December 2008. It was kind of a convoluted path. I was lurking on an Orthodox Christian newsgroup, where I encountered Rick Copple, who caught my attention because Orthodox and speculative fiction just seemed like a really strange combination. That led me to RayGun Revival and RayGun Radio, which led me to Double Edge Publishing, which brought a variety of Christian spec-fic authors to my attention, including a few more in LGG. I checked a few profiles on the LGG website and discovered a lot of folks with reading lists very similar to my own, so it seemed like a good fit. I'd already connected with a secular writers' forum online, but was looking for a group with a Christian focus as well.
What's the first thing you remember that happened in the Guild?
Well, there was the first time I went to an LGG meeting in Second Life, and Frank Creed's avatar was wearing a fox suit. That was different.
Tell us some good things that have transpired from belonging.
Just being in touch with a lot of other like-minded folks who want their writing to glorify God has been an incredible morale-booster and challenge for me. Another unexpected blessing was that Grace Bridges discovered my novel when I was circulating the draft for critique, and liked it so much she wanted to publish it.
What's your genre and subgenre? Why do you think that is?
I hate to pigeonhole myself, but I mostly write soft science fiction and modern fantasy—putting human beings in extraordinary situations and then seeing what happens. Though I have an engineering education and love gadgetry, the development of technology isn't as interesting to me as what people do with it or how their lives change because of it. With regard to fantasy, I see magical or supernatural elements in much the same way—they're a vehicle for bringing characters and readers into a world where the rules are different than what they expect, then seeing how they react.
Do you like to read the same genre as you write? What other genres interest you? Favorite authors?
Yes, I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy as much as I enjoy writing it. I read the odd mystery or Western once in a while, and nonfiction about science or nature. It's almost cliché for someone who writes stories with Christian themes to say they like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, but I do. They're the masters. On the secular side, Mark Twain, for his wonderful sense of humor, Ray Bradbury, who brought poetry and science fiction together, and finally, William Tenn and Fredric Brown, two great short-story writers with a gift for delivering a huge punch in a small package.
Tell us about your published work, and where we can go to find out more. I've had fifteen or so works of short fiction published in a variety of online and print magazines, both Christian-oriented and secular, and I keep a current list on my writing blog at http://frederation.wordpress.
What are you working on right now? How's progress? I've always got a few short stories in the works, but now that I've finished writing The Muse, I've begun two new novel projects--a sequel to The Muse, and a science fiction adventure story.
How has the LGG helped you in your work? Aside from the benefits I mentioned earlier, I'd have to say that the enthusiasm among LGG members is infectious. Even a couple of years ago, I would have considered “quality spec-fic with a Christian sensibility” to be a contradiction in terms. Now, I'm actually excited about trying to write it.
What are your dreams for the future of Christian speculative fiction, and for yourself within that?
I want to see Christian spec-fic become known for both its craftsmanship and its innovation. If we're going to prosper, we have to write well, be willing to take risks, and develop speculative visions that will catch people's imagination. We can't just follow established trends or conventional wisdom--we have to step out and lead. We follow a Saviour who knows how to tell an important story, and how to tell it in a way that nobody's ever heard before. If I can grab hold of a little bit of that mastery, I'll be a happy guy.
Your best writing tip? Write something every day. It doesn't have to be a story—even if it's a letter to your Mom or a page in your diary, just developing the discipline to regularly put some words on paper or into electrons gets you used to thinking like a writer.
What else are you up to that our readers would find interesting?
My day job is pretty interesting. I help run computer simulations that the Army uses for training, so they can practice their combat procedures without burning a lot of fuel or blowing things up.
Something you reckon not many people know about you?
I spent some time living in Korea, where I developed a taste for bulgogi and kimchee.
Your website or social media profile?
My writing blog, Frederation, is at http://frederation.wordpress.