Ashley is an award-winning author and freelance editor in Phoenix, Arizona. When she’s not writing or editing, Ashley enjoys traveling (oftentimes internationally), playing Scrabble with her fiancé (to whom she loses a lot more often than she likes to), and fostering kittens through Arizona Animal Welfare League.
Q: If your writing style were a bird, what type of bird would it be and why?
A: Good grief, you realize you’re asking this question of a total bird nerd, right? I mean, some of my writing friends say that a story isn’t one of my mine unless it has a bird in it. I share my house with parakeets, I feed the outside birds, and I have been a lifelong birdwatcher. So birds means a lot to me.
Let me think carefully about this. I write slowly, so my writing style would not be a fast hummingbird or falcon. It also wouldn’t be something like a bluebird, which can have multiple broods per year. I also don’t think I have a terribly flashy style, so it wouldn’t be a peacock or bird of paradise. I also don’t write well in crowds or coffee shops or anything like that. I’m definitely a loner writer. So my writing style wouldn’t be anything that congregates in huge flocks—no flamingos or starlings or budgerigars. I also write best at home, in familiar settings, so no birds that fly long distances like terns or albatrosses.
After all of this, I think my writing style is a kakapo. What is a kakapo, you ask? A rare flightless parrot from New Zealand. They breed very slowly, with the parrots taking several years to reach maturity, and some years they don’t breed at all. They have muted green feathers and aren’t flashy, but have a fluffy cuteness that I find absolutely endearing. They are also loners and don’t congregate in flocks like many other parrots. Because they don’t fly, they stick close to home. All of these things resonate for my writing style. In addition, because they are so rare, they have a dedicated team of extraordinary scientists and volunteers who do tremendous conservation work to save the species. While I don’t need conservationists for my writing, I am lucky enough to have family and writing friends who support my work, and I am very grateful to them. [On a side note, if you are so moved to learn more about kakapos, visit the Kakapo Conservation page: https://www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/kakapo-recovery/.]
Joseph Halden is a wizard in search of magic, an astronaut in need of space, and a hopeless enthusiast of frivolity. He’s shot things with giant lasers, worn an astronaut costume for over 100 days to try and get into space, and made his own soap. A graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, he writes science fiction and fantasy in the Canadian prairies.
Q: Do you live near where you were born? Have you traveled much?
A: I was born in Nova Scotia, a province in Eastern Canada, and currently live in New Brunswick. Looking out my window I can see Nova Scotia across the Bay of Fundy. New Brunswick is where I grew up and the smell of the Bay, dramatic shoreline, and deep forests are home. I moved to Central and Western Canada for my education but always gravitated back to New Brunswick again.
As a child I travelled through most of the United States in the back of my parents’ Volkswagen. I gawked at New York City and the Grand Canyon in between Battleship games with my brother and a handful of Nancy Drew novels.
In my early twenties I spent three months in rural Costa Rica as part of a conservation volunteer group. I treasure the experiences I had in the rainforests there and the beautiful communities that welcomed us into their lives. There were blankets of fireflies along the edges of one forest that will forever haunt my dreams.
Kathryn Yelinek works as a librarian in Pennsylvania. In addition to the required hobbies of reading and writing, she enjoys bird watching, star-gazing, gardening, and going to see Broadway musicals. She and her husband share their home with two adorable parakeets, whom they are actively striving to make into the most spoiled birds in the Western Hemisphere. The birds don’t seem to mind. Her works have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Deep Magic, Metaphorosis, Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.