What kinds of writing do you do? What kinds of writing do you wish you did more of?
I write both Young Adult and Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. My debut novel, Crown of Ice, is a YA Fantasy, and my next two contracted books, Facsimile and its sequel, are YA SciFi.) Just to mix things up, I am currently working on an idea that is a YA contemporary with a paranormal and historical twist.
I love mysteries, so someday I’m plan to attempt something in that genre. I also hope to experiment with literary fiction. But I will continue to write Fantasy and SciFi—in fact, I have a very complex epic fantasy idea that I’ve been thinking about for many, many years. That’s one I’m definitely going to write when I feel I’m ready.
My academic background encompasses theatre, art history, music, design, library science, and liberal studies—a broad spectrum that has definitely influenced many of the themes, settings, plots, and characters in my books. However, despite the variety of subjects I’ve studied, I’ve never formerly studied creative writing. (I’ve only taken one writing course in my life). Maybe when I retire from my job as a library director I can explore writing classes. (I am a perennial student).
In what ways has life outside of academia shaped your writing?
Reading is one of the primary influences on my writing. Ever since I understood marks on paper made words, I read everything I could get my hands on. My parents were great about taking me to the library every two weeks so that I could check out another pile of books. (This was particularly lovely of them as we lived in a very rural area and they had to drive to another town to find a library). I still love to read, although I sadly don’t have the time to read seven books in seven days like I used to! I love good writing in any genre and feel that my wide-ranging reading has definitely shaped my writing.
I used to write a lot of poetry. In college, one of my poems won a state-wide contest, which surprised me as much as anyone. I’d always just written for my own enjoyment, so getting that recognition was a real bonus.
What happens when you’re not happy with your writing?
I may procrastinate a bit more than usual, in terms of sitting down to write, but I eventually just keep revising the problem passages until I feel they work.
It’s funny – I’m the only one in my family (other than my husband) who likes fantasy and science fiction, so while my mom and brothers and other extended family support my writing, they aren’t really “into” the genres I write. My husband is one of my biggest fans, though. (He is a beta reader for all my novels). I also have a great set of book club friends who have enthusiastically supported my writing journey. Crown of Ice will be one of our book club selections next year, which is both surreal and wonderful!