What is it about the word "aliens" that sends people into a tizzy and makes politicians talk about building electrified fences or walls? Unless we're one hundred percent Native American, our ancestors were aliens.
Since I steer away from political issues, that's not the kind of aliens I write about. My aliens are from another world. Outer space. That conjures up Devil Girl from Mars. Men in Black. Invasion of the Body-Snatchers. Planet of the Apes. Alien.
Hold on. I do not write about creepy aliens. I write science fiction romance. My stories are more like Buck Rogers, Star Wars, and E.T. with some Star Trek for good measure. Space adventure. My characters are people, more like you and me, living and working on starships or planets in other galaxies. Why, you may ask, do I write about them?
Because it's fun. I love a good adventure. Space exploration has fascinated me since we finally put a man on the moon. No, wait. Even before that. During every space launch, I was glued to the television set—black and white, at first, but that didn't make it any less exciting. The possibility of exploring beyond our universe intrigues me, captures my imagination. What if . . . Isn't that the way all stories begin in the author's mind?
What if people from an advanced society in another galaxy parked a starship above Earth? Does that sound like Independence Day? Nothing like that. This starship wanted to research our civilization? While the serious researchers examine Earth because of its similarity to their own world of the past, the younger, more enthusiastic crew members become enamored with transmissions of our communication satellites. Forget War of the Worlds. How about Galaxy Quest meets Desperate Wives? Throw in a deranged scientist and a rebellion and you have the beginning of my Switched series.
What happened to the romance part of science fiction romances? Well, of course, there has to be hunky heroes (aren't they always?) and beautiful (ditto) heroines. (As we all know, hunkiness and beauty are in the eye of the beholder.) What if the hero and heroine are from different worlds, different cultures? The possibilities of conflict increase. The series revolves around two sets of twins, separated before birth. Yes, you read that right. Before birth.
What if these twins switch places? Not once, twice. Will anyone figure it out? Can the "impostor" fool their twin's best friends, mother?
Each book in the series demanded a sequel. Until the last one. "What if . . ." guided the stories. Just as we look at space exploration and wonder what's next.
As our own space exploration ramps up with NASA pushing ahead on deep space exploration and private enterprise venturing forth, we might just come across those aliens. They're probably sitting back, watching us take our first steps, waiting for us to catch up with them.