I am so happy to have a special guest here today. Veronica Scott is one of my all-time favorite science fiction romance authors. Her books take me away to unknown worlds with characters I'd love to spend more time with.
Welcome, Veronica. Tell us about yourself.
I’ve always written, even since I was about seven and penned a long, self-illustrated epic about a princess with flying cats, flying horses, many sisters and a riverboat captain boyfriend. I grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and I clearly thought there needed to be more romance in everything. I had a long career at NASA/JPL in the business side of things and received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal for process improvements along the way. But now I’m fortunate to be a full time author. I also write the SciFi Encounters column for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, which lets me do fun things. A big thrill for me this year was to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.” I’m a Red Shirt who survives! I write science fiction romance and ancient Egyptian fantasy romance.
A Red Shirt who survives? You lucky duck! Tell our readers where they can find you? (social media, etc.)
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Veronica-Scott/e/B006CUCJ92/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
How long does it take you to write a book?
I write very fast – well, when not spending too much time on social media! – so I can finish a book in about two months, depending on the length. Then the editing process can take as much as another two months.
You are a fast writer. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Anything can and does spark my imagination. Sometimes just one photograph can give me the idea for an entire book. Other times, I’ve maybe always been fascinated with a topic, like the sinking of the Titanic, and eventually the science fiction twists on the event come to me and I write a novel inspired by reality. I read voraciously too, both fiction and nonfiction, and magazines galore. I’ve found a few good plot ideas in Business Week!
I get the reference to the Titantic. Loved Wreck of the Nebula Dream. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I read, watch movies or TV, take walks, build Lego sets with my grandson…
My grandson could play with Legos for hours! What does your family think of your writing?
My family is extremely supportive and happy for me that I’m published and writing fulltime. One of my daughters is in fact also a published author.
That is so cool. Like Mother, Like Daughter. What do you think makes a good story?
Characters the reader can care about and root for, adventure and romance!
Definitely agree there. What is the best part of writing for you?
I love sharing my stories with readers and there’s nothing better than hearing from someone that they’ve enjoyed one of my books, or that I “got it right” with a certain plot element.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I just get into the ‘flow’ as athletes say, and the words come easily. I’m excited to get to my laptop and work on a scene – I know it’s all going really well when the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning is a plot twist or a new angle on something I wrote the day before.
What a great feeling. Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, outline, or...?
I usually know the two main characters, the beginning and the ending, and a few key scenes. I start writing at the beginning of the story and the other details and scenes fill themselves in along the way. Total seat of the pants person! I do a LOT of research, especially for the ancient Egyptian stories, but usually I’ll go look up what I need to know when I arrive at that part of the Work In Progress. For my newest release, I did a lot of research on various ritual ball games played by the ancient peoples of Central and South America, as an example.
Omigosh, someone who writes like I do. LOL If I was a first time reader of your books (which I'm not, btw), which one would you recommend I start with and why?
That’s hard because I love them all! For the Egyptian fantasies, maybe Ghost of the Nile, because it’s a good example of how I like to blend reality and the ancient Egyptian gods into an adventure, with romance of course! It’s also a Finalist in the 2016 RONE Awards contest. For the scifi romance, Star Cruise Outbreak has recently Finalled in a contest where the first round judges were genre-specific book clubs, so I thought that was quite a vote of confidence
Star Cruise Outbreak was great. What two authors would we find you reading when taking a break from your own writing?
Nalini Singh because I love her books and all her series! I’m a huge fangirl. For the second author, I’m always on the lookout for new scifi romance and fantasy, so I try to keep a pretty hefty To Be Read list and work through it. I’ve been reading the Fallen Empire series by Lindsay Buroker.
Nalini Singh is a terrific author. I've not read Ms. Buroker's work. I'll have to check her out.
Tell us about your latest release. My latest release is Trapped on Talonque, a science fiction romance.
Here’s the story:
Will an alien sleeping beauty awaken to save him, or destroy everyone around her?
