Interview with Lorinda J Taylor

Tell us something about your background and education.
I was born in Colorado and I’m a retired professional librarian. My mother majored in Romance languages and taught high school Spanish and English, so from her I got my love for languages and I learned how to write correct English. I graduated from Colorado College in 1961 and went on to earn an M.A. in English from Cornell and an M.L.S. from UCLA. I also did additional graduate work toward a Ph.D. in English at the University of Texas while I worked in their rare book library.
When and why did you start writing?
I always made up stories and worlds, but I didn’t write any serious fiction until I read J.R.R. Tolkien at the age of 29. I was inspired when I realized that even serious and respected scholars like Tolkien could devote their lives to creating amazing worlds. I wrote high fantasy from 1969 until 1983, sending out materials to publishers but never having success. Then family considerations caused me to stop writing for 17 years. I didn’t start again until 2000, when I had the freedom to write again – and a computer to make it easier!
You say you write science fiction and fantasy, but your approach is unusual. How would you characterize your work, and who is your intended audience?
I write a literary style, with emphasis on character regardless of whether those characters are human or extraterrestrial. I also write fantasy without the magic – the word “fantasy” implies something broader than simply a world where magic rather than science rules. I write for people who are looking from something different from the popular sensationalized trends – who are more concerned with motivations and moral and psychological insights. And I also write for people interested in languages, anthropology, and mythology – and of course entomology!
How did the idea for a civilization of giant termites come to you?
Back in the 1970s when I was writing high fantasy, I saw the documentary “Mysterious Castles of Clay,” about the fungus-growing, castle-building African termite. I was struck by what a great candidate termites made for evolving into intelligent beings on another planet. The germ of The Termite Queen’s plot came to me at that time and when I finally got back to writing in 2000, I started working on that.
You also write constructed languages. How did that happen?
I always experimented with the languages people in my fantasies might speak, but one aspect of The Termite Queen is a how-to-do-it story: in a first-contact situation, how would humans really communicate with their new acquaintances, especially if those beings had no oral language? After all, termites lack an auditory sense. So I started writing a conlang for use in the story. Then I wrote another for my bird aliens to speak. Great fun!
The series The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head retells Greek myth and other legends. Where did that idea come from?
As I neared the end of The Termite Queen, I realized I had a ready-made Champion, a bard, and a whole world of possibilities that the Star-Beings had opened up for the Shshi people. All of that simply demanded a quest tale! And I was definitely influenced by the two TV series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, where the writers took mythological subjects and adapted them in ingenious ways. So we have Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head as a stand-in for Hercules within the termite culture – experiencing the Trojan War, a descent into the Underworld, the quest for the Golden Fleece, and even tales like Beowulf and The Song of Roland.
You seem to be very prolific – you’ve published 11 books in four years. Do you have more to come?
I wrote most of this material in the space of about three years, starting in 2000, so I had a publishing backlog! Ultimately I decided I would self-publish, since getting the attention of agents was proving too time-consuming. I have published six volumes in the Ki’shto’ba series, and I am working on a sequel volume since at the end of v. 6 a number of loose ends were left hanging. I've also published two books without any termites in them, and I have a vast amount of material in my WIP The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars.. I also have a lot of stories in my head that need to be written. So I think I'm going to keep busy!
When you're not writing, what do you like to do?
Writing and publishing pretty much consume my time right now. I used to garden a lot and also sew and embroider, but arthritis has curtailed those occupations. I like to draw on the computer using the Word drawing tools (I’ve made all my own covers so far). I read and watch TV for recreation. Oh, and I’m an ice hockey fan! And of course, I’ve become engaged in social media, since self-promotion comes with the indie territory. Find me on Twitter @TermiteWriter, like me on my Facebook page!/Termitewriter or visit me at my TermiteWriter community on Google+ I also have two blogs: Ruminations of a Remembrancer (a general-interest blog) and The Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head (dealing with the series and also with the use of myth in literature).
Published 2015-10-21.
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Books by This Author

The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Four: Survivor
Series: The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 190,740. Language: English. Published: January 22, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Biographical
Capt. Nikalishin continues to struggle with loneliness, misunderstandings, and dissatisfaction in spite of his friends’ efforts to help him. He takes increasing refuge in alcohol. Meanwhile, the officials of the new interstellar program wait for him to prove himself still capable of commanding a starship. Will Robbin Nikalishin’s “core of character” save him. or is his life really at an end?
The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Three: Bird of Prey
Series: The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 168,520. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
When the woman of his dreams abruptly re-enters Robbin Nikalishin’s life, he woos and weds her, in sequences filled with both comedy and pathos. The Captain was hoping to find a soul mate to assuage his loneliness. Will this radical alteration in his life really be the answer to his difficulties? Or will the marriage turn out to be a disastrous and even tragic mistake?
The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part Two: Wounded Eagle
Series: The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 212,970. Language: English. Published: June 11, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Biographical
In this second part of Capt. Robbin Nikalishin’s biography, the responsibility for the space disaster in Part One is determined and Prf. Eiginsh’s mystifying behavior is explained, while the Captain attempts to recover from the devastating aftereffects of the disaster. The resolution is bittersweet; will the Captain ever become capable of coping fully with the damage that was done to him?
The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part One: Eagle Ascendant
Series: The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars. Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 172,230. Language: English. Published: January 6, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Biographical
Robbin Haysus Nikalishin was born on 31 October 2729 and became the first starship Captain to make contact with extraterrestrials. This book recounts the early life of this man who became one of Earth’s greatest heroes. All heroes are human beings and all human beings are flawed, and the man the Earth will come to know as “Capt. Robbie” was a very human man.
