Speculative Fiction in Education: An Interview Series - Post #1

In February, I was fortunate enough to attend the LTUE Science Fiction Symposium at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Part of the Symposium inlcuded an Educator's Conference.

As part of the Educator's Conference, I attended a panel entitled "Using SF&F in the Classroom - Reaching Reluctant Readers." I was fortunate enough to get several of the panelists to agree to an interview regarding the importance of speculative fiction in the classroom. Over the next seven days, I will post a different interview question, along with the panelists' answer.

The two interviewees are:

Dan Willis

About Dan: Dan always had an affinity for stories. Growing up in Maryland in the late 70s, he fell in love with reading at an early age, devouring books as fast as he could get them. When his fourth grade teacher challenged her class to write a short story for Halloween, Dan’s was pages rather than paragraphs. After reading it aloud in class, Dan discovered that many of the student stories the following day had elements of his story incorporated in them. Almost from that moment, Dan was a born storyteller.

Not knowing how, exactly, to become a writer, Dan did the usual things, went to college, got married, designed games, and dreamed. While perfecting his craft as a writer, Dan became a computer programmer, technical writer, game designer, software tester, web designer, and even insurance salesman. Eventually, after years of hard work and effort, Dan’s work caught the attention of Wizard’s of the Coast, who signed him immediately to work on their new YA imprint; DragonLance: The New Adventures. Dan produced three books for the YA line, including one of the series best-sellers. Recently his book The Survivors was released under Wizard’s original DragonLance brand.

These days Dan lives in the west, right at the mouth of a magnificent canyon where the wind always blows. He has a lovely wife, four children, and is hard at work on his next book - an original Steampunk novel.

You can learn more about Dan at his website.

Eric G. Swedin

About Eric: Eric G. Swedin is an associate professor at Weber State University in the Information Systems and Technologies department, specializing in information security and interdisciplinary studies. He teaches students how to be hackers so that they may defend against hackers. His doctorate is in the history of science and technology and he regularly teaches history classes at Weber State. His publications include numerous articles, three history books, and a historical mystery novel, The Killing of Greybird (2004). Four other books are under contract. Eric lives in a house built in 1881 with his wife Betty and four children.

You can learn more about Eric at his website.

Thanks to both Dan and Eric for participating in this interview! The first of the interview posts will begin tomorrow.