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Chris Fletcher
Read Little Known Facts About Chris!
I grew up in the Bay Area, a bit south of San Francisco. As a kid, I was always either reading or drawing. I drew pictures by the hundreds, mostly of dogs and horses (I wasn't any good at cats; I never could get their ears right). When I was seven, I invented veterinary medicine. That's right—invented. Doctor shows on TV fascinated me; symptoms seemed like clues, illnesses like mysteries to be solved. But I never was interested in doctoring people. I can't explain why. Some things just grab you in a way you can't resist, and animals were that way for me. So I figured I'd be a doctor who treated animals. Brilliant, right? I still remember my surprise when I found out other people had thought of it first. Hey—that was MY idea!

Q & A Original or not, though, it was what I wanted to be. Fast forward through a whole bunch of school, a few graduation ceremonies, and voilà! A veterinarian at last. Still reading everything I could get my hands on, although drawing had long since fallen by the wayside. And writing? Occasionally I'd think, "You know, I bet I could write a book," but it was the kind of thought like, "I ought to make bread from scratch," or, "I sure would love to be able to play the guitar." In other words, nothing I took seriously. Meanwhile, my boyfriend and I moved to Tennessee. I fell in love with the landscape, the people, and perfect iced tea, but we weren't destined to stay; a few years later we moved again, this time to Oregon. Here, finally, I began to write.

I'd like to claim that some noble Muse whispered into my ear, and, thus inspired, I began to create. I'd like to, The truth is, I was inspired by a novel. Which novel doesn't matter; what mattered was how much I loathed it. The cliches! The stale plot devices, the two-dimensional characters! And yet...I couldn't put it down. At the time, I felt obligated to finish every book I started. By the time I turned that final, 1,104th page, I'd made up my mind about two things. First, never again would I make myself read an entire novel I disliked. Second, if that person could write a book, then what was stopping me?

OK, so it wasn't loftiest of purposes. Still, it kick-started me from saying I could write to actually doing it—or at least, trying to. I quickly gained a new, tremendous respect for the author of those 1,104 pages! But I kept slugging away. Writing had grabbed me, and I couldn't resist.

Someone once asked me why people read novels. I realized that, as a reader, I'm hoping to discover something I've never imagined before. I want to be swept into the world the writer has created for me. I want the writer to be fearless, to lay bare what he or she knows to be true. Now that I'm a writer myself, this is what I try to bring to my readers.

So now I wear two hats: veterinarian and writer. They use completely different parts of my brain, but they have this in common: no matter how much you know, you never know enough. It drives me crazy, but it's a good thing.

These days I live in Portland, Oregon, in a 100-year-old house that constantly needs repairs, with my boyfriend of many years, an assortment of rescued dogs and cats, and a hognose snake named Snappy Tom. As I write, one dog snoozes in my office, while the other sneaks onto the sofa downstairs (she knows that clacking noises from the keyboard means I won't notice.) The cats take turns on my lap. Snappy Tom, meanwhile, dreams his snaky dreams. I imagine he dreams of mice, although he doesn't say.