Since 1990 I have worked to improve my writing. It was always my dream to assemble enough work to publish a book. In 2012 I retired from my work as an environmental planner and six years later, I have six books published. Two are poetry books with a traditional publisher (Chapel Street Editions) and four are published independently (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform).
The two sets of books are quite different: ‘within easy reach‘ and ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge‘ are traditional poetry books. The four books in the Meniscus series are science fiction (romance/adventure). People I talk to about my writing are curious about my rather two-minded choice of writing both traditional and genre.
The answer I give is this (explaining my writing in science fiction):
- I love science fiction. Because I have been drawn so deeply into the worlds of Star Trek, Firefly and Stargate (and others), I feel I have lived both now and in the future. And now I have ‘lived’ on the planet Meniscus.
- World-building is of great interest to me. As a biologist, I have learned how connected living things are to the environments and landscapes where they live. I can bring my knowledge as a biologist to build worlds I will never see – worlds that might have a chance of ‘working’. The midlars in the Themble Woods of Meniscus are perfectly adapted to their tree-top existence.
- My interest in landscape is the result of my dual experience as a biologist and a planner. Since the first step in building my fictional worlds is drawing a map, I can locate various landforms and populate them with plants and animals that have adapted to live there. I love the landscape of Meniscus, especially the ‘entag’, a mat of vegetation that establishes itself in the air above the ground since water on Meniscus tends to ‘float’.
- In the last years of my environmental work, I became interested in community planning. To me, any story about Humans living on an alien planet would involve building a community. My story about the Slain and Odymn begins as two people travelling together, but in no time, they are joined by others. I loved telling the story about their first settlement together (my upcoming book Meniscus: The Village at Themble Hill).
- As I learned about planning communities, my environmental background pushed me in the direction of sustainable communities. For this reason, I think a lot about where people get their food. My characters in Meniscus are always food-gathering. Odymn is particularly good at foraging and discovering new sources of food. And she teaches others what she knows.
Are there any similarities between my science fiction books and my traditional poetry books? Certainly. The themes of biology, landscape and sustainability are in both. My poetry book ‘within easy reach’ is all about finding and gathering wild plants as food. My book ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’ is about how the communities we build interact with the environment.
And Odymn carries a copy of my book ‘within easy reach’ with her, way up there on Meniscus!
I hope my books about life on Meniscus will help my readers pay better attention to their own existence here in Earth!!! Where does your food really come from????