Thanks for stopping by my website, and for taking time to read my Bio page. Instead of diving right into the usual Author Bio stuff, I’d like to talk a little about four concepts that are important to me, things that shape and inform the stories I write.
- Everyone has a story.
- People can change.
- Families are complicated.
- The past matters.
Everyone has a story.
I believe a reader should come away from a story feeling that every character is living a full and complex life just beyond our view. Every character–not just the hero of a multi-book series, but also the second banana who dies midway through book one and the tavern wench who’s “onstage” for less than five minutes. That girl is a real person, someone who goes home after a long day’s work to feed her cat and treasure her dreams. If you don’t get that impression, I haven’t done my job.
Perhaps a character has a small role in this particular story, but he’s still the center of his own story. That’s something I try to keep firmly in mind, IRL as well as in fiction.
People can change.
One of the most compelling aspects of any story is character arc–how people change and grow through the experiences they have and the choices they make. I not only believe that people can change, I believe that we do it all the time.
Every choice has the potential to become a habit, every habit defines our character and shapes our potential. Thanks to three years of studying what happens “under the hood” during habit acquisition, I’ve come to realize that concepts such as “talent” and “intelligence” have more to do with habits than genetics.
Families are complicated.
We all have odd twists, turns, and dead ends in our family pathways. Fiction gives us a way to explore how people deal with the complexities of human relationships. Several of my stories deal with father-daughter relationships. Oftentimes the daughter, for one reason or another, grows up alone. When she meets her father as an adult, they’re strangers, and they seldom see eye to eye.
My fantasy characters have tangible reasons for this estrangement. Arilyn’s parents were kept apart by a magic sword and a vengeful elven queen. Bronwyn was captured as a child and sold into slavery while her paladin father was out doing paladin things. Liriel’s father killed her mother–the only way he could “gain custody” in the matriarchal dark elf society–then promptly dumped her into foster care. Tsigone grew up on the streets of Halruaa, not knowing that her father was the wizard king and that she, by extension, was the world’s most unlikely princess. And so on.
For most of us, the circumstances aren’t quite so dramatic, but everyone, from time to time, knows what it’s like to feel alone in the midst of people who supposedly know you best. Everyone who enters adulthood with living parents experiences the weird process of 1) starting to see your parents as not just parents but people, 2) realizing these people are strangers to you, and 3) learning to reconcile childhood memories with adult realities.
The past matters.
My characters are likely to be bards, people who know the power in old songs and tales and who find answers to present challenges in ancient lore. That’s partly because I’m a history geek with a music degree and a lifelong fascination with folklore and mythology. But fundamentally, I believe a knowledge of the past is not an esoteric indulgence, but a practical necessity. History tells us what succeeded and what didn’t. It helps us avoid repeating mistakes. It shows us where we’ve been, how we got here, and where we’re going. It helps you understand who you are and why you think and believe what you do. It gives you a sense of roots, and adds depths and resonance to the present moment.
Those are a few of the things I consider important, which probably tells you a lot more about me–and definitely gives you a better idea of what you’ll find in my stories–than you’d get from a conventional Author Bio.
But, hey–let’s cover all the bases.
I’ve been married to my long-suffering high school sweetheart for over three decades. We have two adult sons, one of whom is married to the World’s Nicest Person. We live in coastal Rhode Island and spend a great deal of time hiking various New England trails. We’re avid board gamers and play several times a week. I sing with the Providence Singers, a chorus affiliated with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and occasionally play the celtic harp.