On the 26th I shared a guest post and today is an interview.
Please tell us about yourself –
I lived a licentious and hedonistic past, but am now old and feeble–battered by my reckless ways into being a hobbled wreck. Of course, I deserved it. I abused my strength and size when young, was an inveterate drug addict, and ate far too much–as I still do. Yeah, I well-earned Karmic retribution, and it had been a drag. I suspect many would-be tough guys eventually pay for their perfidy, and now a ten-year old girl scout could kick my ass. Humility is good for the soul!
I earned advanced degrees along the way, a Ph.D. at Penn State in Communication and a Masters in Nonfiction Writing at UNH. I managed some good grades in my graduate work and even wrote a text book examining the neuropsychology of human communication. However, this doesn’t mean I’m particularly bright. Indeed, my scores on most intelligence measures vary greatly, from below average in some indices to in the top few percentile in others. I chose to think I’m forgetful and sometimes can’t see the forest except for the trees.
My only real strength is imagination, although some might argue that my many life experiences are useful. The reason I can describe conflict is such detail is because I know what it is like, which is nothing to be proud of. Yeah, I’m honest, but it was a long time in coming. The truth about my past is unavoidable, and for better or worse, it helped shape what I am. Times shapes all of us, and drives us toward change–if we allow it. I’m a cripple now, but more content and at peace than ever before.
What are you reading now? –
I’m rereading Kirk, Raven & Schofield’s The Presocratic Philosophers. But I can’t read Greek to save my life, so it’s kind of pointless. However, I like those ancient ideas on how the universe was ordered–the cosmologies of the positivist thinkers. Folks like Thales, Amaximander, Hericlitus, and Pythagoras had some neat and insightful views–and I often employ them in my work!
Who are your favorite authors and your favorite books? –
I have used a very similar answer to this question before, but it’s the truth of things. I like most of the ancients, and especially Plato. Aristotle’s metaphysics is far more evolved, but all we have is his working notes–and sometimes he misquotes those who went before him. The ancients’ depth and insights are impressive, even after 2,400 years.
My favorite reads from modern popular Sci-Fi authors are Dune by Frank Herbert, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglass Adams, and I, Robot by Isaac Asimov–which is probably my all-time favorite. Of the more obscure, Escape from Hell by Niven & Pournelle is outstanding. It’s about a writer sentenced to hell, which is sure to be my fate! But the guy finds a way out of hell, and one day I may have to use his means!
How has your reading preferences influenced your writing? –
The philosophical ideas I glean leak into my works, albeit subtly. Stylistically, however, my reading is usually of limited use, nor is my formal education. Academic writing is tortured, and often miserable to read. Sure, I got a Masters in writing, but that was nonfiction. I was very successful in that arena and had numerous articles and even a text book published. But nonfiction was like misery at times. I was in a box, bound on all sides by weighty research books. They say a writer should stick with what he or she is good at, but screw that! You have to listen to the calling of your heart above all else. And that calling is driving me toward Sci-Fi and spirituality.
How do you find a balance in your writing like with Child of Destiny when incorporating a
topic like religion without it being too religious? –
The characters have strong moral/religious beliefs, but they often conflict. Their beliefs became points of angry contention at times, as we see so often in our every day lives. Furthermore, events demonstrate that Kara’s faith is the product of willful manipulation, with her kind being a created species that was implanted with a false past. She is systematically reduced to the state wherein she despises her faith and even herself. Watching her fall and subsequent rise is the most interesting part of the series. I have included an essay that spells this out in greater detail.
Why Sci-fi, what about it appeals to you? –
Freedom! Yes, there are writing standards and the like that one should adhere to, but Sci-Fi is where one’s mind can soar. The limits are as big as our imaginations, although I prefer being at least a bit plausible–but just a bit. Sci-Fi also allows me to touch bases with an eclectic history, one wherein I can import many scenes from bygone times.
What future works do you have planned? –
There are now four book in the Genesis series, all of which are in the publisher’s hands. The fourth, Deep Thought, is one of the best according to the editors. I am currently working on a book about spirituality, Reflections, and it reads like Sci-Fi. It’s about dreams, some of which have also found their way into my work. Then comes Essays of a Madman, and a Genesis offshoot, The Price of Hegemony.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. George H. Elder has a Ph.D. from Penn State in Speech Communication and a Masters Degree in nonfiction Writing from UNH. He also has a very eclectic work and personal history. He has been a college teacher, custodian, upper-level scholar, drug addict, weight lifting coach, bouncer, and much more. He has authored numerous articles in the popular press and even a scientific text book that examines the neuropsychological basis of human communication. He has also addressed subjects such as philosophy, free speech, weight training, drug use, nutrient effects, street life, and a wide range of other issues.
His varied life experiences and education give him a unique and interesting perspective, and he often weaves philosophical insights and pathos into his texts. His books are action-oriented, but they do not have simplistic plots wherein good vs. evil or some other hackneyed approach is used. Instead, Elder employs plot shifts that allow the characters and readers to question the relationships we often take for granted. For example, a hero may do great wrongs while a species once perceived as malicious can be revealed to be honorable and wise. This offers refreshing and exciting perspectives for readers as they delve into Elder’s texts, for one never knows what to expect.