Let's get to know Aurora.
Please tell us about yourself.
My career in science involves describing new discoveries for research articles. But, I’ve imagined adventures in weird worlds for as long as I can remember. Last year, I achieved my life-long ambition to publish novels. My published works include science fiction and fantasy with romance and a sprinkle of humor. I was born in the UK and live in Atlanta with my husband, a dog and two cats to sit on my laptop. We have two sons away at college. My hobbies, besides reading and writing, include outdoor activities like watching wildlife, hiking and canoeing.
What does your family think of your writing?
They tolerate my crazy interests. Some of them help me with covers or beta-reads.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
My published books include three novels of 70,000-100,000 words, three novellas, and two short stories. My favorite is the most recent release, Grand Master’s Pawn, with its complex world and characters.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy exercising my imagination to create adventures in new worlds and populate them with interesting characters.
What do you enjoy most about life?
I enjoy many things: experiencing the natural world, new discoveries, imagining weird stories, and inspiring people to succeed.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
The story begins with a picture in my mind of a scene or a character. Often, I have an idea for the start and end of the story, although this may change once I begin writing in earnest. Since I write science fiction and fantasy set in the future on other worlds, I don’t need to start with research. Particular scenes or events may need research. For example, I looked into the sounds of bullets and treatment of wounds for a scene with a sniper.
What did you learn from writing your first book?
I was surprised to learn how long the editing phase can be. The awful edits can take more time than composing the complete story.
Are your stories driven by plot or character?
I have an initial idea for a plot or setting, but the story is driven by the interactions of the characters with each other and within their world. I’ve learned that I write best when I have a clear vision of the main protagonists.
What two authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
Do I have to limit it to two? For light reading, I’m likely to pick Andre Norton or Georgette Heyer, and I reread Jane Austen’s books every year.
Tell us about your latest release.
My latest release, Grand Master’s Pawn, is science fiction with a love story between characters with paranormal powers. It is a mystery since the young protagonist, the Pawn Violet, hides her own secret while hunting for the truth about the Grand Masters. In this story, I’m channeling Lewis Carroll, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, Philip Jose Farmer and likely many other authors. A touch of humor slips into my stories, often in the banter between the characters or the awkward situations I stick them in. This story is Book 1 in a trilogy, which will keep me busy for a few months.
A thousand years in the future, wars and portal failures disturb the fringes of the galaxy. On Terra, twenty-two year old Violet Hunter seems an ordinary student of the Space Academy, who dreams of exploring unknown planets. She applies to serve as the pawn of one of the twelve Grand Masters, although her hidden talent of empathy makes her ineligible. Violet has defied the prohibition against psychics for half her life. Why should she stop now?
Isolation is the penalty for a Grand Master’s great power because their touch is deadly to a normal person. The Grand Master with the griffin avatar selected the girl with the star-shaped birthmark in spite of her father’s dire prophesy. He is suspicious about his disobedient pawn, yet he cannot deny the success of her missions to strange planets where she finds more than he expected.
Violet seeks the truth about the mysterious Grand Masters. Who or what are they? Do they threaten or benefit civilization? While searching for answers, Violet does the unthinkable. She makes a bargain with her obnoxious Grand Master and challenges him to meet her face to face, risking her secret to discover his purpose. She plunges into an impossible love and a world of intrigues. The vicious conflicts propel her into flight from a terrible enemy and a desperate search for allies to save her new found love.
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TP1N5PM
Finally, Violet was led along the adjacent corridor to hear the instructions of her Grand Master. She was eager to meet this important person who would guide her through the missions on different planets. They stopped in front of a door bearing the heraldic symbol of a griffin. Inside was a small unlighted chamber.
“Wait for Grand Master.” The furry alien pushed her inside and closed the door firmly.
The room was so dark, that at first, Violet could see nothing. Suddenly, two blue beams emerged from the round eyes of a stone gargoyle and cast a weird light over the walls of the small room. Very faintly, she sensed a distant masculine presence. Violet blinked, and the gargoyle resolved into a winged griffin with blue eyes and a cruel beak of a mouth. She guessed the griffin was an avatar for her Grand Master, since she perceived no powerful entity inside the room. She felt a thrill of anticipation as the eyes flared to a brighter blue.
A deep, resonant voice spoke, “I am the Grand Master and you will serve as my pawn.”
“Yes, Grand Master,” Violet said, refusing to show fear at the eerie, disembodied voice. “What may I call you? Do you have a name?”
“You will call me Grand Master,” the haughty voice held an unpleasant edge.
Violet resolved to assert her independence, and asked indignantly, “Grand Master, do your pawns have individual names? Or do you call them by numbers?”
The room vibrated and psychic pressure built up against her. “You are insolent, Violet Hunter!” the Grand Master growled.
Shivering at the menace in his words, she stepped back against the wall, and instinctively shielded her mind. Had she been too assertive? Of course, he knew her name from the Academy records. His psychic power was impressive considering he was not physically in the room. Unexpectedly, Violet sensed a faint drift of amusement, the mental equivalent of a smile. She was unsure if it was her empathic talent, or a glimpse he had permitted her.
“Hunter is a good name for your vocation,” he remarked in a milder tone.
Violet stiffened. He must never learn the truth. She hunted him.
His gruff voice grew severe again, “I have taken a chance by selecting you. Remember, you are on probation. You must prove yourself worthy to serve as my pawn.”
Sounds like a great story! Thanks for coming today, Aurora. One last question. Where can readers find you?