About Me

I was born in November, 1980, about three weeks after the election of Ronald Reagan, less than two weeks before the assassination of John Lennon. The defining events of my childhood (in terms of "newsy" events rather than personal ones) would be the Challenger disaster in 1986, the start of the Gulf War in 1990, the collapse of the USSR a year later, and Clinton's election the following year (I was 20 and in college when the attacks of September 11, 2011 occurred). I was born and raised in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and attended public schools in the Coatesville Area School District.

Many of my interests and hobbies date back to my childhood--for example, I first got involved in politics in first grade, just before I turned seven, and I first started writing seriously at the age of 11 or so. My first book, completed about a year later, could be described as Narnia fan fiction (of course, I didn't know the term "fan fiction" back then). My lifelong interest in epic fantasy started at the same time, with the same inspiration, although C.S. Lewis has since been eclipsed in my heart by several other authors, including J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, and Robert Jordan. My next significant writing project was in the early-to-mid 1990s, and was a series of six X-Files inspired stories with a continuous plot (a serial novel of sorts).

Tornalia began to develop in the summer of 1997, just before my junior year in high school. My primary inspiration at the time was The Lord of the Rings, with other influences including The Prydain Chronicles, Narnia, the card game Magic: The Gathering, Warhammer (the game, which I've actually never played...I just liked looking at the catalog!), Hawthorne's The Marble Faun, and The Princess Bride. The world as originally conceived was rather Tolkienesque; as it developed, it became more and more original and unique.

During the process of writing the first Tornalia novel (The Dagger of Despair, written from 1998 to 2000, when I was a senior in high school and a freshman at Cornell), another key influence was Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, which became one of my primary obsessions for the next several years. Other obsessions of my childhood and early adulthood, in rough chronological order (there was a lot of overlap): trains, dinosaurs, baseball, Legos, Star Wars, UFOs, The X-Files, The Lord of the Rings, Magic: The Gathering, The Wheel of Time, the Civilization series of computer games, anime, and political websites. Clearly, I'm someone who has a tendency to develop obsessive interests. I think my geek credentials have been well established!

I met Erin, my future wife, in Spanish class during our freshman year at Cornell University in 1999, but it was a couple years before we really got to know each other. Our friendship grew, and ultimately it dawned on us that we are in fact soul mates. I also developed a deep interest in Japanese culture, history, and language in college, something Erin and I shared, and we both wound up living in Japan after graduating.

Erin and I have two kids: Zachary, born in February of 2008, and Norah, born in July of 2010.

My career has been focused at the intersection of international travel and education, including stints as a high school English teacher in Japan, a career services assistant in Cornell's business school, and my current role, an immigration and programming assistant at Cornell, where I assist international students, faculty, and staff with immigration and visa issues. Earlier odd jobs: construction worker, camp counselor (I was primarily responsible for the care of animals, not kids), paint store clerk, and intern in a city hall.

I've always been an avid reader (although less so from roughly 2000 to 2006 or so, when my main sources of entertainment were TV, movies, anime, and games). Aside from the writers mentioned in my last post, my favorite authors include Shakespeare, Poe, George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut, Orson Scott Card, J.K. Rowling...well, I could keep listing authors all day, but I'll just say the next tier would include Goethe, Terry Goodkind, Haruki Murakami, David Eddings, and Stephen King. For nonfiction, the list would start with Carl Sagan, Jared Diamond, Al Franken, and Michael Moore. My favorite movies include Star Wars (original trilogy), The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Life is Beautiful, Amelie, Braveheart, Pan's Labyrinth, The Shawshank Redemption, and anything by Hayao Miyazaki.

Since about 2007, I've been reading and writing more. I spent a lot of time worldbuilding (in other words, adding details to my world in an effort to make it more convincing and compelling), and reaching a certain level of satisfaction with the results (I won't say completion...I don't think a worldbuilder's job is ever finished), I've moved back to writing seriously. My current projects include a total rewrite of my earlier Tornalia novel, The Dagger of Despair, which I'm planning to turn into a trilogy of Young Adult novels; a just-for-fun-and-practice novel called The Silver Lance; and several short stories, some set in Tornalia and others unrelated.

-Scott Livingston Beemer

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