M.A., Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, English, 1976
B.A., Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Journalism, 1970
How did you discover Western?
Michaela Roessner of the low-residency M.A./MFA Creative Writing/Genre Fiction faculty had been raving to me about the program for several years, pointing out all its many advantages for graduate students and for faculty interested in a very high-quality, low-residency MFA. When I was asked to become part of the faculty, I jumped at the chance to become part of the team.
What are some of the highlights of your career?
I’m a teacher as well as a working writer, so my career highlights include noting with pride that a number of my students have found success in fiction or nonfiction writing. Two students I worked with have won Pulitzer Prizes, and many, many more have gone on to find success as novelists, short-story writers, newspaper reporters and columnists, and editors of both fiction and nonfiction magazines. I’m enormously proud of all of them.
I am the co-founder and co-judge (with Sheila Williams, the award-winning editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine) of a major international undergraduate writing award, The Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. Watching the writing careers blossom for many of the winners and finalists of that award over the past quarter-century has been a major highlight.
On the writing side, my novel, “Alien Morning,” was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best Science Fiction Novel of 2016, and my short story, “Something Real,” won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History-Short Form of the year in 2012. As a novelist, anthology editor and short-story writer, simply seeing my work appear in print is a continuing highlight.
What most excites you about your field?
The digital age has brought enormous change to creative writing in all its forms, and most of them are for the better. A number of digital magazines have emerged as major markets for genre writers, and ebooks and print-on-demand books have widened the access to book publishing as they compete with the more traditional publishers for readers. For early career writers, this means the opportunities to publish your work has grown exponentially. It’s a very exciting time to be entering the field.
What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?
The people and the scenery in the Gunnison Valley are both terrific. I’m an avid hiker and cyclist, and the opportunities for both of those abound.