I am descended from a long line of secretaries. As soon as I could read and write, I learned how to type on a Commodore VIC20 computer. As soon as I learned how to type, I began playing text adventure games. I wrote my first short story in first grade. It was a tale of horror from the point of view of a cheeseburger about to be eaten. I read my first full length novel in second grade. It was Pier's Anthony's A Spell For Chameleon. The summer between second and third grade, I read almost all of Piers Anthony's Xanth novels and the entirety of his Incarnations of Immortality series. In third grade, I read Jurassic Park, followed by The Terminal Man, Westworld, Sphere, and Congo, all by Michael Crichton. Somewhere in among all of these, I got in to Mercedes Lackey, Stephen King, Anne McCaffrey, Katherine Kurtz, Tracy Hickman, and many other varied and wonderful authors whom I still admire and re-read frequently. At some point in elementary school - I believe it was toward the end of fourth grade - a state mandated test determined that I was reading and writing at a college freshman level.
I owe my early literary adventures and love of speculative fiction to my mother and older sister. Those Xanth novels were my mom's personal collection. I wanted to read them because, while I was still reading picture books, my mom would read aloud passages from the books she was reading because she thought they would make me laugh. When Jurassic Park was about to be released as a feature film, my mom insisted I had to read the book first before she would agree to take me to see it. We took weekly trips to the library, even when we didn't have a car. My sister and I are a decade apart in age, and we shared a bedroom for years. Books were one of the few things we had in common. The Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey and Katherine Kurtz books were hers. She was even kind enough to let me play Vampire: the Masquerade with her and her older friends.
When I reached middle school, I found myself discovering authors on my own through my school library. I survived a prolonged awkward social phase by reading Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. At a time in my life when I acutely felt like an outsider, that book had a profound effect on me. More than just being one of the most enjoyable books I had read until that point, I considered the author. I realized that, if he was able to bare his eccentricities for the world to see, elicit a markedly positive response, and make a name and a living for himself doing what he loved, then I would certainly be fine.
Later, I discovered Terry Pratchett. Discworld's expansive universe was a concept I was familiar with, having cut my teeth on Xanth, Pern, and Valdemar. Pratchett's satire coupled with tongue-in-cheek moral lessons read to me like a modern day Aesop, and gave me a new perspective on the purpose of storytelling. Something I had internalized over the years suddenly became overt: reading fantasy fiction is not merely recreational. The purpose of storytellers in society has not changed. Their role may be downplayed, but their job is the same. Storytellers trick people into learning.
About this blog
This blog is where you will find information about my current and upcoming projects; informative articles about writing techniques, especially world-building; and occasional posts pertaining to industry news, trends, and related subjects.