1. What am I working on now, or just finished?
I published Back to the Garden in late 2013 (the e-book came out a year earlier but was majorly updated). I’m currently writing another novel tentatively titled Up the River. Though not cli-fi, it is environmental and deals with a small town’s reaction to a pipeline spill that reaches their drinking aquifer.
2. How does my work fit into the cli-fi genre?
Back to the Garden is set in a future world in which all countries, not just developing ones, have been majorly affected by, and have failed to adapt to, climate change. Though the novel is probably dystopian to a degree, it is not too violent nor fast-paced. I wrote a speculative novel told in various perspectives by its major characters. The novel is a thinking tale. The main characters must redeem themselves before truly understanding how to restore their environment.
3. Why do I write what I do?
When I was a kid we didn’t yet have cell phones or even computers (or they weren’t common place). My parents made us play outside. We were always going camping, hiking, rafting, canoeing. Being outside and appreciating nature was huge. My science and nature education and interest began at a very young age. With this background, I grew to deeply appreciate our natural world. Because of this, I’m very interested in preserving it. I worry these days that kids don’t get to truly play outside or enjoy nature as much. Without being in nature it is hard to truly appreciate and respect the outdoors, which is necessary when it comes to protecting our environment. I write about these issues because they are so important and because I want to share this narrative in a way that hopefully isn’t too boring.
I’ve also always been a huge reader. Some of my literary heroes were nature-writers, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Muir.
4. How does my writing process work? Explain your writing days and nights. How do you work? How do you outline or plan the story?
Well, now that I’ve published one book and am working on another, I think my writing process has improved. Here’s some things I do to keep everything organized:
- I do not write every day, like some people suggest. My life is very busy, and sometimes I just don’t have the time. I write when I feel like it, which, fortunately for me, is often–at least 3-4 times a week.
- I keep an Excel spreadsheet of character names, places, and other details.
- I don’t write a formal outline of my story, but have the major sections in my head.
- I keep one private blog entry for jotting down all my spontaneous brainstorms about the novel. I can access the blog from any computer, anywhere.
- I am now also writing in Google Docs so that I can write from anywhere at any time. I keep a backup on my home computer.
- The book I’m writing now is strongly inspired by the South, where my relatives are from and where I visited often–especially the Appalachian area. I’m finding that certain things I’ve experienced there are making appearances in my novel (fictionalized of course!).
- The book I’m currently writing is so much more focused than my previous one, and much easier to write.
- I often write on breaks during the day, in the evening after work, or on weekends. I have a private office at home where I write and work. It’s very pleasant, with things around that inspire me, including artwork hanging on walls and a big window overlooking our backyard and garden.
- When I read my writing, I like to move to our living room, which is a room sans technology, with the exception of an old turntable (and of course my laptop). Our living room is a quiet room with lots of hardwood and floor to ceiling windows that run across one entire wall. Outside is a lot of foliage. It’s a very comforting and natural room. I find that environment is key to the writing process.