Edward M. Lerner (born 1949) is an American science fiction, techno-thriller, and popular science writer.
As of 2021, he has 22 published books. He has 11 solo novels (3 in the Interstellar Net universe), 5 collections, 5 co-authored novels in the Known Space universe, and 1 popular science book. Most of Lerner’s short stories were originally published in analog, the Grantville Gazette, and (until the publication was discontinued) in Jim Vane’s universe.
His short story “Opa?” Published in 2001. It became a short film “Grandfather Paradox” and was screened at the 2006 Balticon Science Fiction Convention and won the Best Film Award. He was also a semi-finalist at the 2006 Science Fiction Short Film Festival.
Here is an interview with author Edward M. Lerner.
Edward M. Lerner Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a long-time techie turned full-time author. The techie side is physics and computer engineering, and I worked at every level from individual technical contributor to senior vice president. While much of that was happening, writing SF was a long-time hobby. Once I sold my second novel, meaning the first hadn’t been a fluke, I decided I was ready to try a second career. Last year saw publication of my twenty-first and twenty-second books, so I guess it worked out.
Edward M. Lerner How many hours a day do you write?
It’s a rare day, weekends and holidays included, I don’t spend four hours working and usually it’s much more. Of course, “writing” isn’t always pounding out text. There’s research, outlining plot, editing, and even interactions like this one.
Edward M. Lerner How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I Edward M. Lerner sold two finished books in 2021 should see print this year—and I started a third that’s now at least halfway to a first draft.
Edward M. Lerner How long on average does it take you to write a book?
About a year.
Where did you get the idea for your recent book?
It’s a near-future adventure set mostly on the Moon. Our intrepid explorers find artifacts left behind by ancient alien visitors—and you just know nothing good can come of poking around in those. Even if the novel’s title weren’t Déjà Doomed.
Edward M. Lerner How did you develop your plots?
Because I write science fiction, plots for me usually start with a scientific topic or emerging technology about I want to learn more. From there, novels generally involving settling upon conflicts and perils, and considering ways a technology can be used and abused. If there’s much of a process thereafter, it eludes me. There’s much iteration, what-if-ing, and free association.
How did you get inspired to write your recent book?
First Contact is not only among the most popular SF themes, but it’s also one of my favorites. I wanted to do something new with it. Most First Contact stories involve either face-to-whatever encounters or some type of signal detection. An archeological discovery of alien visitors was different—but not, if you’ll pardon the expression, yet as novel as I’d like. So, rather than hide the traces of long-ago visitors on Earth, for Déjà Doomed I chose the Moon. Beyond that hopefully fresh approach, setting my book on the Moon allowed the alien relics to be far older, and far better preserved, than if they’d be left on Earth. Which then led to other opportunities that are best left for readers to discover.
What are you currently working on?
A novel on the near-future exploration and colonization of Mars. (The title is likewise a work in progress, beyond that the word Mars will appear in it.) Best guess, this book will come out in late 2023.
Edward M. Lerner Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I Edward M. Lerner do read them sometimes, mainly as a matter of curiosity. If a review is positive, well, of course I enjoy the fact. Occasionally I learn something from the negative ones, but more often it’s just a matter if accepting that tastes differ.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
That rejection is part of the business. Few people sell their first, or second, work, much less do so the first, or second, the time they submit it to a market. Even a track record of literary sales provides no assurance that one’s next book or story will be snapped up.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
That no idea or scenario is too crazy for a writer. (Hey, I’m working.) Though I do wonder what Google thinks about my search history ….
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Indeed! It’s a novel not yet scheduled but apt to be out this summer. On the Shoals of Space-Time is another (I like to believe) unusual first-contact novel. The interstellar equivalent of a cruise liner suffers a near-catastrophic accident, and the few alien survivors limp to the fringes of a nearby solar system. Their only hope lies with the primitive natives—if they can somehow reach the humans, or the humans reach them.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
Through my online presence, of course.
My website: edwardmlerner.com
My blog: blog.edwardmlerner.com
And (of course) Amazon: again, as Edward M. Lerner
What you want to say about our website?
That I Edward M. Lerner appreciate the invitation to chat here.