When I first began as an intern at Entangled Publishing, I had the pleasure of reading the original submission of PARADISE 21, Aubrie Dionne's new science fiction romance. I'm delighted to have Aubrie here on my blog to chat about the book, her writing habits and a liiiiittle bit about herself.
Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage.
But Aries has other plans.
When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possesses the freedom Aries envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns her freedom will come at a hefty price.
The life of the man she loves.
Your new release, Paradise 21, is a sci fi romance--a genre which is receiving a lot of attention lately. What inspired you to write science fiction in particular? Is it hard to balance the different genre elements?
This one time, at band camp...I wrote a kick-ass book.
I grew up watching the old Star Wars movies so many times, I think it imprinted in my DNA. I also loved Star Trek The Next Generation. I loved how the setting was sci fi, but it didn’t get too technical. I really enjoyed the more romantic episodes of Star Trek, where they explored Jean Luc Picard’s relationship with Beverly Crusher, and Commander Riker and Troy. They even gave Data (my favorite character) a few romantic episodes!
I wanted to write a romance/adventure story in a science fiction setting. I worked hard on balancing adventure, science, and romance. When I initially submitted my manuscript, my editor encouraged me to beef up the romance aspect, and after I did, the story flowed with more emotion. So yes, it is hard to balance the different genre elements, but when you get them right, it’s like a flavorful soup recipe, and the elements simmer together nicely.
Mmm...soup. Ahem. You're planning a sequel to Paradise 21. Have you had to do any specific research? How much of your time, as a writer, does research eat into? And do you enjoy it?
I love doing research. For the sequel, Tundra 37, the setting is an ice planet. Since I live in NH, which is much like the frozen planet Hoth in Star Wars in the winter, I didn’t need to research too much about the cold! I know what it’s like to feel my hair freeze in the morning if I don’t blow it dry!
I spent a lot of time researching wooly mammoths, because I have created creatures much like them in Tundra 37. I wanted a prehistoric feel to the planet, and wooly mammoths were the way to go!
Can you tell us a bit about your publishing journey? What are your aims, and have they changed at all since you entered the industry?
I’d love to have my books in Barnes and Noble on the shelf. I didn’t realize how hard it was to get widespread distribution. Since the revolution of ebooks, this step in the process isn’t as crucial, so I’ve learned to be content with my books on the Barnes and Noble website. For now.
My publishing journey involves a lot of typing. Paradise 21 is my fourth book and the one that has garnered the most attention so far. Before Paradise 21, I wrote three other books, twenty short stories, and a novella. I had no idea how many books you need to write to hone your craft, and the more books you have, the more of a chance you have at getting noticed. I thought I’d write one book and that would be it. Naive=me.
But, what I have found is that I like writing books. I don’t mind typing out 1k-2k a day. It’s actually soothing for me, and I love to see how the stories and characters turn out. My first book took two and a half years to finish. Now I can write a novel in 6-7 months.
You're a musician as well as a writer. What does it mean to you to be a creative person? Do you need certain things, have a certain disposition?
Music and writing are a lot alike for me. Playing a phrase is much like composing a sentence, and a full symphony is like a novel. They both involve discipline and are lifetime pursuits. My mom was an artist, so I’m pretty sure I got my creative side from her!
I didn’t choose to be a creative person. Music and English were my strongest subjects, so flute and writing kind of chose me. I’d be an awful mathematician, and anything having to do with chemistry= forget it! My sister is a nurse, and my brother works for the government designing lasers and new defenses for helicopters. So I guess they got all the science and math talents, and I got the creative stuff!
[Makes mental note not to mess with Aubrie's brother] Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
I have a load of it. But I’ll stick to a few things, and anyone that wants more advice can email me!
#1. Keep writing. If I stopped after my first book, or even my third, I wouldn’t be here today.
#2.Find critique partners and beta readers (besides your mom/sister/best friend). I have 6 critique partners and two beta readers. Each person has different advice to offer me. Critiquing others’ work makes me a better writer myself! (Just like teaching flute makes me a better flute player).
Thank you so much for having me here today!
Aubrie has left the building...probably in something that flies, and has lasers. Lasers that fire out of flutes. In the meantime, you can check out her website here, buy PARADISE 21 here, and you can find her on Twitter as @AuthorAubrie.
I am now jonesing to watch Star Trek. This could be a good thing, or a very bad one...