How and when did you begin writing?
David P. Cantrell:
I came to writing late in life. I think the reason had more to do with a pent-up desire to be creative than anything else. I started writing short glimpse-of-life stories after a spinal cord injury forced me to give up woodworking. Encouragement from friends and loved ones led to longer tales.
Something special happens when I’m focused and ideas are coming faster than I can type. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s very rewarding. On occasion an idea will flicker like an intransigent candle wick and fail to light, but that’s okay, it’s part of the process. Writing is not easy for me, but I find more pleasure in it than pain.
I wrote my first book at the tender age of 7. As soon as I figured out how to read, I began writing my own stories down. That first, fateful tome sits on my shelf–six pages of painstakingly handwritten and drawn cardstock between plaid fabric-covered cardboard covers. My Mom entered it into a school district-wide competition, in which I won nothing but a participant sticker. The New Adventures In the Mean Old Man’s Backyard features turkeys, because that was the only thing I knew how to draw besides stick figures and houses. As it turns out, this remains the extent of my drawing skills.
This story came from love I had for E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. It stoked the fires of my imagination in ways that my Mom rather wished it hadn’t, because I went on to assert that clocks could feel, lobsters could scream, and stuffed animals could have prissy catfights with each other. I was one of those kids that got The Talk about how fiction is Not Real. Of course it is, Mom. Hey, look, the clock is staring at me. I think it wants to tell me that it’s bored.
Connie J. Jasperson:
It was the late 1980’s. I was a single mother working three part-time jobs. I was too financially challenged to be able to afford cable, so we only got one T.V. station–the local PBS Station out of Bates College in Tacoma. For entertainment, we read, and I often read aloud to them. But the local library was unable to stock books I liked to read fast enough to keep up with our habit, and the second-hand bookstore didn’t get them in fast enough, so during the evening when they were doing their homework, I would sit at my old second-hand IBM Selectric typewriter (which was right next to the gerbil’s cage) pounding out short fairy tales for my kids.
After a while, I found myself writing for my own amusement, as all my favorite authors, such as David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey and Roger Zelazney, didn’t seem to write fast enough for me. I would only get two or three new books a month, and I would plow through a book in three days, so I was constantly looking for new stories.
My first actual full-length book began its life as the story-line and walk-through for a sword-and-sorcery video game that was never built. I had retained the rights to my work, so when that tech company folded in the 2007 financial crisis I turned it into a novel. That novel, Tower of Bones, will be republished sometime in April.