I wholeheartedly disagree. We should rub their noses in their failed predictions. The wider public will take notice and begin to understand. Please publish that list. With AGW, the scientific method has broken down, so that the hypothesis has become confused with the proof and experimental data. And they change the goalposts constantly. Illustrations of the falsification of the specific predictions hypotheses flowing from the models provides the best evidence for the lay person and policy makers of the weaknesses of the hypothesis—or strengths, I guess, if they turn out to be correct.
Actually, would love a Prediction Vault page on WUWT that collected brief summaries of specific predictions as Larry did and provided tags for prediction dates and subjects ice extent, sea level, snowfall, hurricanes, drought, etc so that past predictions and outcomes could be referenced by subject and author on a timeline as they came due and will come due. Compile the list as a resource to be used in calling them out.
A minor point — Wadhams prediction was in and it is now Only a climate science model could make that 30 years. No one claimed Wadhams prediction was 30 years old. Though, it should be pointed out, that ice-free arctic predictions actually go back further than 30 years:. Those are great stories. Links or quotes would be needed to make them claims by scientists, rather than the more common bold ignorant talk by journalists or activists.
Note that the first is unlike the next two. The third is a typical click-bait headline: sensational, but defensible because expressed as a question. Links or quotes would be needed to make them claims by scientists,. The Argus Melbourne July, 17, story claims it was said in the US congress where a group of scientists were pushing for funds. No specific scientist was named. New Scientist, December 1, attributes the claim to Robert Cushman Murphy an American ornithologist who went on numerous oceanic expeditions.
Tuscaloosa News, May 18, attributes the claim to Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen who says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year This post is one in a series looking at its claims. I am dissolutioned with climate change. I have been hanging out for years now to take a cruise from Boston to Vancouver over the top but there is no sign of the big cruise lines doing that in my lifetime.
While not a prediction, this article shows some were noticing warming conditions in the Arctic in A ship captain had never seen such evidence of warming since he first sailed the Arctic in There is a legitimate debate about how much sea ice there was then versus now, but warming in the Arctic is not unprecedented. Is there any question why so many are freaking out about the end of civilization? That was one prediction I was hoping would come true.
Imagine the economic surge opening up such trade routes would cause. There is a fundamental dishonesty in climate scientists not addressing the issue of failed predictions. All it takes to disprove any theory is ONE failed prediction. Climate science has hundreds of failed predictions. These failed predictions are strong evidence there are fundamental flaws in climate science and until this can be remedied climate science cannot be trusted for public policy. Someone please explain to me why the idea of an ice-free Arctic is such a threat?
I thought this was established a long, long time ago. Probably much more nasty, with stronger storms, but fewer hurricanes. Since cold water and cold air both can be found in a glass of iced tea, does that not seem obvious? Larry: What renegade idiot scientists blab and the sensationalist media grab a hold of because, well, sensation sells and yes politicised groups too — does not the science make.
Just like his Lordship does not speak for all Naysayers. Prof Wadhams did not speak for the science with his daft utterance …. So it is on the projected track after being way below for a few years because of exceptional weather in the and melt seasons. Rather than pile in on Mosher and no me as well no doubt — how about denizens quote something the IPCC has said to support the slaying of a Strawman presented here. Otherwise you wail at the world because is the way human psychology works. And nothing can be done about it.
Mosher tried hard to deflect readers from noticing that it was a select number of scientists, some who actually work in the Polar region science making these over the top, No Summer ice prediction that were way off base. Like Mosher, you appear to either have not read or not understood the post. People read the news, not the long reports by institutions like the IPCC. That is how institutions maintain their integrity.
Journalists in the major media follow their lead, and include critical rebuttals in their stories about sensational claims about science. I would love to agree that folks retain confidence because other fields behave responsibly. Sadly it is not the case. The reason why other fields did not cry out and disparage climatologists for their falsehoods and manipulation is because of raw FEAR that it may attract the spotlight onto their own field of study. That is not climatology but over all in disciplines. I would bet it is far higher in climatology alone.
If no one is reassured by reassurances about vaccines is that we have been lied to too often. Flat-earthers do not even believe Neil deGrasse Tyson. Climategate was a watershed for not just for climatology but for science as a whole : because of the conspicuous silence of other scientists.
The replication crisis has little or nothing to do with bold claims in the general media. It results from complex and deep methodological weaknesses in the peer-reviewed literature. Science has grown several orders of magnitude in the centuries since peer-review was devised, but its methods have not adapted to its new institutional structure. Put another way, trends only work with x and y being dependent variables and since time does not make ice, the correlation has no predictable meaning. Namely, trends of independent variables are transient and have no basis of correlation just coincidence for short intervals.
Just a statistical idiot spewing statistical predictions. The september minima has been flat for nine years. Probably the minima for a sinusoidal function. As the trend is nearly horizontal with an exaggerated y-axis scale to make it look relevant, it takes 20 years to break the trend confidence interval.
Breaking the trend of nearly horizontal lines is very hard to do. September sea ice extent for 5 consecutive years. Extrapolating the current linear trend in September data , which is , km per decade, we shouldn't expect to see 'ice free' September conditions before the mid s. Is this really at odds with the scientific consensus, taking the IPCC reports as the 'consensus'? Only the very highest scenario RCP8.
The lowest scenario would still not meet the criteria even by the end of the century! So it's fair to say that the scientific consensus has not been making "bold but false predictions" with regard to Arctic sea ice decline. Holding up the views of one individual scientist and claiming they are representative of all scientists is a clear example of the 'straw man' fallacy. People get their information about science from the news. If climate scientists fail to speak out about their peers who misrepresent the science — as is routinely done in other fields — then the institution of climate scientists will lose credibility.
Rightly so. As it has. Yes indeed, they absolutely should speak out. As it is extremely counter-productive for climate science. So heads you win and tails you win my friend. As reported in a national broadsheet newspaper …. Have you ever considered that Climate science is unique in being bombarded by a narrative from the sceptical side in very high profile mainstream news outlets — especially in the US … such that it has plenty enough to do to counter that.
I abandoned it as pointless.. No, go on — please do Larry. Not that idiot individuals and sensationalist and biased media have reported. Just like the Naysayers have his Lordship, amongst others making climate scepticism a laughing-stock. As shown in this post, they accurately quote what legitimate climate scientists say. Also, your insults just show that you have nothing worthwhile to say.
I agree. Perhaps your article is just a slightly odd way to my mind of stating this rather banal observation. And Jennifer Francis as the latest to make an ice-free prediction at least her prediction leaves plenty of time for it to be forgotten about by the time its ready to be evaluated. Shame on you.
