Little has changed since I was a child--I escape reality every chance I get. No more wandering through the Smithsonian, though--too many tourists these days. Now I use the pen--or pixels, as it were. My stories cross several genres--science fiction, fantasy, romance, sometimes a little horror--all rolled up into one book. One term for what I do is "mashup," which I like because it sounds so edgy. As for how I came to write mashup, it was simply that when I began writing in earnest, I had only the vaguest notion of what genre meant. At that time, bookstores grouped science fiction and fantasy on the same shelf, and labeled the collection "sci-fi/fantasy." Naturally, I thought sci-fi/fantasy was a single genre and was surprised to learn they were not. I was also told that science fiction and fantasy did not, could not, and would not, ever mix. That surprised me too--since I'd already done it.
All these years later, I'm still hooked on writing mashup. Mashups are the kind of books I like to read. I've read tons of fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance--and as the decades rolled by, I found I had become bored. There was a kind of sameness about them--the characters were different and the situations were usually different, but I suppose what I wanted was a monkey wrench thrown into the mix. Something new to wrap my head around, make me sit up and pay attention. Like a rollicking, adventurous romance between a werewolf and a space alien.
If I had to describe myself in three words, I would say I'm a "fugitive from reality." I've always been drawn to the dark, the fantastic, and the just plain weird. As a child growing up in Washington, D.C., I was forever on the lookout for ways to divorce myself from the dreariness of living in a world where there were no dragons to play with. Lucky for me, there were many--and legal--ways to escape the banality, like reading (of course), imagining stories, listening to or playing music, and one of my favorites, wandering through the many museums that make up the Smithsonian Institution.
Writing mashup is immensely freeing because I’m not bound by the restrictions that define genre. And amazing things can happen when one colors outside the lines. For me, this is what makes the joy and despair of writing so worthwhile. So buckle up and join me on that trip across the fragile boundary into the wild, woolly, and weirdly fantastic. You won’t regret it. In fact, you may not want to come back.