I had the chance to interview author Kathy Tyers before meeting her at the 2013 Write! Vancouver conference. Kathy is a sci-fi writer who has contributed to the Star Wars series and has a master’s degree from UBC.
TKM: How did you become a writer?
Kathy: I had always hoped that when I became a mother, I would be able to stay home with my family. I never dreamed I would have a career in writing.
I started writing a science fiction novel when my little boy was two years old and took nice long naps… I just did it for myself and a few friends. I thought I was “finished” with that book when I completed the first draft.
Fortunately, I heard about a local writers critique group where I could learn to make it better. I believe I became a professional writer on the day I discarded the first four chapters of that first draft and started over.
TKM: What inspires you to write?
Kathy: A compelling character living through events that intrigue me. Or simply something I want to tell people.
For instance, I recently launched a blog about a dietary regimen I’ve been following for almost a year and a half. The “Low-FODMAP” diet was developed in Australia, and it has been a significant help to many people who suffer from irritable intestines. Most of my writing for the last few months has been for a food blog.
TKM: Who is your favourite author and why?
Kathy: I was hooked on speculative fiction by the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The sense of reality in his “subcreated” (his term) world, right down to the Elvish languages and believable geography, convinced me that I had been to another place and time.
As a teenager, I just liked to spend time in that world. As an author, I learned to admire the way he poured his life into a single set of tales and kept his writing work balanced with living well—teaching and raising a family.
More about Kathy Tyers
Of course, after chatting with Kathy, I had to pick up her novels! Firebird is now one of my favourite sci-fi novels, along with its sequel, Fusion Fire. These page-turning novels follow a strong, female heroine through a fascinating world, with a beautiful love story and plenty of action.
Kathy Tyers was born in Long Beach, California in 1952. Her father was an accomplished dentist and jazz musician who had served during WWII as a test pilot, and her mother was a flutist with several California orchestras. Kathy also performed widely on her flute. She has a degree in microbiology and taught primary grades for three years.
Firebird was her first novel, published in 1987, and followed by three more books. In 1993, her editor asked her if she’d like to be a Star Wars writer. The Truce at Bakura was a bestseller. After writing another novel, Kathy took a sabbatical and then tried to break into the Christian book market. After several years, Bethany House Publishers expressed interest in her books, and she rewrote Firebird to enhance the underlying spiritual themes.
If you liked this interview, you may also like my interview with Catholic sci-fi author Karina Fabian.