Noms de Plume: None
Key Book Titles: Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls; Chronomaster; Smoke and Mirrors; Lord Demon (with Roger Zelazny); The Buried Pyramid, The Firekeeper Saga
Years in New Mexico: 13
What is it about New Mexico that keeps you here?
I like the variation. I like the fact that you have high-tech and primitive cultures living side by side. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m married to an archaeologist, and I also get to see and appreciate a guided tour of some of the history that’s around here. It’s made me deeply attached to the area.
Why are there so many SF writers in New Mexico?
I think it’s a combination of coincidence as well as a supportive mutual community. I moved out here because I was seeing a SF writer who lived in the area. After his death, I stayed because there was a writer’s community, people with whom I could talk shop. My best friend lives in South Carolina. For him, if he wants to talk shop, he’s got to make a long-distance phone call to me. But here in New Mexico, we’ve got an active and vital community, and I think that holds us.
How do you approach SF?
I approach it like any good writer would approach any topic. I research background, I think hard about the variations I’m going to make in what you might call the “consensus reality that we all share,” and then I carry it forward into my story--so that whether I am writing a SF story or a fantasy story, I’m creating a solidly grounded alternate reality, not one that’s just frivolous and colorful because it sounds like fun at the moment.
What is the state of publishing for SF writers?
What are you working on?
I am working on the first volume in a series I’ve sold to Tor. The series title is “Breaking the Wall,” and the title of the first book is Thirteen Orphans. It’s a contemporary fantasy that’s going to slide over into an imaginary world fantasy. The basic background is materials I’ve found in Chinese history and mythology, combined with some odd thought I had when I was first taught how to play mahjong.
When will they be out?
First book out next fall.
Who inspired you to become a SF writer?
Nobody. I’ve always been a storyteller. I’m the oldest of four children, and I think I told my first stories when I would wake up in the morning and tell my little sister what I’d dreamed the night before. It’s always been something I’ve loved.
Do you have a favorite author?
No. I’ve always enjoyed mythology, history, folklore, biography. I love SF and fantasy too, and there are authors whose work I love; but none of them were what inspired me to become a writer.
What really happened in Roswell?
No idea. Absolutely none. I am so underwhelmed by that whole thing I have no opinions.