Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Written on


Honestly, what woman doesn’t crave a life of danger, facing off with destiny aboard a too-cool-for-skool space junk?

I’ve blogged about space pirate heroines previously, but figured I’d have to wait until Susan Grant’s next book to get my fix. Well, thank goodness for vigilant authors! Karin Shah alerted me about her recent debut science fiction romance STARJACKED (Samhain Publishing). Otherwise, I might have been floundering in space pirate heroine purgatory for a lot longer.

How lucky can a girl get? I ask for a story about such a character and Karin Shah delivered! Coincidence? Sure, just keep telling yourself that. ;-)

On a more serious note, space pirating is a very deadly business. I’m thrilled when I encounter stories that make an effort to portray these characters with at least a modicum of realism, because it’d be so easy to cross the line into swashbuckling superficiality. The more tortured they are, the better, and tortured is space pirate Tia Sen’s middle name.

Check out the blurb of STARJACKED from the author’s Web site:

In the lawless fringes of deep space, pirate Tia Sen inspires both respect and fear. She has a rep for being hard as plascrete, tough as Amalan leather, and as strong as she is beautiful, but she has a secret. For years she has courted death, freeing children captured during raids. When she rescues a brave mechanic from a nearly fatal beating, she risks more than just her heart.

Emotionally scarred by the murders of his wife and unborn child, Rork Al’Ren wants nothing more than to eradicate every bit of pirate scum in the galaxy. But when his undercover mission goes sour, he finds himself Tia’s personal slave and falling in love with the very person he’s sworn to destroy.

But Rork doesn’t have the luxury of love, a powerful new weapon threatens the stability of the universe and if he can’t convince Tia to surrender it, the Union of Planets will be overwhelmed and war will rock the galaxy.

After reading STARJACKED, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karin Shah about her book. Her efforts to place this tale into your virtual hands is very inspiring—and she also weighs in on the all important debate over Hooks vs. Eyepatches!

Sally forth, mateys!

The Galaxy Express: How did STARJACKED evolve?

Karin Shah: Starjacked is the sequel to my first ever completed manuscript which I now call STARSTRUCK, but was once upon a time called, NOT WORDS ALONE. (What can I say? I started reading romance in the eighties.) Rork had a small, but pivotal appearance in STARSTRUCK. He was all the things I like in a hero, emotionally wounded, tough, in control, and completely alone. I fell in love with him and wanted to write his story.

TGE: Female space pirates in science fiction romance are rare. What inspired you to create Tia Sen, as opposed to the typical route of making the hero a pirate?

KS: Since STARJACKED (at that time BY LOVE TRANSFORMED—eighties remember) was Rork’s story and I knew he hated pirates, what could be more cruel than to make him the personal slave of a beautiful pirate? (I love him, but we always hurt the ones we love, especially if “we” want to write a good story.)

But Tia had her own story to tell. The world thinks she’s mad, bad and dangerous to know, (and she is) but she has also been saving children from a life of slavery since she was little more than a child herself. Raised by a brutal father who values her only for the booty she brings in, she has little reason to feel lovable, but the same need for love we all have.

TGE: Please tell us about your path to publication. What were some of the challenges? The high points?

KS: It took me almost ten years to get published. Of course, about six years ago I had children and that slowed me down, as well. Having time to write is a big challenge. Self-doubt is the biggest. A few years ago, I won a contest with a paranormal and the editor who requested my manuscript seemed very excited about it. I was sure at that time that this was it, but as it happens, she passed me on to another editor at that publishing house and I never, despite calling and emailing, received even a rejection letter. I can bounce back from rejection, but being in limbo is hell. That was my lowest point.

The highest was getting the email from my editor at Samhain saying she wanted to offer me a contract. I was very fortunate because she had already rejected STARJACKED, but when she did, she asked for some revisions, I did the revisions and re-submitted and you know the rest.

TGE: Which is more badass, eyepatch or hook?

KS: Eyepatch definitely.

TGE: Who are some of your favorite pirates, from either books or film/television?

I love Dax from THE SKYPIRATE BY Justine Dare. He fights to help his people, while at the same time believing he can never go home. From movies, I like Orlando Bloom’s character in Pirates of the Caribbean. I guess I like heroes who are forced to the wrong side of the law. I have a soft-spot for the good-hearted thief as well. Jacques in Robin D. Owens HEART THIEF is one of my favorites.

TGE: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

KS: Write, Write, Write, Revise, Read, Read, Read, Submit, Submit, Submit. It seems simple, but writing is something you must do constantly to be good at. Writers also have a tendency to fall in love with revision, but resist it. Revision is important, but some writers end up re-working the same manuscript for years. Move on. Read in your genre, you must know your market. And submit your baby and go on to the next one.

TGE: What stories can readers expect from you in the future?

KS: In STARSTRUCK (which will hopefully find a home at Samhain once I’m done revising it), to avenge the enslavement of her people, Queen Amara of Rijya vows to do anything to destroy the house of Sangre—even becoming Prince Grale’s bed slave. But Grale isn’t what he seems, and Amara soon finds her mission—and her heart—in danger.

I also write paranormal and fantasy, but those manuscripts are still looking for homes. Thanks for letting me share!

For more information about Karin Shah and her work, walk the plank to her Web site. You can then view the book trailer for STARJACKED here, and read her article on writing & worldbuilding at Star Crossed Romance.

Ms. Shah, thanks for your art!

If anyone has any questions for the author, ask away! She's aboard to answer them!

Joyfully yours,