Race in Hollywood, nonfiction, Issue 29, December 1, 2014
Women in Science Fiction, nonfiction, Issue 30, March 1, 2015
When did you start writing? I started writing my senior year in high school, but didn’t start taking it seriously until right after college.
When and what and where did you first get published? That was so long ago I don’t remember for sure anymore. It was probably an article about the Taoist influence on Chinese military strategy and martial arts for Black Belt Magazine back around 2000. I also have a book length treatment of the topic for download on Kindle.
What themes do you like to write about? Finding love in the face of evil. At least that is the most common plot. The emphasis between the finding and the fighting varies. Usually a better understanding of the universe also comes about, at least as I understand it.
What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? I suppose Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, Donaldson’s first two Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged grabbed me the most when I was young and impressionable. I’ve never lost either Asimov’s view of humanity as quantifiable nor Rand’s individualism, nor their mutual elevation of intelligence to a heroic quality. I wasn’t happy as a kid so I could feel the pain of Donaldson’s characters, and found some hope for love in Austen’s, since she is the only romance writer with male characters I can identify with.
Their influence on my work is a logical result of their influence upon me, not a direct attempt to use them to shape my novels.
I graduated from Grinnell College with a BA in History, graduated from the Odyssey Writers’ Workshop in 1999, spent five years in the Portland, OR, poetry scene, and then nine years teaching ESL in China, more than half that time teaching composition and debate at Nanjing University.