It states the result if a trend continues. I specifically mentioned the source CNN and the year Scientists, technicians, secretaries? Which was perfectly correct, as the odds of that happening were well above zero. And why even mention the bet at all? This is further backed by his comments about how the end time for the ice keeps getting updated to sooner and sooner later on in the article.
Schneider and the scary scenario of the bet he offered up has been proven false. But again, why mention the bet on CNN at all? There are many news stories mentioning scientists discussing the consensus forecast range. But the stories with exciting headlines result from climate scientists making the bold predictions outside the consensus. And those get repeated by activists. He has also lead 41 Arctic research missions. If you want some insight into the Arctic he is not someone to ignore. Consensus is a political term, not a scientific one.
How many times does someone have to be wrong before they wise up? What scientific consensus? This is so ridiculous. The planet is 4. As a result we are only seeing statistical analyses of what some scientist thinks will happen. I would simply say something struck the car and it moved 10 ft. A second thing struck another car and it moved 20 ft. So I project that when the next object strikes a third car it will move 30 ft. Of course I would classify the projection as having a high confidence level. It would quickly determine that in almost every situation it gets colder at night, and that weather moves generally west to east in the USA, and that it gets warmer in spring and cooler in fall things we know but it would also note other patterns and trends that we may not think are related.
The next step would be to due the same exercise on data sets separated by a decade or so and let it optimize those predictions. Finally, one could compare the differences in the calibration of the 5 or 6 machine learning models from various decades to determine if there really is something structured over longer time scales going on.
There are some machine learning projects being done. IBM was using its Deep Blue machine to predict weather. I have not checked in on them in a year or so. Yes, some needed to be adjusted, but a lot have been adjusted without justification. Some of those Australia are an example of that. The fact not a single model works is a minor issue. To go back to raw original data would undermine the need for adjustments and all the models that stem from them and the people behind them.
That is a good idea. Archie still lives in Wha Tia and currently works at Diavik Mines. Carolyn Beck Carolyn Beck first learned about letters when she was five. Right away she liked them. They make interesting sounds, like the s-s-s-sneaky S, the punchy P and the bouncy B. Carolyn also discovered numbers and liked them too, but that is another story. Carolyn lives in Toronto, Ontario. Helaine Becker Helaine Becker is the bestselling author of more than seventy books for children and young adults.
Nancy Belgue Nancy Belgue is the author of five books for children. Her writing has appeared in magazines in both Canada and the United States. She visited Dawson City, Yukon, many years ago and fell in love with the nearby Ogilvie Mountains, where she spent years running dogs, hiking, canoeing and living in log cabins. Now married with two daughters, she works as a naturalist in the summers and is a substitute teacher in Dawson City whenever she is not in the mountains.
William Bell William Bell was a teacher and the bestselling author of a number of teen novels. Holly Bennett Holly Bennett is the author of numerous young adult novels, all published by Orca. She lives in Peterborough, Ontario, where she enjoys singing, being in nature, hanging out with her family, Scrabble and, of course, reading. Thomas, Ontario. Alain M. Bergeron A prolific author, Alain M. Bergeron has written over children's books. He collaborated with Quebecois artist Sampar to create Billy Stuart and the Zintrepids , a colorful cast of Scouts that includes a raccoon, fox, chameleon, skunk and weasel.
This intrepid crew made one fateful mistake and has been suffering the consequences ever since. Alain devotes himself exclusively to leading school workshops and writing, and his inexhaustible imagination has made him a fixture in children's literature and garnered many awards and accolades. Alain lives in Victoriaville, Quebec. Michael Betcherman Michael Betcherman is an award-winning author and screenwriter. He is the author of the young adult mystery novels Breakaway and Face-Off , both published by Penguin Canada.
Breakaway was a finalist for the John Spray Mystery Award. Michael has numerous writing credits in both dramatic and documentary television. Michael lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife, Claudette Jaiko. Laura Bifano Laura Bifano grew up in the rainy Pacific Northwest of Canada, where she spent her days running around in the forest and drawing pictures.
Since graduating from the Alberta College of Art and Design in , she divides her time between freelance work, fine art and animated shows and feature films. She lives in Vancouver. For more information, visit joseebisaillon. Rick Blechta Rick Blechta has two passions in life: music and writing.
A professional musician since age fourteen, he brings his extensive knowledge of that life to his crime fiction. In , his third Rapid Reads book, Rundown. Rick runs a blog called Type M for Murder. For more information about Rick, visit www. Richard K. Blier The Vancouver Island Trails Information Society is a non-profit society dedicated to providing accurate information to the public about parks and trails on Vancouver Island. George Blondin A respected Elder and storyteller, George Blondin maintains the storytelling traditions of the Dene people.
He is the author of several books where he depicts the tales of medicine heroes, hunters and healers who have forged Dene history. George currently resides in Behchoko, NWT where he continues to share and write the stories of the Dene people. Rachel has worked in the field of communications and marketing with numerous non-profit and public-sector organizations.
She is passionate about writing and its power to effect social change. Having returned to Nova Scotia in , Rachel and her husband and children now live surrounded by lakes and rocky hills in beautiful Fall River, just outside of Halifax. Jill Bogart Jill Bogart is working on her doctorate in art history. She lives with her husband in Pittsburgh. She really enjoys running into writers and artists at the grocery store.
Jo Ellen has a teaching degree from the University of Texas and has worked as a supply teacher. Though she no longer teaches, she really enjoys meeting her young readers and seeing what they have to say. Her own two kids are grown but she has a new baby grandson and is amassing stacks of books for the future reader. A frequent speaker at writing conferences and schools, Michele divides her time between writing and parenting her four sons. She lives in Calgary, Alberta. David grew up on the prairies, where he lived and breathed street hockey.
David is a Member of the Order of Canada, and in he had a public school named after him in Oshawa, Ontario. He currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with his wife, daughter and two dogs. For more information, visit davidbouchard. Inspired by the power of the imagination, Simon believes in the gift of time to let your mind wander Patricia Bow Patricia Bow has been reading ever since the local library opened its magic doors for her and writing since she was old enough to hold a crayon.
Lisa Bowes Lisa Bowes is a sports journalist and media consultant. She is a Physical Education graduate who is passionate about encouraging children and families to be active. Lisa lives in Calgary, Alberta. For more information, visit lucytriessports. Adrian Bradbury Adrian Bradbury is the co-founder and director of GuluWalk, a foundation dedicated to supporting the abandoned children of northern Uganda.
Bradbury's writing on northern Uganda has appeared in both the National Post and Uganda's Daily Monitor , and for the continuing efforts of GuluWalk he earned a Planet Africa award and was recognized as a 'Newsmaker of the Year' by Maclean's magazine. He lives in Toronto, Canada. Karleen Bradford Karleen Bradford is the award-winning author of twenty-two works of fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults.
