I graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Communications and left formal education behind.
Actually, after while, finding the ideas is the easy part. Sorting them through and turning them into stories, now, that's the hard work.
I have to do more close research and fact checking for the science fiction. This is not however to say that writing good fantasy does not involve doing good research.
I did not feel I could create a more beautiful or interesting Mars than Kim Stanley Robinson or Greg Bear had, so I turned my attention elsewhere.
Fortunately, many people also enjoy a stand-alone as a sample of something new, like trying the special at a favourite restaurant one night instead of going for the usual.
I have a better internal and intuitive understanding of folklore and myth than science and technology, so in that way fantasy is easier.
I think people enjoy a series. When you like a story, many readers want more of the same, which is dandy, if the author and the characters have more to say.
I suppose if I was to have to pick a few, Ursula LeGuin would have to top the list. It was while reading her work that I decided I wanted to be an author.
I think the diversity of authors and readers is expanding, which is wonderful, because it means the type of story being told is also expanding.
First and foremost, The Quiet Invasion is a first contact story. What would we do if we actually found evidence of alien life out there? It's also about politics.
Fantasy is, of course, booming, and I think it's beginning to stretch its range as well.
For an author to show that only traditional male power and place matter is to discount and belittle the hard and complex lives of our peers and our ancestresses.
When I'm not at the keyboard, I'm generally reading, practicing tai chi or middle eastern dance, or cooking.
As far as the writing goes, I started telling stories as soon as I could talk, and started writing them down as soon as I could string words together.
All of this got me thinking about the history of the westward expansion, and got me to wondering how the exploration of the Solar System would be changed if there were an indigenous presence out there.
I describe my plots as follows; A character is walking down the street when all of a sudden a piano falls on them. They spend the rest of the story digging out from under that piano. How they dig, how long and how well, this all depends entirely on the character.
So, one of the things I was doing with the aliens in The Quiet Invasion was creating that advanced society which had ideas about morality and proper use of natural resources that were radically different from ours, as the Europeans were from the American Indians.
My joking answer to this question is that I leave a bowl of milk out on the back porch every night for the Idea Fairy. In the morning, the milk is gone and there's a brand-new shiny idea by the bowl.
Now, Venus is an extremely hostile environment, and as such presents a lot of challenges for a science fiction author who wants to create life there. However, as I began to research it more thoroughly, I found myself intrigued by the possibilities the world offers.
If I get blocked, it is generally because I don't know enough about some aspect of the story or the characters. The answer for this is generally more research, or making more background notes, so the place and person can be more fully realized inside my own mind.
I feel SF is going through an experimental phase right now.
I myself was born in Sacramento, California in 1966.
When I was in college, I spent a summer working in London. I'd enjoyed tea before that, but then I got actual, really good tea there and never looked back.
The Lord of the Rings movie set an entirely new standard for fantasy in the movies.
Now, of course, the great thing about the solar system as a frontier is that there are no Indians, so you can have all the glory of the myth of the American westward expansion without any of the guilt.
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