Verna McKinnon was born in Omaha, Nebraska. From an early age, she loved science fiction and fantasy--the only genres on television that allowed women to be more than an apron baking a pie. At the University of Nebraska at Omaha, she studied theater. She developed a passion for history, mythology, Shakespeare, and the literary classics, considering them health food for the mind. She graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. When she finally pursued her love of writing and storytelling, she chose fantasy and science fiction as her genre of choice. A published author of over thirty short stories published various webzines, print magazines and anthologies, including Aberrant Dreams, Mystic Signals, Scribal Tales Webzine, Descending Darkness, High Fantasy Online, Chaos Theory-Tales Askew, Aphelion Webzine, Gothic Revue, and Fantasy World Geographic, Bards & Sages Quarterly, and Forest of Dreams. Many of her previously published short stories are available on her website to read. Her fantasy novel, Gate of Souls, A Familiar’s Tale Book 1, is the first book in a trilogy that Sky Warrior Books will publish in her Familiar’s Tale fantasy series. Verna lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, author Rick Hipps, two spoiled cats named Bridget and Duncan, and too many books.
I grew up watching science fiction and fantasy shows like Star Trek and Twilight Zone. It shaped me in a great way. It opened my mind. That is a good thing. It allows knowledge to seep in. It enables creativity. Kids need to be creative. I basically had two sides as I was growing up. One as an awkward, quiet Catholic school girl in an ugly maroon plaid uniform (maroon does nothing for my skin tone) and the other as future geeky fantasy nerd girl who loved science fiction and fantasy in all forms. After college, I began pursuing my writing. I just did it. When I had an idea about a novel, my husband Rick (who worked at the university library) brought home a pile of reference books on the subject. At the time I was working on a Merlin/King Arthur idea. It was never published it, but I learned a lot. It helped me to find my voice. Thank heavens for computers, as I am a lousy typist.
I have always had a love of animals from earliest childhood. I would love to have a dog again, but due to my schedule we must do with have a lazy kitties who make the world a warmer place. Maybe that is why animals are such a strong presence in my Familiar’s Tale series. I love animals and no not trust people who don’t.
As I was learning my craft, I came to be grateful for all the donut and coffee shops I haunted with my piles of notebooks, pens, and reference material as I sat downing coffee and sugary or salty goodies as I composed my opus ideas. Writing is a demanding art. You cannot just wait for inspiration or wonder if you are qualified or will find a publisher. Just write! Dream and wonder about “what if” (thank you Ray Bradbury.). Write and write some more. Be inspired. Read-a lot! Do it. No one is going to help you but you. You must find your way and the people who will support you.
I admire so many authors, including Ray Bradbury, Robert E. Howard, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, David and Leigh Eddings, J. K. Rowling, Maggie Furey, Lynn Flewelling, and many more. There are so many great writers in the genre. I am discovering more all the time.
I write novels and short stories for publication. I still drink too much coffee (it is the substance of life). I have my writing nook in my study with my favorite reference books, piles of notebooks, cork boards crammed with inspiration pics, post it notes, scribbles, and project lists as I sit in my faux leather chair and type new worlds into existence on my blue laptop. That’s what I do. It makes me happy.