Exclusive Interview: “The Legend Of Sarah” Author Leslie Gadallah
A lot can happen in 34 years. Just ask writer Leslie Gadallah, the author of 1988’s post-apocalyptic adventure novel The Loremasters. Or better yet, ask writer Leslie Gadallah, the author of 2022’s post-apocalyptic adventure novel The Legend Of Sarah (paperback, Kindle), a revised version of The Loremasters.
I’d like to start with some background. What was The Loremasters about, and when and where does it take place?
It takes place in the not too distant future somewhere in the middle of North America when the technologically competent folks have separated themselves into enclaves to protect themselves from those they see as ignorant and dangerous barbarians. But a time comes when they have to venture out among those very barbarians because the enclaves are running out of resources. This story is about one such venture.
Where did you originally get the idea for The Loremasters?
When my son was still in high school, I could see that there was natural separation between the “nerds” and everybody else, and there wasn’t much interaction between the groups. So, suppose this applied to the whole of society.
Was there a reason why you made Sarah 14-years-old as opposed to 10 or 18?
As I recall (it’s been a very long time), it’s about the middle teen that girls start taking a serious interest in the opposite sex, but still have a starry-eyed notion of their future.
In the same vein, is there a reason why Sarah is a pickpocket as opposed to some other kind of thief?
Well, I couldn’t see her as a highwayman, with swords and arrows, or a cattle rustler. I mean, where would she get cows and what could she do with them once she had them?
It sounds like The Loremasters is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel. Is that how you see it?
It’s post-apocalyptic in the sense that society as we know it has broken down, but in a way, it has elements in common with alien encounters and the adventure stories of encountering new societies.
The Loremasters was your second novel after Cat’s Pawn. Were there any writers, or specific stories, that influenced The Loremasters but not Cat’s Paw?
Honestly, I can’t pick out a particular example, but I know I was getting tired of the American ideal of some superman striding over the landscape bending all to his will. Real life isn’t like that.
How about such non-literary influences as movies, TV shows, or games? Was The Loremasters influenced by any of those things?
Well, everything is grist for the writer’s mill. It would be hard to pick out a single seed and say this is what made the flour that made the bread.
Now, The Loremasters has been revised and rereleased as The Legend Of Sarah. How big of a revision are we talking about?
It’s not a big revision. Anachronisms got removed, and I got to work with a great editor, Robert Runte, who showed me how to clean up the structure and pointed out some of the realities of a working anthropologist. But the story is the same.
And what prompted the name change?
The original title was not the best, and gave prominence to the wrong character.
Is there anything that you feel influenced your revisions — be they literary or not — that were not influences on the original version?
Not that I can think of.
What about Spook, your cat? What influence did Spook have on the reworked parts of The Legend Of Sarah?
She is quite indifferent to what I write. Her influence is to yell at me when dinner is late. Interrupted scenes that I have to try to recover later. I love her dearly, but a muse she is not.
Do you think The Legend Of Sarah is different enough from The Loremasters that someone who’s read the latter should now read the former?
Probably not. The story hasn’t changed.
So, is there anything else you think people should know about The Legend Of Sarah?
I think it’s a good story in which none of the characters get what they want, but some of them get what they need.
Finally, if someone enjoys The Legend Of Sarah, which of your other novels would you suggest they read next?
Check out the Empire Of The Kaz, soon to be released by Shadowpaw Press.