I grew up in Calgary, Alberta on the divide between the prairie and Mountains. Calgary is a city that’s surrounded by wide empty spaces. I think there’s something about the pressing wilderness that makes me appreciate the inherent fragility of human society.
I’ve always been a dreamer with one foot in a world of make-believe. I learned to read very young and it’s been my addiction ever since. Speculative ‘what if’ style stories (James and the Giant Peach) or stories that take you entirely out of the human frame of reference (Watership Down) quickly lead me into harder stuff (Tolkien, Heinlein) and then to a wider range of literature (Cherryh, Bujold, Etc.)
My urge to see the world took me to Kingston, Ontario for university, then to Berkshire, England for a few years, Though we’re often fooled by distance. You don’t need to move half-way around the world to gain a new perspective, sometimes moving a few miles can make just as much of a difference.
I studied Engineering at university. While there I was drawn into the online community on the old IBM mainframe and then into this new and fascinating idea out of CERN called the ‘World Wide Web’. This led me into tinkering with computer programming which became a bit of an obsession that luckily people like to pay me for.
I remember being told that the made-up worlds I loved were a childish thing that I would need to grow out of if I wanted to succeed in life. The older I get, the more I realise how wrong this is. In just the past few millennia, humans have moved from chipping tools out of stones to space exploration and heart transplants. Every step on that path was driven by someone who dreamed up something impossible.
Some of the writers that inspire me today are Lois McMaster Bujold, Sarah Zettel, Tess Sharpe, Hannah Moskowitz. These authors take on tough questions about what it means to be moral and the destiny of humanity without flinching. They inspire me to be a better person, as well as a better writer.
As an avid reader I’ll never lose sight of the fact that the Author’s first duty is to entertain but beyond that my goal is to bring back a sense of optimism about human achievement. The dark side of our natures will always be with us but I’m convinced that humanity has an amazing future ahead and prefer to dream big.