On this wonderful Thursday, I have the pleasure of interviewing author Linnea Sinclair. Her new novel, Hope's Folly, is a futuristic romance. What more can a sci-fi nut like me ask for?
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Lemonitsa:Sci-fi is one of my favorite genres. I was thrilled when Terra asked me to read your new book, Hope's Folly, and then do the interview with you. What made you choose to write a romance with a sci-fi setting?
Linnea:Science Fiction has long been one of my favorite genres too. I love books by CJ Cherryh, Julie Czerneda, Tanya Huff, David Weber, Elizabeth Moon, Susan Grant, Robin Owens and more. I actually started writing Star Trek fan fic years ago, and then played around with my own characters and settings (and starships). FINDERS KEEPERS was my first science fiction romance with Bantam. It came out in 2005 and I've been writing in that genre since then. I like the creativity and freedom you find in science fiction--I'm not limited to only what our history is and our cultures are. It also gives me the opportunity to put my characters in some extraordinary situations. With science fiction romance, I get to explore the worlds, technologies and issues as well as create emotionally gripping scenarios as my characters--also in those extraordinary situations--deal with falling in love. It's a bit more than just boy meets girl. It's boy meets girl and by the way, they save the galaxy.
Lemonitsa:Rya is a character that I liked right from the top. She makes up her mind and sticks to her decisions. Is she modeled after someone in your life or did you create her as you wrote?
Linnea:Rya's walk (okay, her swagger) and presence was highly influenced by author Isabo Kelly. Isabo, author Stacey Klemstein (aka Stacey Kade) and I were at Archon--an SF con in St Louis--two years ago and Stacey and I decided that Isabo would be fabulous dressed as a ninja with a sword across her back. She just has this lithe yet powerful way of moving. She's tall yet graceful. When I was putting Rya together in my mind, I kept seeing Isabo. And yes, she knows I modeled Rya after her, swagger and all.
But Rya's insecurities are all Rya's, or partly mine. Or partly any woman who's struggled with an extra ten or twenty pounds--something our culture is currently rather unforgiving about. The mixture of everything that becomes Rya Bennton though is unique to her. She stepped on to the page pretty gutsy and never backed down. She's a strong and honorable person who--even with her insecurities--gives one hundred ten percent all the time. She does define herself through her career--law enforcement--but she also knows how to have fun. She was a hoot to write.
Lemonitsa:I got quite a kick out of Rya wanting to 'fondle' the fancy weapons. Do you know much about weapons? Was it difficult to write about the functions of each?
Linnea:I'm a retired private detective so I do have a basic familiarity with weapons, yes, but nothing like what Rya and Philip have. Our technology isn't there...yet. But I respect weapons, I know their power, I know their dangers, I know their importance in the situations Rya and Philip face. It's not difficult for me to write about high-tech weapons partly because I'm a science fiction fan, but partly because I'm also a bit of a geek. My experiences with computers predate Windows (DOS anyone?) and I'm pretty good at both hardware and software. Plus I have reference books and reference sources, including former law enforcement and military officers who advise me on building what I need for my stories.
Lemonitsa:Philip is a great character. He is a strong leader and the crew respect him. It was great to read the conversations he has with himself when he has a major decision to make. What were you picturing while writing those scenes?
Linnea:All my books happen like movies in my head so I picture things before I write them. Whether Philip was having internal arguments or whether he was diving behind a row of chairs, firing his laser rifle as he did so...it all starts out as images in my head. Then those images tie into feelings and from there I try to put all that into words on the page. With internal dialogue scenes, I'm more concerned with getting the emotions across. Where I tend to "see" characters is in action scenes and that includes love scenes. One notable scene in HOPE'S FOLLY was definitely influenced by the movie" Mr and Mrs. Smith" with Pitt and Jolie.
Lemonitsa:During one of the scuffles on the Hope's Folly, when the fire broke out, I closed my eyes and saw it all play out. It was almost like an episode of sci-fi TV. Have you ever wanted to write a script for a sci-fi TV show?
Linnea:Wanted to, yes. Able to, no. Screenplay writing is a different animal than novel writing. It's more controlled, more sparse, more direct. I haven't mastered those skills yet; not that I'm actively trying. I'd rather work with a screenwriter to turn my books into movies. I don't know if I have the patience to do it myself.
Lemonitsa:Who is your favorite character in the series and why?
Linnea:That's like asking a parents which child is the favorite. When I was writing HOPE'S FOLLY I was very attuned to Philip and Rya. But having spent two books with Chaz and Sully (GABRIEL'S GHOST and SHADES OF DARK), I know they also pull at my heart strings. Philip is very different from Sully (that's probably a huge understatement). Sully is seductive, creative, angst-y, intense. Philip is loyal, honorable, sexy-as-hell, dependable. Sully is fun to play with. Philip is someone you'd come home to. Both leave me breathless.
But then there's Theo (THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES) who is my only "non-outerspace" character (he's the downright sexy Florida homicide cop). And there's Admiral Branden Kel-Paten. And Rhis Tivahr. And Mack. And secondary characters like Ren and Simon and the rest. I love all my men for different reasons. They're all fully intriguing.
And next up, of course, is Devin...
Lemonitsa:What are your plans for future books? Will you continue in the same genre?
Linnea:Right now I'm working on the next book in the Dock Five universe. It's Devin Guthrie's story. Devin is Philip's youngest brother but, unlike Philip, he's not military. He doesn't command a starship or even a starfreighter. Essentially, he's a CFO of a galactic company and he's in for a lot of surprises. And one of them is Captain Makaiden "Kaidee" Griggs...
After that, I have a short story coming out in an anthology currently titled STARCROSSED LOVERS, edited by the inimitable Gardner Dozois and George R.R. Martin. I was thrilled (that is, in shock) when I was asked to participate. It will be a science fiction romance anthology due out in 2010 from Pocket. Other authors include Mary Jo Putney, Diana Gabaldon, Jo Beverely and more.
I have a few more science fiction romance novel plots sketched out but I'd also at some point like to venture into romantic suspense and utilize my past career as a private investigator. So there's enough to keep me busy for another decade yet.
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Thank you very much, Linnea! I had a super time today and I hope that you did, too!
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OK, everyone! Linnea is giving away this lovely T-shirt, pictured above. If you would like to be the lucky winner, please leave a comment about the interview along with your e-mail addy.