Nancy Etchemendy - Author Bio
August 7, 2006
I was born in Reno, Nevada in 1952. Deserts, sagebrush, horses, real cowboys and Indians, abandoned silver mines and the occasional mobster were everyday parts of my childhood. I had a lot of different pets, including but not limited to dogs (Sugar and Doggin), cats (Harvey, Herman, and Ralph Snavely), a goat (Cathaleen), a parakeet (Petey), and two unnamed ducks who pooped a lot. While attending the University of Nevada, I worked at many interesting jobs. My favorites were hardware clerk (I know the difference between a clevis pin and a cotter pin), printing press operator (200 copies per minute), and cabaret singer (not that unusual in Reno).
I wrote my first story at age seven with a chartreuse crayon that needed sharpening. It was about ghosts in the "food room." (I couldn't spell kitchen yet.) By the time I was ten, I was churning out tales of interplanetary adventure instead of doing homework. (Ask Mr. Frick.) I wrote my first book the instant I got out of college, saw it published a few years later, and have never looked back.
Why do I write what I do? I think my dad has something to do with it. In his younger days, he was a science fiction reader who loved to invent things and speculate about the future. He and his friends never talked about ordinary stuff. They talked about perpetual motion machines, satellites, and robots. They argued over the economic feasibility of hydrofoils and whether a parachute could be redesigned to carry a man in a controlled flight. It all came true. (Except the perpetual motion machines.) I eavesdropped and sucked it all in like a sponge.
Dad also kept magazines around the house with swell names like Analog, Astounding, and Weird Tales, which I read secretly under the covers at night with a Girl Scout flashlight. They contained spiffy stories about triangle-shaped guys from Pluto and computers who thought they were human. There was some kissing, too, but I usually skipped that so I could get to the juicier parts where the monsters came in. In short, I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy. As for horror, after reading Edgar Allan Poe and Saki, I was soon making up my own dark tales for the pure joy of scaring my younger sister, Cecily. (We shared a dark, dark bedroom.)
I live and work in Northern California, where I lead a somewhat schizophrenic life, alternating between unkempt, introverted writer of weird tales and gracious wife of John Etchemendy, Stanford University's Provost. He and I have one son, who is all grown up and currently lives in Salt Lake City, which seems startling at first, but like everything else, makes sense when you hear the whole story.
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