Leigh Kimmel’s story, the appropriately-titled ‘Tell Me A Story’, opens Rocket Science. She says of herself:
Leigh Kimmel grew up in a house full of books and was raised by avid readers. From as early as she can remember, somebody was reading to her — if not her parents, her grandparents. Visits to her grandparents’ home meant a different set of books, including rare vintage children’s books from the 30’s and 40’s.
Her grandparents’ place was also where she got her first awareness of the space program. One night her mother took her out on the porch to look at the moon hanging large and bright over the garage, and said that there were men up there walking on the surface. Leigh thinks it was the Apollo 11 landing, but admits that memories from her preschool years aren’t always clear and it could’ve been one of the later ones.
One thing she does know for certain — she was hugely disappointed when she found out the Apollo-Soyuz linkup was going to be the last crewed American space mission for several years. The Space Shuttle was in the works already, but for a kid in grade school, it felt like forever.
But by this time she was reading science fiction. The first chapter book she read all by herself was The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, and she soon followed it with other classics of science fiction for young people, including those by Heinlein and Silverberg.
During this period she also began spinning her own tales of adventure in strange environments, whether on distant worlds or the depths of the sea. By the time she reached high school, she had reached the point of completing sustained projects, including several short novels.
Once she gained access to a computer, she started sending stories to various markets. She kept at it while holding various jobs in libraries and archives, and has since settled into work as a bookseller, which affords her more writing time.