Children of the Music
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 122,040. Language: English. Published: August 4, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The Land between the Mountains and the Sea had belonged to the Siritoch since time before memory. Now these peaceful, pastoral people who worship Music are confronted by the Epanishai, a warlike people who are being pursued by an even more warlike tribe and who are looking for a place to claim as their own. When two such people clash together, who has the most to lose?
The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, The Sequel: The Buried Ship at the End of the World
Series: The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 87,950. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Is’a’pai’a and the remaining Companions set out to complete the Quest for the Golden Fungus, retracing the voyage of Ek’dai’daim’a. Will they succeed in navigating the Wandering Rocks and the Closing Gate? Can they find the Fortress at the End of the World where the Golden Fungus grows? And what fate awaits Is’a’pai’a after it returns home to Hwai’ran’chet?
Fathers and Demons; Glimpses of the Future
Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 116,390. Language: English. Published: April 6, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
In the 28th century, Earth’s first mission to the stars is about to depart. The crew takes a pre-launch holiday to attend the wedding of a Judish crewmember, an excursion that proves enlightening in many ways. The mission’s Chief Engineer, however, heads to his own home to try to lay his personal demons to rest; scientific advancements do not guarantee the perfect functioning of the human mind.
The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head: Volume Six: The Revenge of the Dead Enemy
Series: The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, v.6. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 90,910. Language: Australian English. Published: October 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
As the Quest for the Golden Fungus makes its way westward, the Champion of Peace must confront an old foe before certain prophecies can be fulfilled, bringing the Labors of Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head to an unexpected and tragic end.
The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head: Volume Five: The Wood Where the Two Moons Shine
Series: The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, v.5. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 90,990. Language: English. Published: September 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
In the Hidden Fortress Is’a’pai’a at last learns of its origin and of the destiny for which it was hatched – to save its home from a tyrant and its evil Sorcerer/Seer. However, after the Companions complete the Quest to reach the sea, they find themselves caught up in the Quest for the Golden Fungus, which is set to launch toward the Islands of the West as the volume concludes.
The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head: Volume Four: Beneath the Mountain of Heavy Fear
Series: The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, v.4. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 115,790. Language: English. Published: April 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
As the Companions continue the Quest, they meet the 9th Companion, an eccentric Alate named Bu’gan’zei who practices a strangely hypnotic type of word craft and who has visited the World Beyond. Bu’gan’zei agrees to guide Ki’shto’ba and its friends to the Mountain, where the Champion can seek resolution for its guilt and where Is’a’pai’a’s personal quest can finally begin.
The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head: Volume Three: The Valley of Thorns
Series: The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, v.3. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 102,960. Language: English. Published: November 4, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Ki’shto’ba and its Companions return to Marcher lands to fight alongside A’zhu’lo and the High Commander in defense of the fortress of Wei’loi’bao’cha. However, the enemy is treacherous, resulting in a debacle.
The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head: Volume Two: The Storm-Wing
Series: The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, v.2. Price: $2.99 $1.50 USD. (50% off!) Words: 116,200. Language: English. Published: March 23, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
The Champion Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head and its Companions set out across the Nu'wiv'mi Marsh. They are soon forced to do battle with the Marsh Guardians, huge sauro-avians that attack from the air. Ki'shto'ba lops off the leg of the King-Bird but fails to kill him, with ominous consequences. As the Quest continues, Ki'shto'ba slays more monsters and the Companions spend time among the Marchers.
The Blessing of Krozem
Price: Free! Words: 9,050. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
In this fantasy novelette a spirit being called a Troi suggests to the Headman of Greivat Fastness that he might ask the Dreamers for immortality. But when the Headman approaches the aged Shrine Guardian Gilzara with a request for help in summoning the correct Zem, things do not turn out quite as planned.
The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head: Volume One: The War of the Stolen Mother
Series: The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, v.1. Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 150,640. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Following the end of “The Termite Queen,” the Champion Ki’shto’ba Huge-Head and the Remembrancer Di’fa’kro’mi set out on an epic quest to reach the sea. In the Champion’s home fortress we learn that Ki’shto’ba has a twin and that he may have been sired by the Sky-King. Later, the Companions visit a fortress that has been at war for nine years with its neighbors ...
The Termite Queen: Volume Two: The Wound That Has No Healing
Series: The Termite Queen. Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 199,040. Language: English. Published: May 19, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi
A team of scientists in the 30th c. makes first contact with a species of intelligent termite on an alien planet. The romantic relationship between the expedition leader and the team's anthropologist intersects with the civil unrest existing in the termite fortress to produce an explosive climax. The team must then return to Earth and deal with the outcome.
The Termite Queen: Volume One: The Speaking of the Dead
Series: The Termite Queen. Price: $2.99 USD. (Free!) Words: 131,320. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Literature » Literary
In the 30th century, an off-world expedition brings back a giant termite with a behavior that suggests intelligence. During the planning for a first-contact expedition, Kaitrin Oliva, a linguistic anthropologist, falls in love with the entomologist-leader, a complex man hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, civil discord is brewing on the termite planet as the Queen's Chamberlain plots a murder ...
Monster Is in the Eye of the Beholder: Report of the Anthropological Expedition to the Planet Known as Kal-Fa
Price: $1.99 $0.99 USD. (50% off!) Words: 19,280. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
Three anthropologists make first contact with a species of bizarre intelligent lifeforms. Each team member reacts in a different way to their strangeness as the story builds toward a disturbing climax and a conclusion with an unsettling twist of perspective.