1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. When I was little, I’d tell stories to my mother who would write them down for me, and then I’d draw the pictures. At age 12, I knew my life’s calling was to write animal stories with no people in them– people ruined the stories. I wanted all animals, all the time. Then puberty hit, and I decided it was okay to write stories about both animals and boys. Almost anything inspires me, but I notice I favor recurring themes: friendship, loss, unrequited love.
2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your art?
I can’t go too long without telling a joke. I can manage it in short pieces, but in a longer work, even if the world is being destroyed (which happens fairly often in my work, to be honest), somebody will say or do something outrageous. I can’t help it; it just bursts out. In my second SF novel, I discovered my villain is a clotheshorse; every time you see him, he’s dressed more outlandishly. I guess it’s like real life. We can’t be grim all the time any more than we can sustain happiness. There are ups and downs in whatever we do. That’s part of the ride.
3. Eos is “the place in-between genre and form. A place dedicated to diversity and the dawn of equal representation in the arts.” What does the mean to you?
A breath of fresh air! I understand the reason people aim for a genre, and try to supply the expected. With all the books and stories out there, how do you find your audience? But genre can be a straightjacket. Worse, it can curb an artist’s creativity to “fit” into what is currently selling. People end up “writing for the market” instead of writing what’s in their hearts. I’ll never forget meeting Irish author Morgan Llywelyn. She was gobsmacked (to borrow a colloquialism) at the notion of cramming your book into a genre. “Why don’t you just let people read what they want to read?” was her honest inquiry. As an American author, I can testify how difficult it is to sell a piece that doesn’t fall neatly into some bucket or other. Once you’ve “made it”, however, like Stephen King, you can hop genre as much as you please, which just goes to show how artificial the whole thing is.
4. What do you think makes a great story? How do you think your piece Imperfect Solution fits into or varies from that description?
A great story touches your heart as well as your mind. The more aspects a work includes, the stronger it is. So if your science fiction story has great science, yay! But science fiction that includes great science and terrific action, and a mystery, and a romance, will be deeper and richer. Imperfect Solution is a war story, but I populated it with everyday pleasures and actions– a cat, a child, family and friends– and those contrasts give the story its tension.
5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?
To a writer, everything is material! Getting hit by a car, delayed at an airport, chased across a parking lot– everything goes into the story hopper. “So this is what that feels like.” It’s not to say I don’t ever just live my life or enjoy the moment, but part of me is always watching, observing, recording, so I can later attempt to recreate that moment with all the lushness it deserves.
6. Do you have anything major coming up in the near future? Ex). A new book, workshops, or an exhibit At the moment
My day job limits my writing time, alas, so I’ve been concentrating on short stories this year. I have a new one coming out in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, possibly this December. In October I was a panelist at the wonderful MileHiCon fan convention in Denver, Colorado, and this January I look forward to participating in the fun COSine Science Fiction Convention in Colorado Springs.
7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring artist, poets, and writers out there who come from diverse and or marginalized backgrounds?
Your diversity is your strength. Readers of speculative fiction want to learn about new worlds, new mindsets and different ways of doing things. That’s why I love travel; I get to meet people on their own ground living their daily lives. Their example challenges my worldview, ideally shaking it into something fresh and unfettered. To paraphrase Senior Editor Lee Harris at WorldCon this year, “We don’t need to go into space to find new worlds. Diversity allows us to discover new cultures right here on planet Earth.” As a fellow traveler in this amazing journey called life, I find that perspective a source of deep joy.