Aztec author win sci-fi award for fantasy novel

Aztec author win sci-fi award for fantasy novel

by Amber McKinney, Contributor

Nearly every writer has a special place where they go to focus on the words set to spew from their minds. San Diego State alumna Liz Colter takes three days off from work and goes into a writer’s hibernation. It’s there in her home office, from midmorning to early afternoon, where she dreams up fantasy worlds for her stories.

One of her stories has recently won her the “L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future” award.

“I got the phone call when I was at work and I took the call outside,” Colter said. “I walked back in to work grinning and everybody hugged me because, of course, they all knew about it.”

The award included a trip to Hollywood, a week-long seminar with The New York Times best-selling authors and resources to support her publishing.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for the newer writers who are, otherwise, always competing against professional writers,” Colter said.

But Colter wasn’t always a writer—she originally went to SDSU for its sports medicine program. After she received her master’s degree, Colter went on to pursue a variety of jobs, from dispatching to training draft horses. She said her wide range of experience is an asset to her writing.

“I think the more you experience the broader base you have for writing,” Colter said. “It’s easy for me to write about horses, which are used a lot in fantasy.”

Colter comes from a family of writers dating back to her grandfather, who wrote fiction in the late 1800’s.

“It’s funny because I found out about the writers in my family after I started writing,” Colter said. “There’s my aunt, my brother who writes non-fiction and my mom recently decided to start writing, too.”

Colter is the only person in her family to veer off into fantasy fiction. She fell in love with the genre after reading “The Hobbit” and watching “Star Trek” at age 10.

For her stories, Colter creates new worlds.

“Usually I get a feeling for the tone I want to write and from that, the setting emerges and the characters develop,” Colter said. “Occasionally I’ll have a flash of an image, usually at night before I go to sleep, and it’s like a picture of the character I want to use.”

She remembers her first writing experience fondly.

“It was 1999 and I just got my first computer. I sat down with the intent of writing the kind of novel that I would want to read,” Colter said. “I wrote 10,000 words the first week. It just started pouring out.”

She’s already begun on her next novel, which is about a gambler who loses a big bet. Colter is anticipating it will be the start of a trilogy.

With two novels already published and another on the way, Colter sees no end in sight for her love of writing.

“Writing is definitely an evolution and it’s such a long continuum that hopefully you just keep getting better and better,” Colter said. “I’d love to really develop my skill with novels and see it take off.”

Photo from YouTube 

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