Writing Ideas and Prompts


Fantasy and Science Fiction Author Julia H. West


A little bit about me and my life. As writers seem to, I've had many arcane jobs. I was a quality control technician for ultrasound heart machines (video recordings of ultrasound cross sections of my heart were shipped all over the world with the machines). I've been a genealogical researcher, an office manager, a secretary, a desktop publisher, a digger at an archaeological dig, a quality assurance tech, a webmaster, an aircraft electrician for the Air Force Reserves, and a keyer for the U. S. Post Office.

I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Utah in 1993 with a BA in Anthropology. When people asked me what I was going to do with my degree, I'd always tell them, "Write Science Fiction." Since an idea I got from one of my classes was directly responsible for "Sea of Chaos," the story that took the Grand Prize in the Writers of the Future contest in 1994, I'd say my education is starting to pay off. One of the trilogies I'm currently working on has a culture loosely based on the Hopi (American Indians), and my story "Soul Walls" in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress XXIV is also loosely based on Hopi culture.

I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons).

I enjoy SF&F fandom, where I've been involved in Star Trek fandom (it's been a lo-o-ong time) and filk singing. For over twelve years I was the Filk Mom at CONduit, an annual SF&F convention held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I helped found the local branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), and have a beginning of an Ancient History of the Barony of Loch Salann up on the web (and a bit about my SCA persona, Rhonwen y Llysieuyddes). There's something very anachronistic about having the history of a medieval re-creation society on the internet!

For many years I've played the Traveller role-playing game with a group of friends. Some of us still meet about twice a month, and play Traveller, Space 1889, and other (mostly science fiction) role-playing games. I started a website to chronicle some of the adventures of our characters when I was game master for a Stargate RPG using (mostly) Traveller rules. We were SG-13. . . . My husband and our friend Peter have both designed ship plans for Traveller.

I've long been interested in writing. In the early 1970s I hand wrote (on notebook paper, in pencil) a couple of novels. They were good practice in starting and completing a big project. Off and on after that I dabbled in writing, but really got started again in 1988, while I was home after the birth of my oldest daughter. In 1989 I sold my first story (a non-science fiction children's story), "The Best Babysitter," and I've been listing myself as a freelance writer on my income tax returns ever since.

Three days after I sold my third children's story, "Granpa is Missing on the Mars Tranship" (this is a science fiction story), I received word that I'd won first place in the quarterly Writers of the Future contest. In 1995, that story was chosen as the 1994 WotF Gold Award winner ($4000 grand prize). My story, "Sea of Chaos," appears in WotF Volume XI.

I don't think I'd be nearly as successful with my writing without the help of people in the various critique groups I've belonged to over the years. I've been in a weekly critique group, CALLIHOO, which has been going for nearly twenty years. I was also in an online group, Dream Weavers, on GEnie. My sweetheart, editor and sometimes collaborator, Brook, is one of my greatest cheerleaders and handholders. Both my daughters are good critiquers and proofreaders, as well.

This iteration of the biography page created 25 April 2011

Last updated 23 July 2012