Who is C.J. Cherryh?....
I'm a lot of things.
I write, first and foremost. I figure skate. I travel. I photograph. I sketch. I read. I do genealogy and history, science, and archaelogy. I do some modern and two ancient languages.
I'll predictibly lose any trivia contest with a pop culture theme---unless it has to do with American Idol or dance, most of which I follow because Jane does---but that's fine, and I do enjoy them. I've actually lost a trivia contest on my own books: I just don't remember trivia. Left to my own devices, I watch a lot of science, history and documentary programs, with a focus on disaster scenarios---and I rarely watch network dramas---one to two of those a season. I don't watch comedies (I hate
laugh tracks) and I don't like crime dramas or 'family' programs. I have acquired a real liking for good anime, but prefer the Bleach sort, not the wide-eyed princesses of this and that, and I follow a little Japanese: I prefer anime in the original language. I'm also fond of Chinese historical dramas, the longer the better. In music, I prefer folk and filk music, or heavy metal, and I like guys with long hair. I detest 'styling' in a song with a perfectly good melody of its own. I play a
12-string poorly, a flute pretty well...a long time ago. I was in marching band. We were perpetually at war with the pep squad, a rivalry generally unmatched on the field.
I grew up riding two successive horses named Old Bill, plus several others, notably Skeeter and Red. I owned my own horse, Cody, for a while, a plain bay with a wicked sense of humor, but had to sell him to pay my cat's vet bills. I spent weekends on my gran's farm, which was mostly a ranch: it grew little more than hay---and a few cabbages, with chickens. I spent my weekends with a collection of cousins, and my brother, who came along when I was seven. I can start a fire in the rain with one match, I
can track well enough to find a stray horse. And in college I majored, so far as my physical education, in deadly weapons: fencing, archery, and bowling. I like baseball, but no other team sports, and I like competitive figure skating. I've tried riding camels and elephants, and can attest that elephants are scarier. I've rappelled off a 50 foot cliff (thank you, Steve and Sharon) and slid the hard way down a trail in a cave---I'm quite fond of caves. I love the cold, do not tolerate heat at all, and prefer rain and
clouds to sunshine.
I'm the great-granddaughter of Missouri Duff and Louisiana Carolina Boone---yes, out of those Boones. Missouri was so named because she lost track of her whole family after a river boat flipped, and Carolina was the matriarch of my father's clan, the woman I'm named after. My family goes back quite a ways, and I have fun running down the family scandals. No few of my line were very creatively executed in England, usually for treason. One of my ancestors was reputed as the most virtuous man in England
and another was known as the most corrupt.
I planned to write from the age of 10---and did, starting with a Chieftain tablet and a pencil. But nobody but my brother ever saw it. My parents respected the locked box under the bed. I graduated to a typewriter, and taught myself to type pretty fast---around 100 wpm. I sent things in and went through the usual rejection slips when I got back from grad school---where I majored in Classics, Latin and Greek.
I taught high school in Oklahoma City for 7 years, public school, because I believe strongly in the right of all students to have the classics available. I inherited the Ancient History class and taught that too. I'm told I was notorious in the state colleges.
I finally got a publisher's will-see when I was 33, about the age that Alexander ruled his world...and I quit my day job after Don Wollheim of DAW Books gave me a 3-book contract---which amounted to a year's pay for a school teacher. I became good friends with Don and Elsie Wollheim and worked with them for years.
I set out to write: that was all I had ever aimed to do. If I had to spend the rest of my life solo at a keyboard, that would be the price of it, and one I'd gladly pay; but I lucked out. Jane Fancher turned up---another writer, a voice in the great silence, and an honest person I could trust. I invited her to move into my vacant upstairs, she did, and over the years we've become each other's first editors, best friends, and sounding board. She's a great writer---she happened along when the business
went crazy and
refused to support anybody without a movie tie-in or a 'brandable' product, but trust me, if you like my books, it's a good bet you'll like hers.
Bev Hale, Ellen Guon, and Lynn Abbey were variously our houseguests, so long as we were in Oklahoma City, and we keep up ties, especially with Lynn.
We have cats, marine fish---and have had lizards, birds, freshwater fish, you name it: our place is always a zoo. At the height of the madness, with 7 fish tanks, three cats, a terrarium and an aviary, all in the same room, we used to joke that we didn't have pets---we had a food chain.
I grew up in Oklahoma. Jane lived there a while, and then as the rest of my family moved to Texas, down in the heat, Jane and I headed for colder climes. We couldn't afford Seattle, but we found an apartment, and eventually a house, over on the dry side of Washington, in Spokane.
I took up figure skating along with Jane when I hit 61. Crash pads and a helmet are my only concession to what-if on the ice.. And I've used them a few times a year. I've perfected the 3-turn and do a very small waltz jump: I skate backwards with fair ease, and can do some fancy moves. We fell in with the local adult figure skaters, who are our closest friends here in Spokane.
And that's me. I love traveling and taking pictures, I enjoy critters, and biology and geology and cosmology. I count myself very lucky to do what I love best for a living. We live in a modest 50's style house about a mile from downtown Spokane, WA. We skate nearly every day, we do what we love to do, and we frequently go out with friends. Could life be better than that?
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