I love books. I especially love epic fantasy books. I love reading them and I love writing them. I forgot how much I loved writing them when I started full-time work. The netbook I bought in 2011 was the best purchase since the oilskin that kept me dry through a two hour performance of the Military Tattoo in rainy Edinburgh. It helped me rediscover my love of writing. I went from writing less than three hours a month to three hours a day, at least five days a week. In six weeks, I completed a first edit of Deathhawk’s Betrayal, which I’d finished two years earlier.
My love of reading started with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew at eight and progressed to epic fantasy by ten, when I stole Castle of Wizardry (by David Eddings) from Dad while he was reading it. He didn’t get it back until I finished it, and I beat him to the next book as well.
By eleven I was reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. I had started to figure out that maybe I could do this writing thing…. Not long after that, Dad figured out that he didn’t need to buy books anymore, as it was easier to borrow them from me.
Well, now I know a bit about you as a reader and a writer, I hear you thinking, but what about you, as a person? Tell me the interesting stuff.
Well, what is the interesting stuff?
I’m not very good at talking about myself. I think it’s terribly immodest. I don’t know where I got that attitude, but it has stuck with me. Possibly this is one of the ghosts of my childhood that has unwittingly haunted me through to adulthood. I was the quintessential nerd. Talking about my achievements was not going to improve my popularity at school, and I had precious little of it to start with.
I could tell you that I am honest, loyal, determined, strong-willed and passionate, and you might think wonderful things about me. I could tell you that I am intolerant, short-tempered, obnoxious, opinionated and judgemental, and you might think terrible things of me. Or I could tell you I am both, and then you might not know what to think. But do these words really paint a person? At best, it’s a line drawing, with blank areas waiting to be filled in. You can’t get a real concept of a person from them. The best way you can learn about me is from observation, in which case you can follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook Page, and read my blog. As the advice to writers always goes, ‘show don’t tell’.
In the words of others (and I will stretch my distaste of immodesty far enough to say I would not have included this if I didn’t agree with it):
• My oldest and closest friends describe me as tactless (I think they mean honest...), stubborn, loyal, passionate, quirky, strong-willed, confident, trustworthy, determined, and ‘bent on world domination’ (Um... thanks. What can I say in rebuttal? The world would not like me as dictator!).
• My absolute oldest friend says I’m a great friend – ‘A good friend will help you move, a great friend will help you move a body.’
• My colleagues describe me as ‘someone who just makes things happen', 'the brains trust' and the 'work horse';
• A friend used this quote from the Big Bang Theory to describe me - Sheldon: Penny, why are you crying? Penny: Because I am stupid. Sheldon: That doesn't make sense. People cry because they are sad. For example, I cry because other people are stupid and this makes me sad.
• My boss of eight years describes me as 'larger than life' and 'if I didn't know you I wouldn't believe you could exist';
• After a first meeting, people who don’t know me describe me as ‘...interesting’. It would be nice to think they are speechless in the face of my brilliance, but it’s probably just shock. My favourite quotes are:
• 'I have loved to the point of madness; that which is called madness, to me, is the only way to love.' - Anon
• 'Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.' - Dr Seuss
• 'May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.' - Mal Reynolds 'Firefly'
• You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. - Ray Bradbury
My favourite authors include Terry Goodkind, Anne McCaffrey, Diana Gabaldon, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks.
I love Stargate (SG-1, SGA and SGU), Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Supernatural.