Her books include historical novels, fantasy and contemporary stories, as well as picture books and chapter books. She was born in Toronto, Ontario, but spent most of her childhood years in Argentina. Michael Bradford Michael Bradford was born in in St. Kristi Bridgeman Kristi Bridgeman has illustrated several books for children. Born and raised on the west coast of Canada, Kristi resides and paints in her home-based studio at the edge of the rainforest on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. She is the author if 14 books of travel and history.
Sigmund Brouwer Sigmund Brouwer is the author of over 20 novels for adults and dozens of books for children. He visits over schools per year to deliver his Rock and Roll Literacy presentation, reaching about 60, students per year. Sigmund lives in Red Deer, Alberta. Like the hero of his Moccasin Goalie titles, Bill lived for hockey and played goal despite being unable to wear skates. In The Moccasin Goalie, he demonstrates the unique artistic style, the flair for storytelling and the feel for prairie life that have made all three of his volumes perennial favorites.
After a successful career as a graphic designer, Bill now devotes himself full time to painting. Maureen Bush Maureen Bush is the author of five books for children. Before becoming a writer, she pursued other passions: she has a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in environmental design, a certificate in mediation and negotiation, and a postgraduate certificate of creative writing.
She has worked as a public involvement consultant and trained as a mediator. Born in Edmonton, Maureen now lives in Calgary with her husband and two daughters. Kristin Butcher Kristin Butcher taught a variety of subjects, from primary to high school level, before becoming an author.
She credits her experience in the classroom with helping her understand children and teens better, as well as making her a whiz at Trivial Pursuit. Kristin lives in Campbell River, British Columbia. For more information, visit kristinbutcher. Currently she is the visual arts teacher at Lester B. For more information, visit evacampbell. Melodie Campbell Melodie Campbell is the award-winning author of several works of fiction. Melodie lives in Oakville, Ontario. For more information, visit melodiecampbell. Alice Carter Alice Carter has always loved telling stories through her whimsical art.
A graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, she has worked as a freelance illustrator and fine artist for over ten years. She is inspired by people-watching, music and all the earth's magnificent creatures. Alice lives with her family of silly humans and serious cats in Ottawa, Ontario.
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For more information, visit brookecarter. Jaime is a first-generation American who was raised by a single mother subsisting on welfare in Hell's Kitchen, NY. Having grown up in poverty, he truly believes that access to education and technology can save lives. Working with Google and educational organizations around the world, Jaime is passionate about improving the quality of education by using technology to create powerful learning models in all classrooms, from kindergarten to college and university.
Follow Jaime on Twitter JCasap. Sara Cassidy Sara Cassidy has worked as a youth-hostel manager, a newspaper reporter and a tree planter, in five Canadian provinces. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction for adults have been widely published. For more information, visit saracassidywriter. While holding down a day job as an entertainment writer for the Victoria Times Colonist , he indulges his fantasies albeit on a reduced scale by playing organ and piano for The Soul Shakers, a Victoria rhythm-and-blues band. Marty Chan Marty Chan is an award-winning author of dozens of books for kids and plays for adults.
He tours schools and libraries across Canada, using storytelling, stage magic and improv to ignite a passion for reading in kids. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta. For more information, visit martychan. Danielle Chaperon Before starting her writing career, Danielle Chaperon taught charming and talkative! She began writing children's fiction in , inspired by her students' daily lives, experiences and dreams.
Danielle lives in Montreal, Quebec. Brenda Chapman Brenda Chapman is the author of the murder mystery In Winter's Grip , along with the successful Jennifer Bannon mystery series for young adults. She is a former special education teacher and currently works as a senior communications advisor for the federal government in Ottawa, Ontario.
Kasia Charko Working in watercolor and colored pencil, Kasia Charko creates detailed, colorful paintings that bring period, place and character to life. Born and educated in England, Kasia lives in Alton, Ontario, with her family of animals. For more information, visit charko. His ancestors come from the Riding Mountain territory in Manitoba. Kathleen Cherry Kathleen Cherry lives in northern British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.
She loves working with children and empowering them to develop their creativity through writing. Lesley Choyce Lesley Choyce , who has been teaching English and creative writing for over thirty years, is the author of more than ninety books of literary fiction, short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction and young adult novels.
Charlene Chua Charlene Chua grew up in Singapore, where she divided her time between drawing, reading comics and failing her Mandarin classes. Charlene lives in Hamilton, Ontario with her husband and their two cats. Becky Citra Becky Citra is the author of over twenty books, ranging from early chapter books to novels for young adults. She was an elementary schoolteacher for over twenty—five years and began writing for children in She won an Angel Award for the "largest individual creative contribution in the visual arts in the Okanagan Valley.
Megan Clendenan Megan Clendenan is a freelance writer and editor. When she's not writing, she spends her time running or biking through her local mountains or trying to play her violin. She lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia, with her family and their two incredibly fuzzy orange cats. Offbeat is her first novel. He is a great cook, although he prefers to bake. His specialty is cupcakes, but he has also experimented with animal-shaped macarons and flooded cookies. Paul lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his family and two dogs. Sheldon Cohen Sheldon Cohen is an award-winning children's book illustrator and film animator.
He is an adjunct instructor of English at Hofstra University and lives with his family on Long Island. Kate Colley Kate Colley is a media specialist who founded Colley Communications, a marketing communications agency, in Having always enjoyed working with words, Kate often finds herself writing rhyming poems and creating catchy songs for her two busy children. For more information, visit colleycommunications. She is a creative writing student at the University of British Columbia and an elementary school teacher.
When she's not writing or thinking about writing, she likes to talk with her two kids, read, daydream, think about gardening and pet her cats. Feral is her second book for children. Bev lives in Victoria, British Columbia. France Cormier France Cormier has been drawing forever. In elementary school she used to wear out her crayons and refused to play with dolls.
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After a first career as a landscaper, she now devotes herself completely to illustrating playful, lightly twisted worlds full of humor. France lives in Gatineau, Quebec. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with his wife and three sons. She uses simple composition and a limited color palette to creates images that are delicate yet impactful. She lives and work out of Montreal, Quebec.
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Lorna Crozier Lorna Crozier has authored numerous books of poetry and received many awards. An Officer of the Order of Canada, Lorna has read her poetry on every continent except Antarctica, and in she recited a poem for Queen Elizabeth II as part of Saskatchewan's centennial celebration.
Andrea Curtis Andrea Curtis is the award-winning writer of several books for young people and adults, including Into the Blue , about her great-grandfather, a steamboat captain who disappeared on Georgian Bay in the early twentieth century. His work has appeared in magazines, books, apps and more. Visit his website at marcuscutler. When she's not writing, she likes to spend time baking, playing her guitar badly , and turning her backyard garden into a haven for neighbourhood bunnies. Anita currently resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with her husband, two daughters, a basset hound, and a Westfalia camper van named Mae.
