One Word at a Time

Looking over this jacket2site again, I realized that it is in desperate need of some updating. As you probably well know, I’m in the process of writing my first novel, Suzie’s Nightmare. I’m pulling a great deal from my childhood into that piece, more than I expected to really. Now that I’m nearing the end of the whole process, I’m realizing how much it helped me remember things I’d forgotten for some time. Things I’ve experienced that kind of spill over into the worlds I create and onto the pages I fill. So I decided that if this was that important to me, it probably was important to my readers too. So here goes.

The Natural World

Overall I think I had a pretty average childhood, growing up in what was at the time a fairly rural Georgia city. The outdoors were where I most frequently found myself, and much of my memory of those years involves being outside. Whether it was cheerful or depressing, those moments were some of the clearest visions I had from my youth. But I moved away from that world – I grew up, went to a high tech university, and found myself getting lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, forgetting things and places that had been so dear to me in the past. 

Today I write code for a living. A gigantic leap from the timid tom girl I’d once been, creating adventures within my own woodland world. Having had time to reflect on that change has given me a bit more perspective on that time in my life, and has given me more courage to write on worlds inspired by those towering pines and still summer lakes. So you’ll find that the natural world in one way or another has a major impact on the stories I write. Typically some of my more horrific stuff are things that comes from the woods, that dark unexplored jungle, or that overgrown shack. I think it’s good to be reminded where you came from.

My Nerdy Lifestyle

When I first learned about coding (or programming), I admit I was rather intimidated by it. In one view it could be quite simple, and in another it could become mind bogglingly complex. I floundered quite a bit when just learning the basics and the technical jargon required for understanding the higher level concepts. Then I learned what all you could do with programming. Create websites, streamline information, eliminate paper waste, and make peoples lives so much easier. And although website creation and programming don’t necessarily make a show in my pieces, I do love to explore what could be. My cognitive science courses was where we tested the boundaries of artificial intelligence and true intelligence, and became the breeding ground of much of the science fiction ideas I love.

In addition to that, I find that Ted Talks and HowStufWorks.com’s Tech Stuff, conversations based on real life technology, discuss how they might be used one day – and even how they will be used in the near future. What better inspiration for a fascinating science fiction piece than real life science breakthroughs?

The Creepy Side

This discussion wouldn’t be complete without me mentioning my fascination with horror. I’ve had a long-standing love of werewolves and were-creatures in general. Films like In the Company of Wolves and American Werewolf in London are just a couple of my favorites. Growing up with two sisters and a mother who all adored horror, I was easily frightened, but found myself eager to be told about a particular tale or going to watch some horrific movie. Yes, I covered my eyes and yes, I still peeked through to see what was happening. I’ve grown to appreciate horror more over time and to obtain a love of it all my own. These days I’m trying my hand at transforming all those numerous things that kept me awake at night into new pieces that can help keep others awake at night as well. Sharing the inspiration so to speak as so many horror writers do.

Inspirations

Cherie Priest: Perhaps best known for her steampunk novels, I’ve followed her blog for quite some time. Reading her guides on Things I’ve Learned Since My First Book Got Published and How to Talk to Strangers, she really got me inspired to try writing on my own. She made me feel like it was an achievable goal instead of just a floating pie in the sky. Definitely an inspiration for me.

Stephen King: What? You mean you haven’t read his book On Writing yet? When I mentioned to my sister that I was interested in writing, she firmly placed this book in my hands and told me it was the best of the writing books around. Later she admitted that everything I’d read after that wouldn’t be nearly as good, and that she felt bad starting me off with such a great piece. If ever I’m feeling like I’m not motivated to write or not sure what to write about, I just flip through to some of his tales about working in a laundry factory, or selling copies of his stories in a school newspaper, or finding out that his novel Carrie was picked up. Those are sure-fire ways to get your fingers typing, at least that’s been my experience.

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