We'd like to welcome new SFR Brigadier, John B Rosenman to the blog today.
1) Please tell us a bit about your SFR book and your favorite part of the plot of characters or the process of writing it.
Beyond Those Distant Stars (published by Mundania Press) is about humanity on the brink of annihilation. Mysterious, rapacious, seemingly invincible aliens have invaded the galaxy and crushed us in battle after battle. At the same time, Stella McMasters, a woman in her mid-thirties, is at the tag end of her military career. Because of a radioactive accident, the only way they can save her is to remove most of her body and turn her into a cyborg with superhuman strength and speed. They also give Stella her first command of a ship.
Stella reflects a belief I have explored in novel after novel. Seemingly ordinary people can become transcendent heroes if placed in situations that elicit their greatness. Because of the radioactive disaster, Stella alone can save the human race. Can she do it? Will she be strong and resourceful enough? At the same time, I explore Stella’s self-doubts and longings about her sexuality and whether or not she is still a woman. Can she find love? Could anyone love and desire her, or will the “lab freak” bias against people like her make romance impossible? Is she herself still capable of experiencing arousal and sexual love? I tried to make Beyond Those Distant Stars not only a slam-bang, rousing space opera about war, but a love story about a new kind of woman’s sexuality and search for fulfillment.
To me, Stella is crucial to the novel, as is her bad-boy Jump Pilot lover, Jason. Also important are other female characters such as the courageous, hard-as-nails General Gage and the cosmic female I won’t mention because it would be one heck of a spoiler.
This novel was written in about a year with critical input from my writers group, and one of my favorite scenes is when Colonel Powers changes his opinion that the families of traitors should be treated as traitors themselves. Ultimately, he changes because Stella makes him see that such patriotic views are no more than stupid bigotry. Change and growth, by the way, are important traits for me in my characters. I love to see them grow and acquire maturity and overcome their prejudices.
Other things I like about this novel are the aliens. I love creating them! In BTDS, I think I use my imagination to pull out all the stops. One last point: most or all of my novels involve mysteries, and I have a few here. No one has ever seen the aliens. What do they look like, and what are they like and really after? Can Stella find lasting love and stand up not only to the alien menace, but to widespread prejudice and opposition from her own side? Is George Darron a traitor or a friend? Keep turning the pages if you want to find out.
2) Can you tell us a bit about your other books, published and in process?
Some of my novels have a somewhat similar plot: a man travels to a distant world and has amazing adventures, both romantic and otherwise.
· A Senseless Act of Beauty is an epic African Science-Fiction novel featuring an exotic alien world filled with wonders and a hero ensnared by the delectable beauty of an enchanting alien female. Blade Publishing.
· In Alien Dreams, Captain Latimore travels to a distant world where he finds that the only way to save his crew is to become an alien and make love to their ravishing, telepathic queen for thousands of years. Nice work if you can get it! Drollerie Press.
· Speaker of the Shakk – Can Theophilus Merlan, a shy geologist, save the Shakk, a peace-loving alien race from two monstrous alien invaders who seek to conquer their planet Yellowsand? At the same time, can he and Ann Benson find love despite their inner wounds? Mundania Press.
· Dax Rigby, War Correspondent - Dax Rigby faces overwhelming odds on the savage planet of Arcadia. Can he stop World War III back on Earth while being pursued by an unknown killer and a relentless seductress? Available, Sept. 2011 from MuseItUp Publishing.
· Dark Wizard – This novel is a little different. It occurs in California! Kan not only has total amnesia, but superhuman strength and the ability to bring back the dead. Then a beautiful girl complicates things even more. When Kan learns his identity, he is faced with a deadly evil and a cosmic mission. Available, May 2011 from MuseItUp Publishing.
My shorter books allow me to explore challenging dimensions. The Voice of Many Waters features cosmic Christianity and an evil threat to a perfect race without any religious or spiritual beliefs (Blue Leaf Publishing). Bagonoun’s Wonderful Songbird occurs on the South Pacific island of Nauru and showcases an unlikely romantic couple: a fifteen-year-old girl and a nearly seventy-year-old man. It’s published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing, as is Childhood’s Day, in which a man has himself cloned and reborn as a young boy in order to cope with lifelong guilt over the death of his father. The Blue of Her Hair, the Gold of Her Eyes (MuseItUp Publishing) involves a woman whose mysterious disease causes everyone, including her husband, to fear and reject her. Can she survive, and what will she ultimately become?
