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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Spotlight: Kelly McCrady

My other passion, outside of the written word, is zoology. I earned a bachelor’s degree in this field back in the early 90s and have since used it to educate others about the wonder of our animal neighbors on this planet. Drawing my interest into my fiction was as natural as breathing (I almost typed “breeding,” which I suppose is true as well).

Several dragon species are presented in this book, all in the background the way birds and other animals are in the background of our lives on Earth. I chose to use the term “wyrm” for at least three of them. A wyrm is a legless, serpentine dragon, pronounced the same as “worm.” Going with divergent evolution, I maintained the same physiology in the different wyrm species:

“The slender, legless mountain wyrms called to rivals, flying in their aerial dance of mating. Males twined tails, hooking the barbed ends, leathery wings outspread, and spiraled toward the rocky ground. Before smashing to their death, they split apart and swooped skyward, each attempting to out-fly his rivals. The larger, copper-brown females looked on, evaluating.”

“Mud wyrms slunk from their muddy dens further along the shore to go after the fish, their vestigial wings propelling them through the greenish murk like flippers.

“Canary dragons flew overhead, catching insects and returning to the large colonial houses erected throughout the orchard for their nesting…As evening grew long, tree wyrms would wing from their man-made roosts to do the same.”

Canary dragons are small, yellow, lizard-like dragons with wings and two legs, like the birds they’re named for. This is a critter I sketched on my math homework in high school; this book seemed the place to allow them life. Eventually I’ll scan my old drawing and post it to my website.

While the main focus of the conflict is on the mountain wyrm’s survival as a species, another dragon species plays a pivotal role in this book; a little sea animal named Murex ordinensis. More about him in another post.

As a sci-fi/fantasy fan and author, Kelly believes the best stories contain the human element of romance. Scribbling pieces of stories into spiral notebooks since first grade, she became serious about the craft of writing in 2001. Her dream is to see her work on the bookstore shelf next to Anne McCaffrey's. In her free time, this former zookeeper crochets, knits, quilts and gardens – badly. "I'm better with words than with plants," she says. Kelly lives in Oregon with her husband and daughter. Visit her on the web at


Paty Jager said...

Interesting... Your interest lies beyond the furry creatures to the scaled ones.

Fun post!

Kelly McCrady said...

Thanks, Paty!

Yes, my interest is in all animals, from the single-celled up through the phylae to primates. My best grades in college were in the invertebrate studies though my most keen interest is in animal behavior.

Gail MacMillan said...

Wow! Lots of great information about Dragons. I had no idea! Really enjoyed the blog. I write historical and contemporary romances as well as non-fiction dog books.

Gail MacMillan

Ann Yost said...

I agree with PAty - fun post -- who knew there was so much to learn about dragons? I thought there were just the good Far Eastern dragons and the evil German ones. Thanks for the education!

DL Thomas said...

I love dragons. My daughter is the one that got me hooked on them. Through your descriptions I can picture them very clearly.

The Empire's Edge sounds very good.


Kelly McCrady said...

@Gail and Ann: I enjoyed bringing diverse dragons into the story, something other than St. George's beastie. The Chinese dragons do come into the picture with descriptions of the Cochet Empire's god, Sylphanon, and all his representations in silk and in carvings.

@DL: thanks! I got hooked on dragons as a young girl myself, but my mother was afraid of them and was sure dragons were at the root of all my nightmares. I had trouble convincing her the dragons in the books I read were good. LOL