I’m dyslexic and dysgraphic. I was told that whatever I did in life, the last thing I should do is write. But I can tell stories. Turns out dyslexics and dysgraphics are great at storytelling. So I did what everyone told me not to do, because word processing, grammar and spellcheck exist. Thanks, technology.
I wanted to be a triple-threat while growing up. Because I was dyslexic, but wanted to be involved in storytelling, I thought I’d grow up to be an actress/dancer/singer on stage, otherwise known as a triple-threat. But I met George Lucas as a teen and he told me I was smart enough to go to college, be behind the camera and tell stories. That changed everything. My first careers were as a Hollywood executive, and television writer.
I’m a worrier. I like to be prepared and don’t appreciate surprises. Just ask my family. That’s why I write science fiction: so I can figure out what might happen and let everyone else know, so they’re prepared, too.
I’m a research freak. Google is the third lobe of my brain and I have a sizable non-fiction library. All the future technology and historical references are true. All the stuff that happened and will happen is weirder than you think.
There’s a lot of Tuckerizing in my books. I use my friends’ names all the time. I made one of my oldest friends first mate on a hospital ship. Our kids’ college counselor is a brilliant artificial intelligence scientist. And the hero of my books was the bravest kid I knew in elementary school. Hi, Peter!
Sometimes I’m afraid to tell stories, because they come true. The funniest “I say it here, it comes out there” was writing the first caesarean section in an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, where Xena helps Ephiny birth her baby centaur. A few months later, after 30 hours of labor with my eldest, I’m wheeled in for an emergency caesarean section and muttering to my husband the entire time, “I’m never writing about this again, I’m never writing about this again, I’m never writing about this again…” The medical team thought I was hallucinating.
My family is my secret weapon. My father was a life-long science fiction fan and fed me books as fast as I could read them. At five, he started me with The Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum, and raised me on his heroes: Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, LeGuin, Sturgeon and many others. My husband and kids love and support me in whatever I want to do. They read drafts, cheerlead, inspire, prod me into thinking bigger by asking great questions, and comfort me when things get tough. I know how lucky I am.
I chose to do my Master’s degree in children’s literature because I was a high school teacher and thought that I would find my writing niche producing books for young adults. I did write some of those but they were never quite right. I only found my true writing niche after having children because of the permanent state of anxiety I existed in-I’m much better now because they are grown up (please ignore the vigorous shaking of heads going on in my house right now). Young children with temperatures are scary and all children get temperatures at some point. Long nights waiting to check and recheck a child’s temperature again are very good for plot development, especially when you write novels about families in crisis and lives that change in an instant...