Storytelling is a Social Force: Why I Write Fantasy

"As an author, I'm drawn to eccentric, unexpected characters: those who surprise because they hear a distant galaxy, see a different music, ask questions rather than get hooked on a soundtrack; the child who has their own ideas about how the emperor is dressed; the lunatics and rebels who tell stories on the boundaries."

Science fiction & fantasy writers of America & Society of Children's book writers and illustrators

Top-Tier Member

I am honored to have attained the highest level of membership in the premier professional writing associations for both authors of science fiction and fantasy; and for authors who write for young people. Top-tier membership is based on demonstrated book sales and the quality of publications.

Imagining Worlds Beyond the Box of Common Sense

In a review of one of my books, the Midwest Review of Books said, "In a genre replete with formula writing, it's difficult to say that a new arrival feels truly original; but Silversion is all this and more, and will delight fantasy fans looking for something differentbeasts and all."

This captures the spirit of my storytelling: highly original, fast-paced epic adventures like nothing you've read before. All of my stories are appropriate for readers ages 10 to 110.

In many ways, we are the stories we tell ourselves and that we tell about each other. Beyond providing an entertaining story, I strive to break out of the mental boxes made up of the stories we tell.

It's also worth noting that I grew up on a farm with hundreds of cows, and they and other animals have taken over my brain! So the characters in my novels are re-imagined animalsbut, if you think you know what that means, it's definitely not that.

Why Wood Cow Books? Well, one of my key characters, a certain 12-year-old Wood Cow named Helga, has an irrepressible spirit of revolution. She never intended to lead a revolution in the first place. It just sort of happened because she wouldn’t go along with the "rules of normal" that make injustice "normal." In some of my novels, you'll find her somewhere near the social dynamite with a fiery spirit. 

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Fantasy: A Liberating Influence Available to All

When we put books into the hands of readers, especially young people, we're both providing entertainment and participating in the process of shaping the way readers see the world. I want to use the power of fantasy and compelling storytelling to nurture new patterns of thought.

Imagination is an under-appreciated tool available to all in breaking through the barriers that limit our possibilities. I suggest that the liberating influence of fantasy is socially powerful—especially for children and youth. When we rely on imagination to enter worlds and experiences that are not otherwise available to us, we gain access to an infinite range of degrees of freedom. Fantasy enables us to experiment with the infinite frontiers of what is possible and impossible, believable and unbelievable.

As Einstein famously observed: "Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen." Yet, in most cases throughout history, progress has been empowered by the capacity to imagine worlds beyond what most people considered normal, natural, or consistent with common sense.

To offer a glimpse through the veils of common sense, I use anthropomorphic animals living in a multifaceted, complex world. This is not a substitute for exploring issues of equality, power, nobility, respect, freedom, prejudice, and justice with human beings as the main characters. However, it is one tool for making visible the absurdities of our world.

A natural complement of fantasy, and close collaborator, is the sense of humor and need to play that are part of human nature. Humor, like fantasy, encourages flexibility of mind. When something we know is shown from an absurd angle, we find it funny, and also, sometimes, see it in a very different light. In my own writing, I use humor to poke holes in the expectations that keep things in their place.

Simply put, Wood Cows see things differently. For me, it takes more of a leap of faith to believe that our current society of "boxes" is healthy and serves us well, than to believe that cows can think and talk. That is why I write.