For information on school presentations and workshops, visit www. Diane Dakers Diane Dakers is a freelance writer and journalist. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia. For information, visit www. She lives in Fergus, Ontario, with her husband and their three children. They based the boys in Under a Prairie Sky on their two grandsons. She writes and paints in Sudbury, Ontario.
For more information, visit danielledaniel. Leslie A. Davidson Leslie A. Davidson has always been a writer, though it wasn't until she retired that she finally found time for the stories that had tapped on her consciousness throughout years of teaching and parenting. In the Red Canoe was inspired by her husband's passion for quiet exploration of pristine lakes and rivers. He dreamed of sharing paddling adventures with his grandchildren but did not live long enough to realize that dream. In the Red Canoe does that for him.
Leslie lives in Revelstoke, British Columbia. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her family. For more information, visit houseoffran. Aubrey Davis Aubrey Davis is an award-winning Canadian author and storyteller. Aubrey lives in Toronto, Ontario. For more information go to www. Ever since, she's been writing and visiting students, encouraging the imaginations of young readers through reading, writing and art.
For more information, visit helenedeblois. Maggie De Vries Maggie de Vries is the author of many books for children and one book for adults. Every summer, she and her husband spend as much time as they can tootling around the Gulf Islands and up the coast in their little old boat, Breakaway. While he grew up with a love of illustrative storytelling, Capilano College's Commercial Animation Program helped Mike fine-tune his drawing skills and imagination. For more information, visit deasillustration. She has a great love of travel and adventure. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria.
She now explores Salt Spring Island, where she lives with her family. She lives most of the year in Toronto, Ontario. She has a rock 'n' roll past. Natasha Deen Award-winning author Natasha Deen loves stories: exciting ones, scary ones and, especially, funny ones! As a kid of two countries Guyana and Canada , she feels especially lucky because she gets a double dose of stories. When she's not working on her books or visiting schools, she spends a lot of time trying to convince her dogs and cats that she's the boss of the house.
For more information, visit natashadeen. James C. Dekker James C. Dekker is a first-time author and a fresh new voice in teen fiction. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, and, as far as he knows, is not known to police. Vicki Delany Vicki Delany is one of Canada's most prolific and varied crime writers, and a national bestseller in the U.
She has written more than twenty-five books: from clever cozies to Gothic thrillers, gritty police procedurals to historical fiction, and novellas for adult literacy. Vicki is the past president of the Crime Writers of Canada. Deborah Delaronde Dominique Demers Dominique Demers has a PhD in children's literature and has written nearly thirty books for children.
Many of her stories have become films. She lives in Montreal, Quebec. His work has been published across North America and overseas. Denman K. He has covered a total of six Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Cleve lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Her book A Gentle Habit was published in August Christian Down Penny Draper Penny Draper is the award-winning author of numerous books for kids and teens. His paintings and illustrations are found in public and private collections, books, magazines and on public display in Canada and the United States.
Wallace lives in Yarker, Ontario. He lives in Vancouver. The Moccasins is his first children's book; he is working on his second book. In addition to writing, he has worked as an actor in Dublin, London and Paris. When she's not writing, Laurie enjoys exploring the beaches of the west coast, from California to Vancouver Island. For more information, visit laurieelmquist. He published five novels and four collections of short stories. The Elephant Mountains was his first novel for young adult readers.
Ann Eriksson Ann Eriksson lives on Thetis Island, British Columbia, with her husband in a waterfront house surrounded by ocean and trees and a lot of amazing and beautiful wildlife. When she's not writing, working in biology or helping protect the environment, she's out exploring the ocean and beaches by foot, kayak and sailboat. During that time she began painting, and now, living in Victoria, British Columbia, her focus is primarily on art and playing the alto sax. Her contemporary style brings a fresh perspective to traditional techniques, resulting in sensitive yet vibrant illustrations.
As a child Marilyn used to play in the woods with her friends, looking for a secret world. She would talk to, draw and write stories about the animals that crossed her path, and even at a young age, she was passionate about drawing. When she's not working on her illustration projects, Marilyn finds inspiration in ghost stories, woods, witches, animals and adventures. Marilyn lives in a small town not far from Montreal, Quebec, with a cat named Feta. For more information, visit marilynfaucher.
Eugenie Fernandes Eugenie Fernandes is one of Canada's most established children's author-illustrators, with more than ninety books to her credit. Eugenie graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and now lives in Lakehurst, Ontario, where she writes and paints in a studio made of glass. Her style is characterized by its charm, delicacy and depth.
Marianne lives in Montreal, Quebec. Rita Feutl Born in Toronto to immigrant parents, Rita Feutl learned English after she started school and discovered all the books in the library. She wrote her first story when she was seven. Rita grew up to be a journalist, editor and teacher. Rita lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with her husband. Sheree Fitch Sheree Fitch has won almost every major award for Canadian children's literature, including the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People, which acknowledges a "body of work inspirational to Canadian children. Her home base is on the east coast of Canada.
For more information, visit julieflett. Helen Flook Helen Flook was born and grew up in the beautiful countryside of Wales. Helen has illustrated numerous children's books, including many Orca picture books and early chapter books in the Orca Echoes series. She lives and works in Abergwyngregyn, a village in Wales. She was close to her grandfather as a child, a relationship that sparked her interest in writing about Indigenous themes and characters.
Virginia Football Barbara Fradkin Barbara Fradkin is a child psychologist with a fascination for how people turn bad. Her compelling short stories haunt numerous magazines and anthologies, but she is best known for her two series of gritty, psychological novels, one featuring Ottawa police inspector Michael Green and the more recent one with foreign-aid worker Amanda Doucette. Her work as a school psychologist helping adolescents and younger children, many of whom struggle with reading, has also made her a strong advocate of programs that help develop reading as a lifelong passion.
She lives in Ottawa, Ontario. For more information, visit barbarafradkin. He is a Radio Broadcasting graduate of Loyalist College of Arts and Technology and has also studied television, film, acting, and improvisation as well as working on features in both Canada and the United Kingdom. Colin's books have received critical acclaim across North America, have been translated into Swedish and Norwegian, and have been adopted into the curriculum of several Ontario high schools.
He lives in Toronto, Ontario. G back to top Dayle Campbell Gaetz Dayle Campbell Gaetz has worked as a creative-writing instructor, book editor and columnist but now devotes her time to her own writing. Gaetz is the author of over twenty books for young people and adults. Inspired by nature and by her Coast Salish heritage, Darlene brings a rich understanding of the natural world to her work, which is held in private collections and exhibited worldwide. Darlene lives in Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia. For more information, please visit www.
