Friday, July 16, 2010

Interview With SILVER SERENADE Author Nancy Cohen & A Giveaway!

The digital medium has played a significant role in keeping science fiction romance alive. This is especially true in the case of author Nancy J. Cohen. Writing as Nancy Cane, starting in 1994 she penned four science fiction romances, all released by Dorchester Publishing. They are CIRCLE OF LIGHT, MOONLIGHT RHAPSODY, STARLIGHT CHILD, and KEEPER OF THE RINGS.

Now, the author has another science fiction romance to offer: SILVER SERENADE is Nancy J. Cohen’s fifth science fiction romance and her first book with The Wild Rose Press. It’s out today in both print and digital editions.

But Ms. Cohen’s previous books won’t languish in oblivion. CIRCLE OF LIGHT and MOONLIGHT RHAPSODY are newly available in digital format from Belgrave House. Digital publishing options ensure we can re-discover the talents of some of the early SFR authors. To learn more about all of the above books at Ms. Cohen’s site, click here.

And here’s something I don’t recall seeing before on an author’s site: a “Cast of Characters” and a list of “Weapons and Warships” used in SILVER SERENADE. As Butthead is wont to say, “That’s pretty cool, Beavis.”

And speaking of cool, the author is giving away a free PDF download of SILVER SERENADE to one lucky passenger (details follow the interview). Here’s the story description:

A beautiful assassin and a desperate fugitive join forces to catch a
terrorist and prevent an intergalactic war.

Ace pilot Jace Vernon is forced to flee his home world after being framed
for murder. He seeks justice, but S.I.N. agent Silver Malloy gets in his
way. The platinum-haired beauty counters his every move in the quest to
clear his name. As he makes it his mission to break her, he doesn't count
on the personal consequences of success.

Silver refuses to abort her deadly mission even if it means killing the one
man Jace needs alive to prove his innocence. Her resolve wavers when Jace's
charms melt the barriers around her heart. Can she help him win his case,
even if it means betraying her own people?

Read an excerpt of the book here. View the book trailer here.

And now for my interview with Nancy J. Cohen:

The Galaxy Express: What can you tell us about the path to publication for CIRCLE OF LIGHT, your first science fiction romance? What inspired you to write a science fiction romance?

Nancy J. Cohen: After completing six contemporary romance manuscripts that didn’t sell, I switched to science fiction romance because I was a big Star Trek fan. The idea for CIRCLE OF LIGHT began with a dream. In my dream, I was working at my job as a clinical nurse specialist when a gorgeous man strolled into my private office. He told me I had been summoned. Thinking we were heading to a meeting with my boss, I followed him into the corridor and down the hallway into an elevator. The lift skyrocketed upward, and when the door opened, we were in a spaceship. How cool was that? My dream ended, but I had to finish the story! Thus the plot for CIRCLE OF LIGHT was born. As for Sarina, my heroine, being the legendary Great Healer, it’s my fantasy playing out in the story. If I had a choice of a super power, I’d want to heal people.

TGE: Your Light-Years Trilogy (CIRCLE OF LIGHT, MOONLIGHT RHAPSODY, and STARLIGHT CHILD) all feature extraordinary heroines. Silver from SILVER SERENADE seems to be no exception. What is it about these types of heroines that appeal to you?

NJC: I like to imbue my characters with special powers. Sarina in CIRCLE OF LIGHT is destined to become the Great Healer. Ilyssa in MOONLIGHT RHAPSODY has the ability to mesmerize men with her singing voice. Mara in STARLIGHT CHILD can travel the astral plane and view things through another person’s eyes. Silver is a different type of character in SILVER SERENADE. She’s a hardhearted assassin on her first assignment. Her job is to kill the man who destroyed her family and her career. It takes a convicted murderer and his Elusian valet to melt the barriers around her heart and to show her what really matters in life. She doesn’t have any special powers on her own. The Elusians bring in the paranormal element in this tale (see below). However, Silver discovers her talents lie more in subterfuge and disguise as the story develops, meaning she might be better suited for a job as an intelligence agent rather than an assassin.

