I write both serious and silly, science fiction and contemporary, YA and adult. I’m not indecisive, I’m just Californian.
I have a science fiction comedy novel, “The Cosmic Turkey,” and a collection of linked short stories, “Lost in Translation,” which I plan to expand into a novel. Assorted short stories are linked on my website.
What inspires you to write?
I always have stories going in my head. It was years before I discovered that wasn't true for everyone.
Sometimes the spark for a particular story will be a "weird news" item on the back page of a newspaper. Sometimes it's a historical event that I hadn't heard about before. Sometimes it's a new scientific development that makes me wonder about the consequences. I'm always looking for something new,for a story that can surprise me even though I'm the one writing it.
Tell us about your writing process.
The story starts with a lot of noodling around in my journals, scribbling down ideas, snatches of dialogue, scenes and situations. There will be a lot of pathways that lead nowhere. But eventually the story starts to fit together, I can see which pieces belong there, and I start typing a draft on my computer. If I get stuck, I stop and make a list of 20 things that could happen – or better yet, 20 things that couldn't possibly happen, and one of them will lead me to an idea that works.
When it comes to editing, I get more systematic. I make an index card for each scene, then lay them out and see if I need to change the order or add pieces. Some writers concentrate on cutting word count when they edit. I'm the opposite: my first draft is skeletal, and each subsequent draft fleshes it out.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
It's not so much that I talk to my characters; it's more that I get to eavesdrop while they talk to each other. I'll play out scenes in my head and see where they go. Sometimes I'll mumble the dialogue as I'm thinking about the scene, which gets me some funny looks when I'm out in public.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love authors who can tell a good story while making me laugh: Douglas Adams (SF), Terry Pratchett (fantasy), Janet Evanovich (mystery), and Carl Hiaasen (Florida being Florida).
On the serious side, I love authors who hit me with something unexpected, like Marge Piercy's "Woman on the Edge of Time" or David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas." Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" still gives me chills.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I don't have a lot of marketing skills, so traditional publishing was definitely my preference. I'm especially glad for that choice at this moment, when COVID-19 is limiting opportunities for conferences, bookstore appearances, and other in-person sales.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The number of publishers keeps shrinking, so I'm grateful for small publishers who are still out there taking a chance, and I'm glad that self-publishing has become an affordable option for those who want to go that route.
Regardless of how we get them, people are always going to want stories. And it's heartening to see more diversity on the shelves: more people of color, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and other voices that weren't heard enough in the past.
What genres do you write?
Science fiction, contemporary, adult, young adult, humor
What formats are your books in?
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.