Welcome, Spekkies, to our interview with author Lelia Rose Foreman!
Thanks for joining us, Lelia!
What are you most looking forward to about attending this year’s conference?
There’s two things: I am looking forward to some more great lectures and I’m looking forward to meeting people I otherwise only know on Facebook.
Will you be coming in costume to the Awards Banquet?
That depends. If I can still fit in my costume, I will.
How many books do you own?
A couple hundred I think. I can’t go and count because most of them are hiding in boxes waiting for my new house to be built. When I homeschooled, I owned thousands. I’ve sent five pallets of books to Rwanda.
How many books have you read so far this year?
Maybe forty. Maybe fifty. I don’t keep track very well. As soon as I finish a book I give it away, or take to a used book store, or donate to a thrift store.
What book has made the most impact on you?
I assume you mean besides the Bible. There are two main books I can think of off the top
of my head. In the fifth grade I started on my mother’s row of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. When I reached and read Fall of Moon Dust by Arthur C. Clarke, it was like an instant
addiction to cocaine. I proceeded to start with the As and read every single science fiction book in the local library. (There were fewer of them then. They filled only one five feet wide by seven feet tall bookcase.) The second book I read at age thirteen: God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew. That changed my walk with God.
How many books did you write before being published?
I’m going to go with three unless I remember some more before the interview is over. I also wrote a number of short stories and things that did not become finished books.
What was the inspiration behind your most recently published book?
I attended a science-fiction convention in Austin, Texas I think it was. On the strength of selling a short story to Damon Knight, I was invited to speak on a panel that was to analyze Jeremy Somebody’s doomsday book about how we mustn’t muck around with sacred evolution and because we (collective humanity) were mucking around, we were all gonna die. I had the fun of watching an entire roomful of people have a collective heart attack when I said that after four years of studying biology, biochemistry etc. I no longer believed in evolution. I certainly did not consider it sacred. So that was a bit of a ruckus.
After that I attended a lecture on the creation of aliens. An artist did sketches as the audience threw out ideas. First we determined what sort of planet the alien was on, the geography, day length, atmosphere etc. Then we began on the body of the alien that the artist arbitrarily named Irving. Oh, that was fun. After the conference, I could not get that alien out of my mind. I changed his name to Ur-Veena, wrote a short story about him and sent it to Analog. Stanley Schmidt wrote back that the story wasn’t quite special enough, but could I send him another? At the time I didn’t HAVE another story and was not experienced enough to understand what a big deal his rejection was. So I set it aside.
We moved from San Antonio to North Pole, Alaska, again living near the AF base but not on the base because one of our children screamed. A lot. I still thought about Ur-Veena from time to time and wondered if I would ever write again as I raised five children, two of whom were brain-damaged. One day as I walked out of a closet, I suddenly had the story. I literally stood there with my hands out, palms cupped upward. I looked at my left hand. That held the beginning of the story. I looked at my right hand. That held the ending. I wasn’t sure what went in the middle yet, but was sure I could find it, and I did. The seventy-sixth publisher I sent the book to accepted it. Over twenty years later I have the rights to the book. I write differently now than I did then, so I’ve rewritten Shatterworld and the two sequels, Circumnavigation of Shatterworld and Pacifists’ War, and plan to self-publish soon.
What is your goal in and for your writing?
Let’s make that goals. At one time I had the goal or ambition to win a Hugo. Always I have
wanted to think through alien places. For some reason I’m really fond of ‘different.’ In a way that I am unable to articulate coherently, I want to ‘touch’ people. I would like to think I want to glorify God. Well, I’ve given up on the Hugo. Now I want the Shatterworld trilogy and the YA science fiction series I’m working on with my oldest son (Tales of Talifar) to make enough money that the tithe will support a pastor I love in Rwanda, and the rest will contribute to the house we’re building for us and our daughter and her caregiver to age in.
We are looking forward to fellowshipping with you at this year’s conference, Lelia! Thanks for giving us a peek into your mind.
Lelia Rose Foreman has raised and released five children as the USAF moved the family to Japan, Texas, and Alaska. She and her husband now live in the Vancouver that isn’t in Canada. They lead boring lives, and after the terror they have lived through, they like boring. Despite that, she tries to write exciting stories.