As the release of my first published work draws closer, I have been thinking about the events and course that got me here, for better or for worse. In case you care about them, here they are (part 1):
The Boring Middle Part
There were several non-bookish things that happened in my youth that, while not inspiring me to write at the time, certainly influenced the writer I am today. The first was summer camp at the Museum of Flight, in Seattle. I practically lived there, spending countless hours indulging my love of aviation. The summer camp, though, was particularly influential. I remember that on the admissions questionnaire, they asked what your aspirations were. I always wanted to fly in space- always have, always will. Focusing on it so much, imagining all the possibilities is what drew me to science fiction and, ultimately, to writing it.
For years, they had just the one camp there, and they would divide it up by age. When I was about 14, they switched to the current ‘ACE’ (Aerospace Camp Experience) format, with a bunch of the ‘veteran’ campers being invited to be guinea pigs for it. A new feature was an overnight thing (the first one we actually camped out; I think now it’s just a sleepover in the Museum), and there was the usual campfire story swapping and, as you might expect from a bunch of aviation-loving nerds, book discussion. I had just read Beowulf and Michael Creighton’s excellent take on it, Eaters of the Dead. No one else had read them, and I was implored to tell the story. I was pretty sure that I was boring as paint drying, but everyone seemed to like it. I say this not so you think “OMG Dean is such a great storyteller!” but because it’s something I think of a lot- I really liked telling stories.
It was around that time that I started writing more seriously, mostly to see what I could come up with and with the vague thought that one day I could get published. Then came college, and, well, I’ll save that one for next time…