Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed for Issue 3 of AHF Magazine (Alternate History Fiction).
How long have you been writing?
I was seven when I used my parents’ electric typewriter to write a two-page portal fantasy involving a magic mirror. In college, I wrote a hideously stereotypical play about a gay painter, I started a novel about a rhinoceros prince who doesn’t want to inherit the throne, and I wrote many, many poems. There was a decade-long hiatus until 2013 when I started writing what became the Resonant Earth series.
What is the earliest work of yours that you have published or intend to publish?
There’s a poem called “Modern Love” still lurking on the Internet that was published in 1999 back when web search was new, before smartphones and social media. Literary magazines associated with San Francisco State University published several of my poems. At some point, I may revisit the rhinoceros prince story.
Who were the earliest authors to be an inspiration for your writing?
Lewis Carroll, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Anne McCaffrey were all early favorites. In my teens, I couldn’t get enough of Stephen King, Clive Barker, as well as the “golden age of sci-fi” canon, including Isaac Asimov, E. E. “Doc” Smith, and Arthur C. Clarke.
Which other authors do you consider to be an inspiration and for what reason?
Kim Stanley Robinson shapes exquisitely detailed worlds and populates them with characters that aren’t cardboard cutouts; they feel real, mysterious, and complicated like real people. Each of his books has had a lasting effect on me. Because of his works, I’m not content to write a cookie-cutter, paint-by-numbers kind of story. It has to challenge me and it has to challenge the reader, while still being enjoyable.
Are you inspired by any landscapes or buildings, or even towns and cities?
I spend a lot of time imagining and thinking about the built environment my characters inhabit and how they experience the natural world. I went so far as to create simulated cities of the major locales; some even made their way into the books as prefatory maps.
This map blends a USGS topology file, a screencap from Cities: Skylines (a city simulator), and original artwork and typesetting.
Which was the first book you published and why?
Writing Broken Mirror helped me grapple with the tragedies of how mental illness and addiction play out in our society. My cousin suffered from schizophrenia and died in an institution. So many people I went to school with saw their lives cut short or wasted. I wanted to uncover my own feelings and beliefs, especially a sort of countervailing thread about the medicalization of neurodiversity, through the course of the novel.