He discovered comic books when he was five years old and knew immediately that they would become his life's work. He started photocopying and selling his comics in elementary school, self-publishing hundreds of his own creations, and eventually became the owner of a vintage comic-book shop, where he sells his comics from the front counter to this day. He lives, works and breathes comic books and comic-book history. For more information, visit perogycat. He has also completed murals and carvings for the community of Prince George, British Columbia. Clayton works with youth in the school district and in his home community to share art and storytelling.
He is a multimedia artist whose skills include drawing, painting, carving, drum and rattle making, logos, mirror etching, tattoos, graphic art and murals. Maurice Gee Maurice Gee is one of New Zealand's finest writers, with nearly fifty books for adults and young adults and a number of prestigious awards to his credit. A former teacher, Maurice was first inspired to write after reading Charles Dickens as a teenager. However, it was not until he reached his mids that he became a full-time writer.
She loves to work on animation and visual arts projects and has illustrated a number of French-language books. Her art is colorful and lively and will make you want to dive into the worlds she has created. Sabrina lives in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec. For more information, visit sabrinagendron. She lives in Orangeville, Ontario, with her family and a Sheltie named Duncan. She has a degree in English Literature from the University of Guelph. Natale is a full-time writer. He has served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and as a nationally syndicated feature writer for Tribune Media Services.
Gaston Gingras Dale Nigel Goble For the past fifteen years Dale Nigel Goble has created award-winning multidisciplinary work, using graphic design, illustration, painting, screen printing and sculpture. His artwork appears in private and corporate collections around the world and has been featured in design magazines, newspapers and various digital media. Recent clients include Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the United Nations and several other clients, both large and small.
He lives in Duncan, British Columbia. For more information, visit dngstudio. Beth Goobie Beth Goobie grew up in a family in which the appearance of a normal childhood hid many secrets. She moved away to attend university, became a youth residential treatment worker and studied creative writing at the University of Alberta. Beth makes her home in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her books have been translated into fifteen languages. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Well known for her odd creatures and unusual drawing style, Elise creates books that are popular with adults and children alike. In she won the Governor's General Award for French-language children's illustration. Elise lives in Montreal with her husband, two daughters and two cranky cats. She lives in northern Alberta. Monique is an accomplished consultant, writer and international speaker. Monique and her family are blessed to live on Lekwungen territory in Victoria, British Columbia.
Daphne lives in Newport, Nova Scotia. Dean Griffiths Dean Griffiths is a popular picture-book artist with more than twenty-five titles to his name. Dean lives in Duncan, British Columbia, with his daughter. Gabrielle Grimard Gabrielle Grimard has been drawing since she was young. Her passion for drawing and painting led her to pursue studies in fine arts and arts education at Concordia University.
After she had her first child, she began her career as an illustrator. She moved from Montreal to Waterville, Quebec, where she now lives with her two children, several chickens and her husband, who builds wooden boats. They share an old barn as their artists' studio. For more information, visit gabriellegrimard. Isabelle Groc Isabelle Groc is a writer, wildlife photographer, filmmaker and speaker who focuses on environmental issues, wildlife natural history and conservation, endangered species and the changing relationships between people and their environments.
Her stories and photographs have appeared in numerous publications, and her wildlife films have been shown in communities and festivals around the world. For more information, visit isabellegroc. Darren is a former special-education teacher and the proud father of a son with autism spectrum disorder ASD. He lives in Delta, British Columbia. Simon's work and reporting on the future of the book with Queensland Writers Centre has seen him travel the globe to discuss and explore the challenges and opportunities for writers and readers in a digital world.
He lives in Brisbane, Australia. Jacqueline Guest Jacqueline Guest has written over a dozen books for young readers, specializing in sports themes and historical fiction. The father of five children, he is recognized for his efforts to protect the environment and the rights of Native people. One of his paintings is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery in Ottawa. Ron resides in Osoyoos, British Columbia. Dancing with the Cranes is Ron's first book with Theytus. She lives in Nova Scotia.
When she is not caring for cattle on her ranch, Marilyn spends her time writing. Gail F. She lives in Windsor, Ontario, and helped found the city's roller-derby league, the Border City Brawlers. When she's not working or skating, Kate spends her time cycling with her husband and cuddling with Winn the cat. Brian Harvey Brian Harvey is a scientist and writer. Holly Hatam Holly Hatam is an illustrator and graphic designer whose work has been featured in greeting cards, prints, clothes and much more.
Holly's other passions include snuggling with her hubby and son, spending time hugging trees, filling up her pantry with tea and sticking her nose in a book. Follow her on Twitter hollyhatam. He lives in Calgary, Alberta. For more information, visit jameshearnedesign. She has previously published two early chapter books and several pieces of short fiction for young readers.
Colleen lives in Edmonton, Alberta. Lisa has served on young adult book award committees for the Ontario and Canadian Library Associations. She is the first Canadian to be certified as a Young Adult Library Services Association "Serving the Underserved" trainer, and has presented at numerous library conferences. Jane Heinrichs Jane Heinrichs is a children's book writer and illustrator.
She starts her day at a clear desk with her huge sketchbook for books and her tiny sketchbook for daily drawings but usually ends up sitting on the floor, surrounded by a collection of paints, pencils and papers. Jane lives in the UK with her family. For more information, visit janeheinrichs. Marilyn Helmer Marilyn Helmer was born in St. John's, Newfoundland. Marilyn's stories, poems and articles have appeared in children's magazines and anthologies in Canada and the United States. Her published books include picturebooks, chapter books, novels, riddle books and retold fairy tales.
James lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia. James Heneghan A former fingerprint specialist with the Vancouver Police Department, James Heneghan has won numerous awards for his books for young readers, including the Sheila A. Tasha Henry Tasha Henry has been traveling, writing and teaching for over twenty years. Robyn Bennis has done research and development involving human gene expression, neural connectomics, cancer diagnostics, rapid flu testing, gene synthesis, genome sequencing, being so preoccupied with whether she could that she never stopped to think if she should, and systems integration.
She currently resides in Madison, WI, where she has one cat, two careers, and an apartment full of dreams. And Sheila won. So, yay! Yeah, she sure does. There was an airship—people in the San Francisco Bay Area might remember the airship Eureka , which used to fly overhead and flew out of Moffett Field—and through a company, the biotech company that I was working at at the time, I had the chance to go up in it, and it was an amazing experience. Airships, as—you know, we might talk a bit later about how impractical they are, but once you actually manage to get them working and you manage to get them in the air safely they are just a magical experience.
It is a nice stable platform to see around in. And it is just…there is a certain sort of calm wonderment that overcomes just about everyone who steps into an airship. Very few people have that opportunity, though. In fact, I was…we were ticketed to fly on the airship Eureka about a month and a half before we actually managed to get onto it. Its daily run was scrubbed due to weather twice before we actually managed to get up in the air on it.
