What is your HE-Artist talent or skill? Please describe.
I write fiction about places and times different from our own; to date I’ve completed two novels in The Woern Chronicles (Blade of Amber, available now as an eBook, and A Wizard’s Lot, to be released Summer 2013). A blend of science fiction and fantasy, The Woern Chronicles are set in the distant future on another planet and feature the descendants of marooned spacefarers. Blade of Amber’s central protagonist is a young woman named Victoria of Ourtown, and her story is an archetypal fantasy narrative about an ordinary person whose destiny is tied to the fate of the world (think Frodo, but as a smart, arrogant teenage girl with some major self-esteem issues). Before Vic gets to save the world, she goes on a quest to rescue a charming prince from a tyrant who had once wronged her. Along the way, she meets up with a society of giant sentient insects, who infect her with the Woern—neurologic parasites that give her telekinetic powers. Thanks to my background as a medical writer, I’ve been able to put a lot of thought into the biology of the Woern. The impact these creatures have on the individuals harboring them, and on human society at large, is one of the themes of the third and fourth books in The Woern Chronicles, which are works in progress.
I’m also a science geek and an astronomy buff, and I have an intense interest in the role of women in society. I’ve weaving all these elements into another work in progress, Galileo’s Doctor, a novel following the exploits of Francesca, a young woman in the early Seventeenth Century. Working at the cusp between the Renaissance and Enlightenment, Galileo and his contemporaries invented the scientific method and began the inquiries that led eventually to the (probable) discovery of the Higgs Boson particle last year. Through Francesca’s eyes, I’m working to open a small window on the genesis of science.
Do you have a website where we can learn more?
My website is:www.knownearthworks.com
Blades of Amber is currently available for sale from Amazon. Starting in April it will be available from B&N, iTunes, Goodreads, Smashwords and other eBook outlets.
How long have you been doing this?
I wrote the story on which Blade of Amber is based during my junior year of high school. The novel has undergone a number of revisions since then.
Why did you start doing this?
Writing fiction started out as an escape for me—I wrote adventures for myself primarily as a way to keep from being bored. Since then I’ve become increasingly interested in the craft of writing and am always working to hone my narrative skills.
What makes you love doing this?
I love my characters. They all have their own lives and free will, even if their existence is entirely within my mind. I like following them around, seeing what they do in the situations I drop them into. Every once in a while they surprise me, even shock me, and I keep writing for the jolts of adrenaline and endorphins that come when that happens.
What is your current job?
I work as a freelance writer for the clinical and managed care markets specializing in chronic metabolic diseases, particularly diabetes.
How long have you been working in the field of health economics and outcomes research?
I’ve been working in this field since 1998, when I got my first job at a medical communications agency. Before that I worked as an editor in the scientific and medical publishing industry.
And now a few questions just for fun!
- What was your favorite food when you were a child?
Perhaps I shouldn’t admit it, but I loved McDonald’s hamburgers. I think I particularly liked the buns (which have a sweet flavor; they’re probably loaded with high fructose corn syrup), although there was also something about the balance of the meat, ketchup, mustard, and that pair of pickles and three or four pieces of diced onion that just knocked it out of the park for me.
- What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod or musical device?
I couldn’t name a particular song but Wilco and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are in heavy rotation. The first album I ever converted to digital was Sarah Vaughan Live at Mr. Kelly’s, which also gets played a lot.
- What sound do you love?
Cicadas, wind chimes, bird song, Sarah Vaughan’s voice, all “good” music, regardless of genre.
- If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?
I would love to throw a dinner party and invite all the smartest people I know. I’d cook penne alla melanzane and bruschetta and let the wine and talk flow.
- If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
I couldn’t name a single person. There are writers whose work I admire and I’d like to emulate (Ursula LeGuin and Margaret Atwood top that list), but I like learning from anyone who can teach me something I don’t know.
- If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?
Witnessing an atomic explosion would be a pretty powerful experience, and I can only imagine the mix of emotions I would feel. Of course we’ve all seen films of the mushroom clouds, but if I could go back and time and witness one of the test explosions in the 1950s, I would do it.
- If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
Galileo Galilei, of course! After all, I’m writing a novel featuring the guy.
- What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
The item of any kind I ever bought with my own money was probably groceries. The major purchase I made with my own money was my apartment in Manhattan. I used a small inheritance from my father for the down payment, so while the money was technically “mine,” the down payment wasn’t money I had earned. (I think I’m taking this question very literally!)