Sunday, April 18, 2010

Author Interview: LINNEA SINCLAIR

Good morning, Blog Buds!  I recently shot off some questions to Linnea Sinclair through cyberspace and she shot the answers right back.  I tell you, that girl is on top of everything.  It's exhausting trying to keep up.  Linnea's latest book, REBELS AND LOVERS, was out in March.  If you can't find it on the shelf, you can order it online.  Here's the interview-
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K: The obvious question is 'What inspired this story?'

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Linnea:   Honestly? My contract with Bantam Dell. This was “unnamed fourth book in the Dock Five/Gabriel’s Ghost storyline” according to the contract. My agent and I pitched HOPE’S FOLLY and when the contract came back, it had this “unnamed” thing as well.
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What inspired me to turn Unnamed Book into REBELS AND LOVERS was a desire not to do another military-based story (though I dearly love them) but to delve into Philip Guthrie’s family (since they were so often referenced in the other books). I wanted to do an “accidental hero” much like Gillie was an “accidental goddess” in the book by the same name (minus the time travel). I wanted an unlikely hero, even an unsuitable hero. I wanted a really decent and loyal and kind guy who suddenly found himself up to his proverbial arse in alligators…when his initial objective was simply to drain the swamp. Devin was that guy, that hero.
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K:   Yum!  I love accidental heroes.
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Linnea:   I also wanted a heroine who had baggage—lots of it. Kaidee was that heroine. She was also, like Devin, basically a nice person who really had no desire to be anyone’s heroine. She had enough problems.
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There’s a Marianne Williamson quote at the start of the book. That rather says it all.
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K:   Is this the last in the Dock Five series?
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Linnea:   I hope not. I have nothing contracted but I’m trying to put together a proposal for at least one more book.
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K:   What's next? Besides the Songs of Love and Death anthology? What's the next novel coming from Linnea Sinclair?
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Linnea:   “Courting Trouble” is the short in SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH, yes, and sharing pages with the likes of Mary Jo Putney, Diana Gabaldon, Jim Butcher, Jo Beverly, Tanith Lee…hell, being edited by Gardner Dozois and George R.R. Martin is beyond my wildest authorly dreams.
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K:   Tanith Lee!  I loved her PIRATICA stories.
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Linnea:   I don’t have a next novel yet. See answer above. I’m out of contract. Working on a couple of proposals.
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K:   Are you taking requests? My vote's for a DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES sequel.
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Linnea:   ZOMBIE has its own special stuff coming up but I can’t say more than that. Not right now. When I can say more, I will.
K:   Squeeeee!
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Linnea:   I do have the Dock Five books coming out in audio books from Audible. I don’t know when exactly. This week I’ve been doing pronunciation guides for the narrators for the books. I can tell you that Dina Pearlman is the narrator for GABRIEL’S GHOST and SHADES OF DARK, Christian Rummel is HOPE’S FOLLY and MacLeod Andrews is REBELS AND LOVERS.
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K:   I noticed you joined the SFR Brigade. So did I. What do you see coming for Science Fiction Romance? What can Skiffy Rommers do to help? Especially if they're seeking publication?
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Linnea:   Wow, big questions.
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K:   I like big questions.  It's a good way to get big answers.
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Linnea:   Got a few weeks? Yep, am in the ranks of the SFR Brigade. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, which means blogs and sites and such can squeak loudly. Which is, yes, some of what Skiffy Rommers can do to keep the genre active. It has to be an overall effort: readers, booksellers, librarians, and authors. Star Trek is legendary because it was—many times—saved by its fans. SFR has the same potential.
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SFR Brigade link-   http://www.sfrcontests.blogspot.com/
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What do I see coming down the pike in SFR? Cheezwhiz, I really have no idea. I’ll know more after the ginormous Romantic Times convention end of April but right now, I’m just managing to tread water with my own stuff. I’ll be glad to report back after RT, get the scoop of who’s doing what. But honestly, you’ll likely hear before I will. What I SUSPECT—and I may be totally wrong—is a seduction between urban fantasy and SFR, with a heavy dose of steampunk. I think those three genres have a lot in common relative to theme and feel and tone. But that’s pure guessing on my part.
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K:   A seduction of Urban Fantasy and SFR?  Like 'near future Science Fiction Romance?  I've thought of that.  Steampunk, yes!
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Linnea:   What writers who seek publication in the SFR genre can do is, honestly, know what you’re writing. I’ve unfortunately had a few conversations with writers (because I teach workshops nationally) who’ve expressed interest in writing SFR. Yet when I ask them who their fave SFR authors are, I get a blank stare, and “Oh, I’ve never read the books. But I saw one of the Star Trek movies.” Or they stayed in a Holiday Inn Express… or something like that. And I have to forcibly hold myself back from slamming my head against the nearest wall.
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I then ask, “But do you read science fiction?” and eight out of ten grimace and say, “Ew, that tech-y stuff?”
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At which point I make a beeline for the bar… where I blessedly meet a few writers who, yes, saw a Star Trek movie. But they also have read the entire Tanya Huff VALOR series or the Elizabeth Moon VATTA series as well as Susan Grant or Robin D Owens, know who Steve Miller and Sharon Lee are, have read diversely from Catherine Asaro to Isabo Kelly to S.L. Viehl to Jess Granger and all in between. I’m not saying they have to be Linnea Sinclair fans. I’m saying they need to know that I write the genre and the basics of what I write—and the same for a goodly number of authors listed on the left side panel of The Galaxy Express blog. It’s not—again—because we want slavish fans. It’s so these writers don’t reinvent the wheel, and, as well, understand the reader expectations and the genre tropes.
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K:   Next time, also tell them to start a book review blog!
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Linnea:   I would love nothing more than to have half a dozen SFR superstars break into print in the next year or so. Do I view other writers as competition? Hell, no, and it’s not because I would insanely view myself as better (I don’t and I’m not). It’s because I view the genre as awesome, and I know from experience that readers can read ‘em faster than we can write ‘em. If we can keep the pipeline filled with a quality product, then we can start a surge of desire for these kinds of books. Feed the addiction.
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K:   Preach it, Sister!   You create my favorite SFR heroes. Where do you get the inspiration for them?
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Linnea:   Well, gosh golly gee. They’re my favorite too. I don’t have one source of inspiration for my male protagonists, though several do have some of my husband’s characteristics. I draw from all sorts of sources, historical and contemporary. But by the time I start writing them, they’re very real to me, and very individual. That’s not to say they might not share some common characteristics. My husband and my brother-in-law share some common characteristics. But my male protagonists are all unique in “feel” as I write them.
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K:   Anything else you'd like us to know about REBELS AND LOVERS?
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Linnea:   I think it’s a story that shows what people are capable of when they let go of preconceived notions—either ones they’ve had of themselves or ones others have placed upon them. All my books have messages, though I rarely bring that fact up because I’m more interested in that people read them for fun. But there is a message there, and it’s not only Kaidee and Devin who grow.
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That’s one of the reasons, I think, that some romance readers aren’t one-hundred per cent satisfied with Linnea Sinclair SFR. They’re looking (so I’ve read) for the couple who meet on page 5, kiss on page 10, and are in bed with wild passionate abandon on page 12. My characters have issues and messages to deal with before I’m comfortable with them getting to that point, and that’s just the way I write my books and my characters. I definitely write to an HEA—I crave the HEA. But I don’t feel I can convincingly write instant-lust and instant-sexual gratification/perfection because it feels shallow to me. I’m not saying others who write that write shallow books. I’m saying I’m not able to write that convincingly. I’m saying there are other issues with my characters that are equally as important as their sex lives, and hence, that’s the path my books follow.
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K:   Those readers don't realize the glorious future they deny themselves!
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Linnea:   To me, SFR is a blending of both romance requirements and tropes and SF requirements and tropes. It’s a balance, and that’s how I present the balance in my stories.
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K:   What about SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH?
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Linnea:   That was a huge surprise—even to be asked to submit, more so to have my story accepted. I mean, I’ve been reading Gardner Dozois anthologies for years (I’m looking at one of his “Year’s Best Science Fiction” on my bookshelf as I type this). I’ve held Gardner Dozois anthologies in my hands and dreamed of the day I’d have a story included in one—never really feeling that dream would come true. If there are two highlights to my career to date, one is winning the RITA® award and the other is being in a Dozois anthology. And to be edited my George R.R. Martin as well—THE George R. R. Martin. A true fangirl squee moment for me.
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“Courting Trouble” is very much in the flavor of FINDERS KEEPERS—space opera adventure with old friends, unrequited love, a race against time through a enemy space station, and a cat-like sentient named Quintrek James of Daq’kyree. The whole story was prompted by a sign hanging over my desk: Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today. (Mark Twain) Pretty much everything happens in “Courting Trouble” and I’m a bit concerned—okay, I’m freaking nervous—considering the lineup of other authors in the project, and considering that the project was re-titled SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH after I’d already written my story (it was originally presented to me as Tales of Star-Crossed Love), that my story is going to be perceived by readers as too light in tone. If it happens, it happens. But if you liked FINDERS, you’ll have great fun with “Courting Trouble.” It’ll be out in hardcover November 16, 2010.
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K:   Hardcover, oooooh...
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K:   How many SFR authors does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
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Linnea:   In zero-g or shipboard gravity?
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K:   Zero-G!   If Tribbles evolved, what would they become?
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Linnea:   Cats.
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K:   Well, duh.  Silly me.
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http://www.linneasinclair.com/index.html

