Friday, 16 March 2012

Guest Post - The "Biography" of Lisa Herbert

The “Biography” of Lisa Herbert
by Robert Collins


Lisa Herbert is the main character of my novel “Lisa’s Way.” She’s a smart young woman trying to rebuild society. An event called the “Savage Rain” isolated her colony planet. She turns on her planet’s 
hyperspace gate and starts traveling.

That’s her story as it plays out in the novel. Lisa has another story. It’s how she came to be the main character of the novel. I hope you’ll find it an interesting story.

In the beginning a high school friend and I had the idea of casting ourselves as the heroes of a post-apocalyptic novel. We and our friends in school would be the actual characters. We’d gain cool powers, fight bad guys, and have adventures.

After high school I took over the idea, since I was the only one trying to be a writer. I decided to fictionalize the characters. I was even able to write a first draft of a novel. It wasn’t very good, and I never sent it out.

The basic idea of rebuilding society was still a good one. I tried to figure out how to turn what I had into a workable story. That’s when one of the group of characters emerged: Lisa Herbert. She was based on 
someone I knew, but as the story went through more drafts she took on a life of her own.

She was always an intelligent character. She quickly became a well-read one. She was always passionate about the cause of rebuilding. Early on it was because she’d had children. Later the idea of her children became something for her future, but the passion remained.

Lisa’s wits also changed the story. It had to be less about fighting to get her way and more about using her intelligence. She had to be smarter than her enemies, instead of stronger. She had to plan, reason, and use her knowledge to help people.

The novel turned into short stories, then back into a novel. As that was happening I began publishing travel booklets about the counties around where I live. The booklets had history in addition to listing the sights. Some of those counties were on the Santa Fe Trail. The Trail was a commerce route connecting the American frontier with Mexico (later, the Pacific Coast).

That research showed me how important trade was to developing the West. It also gave me an idea about Lisa’s story. Trade would be the way that she would try to rebuild society. Trade would allow her to 
travel. Her adventures would revolve around tying communities together by restoring trade routes (and by building new routes).

The final piece of the puzzle came when I decided to set her story in space in a more distant future, than on Earth in a closer future. I  wouldn’t have to try to figure out how real places might change. 
Instead I could make up colony worlds and place them where I wanted. I could also have the mystery of why Lisa’s region of space lost contact with Earth. With all the elements in place I wrote “Lisa’s Way” in the version that’s now available.

That is how Lisa Herbert came to be in this novel. It took fifteen years to go from that initial idea to finished novel. It took several more years to get published. It took a few more years for the contract to expire and to have it in the form it’s in now. I feel that in that time I was able to get Lisa written right. I hope that you’ll agree.

About the Author:

I've had three SF novels published: "Monitor," "Lisa's Way," and "Expert Assistance."  I've also had a coming of age novel published called "True Friends." I've had stories and articles appear in periodicals such as Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine; Tales of the Talisman; Space Westerns; Sorcerous Signals; 
Wild West; and Model Railroader. I've had two biographies published, one of "Bleeding Kansas" leader Jim Lane, and the other of a Kansas Civil War general. I've had six Kansas railroad books published by South Platte Press.

Blog: http://robertlcollins.blogspot.com/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/RobertLCollinsAuthor

2 comments:

  1. Nice post which That is how Lisa Herbert came to be in this novel. It took fifteen years to go from that initial idea to finished novel. It took several more years to get published. It took a few more years for the contract to expire and to have it in the form it’s in now. Thanks a ;ot for posting this article.

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