William Sleator wrote his first story when he was six-years-old. He even typed it out. It was a brief novella of exactly four sentences: "Once there was a fat cat. Boy was she fat. Well, not that fat. But pretty fat." The title? Why, Fat Cat of course.

Sleator went on from his glory days of writing Fat Cat stories to composing scores of music. He was quite the popular composer in his Missouri high school, where he was known for writing scores for school plays and the orchestra. These musical triumphs continued into his college years at Harvard where he says he was miserable. He entered Harvard with full intensions to pursue a music degree, but several tragic novellas later, he found himself with a BA in English.

Despite his newly acquired degree in English, Sleator spent many years after graduation from Harvard playing in ballet schools in England. Eventually, he made his way back to the US where he wrote his first published novel, Blackbriar.

Blackbriar was born out of a real-life experience Sleator had when he was helping a college restore a run down cottage. "The place was interesting… the whole thing was like a gothic novel. So there was my first novel, Blackbriar, handed right to me". Sleator continued writing from real-life experiences until he ran out of them in the early eighties. Even then, he continued to write his real-life friends into his novels. That was until he ran out of friends. "That has gotten me into trouble at times," Sleator said. "Fortunately, most of my friends have started speaking to me again."

Sleator was forced to write with only his imagination now, and this was the true birth of his science fiction. Sleator says the best thing about writing science fiction is that it could actually happen. "The challenge is to try to make the parts you invent as believable as the scientific laws you are using. If you succeed, then you are giving the reader something that is magical and fantastic but at the same time might actually be possible."

William Sleator

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