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Roberta Gellis
conducted by Toni Weisskopf
January 2005

TW: How did you get started writing? Any specific influences?

RG: My mother tells me that I always wrote, even as a child and I remember telling stories to my friends at about 9 or 10. There were some good influences, of course, but what really spurred me to write--I started, remember, as a historical novelist--was the infuriating way a lot of authors mangled history. I always found history very interesting and exciting just as it really happened. In sf/f, which I have read since the mid-40s, I guess Heinlein and Norton were the strongest influences.
TW: What are some of the best perks of being a science fiction writer?
RG: Oh, my, the freedom, I guess. You can write about anything at all that you can imagine.
TW: Do you have any favorites among your characters?
RG: I think the mythological characters are my favorites. I always loved the myths and kind of always wanted to follow up the tantalizing hints of character and personality that appear. I have enormously enjoyed putting flesh on Dionysos, Eros, Psyche, Hades, and Persephone. Of course, sometimes I needed to do more extensive research than the plain myth, but that was fun too.
TW: Who are some of your favorite non-sf authors?
RG: Mary Renault is my all time favorite "modern" author. Thomas Mallory (Morte d'Arthur--14th century) and Jane Austen (early 19th century) are my favorites in the past. There are several mystery authors I like: Carole Nelson Douglas, Emma Lathan, Rex Stout, Arthur Upfield.
TW: Are you a morning writer, an evening writer or a catch-as- catch-can writer?
RG: Well, morning--except it's rather later than most people's mornings. I'm not an early riser. My husband drags me out of bed at about 9:30 and I generally get to the computer about 11:30, but I work best from then until lunchtime (about 2 PM). Sometimes I'm productive in the afternoon too, but that is more chancy.
TW: Who would you like to see play your series hero (if app.) in a movie?
RG: Sorry, I don't go to the movies so I don't know any modern actors, but I think the man who played the blonde Elf in the Two Towers movie would make a very good Denoriel. (I haven't seen this, only heard people talking about him and saw him mentioned on the mail lists to which I belong.)
TW: What invention or scientific leap in understanding would you most like to see made in your lifetime?
RG: We're being science fictionery, right? Okay. Faster than light travel and answers to maintaining healthy bones and tissues in zero gravity.
TW: If you could go back to one incident in all of history to watch as a spectator what would it be?
RG: There's so many I can't fix on one. Anyhow I find big spectacles confusing and uninviting.

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