Please help me welcome author Robert Collins to the blog!
Lisa Herbert is the main character of "Lisa's Way," my second published novel. I've put it out in a new edition. Let me tell you about her.
First, though, a bit of background. A friend and I had this idea of a post-apocalypse story in which our friends and us would be the main characters. We were all supposed to contribute chapters. I was the one in our group that was the aspiring writer, so I ended up writing most everyone else's chapters.
A year or so after high school I realized the "real people as characters" notion wouldn't work. I took to fictionalizing the characters. The first draft of that novel wasn't very good. I revised the novel; turned it into short stories; then turned it back into a novel.
As I rewrote the story, Lisa stood out. She was the one with the passion to rebuild. She was the one with the smarts to get the job done. But how to get it done?
In 1992 I started publishing my Touring Kansas Counties booklets. The booklets were not only about things to see, but also had town histories in them. The history of a couple of the counties touched on the Santa Fe Trail. I read up on the Trail. I learned how it was a route of commerce rather than emigration, and how important that commerce was on the frontier. That was it! Trade would be the means by which Lisa would attempt to rebuild society.
To me that's one of the things that makes Lisa interesting. She tries to rebuild society by getting people to work together. There's an instance in the middle of the novel where Lisa and her friends come across some young outlaws on a road. The outlaws want her to pay their "toll." Lisa knows that her group could beat the outlaws. She also knows that this could cause casualties. Then there's the fact that she's heard that some merchants on that world use outlaws to attack their rivals.
She decides that talking would be wiser than fighting. She tells the outlaw leader that by joining her, he and his friends could live a better life. They could get back at the more powerful outlaws who have dismissed them. It's safer and more profitable to be heroes than villains.
This is why I like writing about Lisa. She'll fight when she has to, but if she doesn't have to, she'll resort to her wits. She'll try persuasion or a little trickery before reaching for a weapon.
I hope that will make readers interested in her, too.
Teenager Lisa Herbert lives in the small town of Mountain View on the planet Fairfield. The “Savage Rain” decades earlier shut down the hyperspace gate and isolated her world. A casual remark from her sister gets Lisa to ask a simple question: “If life was better before the ‘Savage Rain,’ why couldn’t it be better again?”
That question starts Lisa on a journey. She reactivates Fairfield’s H-gate and travels to three worlds. Each planet offers her a chance to improve life by hard work, by trade, or by making friends. She relies on her brains, her compassion, and a little sneakiness to solve the problems she faces. Lisa’s Way presents a heroine more interested in reasoning than fighting, and more concerned with doing good than looking good.
“The novel’s emphasis on character rather than technology combined with it’s almost agrarian sensibilities make it a great one for fantasy fans who thought they could never enjoy science fiction. By the same token, this is a particularly good novel for teens and young adults looking for something that’s not another Harry Potter clone.”
— David Lee Summers, Tales of the Talisman
I write science fiction, fantasy, Kansas history, railroad history, and on occasion I write about writing.
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