BiographySyne Mitchell Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

I was born in Jackson, Mississippi. In the 1970's at that time, there was still a lot of racial unrest, that conflict between haves and have-nots influenced my writing, and was much of the motivation behind my first novel, Murphy's Gambit.

After my parents divorced, I spent a few years in Key West, Florida. Which would have been paradise, save that I'm largely nocturnal and am not a fan of beaches. The underwater scenery was amazing, however, and probably contributed to my love of science fiction and alien viewpoints.

I attended college, obtaining a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from St. Leo's College and a master's degree in physics from Florida State University. With those requirements in hand I moved to Madison, Wisconsin. The job market there was tough and I eked out a living with various odd jobs such as taking phone-in pizza orders, piercing body parts in a bead store, and being chief bottle-washer for the physics department at the Madison Area Technical College.

But my real avocation was writing science fiction. I took a course with writer Kathy Massie-Ferch and fell into a writers group with many talented writers. One of them, Kelly Winters, got into Clarion West, a six-week writer's workshop in Seattle. I was both proud of her and green with envy. Seattle was somewhere I'd always wanted to see, and Clarion is renowned both for the quality of its instructors and its rigorous boot-camp mentality. Spurred on by Kelly's sucess, I applied to Clarion West, and was accepted. Envious no longer, we made plans to trek to Seattle.

Clarion West was all that I'd hoped for and more. For six weeks I lived, ate, and breathed science fiction. It was a make-or-break experience. Some people come away from Clarion determined never to write again. Me, it fired up, and gave me the courage to attempt a novel, which was later published by Roc as Murphy's Gambit.

There I also met the love of my life, but that's a whole nother story...

After Clarion I moved to a 1920's farm house in the middle of an orange grove. It was property owned by my father and he generously let me live there while I was redesigning my life and trying to figure out how to be a science fiction writer and still eat. I also taught high school physics for a year at Mulberry Senior High School.

But Seattle had gotten into my blood. It was the mountains, or the pacific ocean, or the wonderful writing community, I decided that's where I wanted to make my home.

After a few unsuccessful attempts to find teaching work, I lucked into a job at Microsoft doing desktop publishing. My day-to-day work consisted of typing in editoral revisions of hardcopy manuscripts. This, needless to say, got boring, so I took programming classes in the evening. The Web was just starting to get big then, and I was learning each new technology as they came out. I found computer programming fascinating, and dove in head first. I leveraged my new skills into first a programmer-writer position for the Windows Software Development Kit, then I became a Web developer for the Internet Gaming Zone. After that, I worked as a developer for the .NET SDK team.

My immersion in computer science inspired my second novel, Technogenesis, and during this period I continued to write and sell short fiction.

In March of 2002, I retired from Microsoft to write full time. My most recent novel, End in Fire, was published by Roc in June 2005.
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Content updated 3 October 2002