Allison's Story

I grew up in the Northern Ontario countryside, climbing trees, catching frogs, and biking down gravel roads. I loved running around outside, playing video games, and raising animal companions. My dad introduced me to fantasy books at a young age, and I devoured stories like The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, the Shannara series by Terry Brooks, and many others (I could make a list as long as I’m tall, and I’m very tall). I liked the escape of leaving the real world, the magic, the imagination. Books were also a helpful distraction as my chronic illness progressed. I have severe IBS, chronic pain, fatigue, insomnia, and several undiagnosed health issues. It makes life a challenge, but, you know, when life gives you lemons, throw the fruit at the person telling you to make lemonade.

After high school, I received a BA in English from Canadian Mennonite University and a Certificate in Publishing from Ryerson University. I went through a variety of jobs during my early career, including advertising assistant, journalist, graphic designer, editor, and freelancer—but they were all connected to publishing in some way—because stories are magic.

Recently, I helped start a small press called Mythos & Ink, which publishes science fiction and fantasy novels. As the Editorial Director, I acquire authors, edit books, write blog articles, oversee projects, art direct, and make words come alive. It’s a pretty great gig, and one I can work at from home, though I wouldn’t be able to do it without my supportive husband and amazing business partners.

Writing is also one of my biggest passions. I’ve done a lot of nonfiction writing over the years, including news, articles, and opinion pieces related to pop culture, gaming, and religion. I recently wrote a book called Super Sick: Making Peace with Chronic Illness, in which I explore living with a chronic illness and how pop culture’s representation of disability perpetuates stigmas. I write a post every month or so on my blog (usually related to disability or social justice with a pop culture twist) and I write fiction in my spare time.

Sometimes I feel like my identity is fractured into several different parts—geek, spoonie, Christian, writer, editor, woman, feminist, gamer—and I’m never sure which face I should show. I wonder if I show all those faces, they will be too much. But it’s who I am, so I guess I’m gonna have to deal with that along with the rest of you.  

If you need me, I’ll be in Hyrule or Middle-earth. Or possibly on the Normandy. But definitely in the company of my husband and imaginary pet owl.

She Recommends

TV Shows

I watch a lot of TV, because chronic illness. So I have a list of recommendations as long as the potential side effects of the medications I take. FIREFLY, THE CLONE WARS, AVATAR, EUREKA, SAMURAI JACK, THE OFFICE, and CHUCK are among my all-time favourites.

Movies

I will never complain about more Star Wars movies, especially if they include Ahsoka Tano. More Ahsoka, please. I still haven't seen a fantasy movie I like as much as THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. Studio Ghibli does no wrong. THOR: RAGNAROK is the best Marvel movie.

Tabletop Games

I've played a druid, fighter, ranger, bard, and rogue in D&D. What I've learned: roleplaying is awesome and bards are good at EVERYTHING. Some of my favourite board games include GALAXY TRUCKER, EVERDELL, SPIRITS OF THE FOREST, and THE QUACKS OF QUEDLINBURG.

Fiction

My favourite fantasy book is THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon. SABRIEL by Garth Nix, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones, and the MURDERBOT series by Martha Wells also have special places in my heart.

Nonfiction

I love Felicia Day's autobiography and I've never laughed so hard at a book as I have at Alli Brosh's HYPERBOLE AND A HALF. I appreciate the books on chronic illness by Michele Lent Hirsch, Kira Lynne, and Maya Dusenbery.

Video Games

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA is my biggest fandom. Hyrule forever. MASS EFFECT, DRAGON AGE, and FINAL FANTASY are up there too, and there are so many amazing indie games out there like UNDERTALE, GRIS, and ORI AND THE BLIND FOREST.

Available Now

Super Sick is a geek's guide to making peace with chronic illness. Not only is it full of personal stories (my own and others'), but uses examples from pop culture to demonstrate how sick characters should be portrayed in fiction. If you're a fan of Marvel, Harry Potter, Final Fantasy, and other stories from pop culture, you may find some familiar references inside.

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