The Short:I grew up reading an eclectic mix of Michael Crichton, Ray Bradbury, and Orson Scott Card. Crichton taught me how to write twisted plots and gave me a taste for suspense and goosebumps. Bradbury taught me the beauty of language and that prose can be gorgeous without turning purple. Card showed me the heart and longings of real characters, and turned my spirit toward fiction that is deep, gritty, and unafraid to dig into the depths of the human soul.
That mix makes up most of the speculative fiction I write.
The Full Story:A Southern California native, I began to write stories when I was twelve, the same year I read my first thrilling Crichton book, Jurassic Park. Fast forward ten years--it was my senior year of college, and I was given a creative writing assignment. That project utterly rekindled my love for writing.
At first, I never imagined writing novels. Short stories were my thing, a la one of my biggest inspirations, Ray Bradbury, who was a prolific short story writer. I was also reading a lot of old Hugo and Nebula award winning short story anthologies. Those served to fuel my love for the speculative genres of science fiction and fantasy.
With more than a dozen short stories under my belt, I ran across a man named Mike Lynch who I would eventually co-write two novels with. We both had this inherited desire to break into the religious fiction market. Specifically, the Christian fiction market, but we ran into a problem. It seemed that particular market had very little taste for science fiction or fantasy, and on top of that, a puritanical rulebook of do's and don'ts. Mike and I wrote two novels trying to break into that world, the first was American Midnight, the second was After the Cross. Neither were science fiction or fantasy since we knew that genre would severely limit our chances of breaking in. Midnight was a coming of age political piece, Cross was an archeological adventure. They were fun to write, but ultimately, they weren't what I wanted to write. I didn't want to write for a narrow religious audience either, and ultimately I wanted out of the ghetto where story could transcend boundaries and reach to the core of our common humanness. Our questions, our pains, and our hungers.
So here I am, with a couple dozen short stories, most still unpublished, and working on a novel that I'm crazy about. It's nice to be back, writing the kind of stories I love. Science fiction and fantasy with soul.