No matter how interesting I make my bio, people are always more interested in my wife and what she does. So let's get it out of the way. She's one of the top hedgehog breeders in the country, which means at any given time, I share my little farm in NC with around 100 hedgehogs.
We used to have a business called Zippity Zoo that traveled around doing petting zoos for various organizations, animal shows for birthday parties, and educational programs for schools. I'm 30,000 words in on the memoir of those days, currently titled, "There's a Kangaroo in the Kitchen." (Technically, it was a wallaby.)
But instead of finishing that, I've been writing fantasy novels. Reading my bio so far, and watching the above GIFs, I'm questioning my entire life, and the possible absence of any discernment in regards to career choices. (Although, to be fair to me, the wind in my sails was greatly diminished by We Bought a Zoo. Seriously, it's Matt Damon.)
I've been obsessed with all things fantastical since childhood; from standing in line with my dad to watch Return of the Jedi in theaters, to cheating my way through Choose Your Own Adventure Novels, from Saturday morning church with Optimus Prime, to checking the vents in my house for the Borrowers.
Tolkien, as is often the case, cracked open a door that led to the worlds of Adams, Lewis, Donaldson, Le Guin, Jordan, and Sanderson. And they in turn led to my current pantheon of fantasy masters: Gaiman, Rothfuss, Martin, and Erikson.
My hope is to write engaging fantasy that features underrepresented characters speaking realistic dialogue and engaged in unique conflict, rather than the usual chosen ones dumping plot details in the midst of the heroic quest to get the Shiny Thing to defeat the Dude of Darkness. (All the while knowing such journeys forged my love of the genre.) I've completed two fantasy novels, and I'm slogging through the first draft of the next.
The lead in my #PitchWars entry is a female vegetarian pacifist headed to her home island for the first time. As a wandering exile, she dreamed of reclaiming her land and ruling it graciously while using her magical ability to heal and give life. Finally on the land itself, her idealism crashes into the realities of thieving squatters, a vindictive ghost, a handful of shady followers, and doubts about her own ability to lead. It's the journey of Aragorn crossed with the spirit of the X-men on an island that's part Mayan ruins, part Appalachian Mountains.
If I were selected by a mentor, first, in celebration I'd drink an IPA in one of my Bree pint glasses, and/or a cocktail, probably something tropical because it's the summer months. After that, I'd let my mentor know I'm teachable, but not spineless; I always hit my deadlines; I've made space in my life for the hard work of writing, and I'm committed to the process, knowing it takes Sisyphean levels of patience.
In addition to fantasy books, I collect pipes, and used wigs. I own an orangutan suit that I crash dance parties in, and I have the wholly unmarketable but picnic-friendly skill of catching flies out of the air. And as for politics, well, let's just say I wish Furiosa was running for the job with a #Browncoat as VP.
And with all this talk of wild beasts, you should know this man is my spirit animal.
But seriously. Hedgehogs.