THE WRITE STUFF
Ask some authors why they write, and they say “because I have to.” Or, “because I must.” Some authors have told me they don’t even like writing that much—they do it because something compels them to do so. Me, I write because I love telling stories. I’ve always told stories—some would call them lies—even if I didn’t write them down. Still, writing was a hidden passion for me. I wrote off and on, not taking it seriously. I was going to be a musician. But that didn’t work out, and I went on to other things. Not writing, though. It wasn’t until 2001, when I fell ill for about a month, that I discovered just what writing meant to me. I’ve never looked back.
And I love the act of writing. There’s something about seeing the words spill onto the page that’s just thrilling for me. It’s like seeing one’s ideas come to life. Creating and fleshing out characters—they become real people to me, not just words on a page. They become my friends. Even the bad guys. When I have to kill a character for the story, I mourn. Consequently, not many characters in my stories die. Of course, that makes it easier to write sequels, if the story demands it.
Writing is my “go-to” activity. When I’m feeling happy, I write. When I’m feeling sad, I write. That goes for anger, boredom, and just about everything else. It’s quite cathartic. Sometimes those little pieces become a story. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I show them to others. Sometimes I don’t. But whatever they become, and whether I show them or not, they are glimpses of the real me, not the façade I show the world. My writing style, as it has developed over the years, is somewhat melodic. Maybe it’s because I’m a musician. Spoken language is like music to me. Have you ever listened to someone else’s conversation, not eavesdropping, but just listened to the tone of their voices, the cadences and rhythms of their speech? I do that all the time. And, as I’ve been told, I write like that. The choice of words, the way they seem to flow together—cursing his Caprice, for example—it’s sort of like writing a symphony. Someone once asked me what I would do if I couldn’t write. If I couldn’t write with my hands, I’d write with my toes. If I couldn’t do that, I could always dictate—the software programs that translate speech to text have improved a great deal over the years. If I couldn’t speak, I’d probably find some way to hook something up to my brain and let the words spill out that way. But if I couldn’t do that—I’m not sure what I’d do. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
In the world-building spirit of Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. LeGuin, The Moreva of Astoreth is a blend of science fiction, romance, and adventure in a unique, richly imagined imperialistic society in which gods and science are indelibly intertwined. It is the story of priestess, scientist and healer Moreva Tehi, the headstrong granddaughter of a powerful deity who is banished for a year from her beloved desert home to a volatile far northern corner of Peris for neglecting to perform her sacred duties, only to venture into dangerous realms of banned experimentation, spiritual rebirth, and fervent, forbidden love.
I’ve been a fugitive from reality since forever. As a child, I constantly made up stories—some would call them lies—about my family, friends, neighbors and even strangers on the street. I had friends that only I could see. Oh, the adventures we had!
Learning to read was a revelation. Words fascinated me. Whole new worlds opened up, and since my parents forbade nothing, I read everything. Some of it I didn’t quite understand, but I didn’t mind. I read it anyway. I even read the dictionary. When I was a little older, I was big on mysteries–English cozy mysteries, like Agatha Christie, were my favorites. Then I graduated to horror. Whenever a new book came out by Stephen King, Peter Straub or Dean Koontz, I was first in line. I was reading a little science fiction at this time—Robert Heinlein and authors like him—but I really didn’t get into it until I was in college. The same with fantasy. I really got into high fantasy—Lord of the Rings style—at that time.
All the while, I was still making up stories, but not writing them down. They were private. Besides, I thought my family and friends would laugh at me, chide me for wasting my time. The only story I recall actually writing was one that won a contest when I was in elementary school. No one laughed, but no one encouraged me, either.
So anyway, life goes on. I went to law school. After I graduated and entered the workforce, I finally started writing down my stories. I wrote a bit here and there, short stories that never saw the light of day (which was probably a good thing). Then I fell ill. I was out of the office for a month. Bored out of my skull, I started writing a piece of fan fiction, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. Upon my recovery, I showed it to a friend of mine who encouraged me to finish the story. All right—she browbeat me until I succumbed.
Well, that piece of fan fiction fell by the wayside, but in its place came a manuscript that would eventually become my first book, The Underground. I absolutely adored writing it. I absolutely adore writing, period. Slipping into that alternate reality for hours on end, there was a time in my life when it was called daydreaming and I got into trouble for it. Now it’s legitimate. And that’s the best part of all.