Christopher Mahan's writing biography

Needless to say, this is ridiculous. I am only writing this so that Google can use the link in the html5 rel="author" tag. Ridiculous.

Since you're here, though, let's talk about that.

First writing

I started writing when I was fourteen. I wrote, in French, in class, not part of the class assignment, of course, a story. I wrote about Siona Atreides and Duncan Idaho. I was reading God Emperor of Dune at the time. I recall that one of the scenes in the book seemed dry, loveless. I wanted to rewrite it--the scene, not the book--and make it better.

It worked!

My version was more fun. More emotional. Siona got madder. Duncan was even more unscrutable.

I didn't know I was supposed to keep it forever, so it got lost shortly after.

Also, on reading. I read some sci-fi in France, and a lot of WWII and French Indochina war novels. I probably read 100 books when I was 13 (excluding school books--which I didn't read, frankly).

I read history books, political books, comic books. Lots of lots of books. I shaped my brain by reading, since I would have been a lot poorer mentally having read only school books and from my interactions with same-aged French adolescents. Makes me depressed just thinking about it.

I escaped the dreary overcast sky and minds of Northern France by visiting exotic destinations through books.


After I moved to Texas, I started to have a lot of free time. I was reading voraciously, switching my primary language from French to English. I exercised the English part of my brain by copying paragraphs, sometimes pages, to spiral notebooks. I recommend this exercise to anyone wishing to really understand a language.

On occasion, I noted that the writing I was copying was rather dull. I was able to see better ways of expressing what they were writing.

I arrived in Texas in winter of 1985. I started writing stories, I think, around 1987. I started with Sauri (unpublished, unfinished, but I do have it). I wrote In Zwolle too around that time. I don't think I have a copy of that. I remember when I was working at 7-11, I met a woman who had been one of the children of US diplomats stuck in the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979. She drove a red convertible miata. Once, I remember, we listened to the Eagles' Hotel California while driving down Camp Bowie boulevard on the west side of Fort Worth. Perhaps that day, perhaps another, she came to my place. She was eager for more than I was comfortable doing, so to deflect her sparkling eyes, I gave her "In Zwolle" to read. Beside by Dad and my stepmother, that woman is the only person who has ever read this story. At one point in the story, toward the end, she had tears running down her face. She was, after, different, more tormented, less sure of herself. We spoke a little while longer. Then she left. I never saw her again.