First of all, I guess, where did you grow up and all that sort of stuff? And this would have been in Dunedin, Florida, where I grew up, not perhaps the most inspiring town in the country. So, yeah, there you go. We both come from a little podunk towns, I guess. But, you know, perhaps I wanted to escape it, and fantasy books and science fiction books, which I got into a little bit later, really provided a doorway into an entirely different world that I could just step into. And almost as soon as I started reading them I wanted to start writing them.
I think I wrote my first short story in, maybe, fourth grade? It was obviously godawful, but I never really stopped after that, just kind of kept writing. I was always writing something. Do you remember any of the books that first got you interested? I always like to ask that, I get some interesting responses. Was there anything that really stuck out for you in your early life? I remember…I can remember a few images. I do not remember any titles.
They were mostly pulp kind of books that even if you showed me the title I might not remember it. They were not from the big names. I grew up I read a lot of Ace doubles and things like that and I remember reading a book once, we were in the car with my parents, and I was maybe ten or nine or eight or something, and they wanted to know…I got really excited. So, you continued writing then as you were in high school and getting a little older. Did you ever start sharing your writing with your classmates or anything like that?
Woo, boy, I was always way too embarrassed. It was, you know…and I have occasionally—and by occasionally, I mean every five years or so—gone back to look at some of that early stuff that I wrote in high school and in college and in my early 20s, and at the time I was too embarrassed to show it to anyone. And in hindsight I believe I was percent right about that. It was the correct choice to not show that to anyone. I did join a writing group briefly and, you know, from the comfort of anonymity showed some of my my short works to the crowd.
I will never admit which one. So that you can never track those stories down. And I think that was kind of critical in making some improvements that just are sometimes not possible on your own. And, you know, you just try to improve your work in that area. And if you do that enough times, if you go through enough iterations of that, you will eventually become a really good writer. Now, after high school, you went to university, and you did not study writing at university.
So, I studied biology there and went into biotech afterwards, because I had the mistaken impression that by going into biotech I would be able to revolutionize the world, I would find a cure for cancer and, you know, make dogs fly, and just do all kinds of amazing things and, you know, not everybody can do that. But you stayed in the field for a long time. Are you still working in the field as well as writing? So, did you did you experience in a still, I would assume, somewhat male-dominated field—although that does seem to be changing, I know a lot of women who are going into biology—did that inform your story when it came time to write it?
Not yes, but hell yes! My experience, in biotech was…I would not say it was positive overall. There were definitely some bright spots, often when I had a female boss. I think if any of them are listening they probably know who they are. But most of the time it was such a slog to even get people to believe your math. You would think that that would be one thing that would be objective, right? I was. But I would say that that was kind of my final hurdle to becoming a pretty darn good writer, if I say so myself. That was kind of my senior year of writing class that taught me what I was missing.
It took me three years to finish it, so you can kind of almost see it as an archeological record of my improvement as a writer. And once I was done with that, I was ready to do it for real. Where did the writing group fall into that timeline? Was that still while you were in university or…?
That stretched out…that was a bit after. That was probably when I was in biotech. I definitely remember that being connected to San Diego, where I worked for a year at a small company. So, kind of right in the middle, in between those initial forays into writing and actually getting serious about it.
Well, that brings us to By Fire Above. Before we delve into the process of writing that maybe give a synopsis. Oh sorry. All right. So, The Guns Above follows the exploits of Josette Dupre, who has unfortunately been promoted into an airship where she is going to be the first female commander in the nation of Garnia. Her chief enemies are her superior officers, her own crew, and then the actual military enemies of her nation, in that order.
She is being countermanded and undermined at every step. Well I so I have always enjoyed Aubrey-Maturin series, which is an early 19th-century setting, which follows the captain of first, the captain of a brig, a rather small ship in the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and later the captain of a frigate. Kind of bring airships into that world, tell the same kind of story with the same kind of characters and an attention towards technical detail, and see what happens.
And, you know, I believe it turned out pretty well. I would agree with that. I enjoyed it very much. So, with that idea in mind, how did you go about further developing it into an actual novel? Oh, boy. So, that started with about three months of research and brainstorming. Of course, at the time I had no idea how I was going to use that. It was just, you know, I just kind of built up this knowledge base in my head for later use without considering how it might be useful. I just picked up as many facts as I could along the way and brainstormed as many little elements to the world.
I was kind of building the setting, or at least the building blocks from which I would later build the setting at this time. And after that, I spent a while outlining it. First of all, how closely does your airship design model anything that we had in the real world? It does take elements from various ships, however. There was never, to my knowledge, a successful design that used a steam turbine, for example—that was outdated technology by the time we were actually building large airships in earnest.
I went through a period when I was fascinated with First World War aviation and I still remember as a kid being startled to find out that the airplanes were made out of wood with doped fabric stretched across them and I read a story years later about the Mosquito bombers in the Second World War, which were also made out of wood. You know, it has its qualities. You touch on that, too. We never in our world had airship-to-airship combat, did we? Mostly it was airships versus fixed-wing aircraft. And it was a race, you know, essentially it was a race into the air.
The most famous examples, of course, being zeppelins flying over Great Britain. And they would, you know, start out at a fairly high altitude, which they could achieve with relatively little effort. The aircraft that were scrambled to shoot them down had to first climb up to that altitude and then had to catch the airships.
The speed difference at that time between an airship and a fixed-wing aircraft was not huge. So, it took quite a bit of work, actually, on the part of the fixed-wing pilots to actually get those Jerries. Were they still using hydrogen in the First World War? They were, in fact. Which, you know, not a super great idea, nut I believe Germany was simply limited by the resources. In the real world it requires natural gas deposits or oil deposits, where the helium tends to collect in domes above those deposits.
And it also requires extremely low-temperature separation technologies. So, I just kind of decided to not mention it. So, when it came to the airship combat, which is lovingly detailed, that must have taken a considerable amount of thought on your part. I realize that some of it does bear resemblance to sailing ships trying to maneuver to, you know, rake them from the stern, that sort of thing. It comes across as very believable. Well, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how it might actually work. This is something that never happened in the real world, so, you know, that is both a problem and an opportunity.
But I really did make an attempt, including to the point of doing, you know, calculating angles and determining the apparent size of vessels at varying distances to try to get an idea of what this would be like. I think I spent several days just trying to get in the heads of my tacticians and, you know, what would you want to do.
