Today I welcome author Lela E. Buis to my blog. Her latest is a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories featuring women who love women.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Actually, this sort of crept up on me. I did fine on writing assignments in elementary and high school, which included short fiction. I’ve got high verbal ability, and I exempted most of college writing classes in the placement exams, so I got very little education on writing in college. After I graduated, I felt a need for the arts, so I signed up for creative writing classes at Brevard Community College through adult education. Well, lo and behold, the school had a literary magazine, and I ended up with my first poetry and short story publications. I was suddenly a published writer. I took that for granted, even though I had no time for serious writing for a long time. Life happens. In the late eighties, I got a computer to help with graduate school and suddenly I had an important tool. I started writing and publishing science fiction and fantasy stories. I also started some novels during this period. I got busy again and was down to writing just poetry for a while, but I’m back to writing longer pieces now. I’m working on those novels again, too. I’ve recently submitted one to Tor, and hopefully I’ll be a published novelist soon.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I don’t outline. However, I do need to have an idea about where I’m going before I start. That means I need to have the main characters and a general plot before I start on anything. Everything else develops as the characters try to get what they want and where they want to go. Now and then I’ll run into a major glitch while doing this. I was working on a novel last year that was going along perfectly well, and introduced a character that suddenly changed the whole resonance of what was going on. I had to stop and regroup. I’ll have to look at the backstory for my characters and come up with a way to integrate this character. She’s very strong and totally took over what I was doing. Oops.
What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
Imagination and the idea that someone out there might like to read what I’ve written. There’s nothing like a little encouragement from editors, fans, or even random readers to keep the writing process going. Recent changes in the publishing world have opened up new opportunities to reach readers, and that has fired a real period of creativity for me. When I first started marketing the short stories, writers were confined to sending out submissions to a limited list of print magazines, waiting for months for each depressing rejection slip. Now there are all kinds of innovations, from crowd funding to cover costs to Web-only magazines and anthologies that can cut down overhead for editors. The market has exploded. I’ve had a pool of old short stories, both published and unpublished that I need to get working for me, so I’ve been looking to get these out in the form of collections. Hopefully it will help create a readership for my newer stuff.
What inspired you to write this book?
An opportunity for a sure sale. I had sold several stories to an editor in the early nineties and one day he sent me an email saying, “Could you write me a lesbian story? I need one for an anthology I’m doing.” How could I turn down a commission? The story was a success, which led to a few more. I ended up with a stock of stories with lesbian characters—enough to make a short collection. That’s what Competitive Fauna is about. It’s a collection of fantasy and science fiction stories about women with ordinary needs, concerns and desires—and troubles, too. It’s been very well received. It’s gotten five star reviews so far, and I’ve got to thank the fans for being so positive about it. I’m glad people are enjoying the stories.
If you could meet two authors, who would you pick and why?
Roger Zelazny. Of course, that won’t work for me because he’s been dead for a while. The man had such a way with metaphor. I’ve always loved literary writing and subtexts that blossom into second and third layer meanings as you read. His work was an inspiration for my early writing efforts, and I miss having new work from him.
C.J. Cherryh. Okay, I’ve got a taste for action-adventure. Is that juvenile? Maybe so, but if I ever grow out of it, I’ll figure I’ve really gotten old. Besides that, you can’t beat her development of cultural details and alien environments. It all just feels so real…
Thanks for the interview!
Lela Buis present a collection of fantasy and science fiction short stories featuring women who love women. These stories vary from the sensual to erotic, and include characters who face life’s problems with strength and intelligence. Includes mild violence and sexual situations.
About the Author
Right now, I’m mainly a speculative fiction short story writer. I was born in Middlesboro, Kentucky, and lived in Florida for a long time, where I worked at Kennedy Space Center and at different teaching jobs. I’ve been publishing in magazines and anthologies for a long time, and besides the Knoxville Writer’s Guild, I’m also a member of the SFWA and SFPA. I’ve recently had four collections of short stories and poetry published by That Ridge press that you can find online. Watch for me to publish some novels in the near future!
You can purchase Competitive Fauna on Amazon.