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A perfect fit

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By Kirsten Laskey

Science has a big presence in Los Alamos so what could be a better fit for local readers than bringing in a science fiction writer to participate in the Mesa Public Library’s Authors Speak series?

S.M. Stirling will be featured in the series at 7 p.m. Thursday in the rotunda. Work that he is currently writing and what he plans to write next are a few of the topics Stirling will address during the lecture.

His newest book, “The Sword of the Lady” will be released in September. Next year, he plans to introduce a new series called “Paint in the Blood,” which will be set in northern New Mexico.

Stirling has a lengthy bibliography to his name. He has written dozens of titles and a number of series include his “Draka,” “Islander” and “Dies the Fire” series.

Creating stories is something that Stirling said he has done since childhood.

“I could not do it,” he said, “Every time I read a book, I thought, ‘I would like to do this’.”

Choosing to pursue science fiction writing was also a natural decision.

“I liked the broad range of possibilities,” he said.

Several authors have influenced his work.  HG Welles, Jules Verne are amoung the authors Stirling admires.

Stirling added as a former history undergraduate, he also enjoys historical fiction.

After completing law school, which he described as a waste of time because he has never practiced, and working odd jobs for four-five years, Stirling got his first book published in 1984, “Snowbrother.”

Stirling began writing full-time in 1988. Having a profession that is “uniquely mobile,” Stirling realized he would live anywhere and choose Santa Fe with his wife, Janet.

He said New Mexico appealed to him because after living in Toronto, Canada, “I was tired of not seeing the sun for four months of the time.”

Even before becoming writer, Stirling has lived all throughout the world. According to a library press release, Stirling was born in France in 1953, to Canadian parents – although his mother was born in England and grew up in Peru.

Stirling has lived in Europe, Canada, Africa and the U.S., and visited several other continents.

He is looking forward to his new excursion in Los Alamos. “I like Los Alamos,” Stirling said, “I got some friends who work there.”

“(There’s) a lot of intelligent people,” he added, “it’s fun to have readers who understand the finer points.”

Stirling describes the current publishing world as very competitive, there are a lot of writers out there but only a few books are published. Still, he offers a few pieces of advice for newcomers to this career.

“Don’t quit your day job … do it because you like it,” he said.

Also, writers should complete any work they have started and read, Stirling said.

There is an infinite number of ways to write, and individuals should find the way that works best for them, he added.

Writers are like actors in Hollywood, Stirling said, most actors are waiters, waiting for their big break. “(You) just got to hang in there and wait for a break.”