What would I be trying to do? What would I be trying to hit? How would I try to avoid taking damage? What would the situation be on deck? What would be going through the minds of the people involved in this in, you know, in this terrifying chaos? I just spent several days trying to get inside their heads and, you know, I think the results speak for themselves. Now we go back to the outline. What did that look like? What does your outline look like? I hope? So, if you like the first two, tell your friends, get those sales numbers up so we can get a third book.
But my initial outline actually looks surprisingly like the finished product. There are a couple of chapters that are in the outline that did not show up in the final book because I was running out of space. But other than that, it is largely what I originally wrote. I tend to write in broad strokes in my outline. You started with…obviously the airship was the big idea…but then you had to have characters.
So, how did you come up with the characters that you needed? There are two main characters, I guess. How did you decide what characters you wanted to tell the story and then how did you make them come alive? I stole from the best. I stole from the Aubrey-Maturin series, and I think astute readers who have read that series and my own books will notice elements of Captain Jack Aubrey in Josette, and they will notice elements of Dr. I tried to spend a few days in their heads. Times when I was not writing or outlining or researching, I just kind of spent my free time during the day, you know, during boring biotech meetings, just trying to imagine how these characters think.
I think this gets to what some authors describe as letting the characters speak for themselves. Interesting character trait. Be willing to adapt to the needs of the story and the needs of the character. Let the character takes you where they want to.
You can always use them later in a different book. Which typically, you got about six missions and then you crashed, or were shot down, and he indeed was shot down, but he survived. And all of that related to this a little bit, because the people in your book are fighting this war. I mean. And, of course, all of their little desires for land and influence and power make perfect sense to them, even as the war devolves into a pointless morass, which is evident to anyone who opens their eyes to it.
And yet, you know, essentially the characters are fighting for their comrades and for each other, which does seem to be very true to the way things work in real-life wars as well. That is what allows a guy in a funny hat to tell you to go die on that hill is, you know, you would tell him to get lost if it was just you and him. Now with the book written…did you write the book and then sell it? I did. Which is usually the case with debuts with rare exceptions. I had the entire thing written and then did, you know, essentially cold emailing to catch the attention of agents.
Out of, I believe, thirty-two agents that I submitted a query to, one was interested in the book straight through. A couple asked for, you know, twenty pages, and a few asked for the complete manuscript, but only one saw the, you know, the full potential of this book when he read through it, and that was Paul Lucas who is a rock star. And then he went about, you know, shopping it around. I should back up just one step.
Once you had the draft written, what did your rewriting process look like, your revision process? Ooh, it was a lot of trimming. I went through and tried to trim out every extraneous technical detail on my first edit pass—and there sure were a lot of them. That really gets my goat. So, I tried to cut…there was a bit of that, certainly, and there was a lot of people wandering around thinking about the technical aspects of the things around them, which is another thing that kind of gets me.
So that was my first draft, or rather my second draft, and then I just kind of went through it over and over and over again, paying particular attention to the beginning and the end and the most critical plot critical points in the story, just trying to make it a little bit better with every draft. I think I ended up with something like 16 or 17 drafts by the end of that.
Did you share it with anybody to read along that way, or were you doing it yourself? At that point I did. I shared it with a combat veteran that was working with me at the time, and I shared it with a couple of writing pals, and, you know, I think they really did help make it better. They saw things that I missed. Now, you did sell it to Tor, and your editor was Diana Pho, Hugo-nominated editor. What did she come back to you with? So, she came back with a lot of questions about the world and just an amazing depth of understanding.
I mean, I think she connected with this book immediately and she wanted to make it better in the same way, you know, a parent wants to make their child better. She had a real passion for it and she really pushed me to flesh out the world, to make it feel lived in, to make it feel as if it had depth. That was three or four more edit passes, just kind of going through and getting her feel each time and, you know, making adjustments as necessary. She was wonderful. So, then it was time to think about the sequel.
Did you have more than one book in mind when you wrote the first one, or was this one where you had to discover a way to carry on the story? And so, I kept that in mind from the outline process onwards. I wanted to tell a complete story, but I also wanted to leave room open, and people who read carefully will notice that there are a few little nuggets, little nuclei, seeded throughout the first book that will come back in the second book.
And if we get a third book, there are more in the first and second books that will come back in the third book. I mean, I love writing and I wish to continue…I have always been the kind of writer who thinks out the potential. I could keep writing this indefinitely, essentially, because I come up with thoughts on two additional books for every one I write so far. What was the response from readers when the book came out? How did how did you feel about the response that you had? I was, you know, ready for the worst. Have you done the convention thing, where you meet your readers in person sometimes?
I have. And I love to meet readers. I just love talking to them about anything but my book, which usually I managed to get them off of after a few minutes. And you might perhaps like to discuss something other than the thing that you have spent so much time reading and thinking about. Now, brings me to the more philosophical questions. You started writing because you started reading, as many of us do. Why are you still doing it? Why do you write? Why do you think any of us write? Well, you know, I see human beings as natural storytellers.
That seems to be a fundamental part of our psychology, rooted so deep inside of us that you could never shake it out. People that you meet on the street, you know, telling you about their brother-in-law or something will tell stories in a three-act structure about their own life. It just comes so naturally to people to want to tell a compelling story that interests somebody. Once you get into that you are never getting out.
If somebody could turn it into a…you know. I would not be able to get anything else done. Yeah, I would be terrified to do that. That might be the end of the human race right there. And have you ever thought of writing something outside of the science fiction and fantasy field? Are there other kinds of stories that would appeal to you as a writer? Hoo boy. There certainly are. I kind of love the freedom, though, that fantasy and science fiction give you. You can, you know, you can think of something cool and have it happen, whereas with boring old reality you have to make it actually make percent sense, not only makes sense on a theoretical level but, you know, make sense on an empirical level, because people know how stuff works in the real world.
Are there people writing in the field right now that you are particularly enjoying their work? That you would like to mention? Becky Chambers keeps putting out such wonderful stuff. She has…and, you know, she is one of the people who in fact read The Guns Above before anyone else did and gave me very valuable feedback on it and, she just…the things that come out of her mind. I am in awe of. Justina Ireland, too, is just writing these amazing books.
I did not think zombies could be cool again. I was extremely skeptical when I heard about Dread Nation , but holy crap, she has such amazing skills as a writer. Do you find that as a writer you read differently than you did when you were just a reader…or was there ever a time when you were just a reader? Unfortunately, yes. This is, you know, being a writer kind of ruins some books for you. And in particular you notice ideas that writers fifty years ago somehow managed to steal from you. You know, like, somehow Terry Pratchett went forward in time, stole one of my notebooks and took some of my ideas, and I really resent that.
I find that…one thing I find. It really jumps out at me now. Are you working on it anyway, or what are you working on right now? It is about a woman who speaks to the Devil and gets unwanted life advice from her. No, not yet. Yes, of course. And that is that is one of the nice things, you know. This book has to be perfect before I will put it out. That is kind of part of my psychology. It certainly is. Being able to do all of that and work on other projects is an incredibly valuable life skill for an author. So I definitely suggest that any author who wants to succeed spend 25 years in biotech.
