Campbell Xen Cross writes speculative fiction.
She has been writing since she was a kid growing up on a small farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, slightly north of the 53rd parallel line, sorta in the middle of the eastern part of the province.
Awed by the skill of the authors of the many stories she read — many of them borrowed from the local library, some coming home in boxes and suitcases her father brought home from random garage sales and auctions — she always felt that maybe one day she would write too.
Yet, growing up on a farm in small town Saskatchewan, dreams such as these had to be postponed while she learned to make a real living doing something practical and real. So, she did. She focused on teaching, and the field of adult education in particular. She developed an expertise blending learning, emerging technologies and innovation to help people improve their on-the-job performance. Very practical work indeed.
As the dream to author stories faded into the background of day-to-day living, working and raising kids, somewhere after turning thirty-five, she started feeling a sense of intense pressure that it was time for her to get on with the authoring work. This feeling increased in intensity over the next few years.
Then, sometime after turning 38, she acquiesced. Or so that was how it felt, at the time. Yet, the feeling of making the right decision never felt more true.
She felt encouraged by the feasibility of writing to support her family by noting other authors, especially Canadians and most especially if they were female, who seemed to be making a living writing. Then, of course, there was that deep sense of awe and inspiration that filled her when enjoying a good story by incredible fiction authors of science fiction, fantasy, and so much more.
So having finally decided to author stories for real, then came the work to the learn the craft. Of course, life goes and so learning to tell compelling stories, as well as how to promote and market them, was balanced against pursuing the day job to maintain a stable income for the family, continuing to raise kids, plus a few difficult things that needed stickhandling. She soldiered on at the slowest pace that she would not have thought she could have endured. It was only her experience as a project manager within a bureaucracy that helped her sustain hope, simply because she could recognize that each tiny step forward was not a step backward, nor was it standing still – as things had been prior to the big decision.
She soldiers on still and looks forward to rendering the stories wanting to be told. When that day comes, she looks forward to updating this section with concrete things about those stories.
Note: Campbell Xen Cross is the pen name Gisele Thomson has adopted to publish speculative fiction.
Why Campbell Xen Cross? For the curious, Campbell, as a first name, is a tribute to her maiden name. Cross because of the repetition of the “k” sound, and it echoes the single syllable sound of old English influenced words which she actively works at integrating into her writing style. It was an added bonus that the letter C was reminiscent of her days with her maiden name closer to the beginning of the alphabet. Weird, but true. Xen because after doing an Internet search to secure a domain name for her author web page, she discovered there were far too many named Campbell Cross. So, when she found the name Xen – not exactly a word bound to the Celtic roots of Campbell and Cross – she thought introducing Xen would not only be just fine, but integrated the Canadian way of blending influences from East and West, and everywhere else. The name Xen resonated even more deeply because during that time she had begun a deep spiritual healing process that reminded her of what Zen masters intend for people to learn. Plus, it was fun how visually the X of Xen emphasized the word “cross.” Several additional possible interpretations at the subtext level made the word even more appealing. So, Xen it became. Did I mention that her first writing medium is poetry?