I’m going to be starting a new series of guest blog posts in September, so I thought I should have a go as answering the questions I’m going to be asking my speculative fiction-writer victims.
Tell us your biography and background in three sentences or fewer.
As an only child living in a small Yorkshire village with no kids my own age I was a voracious reader of (firstly) pony stories then fantasy and science fiction courtesy of all the Gollancz yellow jackets in the local travelling library. I went to college in Leeds and started out my working life as a librarian, though I’ve also been a postmistress, a rag-doll maker and a full-time folksinger. I still live in Yorkshire – in a different small village – with my songwriter husband, a bonkers German Shepherd dog and too many books – no scrub that last bit – there’s no such thing as too many books.
How and when did you begin writing, and what was your first published piece?
It seems as though I’ve always written, but for many years I wouldn’t let anyone read what I wrote. I started seriously considering publication in the mid 90s, about the time home computer technology eliminated the need for being an accurate typist. I wrote two novels before trying my hand at short stories. My first short story sale was: The Jewel of Locaria to a mass-market paperback anthology called Warrior Princesses, edited by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and published by DAW in the USA.
I think most writers write what they’d like to read themselves. I became hooked on science fiction and fantasy when I was twelve and bought a copy of John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids from the school book club. Until then I’d mostly read pony stories. Speculative fiction is boundless. I write both in the distant past and in the far future, in worlds that are our own with a few basic differences, and some that are most definitely not. I’ve never had any interest in reading about the present day. I read for escapism, and probably that’s why I write escapist literature, too.
Tell us about your most recent publication or current writing project
My second novel, Crossways, a space opera, is just out from DAW in the USA. It’s pure coincidence that I ended up being published by the same publisher that published my first short story, but I’m absolutely delighted to be a DAWthor. I started out with a three book deal and have just signed a second deal for two books. Empire of Dust was my first. Crossways is the sequel. Both of those are science fiction in the far future Psi-Tech series. My third book to be published will be a historical fantasy called Winterwood. That’s due in February 2016, but it’s already finished.
My next contract with DAW covers the third Psi-Tech book, Nimbus, and a sequel to Winterwood, called Silverwolf. I also have other novel projects that I’m keen to see published, including a historical fantasy set in a country not totally unlike the Baltic states in around 1650 and two more books which fit into the Psi-Tech universe around a thousand years after Empire of Dust, Crossways and Nimbus.