I could mention other published and forthcoming books, but these should provide some of my flavor. I invite you to visit my website (www.johnrosenman.com) and MuseItUp Publishing for more information.
3) What are you most proud of in your writing career?
I write what I like and feel, and I do it even if people don’t approve or care. My first published novel, The Best Laugh Last, cost me two jobs. You can find it on my website at www.johnrosenman.com. I guess I’m also proud of my perseverance and of creating novels that I (immodestly) think are not only good stories, but well-written and sometimes symbolically rich.
4) What makes it all worth it to you as an author?
Writing is who or what I am, and if I’m not writing, I’m not very happy. I’m unfulfilled. What makes it worth it? Being inspired by an idea, character, image, or phrase and feeling myself swept along in the writing process so that the book or story practically writes itself and I know it’s better than I’ve ever done before. Also, seeing my brainchildren achieve final embodiment and expression in published books, whether they’re ebooks or print books makes it worth all the toil and rejections.
It’s also incredibly rewarding to find editors and publishers who will read my strange, bizarre stories and actually like them, respond to my visions, and offer contracts. Over the years, I’ve been blessed with such people. Some of the publishers online have created communities where you feel right at home, even a member of a family. To take one example, there’s Lea Schizas of MuseItUp Publishing. It’s one thing to find a publisher for your book; it’s even better to find a publisher who will accept you along with the book.
And of course, awards and good reviews make it worthwhile too, provide validation. Beyond Those Distant Stars won Allbooks Review Editor’s Choice Award, and all my books have received mostly favorable reviews. I won’t mention the other kind. ;)
5) Do you read print books, ebooks, or both?
Well, I’m a child of the fifties, so I read mainly print books, even though most of my books are available in e-book format. I’ve read a few ebooks, but mainly, I still read print books. Please notice: there is strong and growing evidence that ebooks are the wave of the future. So my reading habits could change.
6) Who are some of your favorite SFR authors?
Lois McMaster Bujold, to begin with. I love her Vorkosigan adventures. Do you know, I named my character Stella McMasters to honor her? True, the romance element of most of her novels is minor, but it’s there. Shards of Honor is great, and more romantic.
I served on the staff of a publisher with Linnea Sinclair, and I like her work as well. Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War largely inspired my novel, Inspector of the Cross, which I just finished. And I love Dan Simmons’ Hyperion.
7) Any advice for new SFR authors?
I guess some of my advice would be the same as for any writer. Write what you want, what’s in you, and have the guts and courage to do so despite rejection and discouragement. Also, read the masters in the field, read what’s being written today especially. How can you write it if you don’t read it?
Don’t be afraid to explore new kinds of romantic relationships. Some of my SFR novels involve fairly traditional man-woman romances that enable me to explore interesting characters and relationships. But I also like to go beyond them. In one novel, which I’ve just finished, the hero ends up with an alien bride whose species is essentially emotionless. Still, she grows to love the hero. When she makes passionate love, her blond hair whips in the air like snakes. If she gives birth, her children are born from her head. Though Turtan and Yaneta belong to different species and are not cross-fertile, I wanted to explore a truly different kind of relationship. Oh yes: there is another female who loves Turtan too, a female computer he programmed himself a thousand years before. The two “women” decide to share our hero. Can such a ménage a trois work?
In another novel, Alien Dreams, published by Drollerie Press, the hero is transformed into a giant angelic-looking alien and makes love to their ravishing queen for 10,000 subjective years. During the process, psychic transference occurs and they swap bodies psychologically. You won’t find that in The Joy of Sex.
So, to future SFR readers, remember the “SF” in “SFR.” Science fiction is speculative and its writers often take wild, wild chances. Don’t be afraid to take them, too, even if you fail. Embrace the opportunity to explore and develop new kinds of romantic relationships, to push the outside of the ultimate envelope. Remember as well that Romances are always about people in the broadest sense. Even if your story is XXX rated, thinking and feeling creatures are involved.
Finally, go deep inside yourself and ask what attracted you to SFR in the first place. Then you may get your answer for your next best seller.
8) What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the summer?
Besides playing tennis and going on a trip or two with my wife, I’m looking forward to submitting Inspector of the Cross for publication. Thanks to suspended animation on freeze ships, Turtan is nearly 3000 years old and travels to distant worlds to investigate weapons that might be used against their terrible enemy. Can he find something that will end their endless war? Yes, he can. But then...he meets a beautiful woman.
You and your books are most interesting, John! Thanks again for stopping by and welcome to SFR Brigade!