It will cut down on your stress level. I can just about guarantee that to you. They can find me at www. They can also find me on Twitter, if they if they like that particular format, at According2Robyn , and if they want to see me in person they can go to Geneva Steam Con in Delevan, Wisconsin, which starts the 8th of March.
Coming up in the world. Oh, let me give you one more: I will also be at the New Hampshire Writers Retreat from the 26th to the 28th. So check out the links to that through my Facebook page. Well this should go live sometime, probably towards the end of February, I think, so this will time out well for that. Yes, correct. And this is for you folks in the future.
Growing great people.
It sure does. Well, thanks so much for doing this, Robyn. I really enjoyed the chat. Website thoraiyadyer. Thoraiya Dyer is a four-time Aurealis Award-winning, three-time Ditmar Award-winning, Australian science fiction writer and veterinarian. Four of her original short stories are collected in Asymmetry , available from Twelfth Planet Press. Dyer is represented by the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency. She is a member of SFWA. In addition to books, her other great loves are the environment, bushwalking, archery, and travel. I always like to figure out the connections that I have with authors.
There always seems to be something. A lot of them I met at a science fiction convention in Calgary, but not you. Our only connection I could find is that we share an agency, the Ethan Ellenberg Agency. No, but we have the Canadian connection as well. My grandparents, Australian grandparents, set off on a trip around the world to teach in as many countries as they could, and they sort of got stuck in Canada for twenty-five years. So, my mother spent her formative years in Canada and my uncle is on Vancouver Island. Hi, Uncle Wayne! So, I feel like we have that as well.
Oh, yes, I guess we do. Did that happen at the same time, were they separate things? How did that all happen for you? Totally did, totally did at the same time. I think all kids love getting lost in worlds of the imagination, so the more pertinent question is, why do some of them stop reading science fiction or stop enjoying those sorts of stories? I was very lucky that my mom was a science fiction and fantasy fan. So good. Yeah, I loved those right off the bat. Because that was the same sort of adventurous group of kids as you had with the Famous Five, but they discovered this magical tree where sort of fairies and things would live in the branches and the world at the top of the tree would change each time you climbed up there so, you know, you could be in the world of dreams or the world of giants or the world of music.
Well, I guess you could say that the first science fiction story I wrote was a year in third grade. We had this task where we were supposed to be writing about a haunted house and completely subliminally I ended up writing about the hero escaping by throwing a skull at the door mechanism, not unlike Luke escaping the rancor pit. And, yeah, that went on, too. The Brisbane one in particular, like the Sydney Writers Festival, is very literary.
But Brisbane, which is like 1, kilometres away from where I was living, had invited Jim Frenkel from Tor to teach one of their workshops. That was just right after my daughter was born and I got good value from that, but that was the exception rather than the rule. Well, actually, Saskatchewan is similar—and, by the way, kudos for pronouncing Saskatchewan correctly.
But, by going to that presentation ceremony I met some of the movers and shakers of Australian small press. But it was costing me a hundred dollars each time I submitted! So, after that I wrote a lot of short stories. I had the goal to take sort of baby steps upward. I wanted to get, like, the semi-pro sale and then my pro sale. So that was all good practice in not taking it too hard when you get rejected, which stood me in good stead for novel submissions. One thing I found interesting is that you write both science fiction and fantasy, and some authors I talk to do that, but others specialize in one or the other.
Do you find it easy to move back and forth between the genres? And, you know, my hobbies of archery and loving to be in nature, they all go towards what I write on the fantasy side, whereas the veterinary science and reading the journals and staying on top of sort of current discoveries, that all goes into the science fiction side. I love animals. I wanted to be a zoo vet. I really love that. I was gonna say when I was in high school I was drawn to veterinary medicine for a time, but what kind of cured me was I did a spend-a-day with the provincial veterinarian.
I found out that his work consisted of chasing cows around farm yards in the middle of the winter and then, you know, vaccinating them or doing blood tests or whatever. Yeah, not what you want to be chatting about at parties with cocktail in hand. You mentioned one of your hobbies, archery, and you also have quite a bit of karate training. Have you used that in your in your fiction, your kind of insight into martial arts and archery? I always try and work out how things would actually work. To get those marks, to get into vet, something had to give, so I gave up martial arts at that stage.
So, I was more using my karate and the archery knowledge in the second book than in the first. Have you felt, reading fantasy over the years, that archery is often badly done? I have had that thought. It can be a bit of a bad habit. So, maybe I need to just throw all my practical knowledge to the winds and have all kinds of crazy stunts like the ones in the recent Robin Hood movie, which gave me a giggle of enjoyment, but was not any kind of historical accuracy. Well, as far as I can tell, fighting would be a lot easier if you could do it in slow motion. A little more time to think. Yeah, exactly.
What was the seed for that setting? Well, so, this story is about a giant rainforest, so massive and…should I be saying this in kilometers or miles? So, what was the seed, so to speak, that sprouted this giant forest world? Well, it was wanting to have countries that were stacked on top of each other instead of side by side. And then, the characters. But she is that way deliberately. And I like her, and how her story turned out.
You have these ideas, do you do a detailed synopsis, do you work more with a more general idea and then you discover it as you write it? I used to be a total pantser. But agents, as you know, prefer to have outlines, and so my process was to just write things on sticky notes. And then, after the idea collection, yeah, I did have to write an outline, and I wrote an outline for just the one book. I feel like you could read the second and third ones as stand-alones. So, when you were forced to write a synopsis, how long a synopsis was it?
Was it extremely detailed or still fairly general? It was fairly general. It was about eight pages for each book, of single-spaced, twelve-point font, and I probably stuck to about two-thirds of what I had written. Well, it is a question I ask most people I talk to and, you know, it varies from author to author. What do you find is different about the writing as opposed to the synopsizing? You tell me.
What do your character notes look like? Do you do a detailed character sketch ahead of time or…? I mean, I try not to change the color of their eyes mid-book and I might just put in a few pertinent facts from their history. How do you decide what characters you need? Well, you need the viewpoint…again, if you started with a character-based story then you know which character you need, but if you started with a plot-based idea, then who is going to give you a good perspective on that, and how many do you need?
Like, what is the minimum number? Yes, it can be like reducing a mathematical equation. And a lot of this, of course, happens on the fly. What does your actual writing process look like? Do you write longhand, do you write that a regular time, how does it work for you? Sometimes that goes quick and sometimes it literally takes all day to produce this pathetic amount of words.
You mentioned the Australian science fiction writer community. Very supportive?