1.What was the inspiration for "Interstellar Rescue Series?" Like most stories, this one began with a “what if,” several of them, actually. “What if” the tales of alien abductions were true? “What if” those little gray aliens the abductees described were not benign or amusing, but were the stuff of nightmares, stealing humans for purposes of slave labor in their mines, factories and farms? And, finally, “what if” the abductees survived because interstellar abolitionists fought the alien slavers, and rescued and returned their human captives?
2. Describe your writing process. How long did it take you to write each book? I’m a slow writer—it takes me about nine months to nurture a novel from concept to polished final manuscript. Then, of course, the editor and I go over it a few more times to make sure it really shines. As for process, I’m what’s known as a “plotter.” I work sequentially from a rough outline, Chapter One to The End. Within that framework, I do allow plenty of room for my intuition to work. Characters evolve, plotlines take abrupt turns, subplots occur to me that I never anticipated at the beginning. That’s part of the fun!
3. In your novel "Fools Rush In," are Rayna and Murphy composites of people you know or original characters? I have to say none of my main characters are ever consciously based on people I know. Like people in real life, they have their own unique personalities based on their backstories. My job as a writer is to make sure I’m true to those personalities consistently throughout the book. (And, as it happens, throughout the series. Rayna and Sam have been present in all three of my novels. They’re finally getting their own story in Fools Rush In.)
4. Do the characters of the first two novels make an appearance in your latest? Only one does—Gabriel Cruz, a half-Thrane galactic tracker who is an old friend of Sam’s. Gabriel is the hero of my second book, Trouble in Mind. All of the books in the series can be read as stand-alone novels. As it happens, Fools Rush In is set before the time of Unchained Memory and Trouble in Mind.
5. What's next for you? Most immediately, Sam and Rayna appear in my novella “Saturday Night in Devils Holler” as part of the eight-author Baby, It’s Cold in Space SFR anthology launching November 25 from Bathory Gate Press. Then I have an idea for a short story featuring a character from Trouble in Mind, Trevyn Dar, in advance of a possible novel for that intriguing good-bad guy. Finally, I’m currently hard at work on Book 4 of the Interstellar Rescue series, with the tentative title of Follow the Sun.
She thought she had the toughest job in Rescue—until the day she had to convert a pirate into a hero.
Interstellar Rescue “conductor” Rayna Carver is deep undercover on a slave ship bound for an isolated region of space when the ship is attacked by pirates. Her liberator is Captain Sam Murphy, a man known in the spacer bars to love only profit, adventure and women.
But Murphy hates a few things, too, chief among them slavers. Will it be enough to gain his help for Rayna’s mission—ferreting out two spies bent on sabotaging an arms factory to turn the tide in an alien civil war?
“What the hell do you think you’re doing? This is a restricted area.”
Still clinging to the grab bar, Rayna glanced up at the captain’s face. His expression didn’t match the censure in his words. The furrows between his brows didn’t look like anger, but she couldn’t quite interpret their true meaning.
“For a pirate ship, you sure have a lot of rules.”
“Discipline is necessary no matter what kind of ship it is.” His lips curved upwards. “Now answer my question.”
Sam Murphy really was a fine-looking man, a dangerously fine-looking man, with those green eyes and a face that belonged in holovids rather than on the deck of a real ship. But damned if he was going to back her up, even in zero G.
“You saw what I was doing; I was working out. The ribs have healed—almost. I didn’t think I’d have to ask permission, especially since I was back here with the waste processors.”
Murphy leaned in closer. In spite of herself, Rayna inhaled and took him in. God, he smelled good—like … the first breath of fresh air dirtside after months on a ship. For a second she was lost, drifting as surely as if she had let go of her mooring on the hull.
“This is my ship, Little Bit.” His voice was a seductive purr. “You need permission for everything.”
Heat flashed from the top of her head to the bottoms of her feet. Rayna meant to shout, but her voice came out in a matching sultry whisper. “Why you puffed up, self-righteous, arrogant—” She got her hormones in check and started over. “Control seems to be your middle name, Murphy. Well, let me tell you something: I joined Rescue because Independence is mine.”
“Do I have to remind you you’re a guest on my ship?” His expression had tightened into a smoky scowl. “The one place I have plenty of room onboard is the brig—maybe you’d like accommodations there.” His eyes held hers like he meant it, but a muscle jumped in his jaw. His tell, she realized. He wanted something quite different for her. That heat flashed through her once again, and this time she was certain it had nothing to do with anger.
“All right, yeah, I saw the big ‘Keep Out’ signs. But every other square centimeter of space on this tug is occupied. I needed a workout, and zero G is a good place to get started. I didn’t think anyone would be back here.”
His expressive face changed yet again, the hard lines around his mouth and eyes going soft as the tension drained from him. “Any day but today you’d have been right.”
“What’s different about today?”
He scanned the empty hull space before he answered. “The ship’s on lockdown; I’ve ordered a full security sweep in hull space.”
Understanding dawned. All that bluster was because Murphy was feeling protective. She looked up at him and, yep, there it was, shining from those eyes, despite his stern refusal to smile.
But just because her body responded instantly with eager anticipation didn’t mean her mind should be onboard with this program. Seriously, how would it ever work between them? He was a pirate, for chrissake. According to him, she was an interfering bleeding heart. The only thing they had in common was a disregard for authority, and they would never even agree on the reasons for that.
Oh, but, damn, he smelled so good. He kept floating closer, and she was so tired. She wanted to let go and settle into those arms.
“You miscalculated.” His arm was around her shoulders again, his lips against her ear.
“What do you mean?” Her protest came out in a breathy murmur.
“You’re exhausted. You weren’t ready for this much exertion.” He was so close, so warm, encouraging her to let go. “I bet you didn’t ask Doc Berta for permission either.”
She finally gave up and transferred her hold to him, arms and legs wrapping around his hard body. He hooked both feet around the handholds below them, anchored one hand and used the other to clasp her to him; she was so small in comparison, his arm stretched all the way across her lower back.
She looked up at him, lips inches from his. “I don’t ask permission for anything.”
Donna lives on 44 beautiful mountain acres in Marshall, NC, near Asheville, with her husband and two talkative cats. Her home is part of an intentional community of long-time friends called the Snowbird Surf Club.
For fun she travels when she can, reads, watches movies and enjoys her family (two great girls--now grown and married--one Zen master grandson and one diva princess granddaughter.
Donna holds black belt rank in two martial arts styles and taught both karate and tai chi for many years. She still practices tai chi and chi gung every day to counteract all that sitting in front of a computer to write!
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