As a mercenary, Kat Darah doesn't have to pass for a normal human. On the edge of the solar system, she's just another biped. Most of the time.
Nearing the end of his military tour, Lt. Christopher Rygard debates the idea of hanging up his uniform for good. Looking for answers at the bottom of a glass of scotch, he meets Kat. One shared night of mutual desire seems harmless. But when their tryst is interrupted by attackers hunting Rygard, Kat must reveal her other form, the predator beneath the human façade.
Together they embark on a dangerous mission—a race against time to meet the enemy's demands, while trying to deny the passion between them. Rygard is faced with a terrible choice in the face of duty: Report the existence of a human turned shape-shifter. Or forget he ever met her.
Prior to HUNTING KAT, Decadent Publishing released EVIE'S GIFT by the author, a steampunk romance. Clearly, PJ Shnyder has a thing or two--or three--for science fiction romance in a variety of guises. Therefore, I jumped at the chance to learn more about her work. Details for the giveaway follow, so read on!
The Galaxy Express: When did you first become a fan of science fiction romance stories (books, films, anime, etc.)?
PJ Schnyder: I’ve been reading science fiction since elementary school. Anne McCaffery’s Pern and Brainship series were early favorites as well as the Queen’s Squadron by R.M. Meluch. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and Glory Road by Robert Heinlein are books I read over and over again. A personal all-time favorite for the romantic element is the Ship Who Searched by Anne McCaffrey.
I’ve also been watching anime for a very long time. Star Blazers and the original airing of Robotech were favorites. Who could forget Rick Hunter and Lisa Hayes? I also spent time watching Evangelion on VHS tapes. :P
TGE: What prompted you to become an author in the subgenre?
PJS: My first published stories are paranormal romance - the Terra’s Guardians series available at Decadent Publishing. The heroines in the Terra’s Guardians series have subtle strength, overcoming internal challenges and physical limitations as they make the newly restored wilderness their home.
For my next series, I explored new character types and built a different world for them. I wanted the grittier feel of space stations and mercenary ships, the absolute nothingness of vacuum and the darker mood of outer space. The Triton Experiment series kicks off with Hunting Kat from Carina Press.
TGE: You’ve described EVIE’S GIFT as a “steampunk short story with romantic elements.” About how much romance can readers expect from this story?
PJS: There’s plenty of tension between Evie and a certain airship captain throughout Evie’s Gift. But Evie’s come to England to learn to be a proper lady and find a sponsor to help her through her season in London. Readers will find Evie’s Gift sweet with a teasing touch of heat, promising much more in the next book.
Yup. I said it. There’s going to be a sequel to Evie’s Gift. :P
TGE: Describe up to three non-spoiler steampunk tech elements in EVIE’S GIFT that readers can look forward to.
PJS: Toby is a tiny mechanical companion to Evie, capable of changing shape from tiny flying squirrel to pocket watch to hair pin. He’s an amazing bit of technology, monitoring her biometrics and responding accordingly to reflect her moods and follow her conscious commands. Trust me, many readers have already said they covet the cuteness of this little piece of tech. Readers can learn more about the inspiration behind Toby here.
Also, Evie’s host in the story provides a demonstration of three newly designed mecha built for war. They are intended to step onto the battlefields under the guidance of a human pilot.
Finally, what steampunk would be complete without airships?
TGE: If the hero and heroine of EVIE’S GIFT opened their own store, what would they sell?
PJS: Little mechanicals like Toby. I’m told there’s already a demand. ;)
TGE: Tell us about a few of your favorite steampunk books, films, or television shows.
PJS: Thus far, Leviathan by Scott Westerfield is my favorite steampunk novel. Several films have featured steampunk elements and my favorite movies in recent years are Serenity, Sherlock Holmes and Sucker Punch.
TGE: Tell us about HUNTING KAT, your sci-fi romance title coming from Carina Press in 2011.
PJS: Kaitlyn Darah has a wicked right hook and a nasty left jab. She’s my first kick @$$ heroine, sassy with a preference for sharp edged weapons and a deep sense of loyalty. Her meeting with Lt. Christopher Rygard is the first in the Triton Experiment series.
The Triton Experiment came about when I wrote my first novel in high school, inspired by the brilliant personalities of the founding class of the NJ 932nd Air Force Junior ROTC. For many reasons, I tucked the story away where it will never see the light of day, but the events became the background for Kaitlyn.
The horrors she experienced in the prequel shape the person she is in Hunting Kat and will continue to echo throughout The Triton Experiment series.
Hunting Kat will be released by Carina Press next month on July 4th.
TGE: You state on your Web site that you’ve studied traditional Thai dance. I checked around and unfortunately, I can’t get such a cool talent downloaded into my head a la THE MATRIX. Know of any online resources where I can learn more about it?
PJS: I learned Thai dance, or Rum Thai, from my mother and from teachers in Thailand during my childhood summers there. My favorite dance to perform is the Manora Buchayun.
I’m not aware of any solid online resources to learn about Rum Thai but I believe there’s a DVD out there: Rum Thai – Thai Classical Dance. It presents a decent sampling of traditional Thai dances.
TGE: Is there anything else you’d like to share about EVIE’S GIFT, or other works of yours that might appeal to Galaxy Express readers?
PJS: Sure. :)
Evie’s Gift is slated for inclusion in a print anthology from Decadent Publishing this holiday season. Soon, readers will be able to hold Evie’s Gift in their hands, bundled with other great holiday stories.
Hunting Kat has been chosen by Audible.com for audio format. I’m very excited to hear Hunting Kat as an audio book and can’t wait to learn more about the process.
And finally, I have a new paranormal romance short story, featuring all new characters, coming out in Fall 2011 from Tease Publishing LLC. Drowning Tides introduces readers to Lora and Katherine, my mermaids. ;)
I’ll be at Authors After Dark Philly in August, signing print copies of Heart’s Sentinel and the new anthology containing Drowning Tides.
Ms. Schnyder, thanks for your time, and for your art.
Now for the giveaway! To enter for a chance to win a copy of PJ Schnyder's HUNTING KAT, leave a comment telling me what you're on the hunt for today. Scented candles? Exotic matter? A caboodle of llamas?
Winner chooses ePub or PDF format. The deadline to enter is midnight EST on Friday, July 8. I'll then pick a winner at random.