readers can look for? My 31st novel was just released by Silence in the Library. The Cauldron, which I wrote with my good buddy Gene DeWeese. I really recommend that one.

What projects of your own do you have coming up? Working on a SF book now, then I’ll buckle down on a murder mystery I started. I have two projects coming out in 2015 with WordFire Press that I’m very proud of: Pockets of Darkness, a gritty urban-fantasy with a dash of horror. CJ read a part of it and loved it. And with co-author Donald J. Bingle: Love-Haight Casefiles.

How can readers find out more about you? My webpage is out of date, but it’ll get up to date after the New Year. I’m even gonna link my blog to it…imagine that…dinosaur me!

Learn more about the Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson here:


USA Today bestselling author Jean Rabe has written more than two dozen fantasy and adventure novels and more than 60 short stories. When she’s not writing, which isn’t often, she edits . . . more than two dozen anthologies and more than 100 magazine issues so far. She’s a former news reporter and news bureau chief who penned a true crime book with noted attorney F. Lee Bailey. Her genre writing includes military, science-fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery, horror, and modern-day adventure. She shares her home with a double retriever (Labrador/Golden), a graying pug, and a lively young Boston terrier. All of them are rescues.

Rabe occasionally teaches genre writing courses—at conventions and through education programs tied to libraries and museums. Her hobbies include reading, role-playing games, visiting museums, dog-walking, fish minding, and buying books to add to her growing stacks. She lives in central Illinois near three train tracks that provide “music” to type by. Visit her website:

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