Our interview today is with Kathy Porter, author of Earth's Ultimate Conflict
FQ: You say in the Author's Note that you are a true believer in aliens. When did you first begin to think that there are aliens visiting our solar system?
I began to think about the possibility that aliens exist when I was a child. My father enjoyed taking his seven children out to the backyard and teaching us the constellations on summer nights when the clouds gave us an unencumbered view. We were thrilled when he brought home a telescope and showed us the craters on the moon and the Sea of Tranquility. As a science teacher, my dad was a seeker of truth. He never said, “they (the aliens) were out there”, and if we asked if aliens were real, he would shrug his shoulders and say, “I don’t know, but some people say there is proof that they are here.”
My dad and I shared a love for all things science fiction and watched late night movies like Invaders From Mars together. Dad also enjoyed reading Ray Bradbury’s books, which he passed on to me.
In high school I read, Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Däniken and discussed with my dad what seemed to be undeniable proof that aliens were here in ancient times. He again never quite committed to the fact they were here, but my continued discoveries in reading, including the still-controversial Roswell Incident and the Betty and Barney Hill abduction, were hot topics between us.
Aliens, in my belief, have been part of our history and continue to investigate or intrude into our lives, depending on your beliefs. I don’t believe aliens would be so covert in their methods if their reason for human contact were completely innocent. The aliens of today may not be the same species as the seemingly benevolent ancient astronauts.
FQ: I thought it was interesting that you made the president a woman and one who had been divorced. How did you come up with Barbara Unger, who is so different from the presidents we know today?
Some of the strongest people I have known in my life were women. Strong women have a place in politics and outshine many of their male counterparts in history. Although she was not a divorced woman, Prime Minister of England Margaret Thatcher was a force to be reckoned with during her three terms in office. She earned the title “Iron Lady” by being a staunch conservative who couldn’t be bullied by any foreign leader anymore than by her own Parliament. I found her strong and fascinating. Barbara Unger was born from a creative hybrid of Margaret Thatcher and Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Star Trek Voyager series.
Captain Janeway, separated from her husband by millions of light years, was on a quest to return to her home sector of space and Earth. She had great intuitive skills, made friends of enemies and never wavered or depended on others to lead her crew home. She was a skillful, capable woman like President Barbara Unger.
FQ: It seems like you have read a lot of science fiction. Which science fiction novels and films have influenced your writing and thinking?
The first science fiction novel I read was in grade school, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I was hooked from that point on. That chapter, that to this day plays through my mind and encourages me to let my imagination soar, was the one where Mr. Benjamin Driscoll spreads seeds from Earth across Mars. While Driscoll slept, there was a downpour of rain and a lush forest grew. He watched buds turn to blossoms and leaves unfurl before his eyes. Because Mars soil was so rich, a genesis took place before his eyes. Ray Bradbury put his incredible imagination on paper– I was hooked.
Ray Bradbury continues to be an inspiration to me. I have listened to him speak many times and he encourages writers to read and watch movies, and to “write with love.” I was honored to receive his endorsement for my book.
There are many writers I also enjoy reading, Jules Vern, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Robert Sawyer, and James Patterson to name a few. As for movies, some of the most inspiring were the original The Day The Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds, Invaders From Mars, and Forbidden Planet. Of course, I also enjoy the Star Wars and the Star Trek movies, as well as one of my most recent favorites Independence Day.
FQ: Where did you get the idea for SEAS? Is it based on an actual medical condition?
Many threatening pandemics have headlined our news and newspapers in recent history. Most have only been potential threats (over-publicized) and slowly fell out of the media’s attention. However, a threat that is getting quietly worse and is under-reported is that of allergies. In some cases, allergies have become life threatening. What if millions of humans became allergic to their own environment?
What if allergies became the pandemic? It seemed to me that SEAS or Severe Environmental Allergy Syndrome was a viable threat.