7 comments:

Maibeeme said...

I'm thrilled to hear "Courting Trouble" will be similar to FINDERS KEEPERS, my very favorite of LS's books! Do you suppose SONGS will be released in PB in a year or so? (I don't get to buy HB due to lack of storage. Although I suppose if I'd get rid of a book now and then, I might have more room. Nah.)

Linnea Sinclair said...

@Mai--I have no clue if it'll come out in paperback. A lot of anthols don't becuase they're library-bait. I DO believe though it will be available in e-formats. I think I saw that noted either on the Borders site or the B&N.

However, if it is released in paperback, that info will be on my site as soon as I know (and I'll tell Kimber and the gang here as well, of course!) ;-)

Heather Massey said...

Great interview! Thanks for the shout out, Linnea!

Kaye Manro said...

I loved this interview, Kimber. Thanks for having Linnea Sinclair here and asking such interesting questions. And thanks to Linnea for answering!

DeAnn Rossetti said...

Wonderful interview with the fabulous Linnea Sinclair! Thanks for posting it and thanks to Linnea for being so open about upcoming projects...sounds like Songs of Love and Death will be a real keeper...can't wait to get my hands on a copy,maybe for my birthday in December.

Rebecca Lynn said...

This was such a fun interview to read!! I'm just about to post my review of R&L here, so it was great to read about the author, as well. Thanks so much, K & Linnea, for a great interview!!

Kimber An said...

Thanks for stopping by, Buds! Hey, I never did find out how many SFR authors it takes to screw in a lightbulb in Zero-G.