"The Misplaced Space Case" in Leading Edge, no. 2: pg. 83-92.
"A Distant Legacy" in Leading Edge, no. 6: pg. 96-106.
"Thunderbird's Egg" in Washed by a Wave of Wind: Science Fiction from the Corridor, ed. M. Shayne Bell, 129-44. Salt Lake City: Signature, 1993. Reprinted in MINERVA: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military 16 (Spring 1998). * Review *
Holy Wars. (forthcoming novel - 1st chapter printed in Irreantum, Fall 2000)
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, January 24, 2000) -- In her daily life at home in Utah, science fiction author Diann Thornley writes about worlds of intrigue, fantasy and adventure. But her writing isn't just from her imagination.
She has drawn a tremendous amount of inspiration and insight from her active and Reserve experience as an Air Force officer.
Thornley said she has been writing since she was a small child. "My mother says as soon as I could pick up a pencil, but I don't remember that."
Even before she attended college and began writing what would later become her first published novel, "Ganwold's Child," Thornley said she knew she "needed some other career besides just the writing."
She admitted it took her seven years and about 14 drafts - through college and her five-year active-duty career - to complete the first book in her published trilogy. The first of her Unified Worlds novels was published in 1991, followed by "Echoes of Issel" and then "Dominion's Reach," released in 1997.
By the third book, she said she was spending about 12-14 hours a day at the keyboard to complete it by the publisher's deadline.
"I had fun writing them, I learned a lot," said Thornley. She said she loves doing the research and takes a lot of pride in her accuracy.
"To me, what I learn is as much fun as telling the story."
Every experience she has had adds to character development and realism, she said.
"Life just provides grist for the mill," she said. "Every experience you have can be used in one way or another."
The Air Force major, who lives in Smithfield, Utah, about 90 miles north of Salt Lake City, conducts her weekend drills at Hill Air Force Base with the Air Logistics Center. Her military experiences include a tour in Korea and support during Operation Desert Storm.
She said her deployment last year to Sarajevo was an extremely enlightening experience. She is now on temporary duty as an intelligence officer at the Combined Air Operations Center, Dal Molin, Italy.
Thornley said it has been interesting working with other nations and experiencing their point of view.
"I find that's a very intriguing thing because I have characters from a number of different planets. It's definitely a learning experience and I appreciate that very much."
Thornley is currently working on a new novel that precedes the first three, but it's progressing slowly while she is in Italy. She said she brought a laptop with her, but between her military duties and traveling, she only gets to spend an hour or two a day writing.
"It's great coming to a country with such rich history and being able to absorb it," she said.
(Editor's note: Julia Bobick is a member of the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force Public Affairs Office, in Vicenza, Italy.)