Today, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring author Lorinda Taylor on this edition of A Perfect 10.
Please enjoy this special installment of A Perfect 10
If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:
A.C. Flory, Steve Boseley, Kayla Matt, Mae Clair, Jill Sammut, Deanna Kahler, Dawn Reno Langley, John Howell, Elaine Cougler, Jan Sikes, Nancy Bell, Nick Davis, Kathleen Lopez, Susan Thatcher, Charles Yallowitz, Armand Rosamilia, Tracey Pagana, Anna Dobritt, Karen Oberlaender, Deby Fredericks, Teri Polen, Darlene Foster, Robert Rayner, C.C. Naughton, Sherry Rentshler, Linda Bradley, Luna St. Clair, Joan Hall, Staci Troilo, Allan Hudson, Robert Eggleton, Paul Scott Bates, P.C. Zick, Joy Lennick, Patrick Roland, Mary Carlomagno, Kathleen Jowitt, Michele Jones, J. Bliss, Maline Carroll, Alethea Kehas, Angelique Conger, Colin Guest, Rebekkah Ford, Andrew Joyce, Win Charles, Ritu Bhathal, Deborah Jay, Robin Leigh Morgan, Marjorie Mallon, Marina Costa, Lynda Filler
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I had plenty of energy when I first began to write at the age of 29. I had just read Tolkien and his books inspired me. At that time I attempted to publish the old-fashioned way (submissions to publishers, etc.) but had no luck. Then I had a long hiatus because of family concerns and didn’t begin writing again until the year 2000, when my time was finally my own. Most of what I’ve published to this point was written between 2000 and 2010, and I can’t say I ever felt exhausted by it – rather, exhilarated! In 2011 I decided to self-publish and now I’m mostly editing books I wrote earlier. And as I get older, I can’t say that I’m quite as energized as I was previously.
Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?
I thought about it at one point. I considered using the name “Jeanne Munday,” a combination of my middle name and my grandmother’s birth name. However, it just didn’t feel like me, so I’ve kept my real name. I never considered reducing my name to “L. J. Taylor,” which is hardly a distinctive moniker – I’m perfectly content to be recognized as a woman, following the lead of Ursula K. LeGuin, my favorite science fiction author.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?
I believe in moderation. I think too strong an ego can produce a bully and perhaps reduce the empathy that a writer needs to create sympathetic characters. Too weak an ego can result in a lack of confidence.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Buying my first computer in the year 2000. It made writing so much easier!
What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?
For me, success means gaining as wide a readership as possible. I’m not in it for the money – what I would like to see is more readers, more thoughtful reviews, and more recognition. I think my books make absorbing reads, but they also have something to say to people. I always end my biographical information with the line: “She always strives to engage readers emotionally and give them something to think about at the end of each book.”
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?
For a writer of science fiction, the need for research is a given. I was a librarian, so of course in pre-internet days, I did my research in libraries. Since 2000, I have become pretty dependent on the internet for research – it’s a great resource. I generally research as I write. The Termite Queen and subsequent books about my giant intelligent extraterrestrial termite people required learning about entomology. And then I also create conlangs for my extraterrestrials to speak, so that requires linguistics. Physics and astronomy were important background for The Termite Queen, and especially for my long opus The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars,
which is a fictionalized biography of the first starship Captain to make contact with extraterrestrials.
How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?
My termite characters are named using my conlang version of their own language and they all have a meaning. Some people find that too complicated, but others really enjoy that aspect.
I’ll mention here a couple of my human characters. In The Termite Queen the female protagonist is named “Kaitrin Oliva.” My mother’s middle name was Kathryn and I always liked the name, so I decided to adapt it into a form I hadn’t seen before. Later, I discovered there was a current trend of naming female characters something related to Katherine, Katlyn, Kaitlin, etc. I didn’t realize that at the time or I probably would have picked something else.
As to the surname “Oliva,” Kaitrin’s mother is half-Irish, half-Mexican, so I wanted a Spanish-sounding name that varied a little bit from the usual form, because this IS the 30th century and languages have evolved.
My main character in The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars is named “Robbin Nikalishin.” I decided on a Russian surname for him because, again, by the 28th century lineages are quite mixed up. Robbie was born “Roberto Vargas” in Argentina, but his mother was British, a descendant of Russians who emigrated to Britain in the 25th century. When she divorced Robbie’s father, she changed her eight-year-old son’s surname to her own. Her given name is “Sterling” and that was pure inspiration – it just came to me as the perfect name. If I need a Russian name for a character, I look for it among hockey players. I also get French-Canadian names from hockey players, e.g., Dr. Souray in Man Who Found Birds.
What is the hardest type of scene to write?
I have the most trouble with transitional parts, where facts need to be introduced but nothing much happens. Love scenes are not easy either, but they’re fun!
If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?
I would enjoy a conversation with Ursula K. LeGuin, and I would like to have met Evangeline Walton, who wrote those wonderful retellings of Welsh myth, the Mabinogion Tetralogy (some of my absolutely favorite books of all times). Then there is always J.R.R. Tolkien. And Robert Graves would probably be in there, representing poetry and Greek myth.
What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?
Amazon, for sure. Does any indie author try to publish these days without using Amazon? I also continue to use Smashwords because it spreads the marketing around through many venues, but I don’t sell much through them.
I’ve published 13 books so far, so I’ll cite just two, plus my Amazon page where you can see all my books. http://amzn.to/1jRb7YV
The Termite Queen, v.1: The Speaking of the Dead http://amzn.to/Imh3kd (This a two-volume novel, not complete until you read v.2: The Wound That Has No Healing.)
In the 30th century, an off-world expedition brings back a giant termite with a behavior that suggests intelligence. During the planning for a first-contact expedition, Kaitrin Oliva, a linguistic anthropologist, falls in love with the entomologist-leader, a complex man hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, civil discord is brewing on the termite planet as the Queen’s Chamberlain plots a murder …
The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part One: Eagle Ascendant http://amzn.to/2iTNuUd
Robbin Haysus Nikalishin was born on 31 October of the year 2729 and ultimately became the first starship Captain to make contact with extraterrestrials. This fictionalized biography, composed 50 years after Nikalishin’s death, recounts the first 31 years of the life of a man who is hailed as one of Earth’s greatest heroes. During this portion of his life he enjoyed many triumphs, joys, and loves, but he was not immune to failure and tragedy. In 2761 a major space disaster completely changes the course of his life.
All heroes are human beings and all human beings are flawed, and the man the Earth came to know as “Capt. Robbie” was a very human man.
Connect with Lorinda:
Ruminations of a Remembrancer http://termitewriter.blogspot.com
The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head http://termitespeaker.blogspot.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Termitewriter