Interview with Ilana Lehmann

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always loved Star Trek. I love the Star Trek vision of the future where people are valued based on their abilities, not their limitations. I feel this is an important book and I didn't want to wait a long time to see it get into the hands of my audience. Being an indie author allowed me to get the book published at least two years sooner than if I had gone the traditional publishing route.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I live for those hours or even days when my writing flows from me. It feels like I am just sitting with my hands on the keyboard and the words just appear on the page. When I go back to edit my work and I see that what I said was funny or insightful it is pure joy. I live for those moments. At other times, writing can feel more like I am wrestling an alligator and I know I will be rewriting those passages.
What are you working on next?
I am writing two short humor books based on my experiences as a professor. They are "bathroom" books. The kind of thing you can read in short sits. "Dear Student: Inside the Twisted Mind of an Exasperated Professor" and "The Completely Useless Dictionary of Higher Education" will be out before the end of the year. (Hopefully.)

I already have plans to write more about science fiction and disability. Some of my fans have asked me to write a book on autism and science fiction. That would draw in shows like Doctor Who, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Eureka!, and others.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I am bossed around by my cat, Hobbes, and my dog, Susie Derkins. They were named after characters in Calvin and Hobbes. The cat demands to be feed in the morning. The dog needs to go outside. I have no choice but to get out of bed. They are relentless.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I teach research methods online for an online university. I only have graduate students. Some are getting their master's degrees, others are PhD candidates. I am starting a consulting business and looking for speaking gigs.

I also enjoy attending comic cons and other science fiction conventions. I am a total fangirl.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I chose my books based on the recommendations of others. I also have belonged to book clubs where we agree to read books and then get together and talk about them. I do that as time permits.
What is your writing process?
I begin with an outline, but I'm never afraid to change it. I did that several times with "All You Need to Know About Disability is on Star Trek." My chapter on psychiatric disabilities was so long, it became two chapters. I attend critique groups in Vancouver and Portland so I can get feedback as I'm going. It's good to learn what is working and what isn't working. If it hadn't been for the first critique book, I would be writing textbooks instead of funny books.
What do you read for pleasure?
When I was a teen I was really into murder mysteries. I loved Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and the Perry Mason series. As I got older I got into science fiction, Asimov, H.G Wells, Bradbury, the greats. I also discovered science fiction from Indian authors like Jayant Vishnu Narlikar from a co-worker. My best friend introduced me into epic fantasy through "The Wheel of Time" series. She has me hooked on the "Outlander" series now, which is more historic fiction/fantasy.
Describe your desk
My desk is an L-shaped desk which is always a mess. Let's look around. To my left there is an R2D2 USB hub sitting on top of the PC tower. Below that is a "Wicked Witch of the West" doorstop holding down some papers because I have my fan on. (The air conditioning doesn't get into this room very well.) Some papers are stuck between the PC tower and the monitor. Then comes the monitor which is covered in sticky notes around the frame for stuff I need to keep at my finger tips. If it were on the desk, it would get buried. In front of the monitor is my lighted keyboard. I like that it is backlite so I can sneak in here at night without turning on a light. To the left of the monitor is my Star Trek mug holding my pens. The printer is in the corner of the L. In front of the printer is my eyeglass holder shaped like one of the statues from Easter Island. Turning the corner, there is a Doctor Who scarf around my desk lamp. This side of my desk has the most piles of paper. Some are related to my teaching, some about stuff to promote my book, and others are just a mess. At the far end is my desk fan. It isn't on right now because this is a cool, rainy day in Vancouver.

Usually Hobbes has no room to sit on the desk. So she also will sit or lay on my printer. If she wants to be under the desk lamp I have to scramble to get papers out of her way, or she will. She likes to "lamplight bathe", especially at night. If it gets really late, Hobbes will lay across my keyboard to get me to stop working and pet her. I tell people she is my office manager because she is so bossy.
When did you first start writing?
Most of my published writing began while I was attending graduate school. While I was working on my PhD I published articles in academic journals. I even wrote a book chapter for a textbook. Once I got my first teaching position I was expected to continue to do research and publish papers. I wrote another book chapter with a colleague. Most of this was highly technical writing.

I began writing for a non-academic audience with this book. It has been so much fun. I actually enjoy the research and writing it, but I enjoy this kind of writing more. Partially because I know more people with read this book. Writers long to be read.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I love both of these subjects: Star Trek and Disability. I go to a lot of Star Trek conventions, comic cons, anything geeky, and I see lots of the fans with disabilities. I wanted to write a book that would speak to them. It is not an inspirational book. The idea for the book was that could help fans with disabilities have conversations about their life experiences.

I had to watch all of Star Trek, again, in doing the research for this book. The most fun I've ever had doing research.
Published 2014-07-24.
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Books by This Author

All You Need to Know About Disability is on Star Trek
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 107,570. Language: English. Published: July 26, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Social Science » People with Disabilities, Nonfiction » Social Science » Future Studies
More illuminating than a Supernova. More fun than a Klingon drinking song. Set a course for a view of disability through a Star Trek lens. From genetic engineering, to physical, cognitive and psychiatric disabilities, Dr. Lehmann provides 12 chapters of disability topics illustrated with dialogue from Star Trek episodes and movies.