I’m a millennial with four kids, a fervid imagination, and a love affair with imaginary worlds.
My early influences were Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Catholic Church. As I got older, I got into Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, and Isaac Asimov. And then into a cult, at which point I had to give up all books and music for awhile. But did you know that you can simply go to imaginary worlds in your mind if you really need to? Sometimes I really needed to, and they were there for me.
When I was fourteen I left home for a strict religious boarding school, by my own choice. (Can I just say how much it annoys me how many books there are about boarding schools written by people who have never even seen one?) When I washed out of that after two years of intense psychological abuse, I coped mostly by writing. I wrote my first “serious” novel that year, though it wasn’t very good.
I went to a strict religious college (see a pattern?) and taught for a few years in Catholic schools. I married my college sweetheart, started having kids, and dreamed of living like it was the Middle Ages. But slowly, I guess you would say the modern world got to me. I got a lot more liberal politically, decided women could and should be equal to men, and finally left religion altogether, to the disappointment of almost everyone I knew.
Stuff I like to write about includes history (especially medieval), science, magic, family, duty, religion, discovery, feminism, and the human spirit breaking out of the different prisons people devise for it. I don’t like my work to be preachy, but all of these things are part of the human (or, sometimes, the alien or dragon) experience.
Favorite authors these days are Terry Pratchett, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Timothy Zahn. I like worlds that are fully built, with vistas just over the horizon that you know are there but can’t fully explore; characters who are real and three-dimensional, who are allowed to really fail and fail hard; and speculative premises that make you consider things you never thought before.
Finding time to write with kids is quite a challenge. It helps to daydream my stories all day so that when I finally get a chance to write, I can sit down and just let the words out. Sometimes my oldest, who is autistic, likes to sit on my lap and read the words as they appear on the page. He’s my biggest fan, though he thinks I should stick to fantasy only because science fiction has no dragons.
Why do I do it? Well, because I love the worlds I have created and the characters I’ve peopled them with, and I want to invite others in to enjoy them. And I hope you do.