Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Take Two! Robert Appleton Talks About "The Mythmakers".

Hello again! This time we welcome Robert Appleton to answer two inquisitive questions about his new novella "The Mythmakers", available from Samhain.

Q.1. Following the adventures of Kate of Kratos, the protagonist of your new book is another woman: Captain Steffi Savannah. You write strong women well, giving them strength of character without bitchiness or lack of femininity. Did you make a conscious decision to depict your heroines in this way, or is that the way you like to “see” women?

A.1. It's a conscious decision, for sure. Somewhere between the damsel in distress and the man-killing warrior woman, neither of which interests me, exists a plausible kind of heroine for science-fiction. Strong-willed, emotional, flawed; she must be able to take care of herself but also realise when she needs help. She can do things the hero can't do, but not at the expense of her femininity. It isn't so much how I like to “see” women, it's more about how interesting, how plausible I can make them for the world(s) they're inhabiting. If I were to meet Kate of Kratos for real, I'd probably find her character too prickly and way too stubborn, but in a survival story on an alien planet, those flaws become strengths. Let's put it this way: I'd definitely want Kate watching over me if I ever got marooned on Kratos.
For Steffi Savannah in The Mythmakers, it was more about rekindling a sense of hope and wonder in a thankless and cynical universe. I made her tough because she's a starship captain and a smuggler. But by that same token she couldn't be a cast-iron bitch; to run an efficient ship, an even hand is required. So Steffi always respects her crew, even through her world-weariness. Her femininity gradually blossoms over the course of the story, as well as a vivacity she hasn't encountered in years. Speaking personally, that's one of my favourite types of story arc, and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of telling it through a woman's eyes.

Q.2. “Ship of dreams” is a very evocative description. Could you enlarge on this?

A.2. It's really about the effect the ship's cargo has on Steffi and her crew. All of a sudden, there's an element of magic and wonder in the cold backyard of space. I don't want to give too much away, but when Steffi boards the giant alien craft, it appears to be a kind of freight vessel carrying Earth's legendary creatures. Seeing as Earth was destroyed centuries before, what is the ship's purpose? Its secret? Why is Arne, a naked blond hunk who speaks English and Danish, reluctant to tell her exactly what he is? Fascinating discoveries await Steffi and her crew...
I wrote The Mythmakers for Samhain's space opera romance anthology, so I knew I had to come up with a unique story. It started out as a Firefly-type adventure, then quickly evolved into a scenario with beautiful possibilities. “Ship of dreams” is right. That's what the story became for me. But that's not to say all the dreams were hunky-dory. ::winks:: Myths are never easy on the heroes/heroines forging them.

To read more about "The Mythmakers", visit Robert's website at the link below.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Take Two! Margaret West talks about "Two Faces, One Life".

Here's the second of my short'n'snappy interviews. Margaret West is the author of a "coffee break short" named "Two Faces, One Life", published by Eternal Press.

Q.1. “Two Faces, One Life” is an interesting title. How does this relate to your story?

A. The story really revolves around Sarah, a young girl who was caught in a fire. One side of her face and body, is very badly burnt in a fire, while the to her stays perfect. A cruel irony of what she has lost. Its an inspirational story because the 'vain' Sarah believes her life is now over and wants to die. But what she comes to realise, after a chance meeting in a park with ted, is that true beauty shines from within. The 'new' Sarah is about to embark on a whole new journey. Even though she has two very different sides to her face. She only has one life and she needs to live it.

Q.2. “Two Faces, One Life” is a “coffee-break” short. Did you set out to write a short tale, or did the length just seem right?

A. The length just seemed right. I didn't want it to go on endlessly about the trials of Ted's disability, or Sarah's disfigurement. I just wanted to get across that having a disability doesn't mean your life is over. When it was published however, I received quite a few comments from readers wanting to see what happened to Sarah and Ted. So maybe there will be a short sequel, who knows lol.

Thanks, Margaret! (Margaret will be back later in this series, talking about a longer story called "Heart of a Warrior". )
To read more about this title, or to buy it, hit the link!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Take Two! Heather Kuehl talks about PROMISES TO KEEP

In the first of a new series of short and snappy author interviews, Heather Kuehl answers two questions on her book Promises to Keep.

Q.1. “Promises to Keep” is a lovely title. It’s a quote from Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. Could you tell us how the quote relates to your story?

A. “Promises to Keep” refers to Starlette’s quest to save her father from the Dark Lady Dreashae. Ten years ago Starlette was led to believe that her father was dead, however she quickly discovers that his death was nothing but a ruse. Starlette made the ultimate promise to herself; she was going to track down her father, save him, and bring him home. Easier said than done, since Starlette is mortal and her adversary is a very powerful sorceress. Hopefully with friends like Sivad Night and Tabitha Desdamona Drake, she can keep her promise.

Q.2. “Promises to Keep” mixes the high fantasy world of sorcery and dragons with the paranormal world of faeries and vampires. How difficult was it to bring such disparate elements, (traditionally speaking) together in a cohesive whole?

A. I’ve always loved high fantasy, and one day I thought to myself, “why can’t vampires and dragons exist in the same world?” I quickly realized there wasn’t a good enough reason why they couldn’t, and my fictional world was created. Within these worlds (both Verella and the modern paranormal one that Starlette lives in), anything can exist. Portals into both realms are abundant, so dragons from Verella could easily travel into our world just as a werewolf can travel to Verella. I’ve made it so that a character could step outside their house in Charleston, SC and see a dragon flying through the sky (something that I wish could happen).

Sounds good? I think so! Check out the links below for more information.

Promises to Keep by Heather Kuehl was published by Eternal Press. It is available as an e-book or paperback.
Read more or buy book at:
Heather's Blog.