About Armen


Unlike many authors, I was not an early reader and can honestly say that I didn’t voluntarily read a book until I finished The Hobbit in sixth grade.  After that reading became a vice and I ravenously devoured science fiction and fantasy stories.  In addition to Tolkien my favorite authors included Piers Anthony, Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen R. Donaldson, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Anne McCaffrey.

While history and science were my favorite school subjects, I didn’t see myself as a teacher and decided to major in engineering.  I earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where to get off campus as often as possible, I played water polo and swam.  Thanks to some really good teammates, I earned Honorable-Mention All-American status as a swimmer in my senior year.  Other than extensive lab reports, my writing was limited to crafting articles promoting the swimming and water polo teams for the school newspaper – we could never get a reporter to cover us.

Commissioned as an officer in the USAF, I was eventually assigned to a systems development position just outside of Boston, Ma.  While volunteering to coach the base swim team, I met fellow Lieutenant Catherine Robertson, who was also an engineer.  Less than two years later we were married.

005Despite the fun of working on top secret ‘Area 51’ projects, where I never saw a single alien (dead or alive), I decided to leave the service.  Cathy and I earned MBAs from the University of North Carolina.  In something akin to what people in the witness protection program must feel like, we spent a decade navigating through the dual career corporate life, with seven moves through six states, eventually settling in Pittsburgh.  After the internet wave crashed, my environmental interest led me to a brief stint in second generation bio-fuels in upstate New York.  I learned a lot about the business and even presented ideas on how to jump-start the industry to United States House and Senate staffers.  Nerd that I am, I’m particularly proud of one slide that compared bio-fuels’ capital infrastructure needs to the Manhattan project, the Alaskan oil pipeline, the Apollo program, and the Interstate Highway system.  FWIW, my estimate was that it was about the same as the Apollo program or half the cost of the Highway system.  Unfortunately, corporate realities caught up with our company and I was asked to relocate to Chicago.

IMG_4709Nothing against Chicago, but we were unwilling to relocate a ninth time.  So Cathy and I decided to get into the franchised hair salon business.  In addition to grounding us in one place (Pittsford, NY which is just outside of Rochester), I finally found time to write those stories that had been fermenting in my head since high school.  As one might expect, my stories mix elements of science and history with a healthy dose of fantasy.  I alternate releases between two different YA fantasy series.  The Misaligned series attempts to answer the question:  What happens when String Theory and Arthurian myth intersect in a small upstate NY town?  While the Warders series recasts a James Bond-like adventure in a traditional high fantasy setting.

Cathy and I continue to swim and help coach the local YMCA team.  When not writing or supporting my children, I enjoy reading, occasionally painting, and I’ve also recently taken up the ukulele.  Current reading favorites include anything by Jack McDevitt and historical fiction by Bernard Cornwell and Steven Pressfield.


11 thoughts on “About Armen

  1. Lilian Gafni's Blog says:

    Thank you Armen for stopping by my website. I find your website very interesting. Writing novels for a YA audience is challenging to say the list. Today’s youngsters are the brightest and quickest generation to date. You seemed to have that challenge met judging by your writing.

    1. Lilian that’s certainly very kind of you to say. I appreciate you visiting my site. Best of luck to you, I admire your passion for the environment.

  2. Jane Risdon says:

    Fascinating life. I am wondering whether or not to tell my husband about you and Area 51, but then you’d probably never have peace again, so perhaps I won’t. Impressed however with your CV. Good luck with your writing. 🙂

    1. Anything I knew about Area 51 projects has long since been exposed to public scrutiny, so I don’t think I’d be very interesting to your husband – but I do appreciate your discretion. 🙂

      1. Jane Risdon says:

        LOL I am a leg-puller. But he is fascinated – I guess I am too, to a lesser degree. Your secret is safe with me and long may your peace reign. 🙂

  3. franklparker says:

    Following your link in the Indies Unlimited blogfest. Your brief outline of Misaligned sound intriguing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Frank! I hope my potential readers agree with you.

  4. Steven Capps says:

    Wow! you have an extensive list of accomplishments. I am curious, but how long have you been serious about you writing? Also how long did it take for youth get published once you started submitting?

    1. I started writing in March of 2010 and finished about a year later. I immediately began submitting to agents – skipping any formal editing, which was a mistake – and immediately began receiving rejections. After a few months I worked with an editor to clean things up and began resubmitting. I got a few requests for partials and fulls, but no takers. I switched from agents to publishers open to unrepresented authors and eventually got two offers. I chose one, signed a contract, and my first book was published in August 2012. I’ve released four more through the same publisher and have a sixth book scheduled for January 2016.

      1. Steven Capps says:

        That is awesome! When you went to editing, how many drafts did you do before you started resubmitting?

        1. I actually had a critique and evaluation done by a professional editor. I found an editor and balked at the cost. She told me she could do a C&E for about one tenth the editing cost. I jumped at the chance. Basically she noted what needed to be changed, but didn’t make any of the changes. I took her notes and in about two weeks edited the book down from 110K words to just over 80K. With minor adjustments along the way, that’s the MS I submitted to agents and publishers.

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