One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of the book. Details are listed at the end of the post.
You can also read an excerpt from Song of Scarabaeus here.
DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about the book?
Song of Scarabaeus is a science fiction novel that combines some hard science ideas with adventure and romance. Edie is a cypherteck – she terraforms alien worlds for colonization. Mercenaries kidnap her and force her to help the outlawed Fringe worlds, who desperately need this technology. They link her to a bodyguard, an ex-con named Finn, who will die if he strays from her side.
Aside from the science fiction elements, the story is also about the developing relationship between Finn and Edie as they learn to trust each other and work together for their freedom.
DFT: What motivated you to write Song of Scarabaeus?
It was a long process, as most first novels are, and my motivation changed over time. After years of writing half-finished short stories and outlines in various genres, I wanted to draw together all the ideas I’d been working on and complete something – anything! This process taught me that I definitely wanted to focus on science fiction, which I’d been reading since high school.
It’s easy and fun to write outlines and character bios and short stories, but a novel is quite a commitment. When I finished the first draft and liked what I’d written, my motivation was to make it the best it could be, and to get the book published so I could share my imagination with readers.
DFT: If you could describe your main characters with only 3 words, what would they be?
That’s a tough one! I’ll give it a shot. Edie is sheltered, idealistic, and stubborn. Finn is independent, jaded, and loyal.
DFT: Tell us something about your research process and the choices you make when creating the story.
I wrote a lot of notes about the universe I’d created – the political history, the technology, the characters’ backgrounds. To create a futuristic terraforming technology, I had to go back to my biology textbooks to brush up on retroviruses and genetic engineering. My husband created a plausible spaceship engine for me and helped me out with the weapons and fighting.
A lot of this information isn’t detailed in the novel, because I only used what the reader needed to know, but it was important for me to understand it before I could write about it.
DFT: Do you have a long-term plan or goal for this story universe?
A sequel comes out in 2011, with some of the same characters. Some elements of the universe –the central Crib bureaucracy and the outlying Fringe worlds, and the method of space travel I developed – are things I’ll probably explore again with different characters.
DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) did you draw from while writing Song of Scarabaeus?
A lifetime of movies and books influenced me. It’s hard to pinpoint specific things. I love gritty science fiction movies, and that’s how I imagined the universe of this story. Creating the main character Edie was more a matter of removing influences: I didn’t want her to have a military background, or be a genetically engineered superwoman, or be a kick-ass heroine with a smart mouth. I’ve read and enjoyed stories with those kinds of heroines, but I wasn’t comfortable writing one. Finally, because my background is biology, that’s what I drew from for the science part of my SF universe.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
I guess I would have to say Edie, because the story is from her perspective so she’s the character whose head I had to get inside. She’s definitely someone who tries to do the right thing but she doesn’t always have the experience or opportunity to make the best decisions. She’s not in a position of power but she stands up to injustice and she makes whatever deals are necessary to get by.
DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line from Song of Scarabaeus?
I really enjoyed writing the scenes between Edie and Finn. The entire story takes place over only two weeks and I wanted to pace their relationship realistically, bearing in mind the stressful and dangerous situations they end up in. There’s a scene early on where she’s been forced by the mercs to “discipline” him, and the two of them have a short discussion that pretty much defines their tentative relationship so far and hints at the direction it will take.
DFT: What other projects are you working on that you would like to tell us about?
I have both a fantasy and a young adult fantasy in the works, but for now my intention is to write more science fiction adventure/romance. Those other projects are more for my own amusement.
DFT: What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?
I’ve been reading Elizabeth Moon’s “Vatta’s War” series, which is military science fiction with a strong female protagonist. I’m also reading Linnea Sinclair’s futuristic romances, which are entirely different but I think Song of Scarabaeus straddles these two sub-genres.
DFT: What is your definition of a “bad writing day”? How do you deal with bad writing days?
A bad writing day is one where I delete 10,000 words from the previous two weeks because I realize it’s not working. That’s pretty disheartening. There’s only one way to deal with it – keep writing!
DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or any writing rituals?
I sit at the computer and write. It’s that simple: get words on the page. I worked for many years as an editor, and while many of the skills required for editing are useful to a writer, I also found it was holding me back. I could never leave a paragraph or a sentence alone until it was edited to perfection. This is a bad thing when you’re trying to complete a first draft. I’m still learning that I have to just write it and leave it alone, however bad it seems, knowing I can come back later and fix it.
DFT: Describe yourself in 5 words.
Excited about my new book!
DFT: What is your favorite fairy tale, and why?
Fairytale heroines generally seem a bit passive to me, so I’m not sure I could name a favorite. What I liked most about those stories were the wonderful illustrations in the books I grew up with. The one that sticks in my mind is Rumpelstiltskin, which is surely one of the least romantic fairytales, but the miller’s daughter struck me as a resourceful woman making the best of a bad situation. Our edition of that book had a memorable picture of the goblin spinning straw into gold, with no mention of magic, so the young scientist in me wondered how that was physically possible.
DFT: Thanks Sara for taking the time to stop by.
One lucky commenter will have a chance to win a copy of Song of Scarabaeus.
To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:
Who is your favorite sci-fi hero or heroine (from books, TV, or movies), and why?
1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).
2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
4. Giveaway is open to everyone.
5. Please include your email address in your comment.
6. Giveaway ends Friday, June 11th at 11:59 PM EST.
7. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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