Hi, I'm Bex Drate
Updated: Oct 4
Why I Write
I have been incredibly blessed, but like everyone, my life has seen some bumps. During those times that I just had to put my head down and gut it out, reading fiction provided so much relief. A safe space to rest, if only for a few hours, before picking up the battle again.
I've seen this with friends and family. The loss of a spouse. Mononucleosis. A new baby. An extended hospital stay. A bad break up. From a very early age, I've felt that there were stories stirring within me. But seeing how fiction can provide so much comfort for so many has pushed me to take a leap. To write "author" next to my name. To publish a blog.
I also love how fiction -- science fiction specifically -- allows for honest conversations about the world we live in without some of the preexisting politics and flashpoints. The empathy of story is real-world magic, and I want to contribute.
"The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time." - Mary Oliver
Why This Story, Why Now?
Half Tree’s A-story is driven by genetic manipulation. Did you know? There are humans living right now that had their genes manipulated as embryos. Is this a good thing? What if it eradicates disease? What if it further divides us?
In a time where everyone is confidently shouting political views, I want the answer to be, “I don’t know.” I want my characters, and readers, to wrestle with what they believe and why, and perhaps even get comfortable with the gray areas.
Also, my MC Allie goes from secret-keeping and self-isolating, holding everyone at arm’s length to protect herself, to a friend accepting and valuing authentic connections.
Online especially, we are able to curate how others see our lives. We seem perfect. It can feel like we have thousands of followers, but dwindling friendships. Half Tree is a call to trust others with the true version of ourselves, and to accept each other as we are.
What To Expect
I love science, history, video games, and have a tendency to go deeeeeeeeep on Reddit. My Kindle is packed with non-fiction from the likes of Michio Kaku, Bill Bryson, Joseph Campbell, Gary Taubes, and Jordan B. Peterson. I have been transported by fiction by Ransom Riggs, Kristin Cashore, Veronica Rossi, Terry Brooks, George R.R. Martin, Dan Brown, Karen McManus, and Emily Suvada. I'm just as likely to be reading The Giver as a biography of Nikola Tesla. When I get my boys to bed and finally have control over the remote, you'll find me with a glass (a bottle?) of wine and an episode of Riverdale, Parts Unknown, or Rick & Morty.
This is all to say, my writing is going to be both high and low. A well-researched science fiction tale with some carefully executed tropes. A rushing pace that slows only to focus on the specifics of robust characters and world-building. Romance, adventure, mystery, futuristic schemes, and moral counsel. All of that with the efficiency of a trained journalist turned marketer turned mom turned author.
How's that for a mission statement? No problem...
Am I Scared?
A little. But scared and excited are very near each other on the feelings wheel. It's somewhat terrifying to redefine yourself professionally. Or perhaps to refine yourself and bring out what you've always known is there. But I'm a strong believer in finding the thing that scares you and doing that thing. (Not sharks, though. Sharks should be left well alone.)
"Easy reading is damn hard writing." - Nathaniel Hawthorne
To be fair, I will probably suck at it. I'll have to work hard to get better. I hope this blog is a tool to get that feedback. I will almost certainly cringe looking back at this self important post declaring my new writing career.
But I plan to do it. One hundred thank yous for joining me.