Introducing Kim Firmston: Speculative Fiction Instructor, Week 1

I am Kim Firmston, a real life mutant and cyborg – though one without any cool powers. I don’t have a middle name. If I did it would be something cool like Microwave or Screensaver, just to start conversations. I write – a lot. I live in two worlds all the time – Reality and Fiction. Writing allows me to express the half of my life others can’t see. It also keeps me out of trouble when I stare off into space or get really involved in the colour of my carpet lint – people automatically think I’m working.

I write playsspeculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, steam punk, horror, etc.), and YA high/low books. A high/low book, for those of you not in the know, is a book that is high interest, with fights and drama and fire and stuff, but with a low reading level. Why would I write such things? Well, I didn’t read that well as a kid. I’m dyslexic and have a learning disability. I would have loved to have had these books around when I was sixteen. All the books in those days were about how drugs were bad. I know drugs are bad. Duh!

The high/low books I have published are Schizo and Hook Up. I’m also self-publishing a punk rock book called Boiled Cat – hopefully to hit the shelves this June, fingers crossed. I am also working on another Hi/Low book called Touch. Did I mention I write – a lot. My published speculative fiction is a story called Life Before War. It was published in FreeFall Magazine and short listed for the 2008 CBC literary awards. I’ve also had another story published in the Alexandra Reader Anthology called Returning Home.

When I am not writing or cursing obvious villain mistakes, I also warp young minds at the Reality is Optional Kid’s Writing Club (RIO). I help run their E-zine as well as write their Vlog. I have instructed at WordsWorth for three years now and I love it (especially the late night Dungeons and Dragons games). I teach at the Alexandra Kids’ Theatre Camp, where I help the 9-16 year old crowd write and produce their own play all in a week – it’s pretty intense.

My main influences are Masashi Kishimoto because he never gave up on his dream. Garth Nix for taking YA writing to a completely new level with Shade’s Children. And S.E. Hinton for saving me from crappy YA writing when I was a teenager and inspiring me to get something on stage by the time I was seventeen – which I did. My philosophy is as follows: PLAY WITH YOUR WORDS. When you play there are no mistakes, there is only creativity.

I can’t wait to see everyone at WordsWorth. We’re going to have so much fun hiking blindfolded in the woods, building gadgets from our stories, getting dressed up, and figuring out if hot sauce goes with cheese foam . . .  But maybe I’ve said too much – you’ll just have to join me in Speculative Fiction class to find out how much fun writing can be.

Oh, and if you draw me a picture or send me a note – it will most likely end up here. Just saying.

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