When a Sectors Special Forces soldier and his team crash land on an alien planet, they’re taken captive and given a challenge–win at the violent ball game of sapiche and live. Lose, and they die, sending a mysterious, alien beauty to an even uglier fate. To survive, these soldiers must win the game and find a way to free the dangerous prisoner from her locked chamber.
Nate Reilly and his team are in deep trouble. Prisoners on a backward alien planet, they’re brought before an alien ‘goddess’, sleeping in her high tech seclusion. Nate is astonished when she awakes and establishes a psychic link with him. But her news is not good–he and his men must win a brutal challenge set by their captors, or they will die. She’ll give her aid, but in the end their courage and strength must win the contest.
Bithia sleeps in her chamber, as she has for thousands of years, since her own people unaccountably left her there. Viewed as a goddess by her captors, she must hide her ancient secrets to survive. But only the bravest of men may free her. Can she use her psychic powers to keep Nate and his men alive long enough to help her escape, or will her only hope of freedom die with them?
He stood wreathed in gray-green mists coiling around him like the ghosts of snakes before falling away to reveal the mysterious subterranean room deep under the palace. He faced the sleeping woman. Nate descended the three stairs and walked across the chamber until he stubbed his toe against an invisible but potent barrier. Trying to reach through or past this obstacle, Nate saw his hands outlined in pale green light. He shoved harder. If he could just reach her, wake her, ask her a few pointed questions… As if sensing his efforts, she moved her head on the mattress and opened her eyes, revealing dark lavender irises flecked with gold.
“I am sorry,” she said, clear as day, in Basic.
But no, Nate realized, he heard the words in his mind, not with his ears. Her lips moved, but not to shape the syllables he heard.
“Sarbordon thinks you and I are of the same people. Therefore, what he wants lies outside your power to provide,” she said, as if the piece of confusing information would help him navigate the perilous situation.
“Why are you sorry?” Nate stayed with her first words to him. “You’ve done nothing to harm us.”
“I pity anyone trapped here on this cursed planet. The king will sacrifice you to his hungry gods when you don’t produce the miracles he expects. Demands. I—I didn’t tell him the truth when he asked.” Brow furrowed, she studied Nate’s face. Biting her lower lip, she said, “Honesty on my part would have brought instant death for you. He believes you’re my father’s warriors, come to rescue me, so I agreed with his conclusion. I said you were also sent to retrieve certain possessions. He’s desperate to acquire the marvels my father wielded. My deception may give you time, perhaps a chance to save yourselves.” She studied him from head to toe, and her lips curved into a slight smile. “You have the attitude of a warrior, one able to survive. You must play the game.” After a moment, she averted her gaze, but Nate still heard her next words. “Sarbordon will bring you here again if you earn the privilege. If you can survive to that point, I may have a plan, a chance for you to seize freedom. I can’t promise.”
He was woozy, possibly an aftereffect of the wine with dinner. Maybe the drink had been laced with a primitive drug. His powers of concentration were affected, and frustration with his uncharacteristic lack of focus built. “What’s your name?”
This vision he was having was dangerously fascinating, and he wished it were real. No one had ever even seen a representation of a living Ancient Observer, much less conversed with one. He accepted Haranda’s educated assessment that she wasn’t a member of the mysterious race of galactic forerunners from a million years ago, but the way her chamber was encapsulated deep in the palace, as if the building had grown organically to house her, spoke of centuries, if not millennia, passing since she was placed in her high-tech prison. The equipment must have kept her alive, but why was she here in the first place?
The incongruity of trying to solve her puzzle while his life and the lives of his men hung in the balance made him shake his head. This was one hell of a dream, built on his fascination with her earlier in the day.
“We’re not dreaming.” Seizing on his unspoken thought, she denied his conclusion scornfully, staring at him with wide-eyed contempt. “I dream only of death. We’re communicating. Perhaps your people are too primitive for the concept, fallen from the sky or not.”
Thanks for coming, Veronica. Best wishes onTrapped on Talonque. It's on my Kindle and next up to read.