Creative Geekery

Shanyn's avatarBy Shanyn Hosier

I am a nerd, born and raised. Reading, writing, and science are my passions, and when all three combine… YOWZA!

All my life I’ve been a voracious reader. As a kid, I gobbled up books of many genres, both classics and modern works. I lived for book reports and extra credit reading. I took books outside to recess. I’d smuggle novels into boring classes and read them in my lap.

My dad taught natural sciences; my mom (before staying at home with us) was a hospital pathologist. They’d talk about the chemistry behind kitchen recipes, identify the molds growing on old leftovers. We’d watch shows like NOVA and Nature together as a family, take trips to museums. Every campground hike became an ecological trek, every beach vacation explored oceanography or marine biology. I lapped up every minute of it.

In high school, I started discovering my love of creative writing. I loved seeing people smile or cry or laugh with the stuff I wrote. It’s nerve-wracking to let other people read your work but an incredible rush at the same time.

I loved writing but convinced myself at a very young age that it wasn’t a “practical” career. I decided I could never be serious enough to make a living at it, so I gave it up to focus on science in college. I got a BS in Biology from Indiana University, then went to Arizona State University to pursue a PhD. I did research on mycorrhizae, the ubiquitous symbiosis between fungi and plant roots. My geekdom was in the ascendant.

I swiftly became disenchanted with life in a lab, however, and I never finished that PhD. But I loved the writing and teaching aspects of graduate life. I got a job working for Cooperative Extension, training volunteers who then shared their knowledge about gardening and conservation with others. I taught the science behind the plants they grew and took for granted in their gardens and landscapes, and I satisfied my writing urge with penning non-fiction pamphlets and contributing to books about gardening in the desert.

Then, I had kids. Stayed at home with them. And I got bored enough one day to sit down at my computer and start typing out some story ideas I had in my head. My first story was a fan fiction piece, borrowing established characters and a fantasy premise just to see if I could stick with this crazy notion long enough to actually write a novel-length story. But from that moment on, I was hooked.

Now I write every day and I’ve self-published six novels, two of which were finalists in writing contests and one of them actually won. I’m primarily fascinated by relationships, and my books focus on people falling in love for unusual reasons, but my geekdom is never far from the surface. Lots of my story ideas come from “what if” kinds of questions, and that’s where SCIENCE quite literally comes in to play!


2 thoughts on “Creative Geekery

  1. There seems to be a huge gap in time between ‘contributing to books about gardening in the desert” and “I got bored enough one day… “.

    What happened in the meantime?
    Were you bored with your family?


    • Yes, it was a gap of several years! To put it more directly, I was desperate for a creative outlet. With one kid in school all day, the other still napping for long stretches, I had a window during the day in which to do something. Laundry just wasn’t as fulfilling as writing fiction 🙂


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