What is your favorite color? Blue. The deep blue at the top of a clear July sky filled only with darting molecules.
What is your favorite food? Sweet cheese or maybe whipped cream. Ah, it could be doughnuts.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world? There are three. One is the creek that runs through the farm where I lived for eight years a long time ago. Awakening from a nap in the shade of a clump of sycamore growing on the creek bank, my thoughts and feelings were only about my surroundings. Another is the ruined tower of the abandoned Meteor Crater Trading Post on old Highway 66. From there the wind whispers quiet mysteries as it travels sixty miles across the Painted Desert, over the Rincon Plateau, and around the old volcanos until it reaches Second Mesa. The third is the community center in Wycliff District. Standing guard on White Cliff, spending evenings in the tavern, I would live there forever.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I have deep sympathy for wild animals. They live with uncertain futures for food and family and have no guarantees.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Girls inspired me to write. I wrote about them, and I wrote to them. I was very sentimental. Occasionally they wrote back, but they all broke my heart.
What do you consider most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? The hardest thing is to relax and let the ideas fall on the page. Too often, concerns for grammar, precision, and originality get in the way. Then everything is stiff and dull.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? Being a first novel, it taught me a great deal. I began by creating the backstory and a few bits of dialog. Then I started reading about writing. I read the advice of hundreds of writers. For the first year, I tried to keep track of all their names, but there were too many. I studied several textbooks. I tried and retried different techniques. Now I need lots more practice. I hope my readers forgive me for my fumbling beginning. I will improve.
Do you intend to make writing a career? Writing is my career. After achieving my childhood goals to become a scientist and a business entrepreneur, I believed I was finished. Then the idea for the world of the Tsaeb came along. My boyhood enthusiasm returned and I became eager for new discoveries. I realize now that writing was always part of my activities. It didn’t take center stage because I had other goals: solving research puzzles and expanding a business. Now my main goal is to write well.
Have you developed a specific writing style? No. There are glimmers, but nothing yet.
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Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG