You have a penned a plethora of published short stories and have authored more than several books with two up and coming this year including, Twelve Clockwork Angels and A Cavern Ripe with Dreams. Can you give us a sneak peek as to what to expect?
Right now, I’m finishing up a rewrite of a novel that is the first of a fantasy trilogy set in the fantasy city I have written a number of short stories in, Tabat. This year, I have stories coming out in a number of anthologies, including Beyond the Sun, Glitter and Mayhem, and By Faerie Light, as well as several in magazines, like Daily Science Fiction.
As a former tarot card reader, is the occult something you dabble with frequently, and does it help spark creative thought for your stories?
I use tarot cards mainly as a meditative device. I tend not to be particularly superstitious, but I do believe that I am part of a larger organism, the universe, and so I try to listen for any signals it might be sending me, particularly any interesting story ideas. Most professional fortune-telling seems pretty scam like to me.
I understand you travel alot. With numerous events you plan to attend in the upcoming year across the country and overseas, do you carry a lucky talisman to keep bad vibes away while you’re not at home in the Pacific Northwest?
I usually have a small stuffed animal to keep me company. I don’t know that it’s particularly lucky, but it gives me someone to talk to when alone in the hotel room.
Amongst journalism, book reviewing and editing, game writing is also another talent of yours. Will there be any new and exciting games about to debut soon?
My husband, who is a software developer, and I have talked about several possible mobile games. However, that’s on the back burner right now while I finish up this novel.
Blogging has become very popular over the past few years and I have also noted that you are an active blogger yourself. Wearing so many different hats must take up most of your free time. What do you do to help you prioritize and organize, and what helps you wind down to recharge your batteries?
I tried to track my time. In the class on creating an online presence for writers that I teach, prioritizing and tracking time are two of the ways that I suggest in order to avoid spending all one’s time on social media. One of the problems of being a writer is the constant daily illusion of requests for blurbs, assistance with volunteer projects, advice, etc. I have, written on my office whiteboard, “it’s okay to say no.” That is pretty important.
As far as recharging goes, I try to walk four or five miles each day. I also work in my mother’s garden. Gardening reminds me to slow down and let things continue at their own pace. You can’t hurry growth.
Teaching online classes about publishing, editing and book reviewing must be rewarding. Have you received any recent praise from your students, and do you have any tips to keep focused?
I get really nice notes from students all the time, but a lot of the validation for the classes comes in the form of student success. I’m sharing a table of contents with former students in several upcoming projects, and that pleases me enormously. I asked students to mail me their success stories, and I love hearing about them. I’ve had a student accepted to Clarion West for the last two years, and I expect great things from both of them.
Staying focused is a perennial problem for me. Lists are a good way to manage it, as long as they don’t have so many items on them that you feel as though you are drowning in a sea of work items. In the latter case I’ve learned to go through and jettison the really unimportant items.
One of your most current works, Near and Far features short stories, some in the near future and some in the far future. In your opinion, how close do you think the 21st century has evolved towards creating advanced inventions and technology, as to what we believed would or wouldn’t occur years ago?
I am constantly amazed by new advances in science. It seems to me speculative fiction writers are good at extrapolating future technology, but the really good ones figure out how society will change in reaction to that technology. Take the Internet, for example, or mobile devices. I think the technology was anticipated, but not many of us realized what it might do to dinner conversation. I was at a restaurant the other day where everyone at the table was checking their phone. I don’t think anyone realized how ubiquitous that behavior would become.
Thank you again for your time. I wish you lots of luck and continued success!
Interview by Jaime Geraldi