27 October 2010

Interview: Marcella Burnard

Next week author Marcella Burnard's debut novel goes out on sale. She is here today to talk about her Sci-Fi book, Enemy Within.

After a stint in an alien prison torpedoes her military career, Captain Ari Idylle has to wonder why she even bothered to survive. Stripped of her command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a PhD she doesn't want, Ari never planned to languish quietly behind a desk. But when pirates commandeer her father's ship, Ari once again becomes a prisoner.

Pirate leader Cullin Seaghdh may not be who he pretends to be but as far as Cullin is concerned, the same goes for Ari. Her past imprisonment puts her dead center in Cullin's sights and if she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then he's convinced she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. Cullin can't afford the desire she fires within him and he'll stop at nothing, including destroying her, to uncover the truth.

- How would you define Enemy Within?
As science fiction romance. I really wanted a story where you couldn’t extract the science fiction without breaking the romance and where you couldn’t extract the romance without breaking the science fiction. I don’t know that I accomplished that…it is still my goal.

- How did you end up writing a Sci Fi book?
Just lucky? I’d been reading a lot of SFR and enjoying it. I’d been toying around with science fiction off and on for years. When the initial idea for Enemy Within popped into my head, it came in as space ships, aliens, rival governments, politics and space plagues. Who was I to argue?

- How much research did you do before writing it?
Dedicated research prior to starting the book? Not much. The seed of the story came from information I’d accumulated over the span of a year – little tidbits that cropped up and got lodged in my brain. Eventually, that information coalesced into a story idea. I started the story without further research – sort of a proof of concept. Once I had a few chapters, I had to research Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I also had to do some research on viruses and how viral infections work. Fortunately, the book The Great Influenza came out right about that time. It had exactly what I needed to augment the medical websites I’d been trying to comprehend. From there, I could go finish writing the book.

- Some authors don't read the same genre they write. Do you?
Yes and no. I do read SFR, but I also love to read nonfiction science. I’m also a fan of almost every genre of romance, Urban Fantasy, hard scifi, fantasy – I’ll read just about anything that catches my eye.

- What are the main differences between our world and the world Enemy Within is set in?
Life forms didn’t all evolve in the same place or from the same species base, so there’s a wider range of ‘normal’ physical, mental, and emotional ability. There are races that are identifiably humanoid and there are those that are specifically not humanoid. Space flight and faster than light speeds are a fact of life for these people, but so are things like genetically engineered plagues.

- What can you tell us about the main characters?
I think Ari is the kind of heroine I always wanted to be. She’s smart. She’s tough. She knows the right things to say and she’s not afraid to say them – except that even when she does, nothing turns out the way she wanted. I knew going in that Ari suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because of her time in an alien prison. I was both fascinated and horrified by the prospect of this woman attempting to reclaim a sense of safety in a world that had written her off as an alien pawn. Seaghdh (say ‘Shaw’), with his razor sharp intellect and keen insight seemed like the perfect foil for Ari’s vulnerability – she hates exposing her weakness to him, but he won’t let her hide behind false bravado. He makes himself into her refuge – her sole anchor to a sense of safety. Is that because he cares? Or is it an astute form of interrogation?

- Are all the books of your series told from the same point of view, or does it change with each book?
Each book has a different hero and heroine, though usually, those heroes and heroines are characters you’ve seen or heard of at least once in previous books. The series follows the arc of a war. I wanted each book to be able to stand alone so that a reader could pick up any of the books at any point and not be hopelessly lost.

- What other projects are you working on right now?
I’m working on book three in the series and on a proposal for a steampunk romance that chases from London to Egypt.

- Thanks so much for being here today and good luck with Enemy Within.
Thank you very much!

If you want to know more about the author you can check out her website.


Violet said...

Great interview! Enemy Within sounds like an interesting series & I love the sound of the Steampunk romance Marcella is cooking up next. :)

Barbara E. said...

I love SciFi Romance, so I'll definitely be looking out for Enemy Within, the rest of the series, as well as the Steampunk book.

Marcella Burnard said...

Thank you, Violet and Barbara, for stopping in!

Natasha said...

Great interview!! I soo want to read this series now! Thanks for this:)