Thursday, October 8, 2009

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Author Supernova: Ann Aguirre, Part III

Now we turn to the final installment of this week's spotlight on the work of author Ann Aguirre. (If you missed the earlier parts, click here and here.)

DOUBLEBLIND marks book three of the author's Sirantha Jax series.


It’s not easy to tread lightly wearing steel-toed boots.

Sirantha Jax isn’t known for diplomatic finesse. As a “Jumper” who navigates ships through grimspace, she’s used to kicking ass first and taking names later—much later. Not exactly the obvious choice to sell the Conglomerate to the Ithtorians, a people whose opinions of humans are as hard as their exoskeletons.

And Ithiss-Tor council meetings aren’t the only place where Ambassador Jax needs to maneuver carefully. Her lover, March, is frozen in permanent “kill” mode, and his hair-trigger threatens to sabotage the talks—not to mention their relationship.

But Jax won’t give up on the man or the mission. With the Outskirts
beleaguered by raiders, pirates, and the flesh-eating Morgut, an
alliance with Ithiss-Tor may be humanity’s only hope. Which has
Jax wondering why a notorious troublemaker like her was given the job…

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ann Aguirre about her series. But that's not all! A giveaway follows, so read on...

The Galaxy Express: You’ve described Sirantha Jax as an “anti-heroine.” What appeals to you about that type of character?

Ann Aguirre: I find it hard to love, or even care about, perfect people. I mean, they have everything. They're good at everything. You can't really get behind them because they don't need your support, not the way a broken character does. Plus, the only way a perfect person can change is to become, well, imperfect and that's not a very interesting journey. I would find it very depressing to read about someone who had everything losing it all, and then she died, the end.

TGE: Which SF films/television shows with romantic elements, if any, had an impact on your writing, and how specifically did they influence it?

AG: I don't think any shows influenced my writing specifically, but if you'd like me to list my favorite SF shows: I watched Star Trek:TNG and I watched DS9 after Worf transferred aboard. I had a huge crush on him and for the record, I preferred him with Dax to Deanna. I watched Space Above and Beyond, and loved it...beyond reason. Get it? Beyond... ah, never mind. I watched Andromeda until they got crazy with Tyr, and then I had to stop. Farscape is one of my favorites. John Crichton and Aeryn Sun remain my favorite romantic SF couple to this day. ("Do you love Aeryn Sun?" "Beyond hope." *swoon*) I'm not sure if Dr. Who and Torchwood count as SF (I am thinking so), but I'm a total junkie for those, and I am watching BSG right now as well.

What I have extrapolated from television is the desire to incorporate the pleasure those types of shows offer in my books. Tons of people will watch a SF tv show or film, but a minute portion have ever read SF in books. I want to change all of that and offer the same character-driven addictive experience in my Jax novels.

TGE: Jax and March, to put it as diplomatically as possible, have issues. You’ve described them as “broken, damaged people.” If they had to attend mandated couples therapy, what might that first session be like?

Jax: WTF are we doing here? I thought we were jumping.
March: It's mandatory.
Jax: Mandatory, like they'll space us if we don't talk about our feelings?
March: Yeah.
Jax: I'd rather be spaced. [Jax leaves. March follows.]

TGE: What has been the most surprising response from readers regarding the Sirantha Jax series?

AG: The overwhelming and passionate interest in Vel. He has fangirls, who are curious about how he has sex, procreates and whether he could ever love a human woman.

TGE: Brassy mechanic Dina navigates her own romantic attachments throughout GRIMSPACE and WANDERLUST. If you’re not careful, she’ll give Sirantha Jax a run for her money. Any chance of a spin off book for Dina?

AG: If my editor asks for one, sure. I probably wouldn't propose it myself. When I finish the series with book six, I intend to take a rest. I won't be writing about Jax after Endgame, but there may be more stories in the universe.

TGE: You wrote, submitted, and sold an SFR at a challenging time, given the tight market for such stories. In retrospect, what are some of the elements of the process that made your book competitive?

AG: Uhm. 42? I'd like to say, "It's balls-to-the-walls awesome" but I can't even type that with a straight face. So yeah, I'm going with 42.

TGE: Please tell us a bit about BLUE DIABLO, book one of your new urban fantasy series.

AG: Well, it has a girl and two dudes and she can read stuff by touching it. And uhm, they both wanna bang her. It's not typical UF, no vampires, werewolves or fairies. But it has demons, fallen angels, nephilim, ghosts, shades and zombies. Oh, and black magic, too. One hero has uncanny luck. The other one has empathy. It's all very complicated and action-packed. The setting is also unusual, Mexico and Texas, which is awesome because I can draw on personal experience there. Patricia Briggs loved it and so did Rachel Caine, so if you're not reading it already, then you're lagging, and should run out and get a copy by any means necessary, short of pillage or murder.

TGE: Is there any other news about future projects that you'd like to share?

AG: I have four romantic suspense titles coming out as Ava Gray, and I have a couple of projects on pitch. One is steampunk, and the other is paranormal romance. I'm also writing a YA at the moment.

Ms. Aguirre, thanks for sharing about your books, and thanks for your art.

Standby to comment, because one lucky passenger will win the first three books in Ann Aguirre's Sirantha Jax series: GRIMSPACE, WANDERLUST, and DOUBLEBLIND! To enter, please leave a comment for this post (contest limited to U.S. residents). The deadline to enter is 9 p.m. EST on Sunday, October 11, 2009. Much appreciation to Ms. Aguirre who contributed two of the books for this giveaway.

Jump on in, the water's wormhole's great!

Joyfully yours,