TGE: What was the inspiration for your newest release, SILVER SERENADE?

NJC: The characters inspired this story. I wondered what would happen if my hero and heroine shared the same goal but for different reasons. They’re both hunting the same villain, Tyrone Bluth, the leader of Tyrone’s Marauders. These space pirates prey on innocent colonists and destroy entire settlements. Framed for murder on his home world, Jace needs Tyrone Bluth alive to prove his innocence. Silver means to kill Bluth who ruined her career and destroyed her family. Together, Silver and Jace have a better chance to catch the man, but what will happen when they succeed? Which one will make a sacrifice to help the other? I just had to write their story to find out how it ends.

TGE: What is “S.I.N.”?

NJC: Security Integrated Network. It’s the intelligence division of the Terran Consortium, an alliance of Earth and its colonies. There’s a glossary with the book to explain unfamiliar terms, and I’ve been adding one to the new ebook versions of my earlier stories as well.

TGE: What was your favorite science fictional detail or element that you created for SILVER SERENADE?

NJC: I love the Elusians. These people from Elusia have the capacity to form an unbreakable mental bond with a human during an episode of extreme emotional distress. Their race has slight builds, delicate features, and no sex hormones. They reproduce by budding. Because they don’t experience strong emotions, Elusians are excited to bond with a human and share their feelings. Jace is bonded to his valet, Mixy. Mixy’s robe changes color based on emotions, and those emotions are most often Jace’s. Silver is amused to discover she can read Jace’s mood by carefully observing the varying hues of Mixy’s robe. She isn’t so amused when their mental link extends to her, although it does add a heightened element to lovemaking with Mixy’s added presence. Nor does she ever expect to get an atrani (bond-mate) of her own until something tragic happens on Mixy’s home world.

TGE: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors, especially regarding writing/publishing science fiction romance?

NJC: Read as many books in the genre as you can. Be as specific as possible in terms of your science details, technology, and such. Remember that you’re primarily writing a romance and that should be the focus of your story. The gadgetry should not outweigh the characters. Even aliens should have personalities and concerns. I’d suggest adding a glossary if you use a lot of strange words. As for the markets, I find the ebook pubs to be more accepting of the genre these days and to offer a greater variety of titles. We’d all like to see this change but it’s still a niche readership.

TGE: Please share a few of your favorite science fiction romance books, films, or television shows.

NJC: Of course I liked the romance between Han and Leia in Star Wars. Spaceballs was silly but it still had a good romance between Princess Vespa and Lone Starr. Galaxy Quest is one of my all-time favorites. And Stardust is a more recent acquisition. As for books, I like so many different authors: Linnea Sinclair, Susan Grant, Alyssa Day, Catherine Asaro, Elizabeth Moon, and many more too numerous to mention. For TV, my genre favs are The 10th Kingdom mini-series, Legend of the Seeker, Smallville, Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis, Warehouse 13, Eureka, and others.

TGE: What else can readers look forward to from you? Do you have any plans to write more science fiction romance?

NJC: I am working to get my earlier sci fi romances, including KEEPER OF THE RINGS and the Light-Years Trilogy, available in ebook format. Regarding new releases, I’m hoping readers will enjoy SILVER SERENADE so much that they demand a sequel! While waiting for feedback, I’m working on a paranormal romance series that takes place on modern day Earth but deals with space warrior heroes, ancient prophecies, Norse mythology, and heroines with—you guessed it—special powers.

Thanks so much for your invite to do an interview!

Ms. Cohen, thanks for your time, and for your art.

To learn more about the author, visit her bio page. You can obtain updates on her blog as well as follow her on Twitter (nancyjcohen). And here's a link to the dates of her SILVER SERENADE blog tour.

Now for the giveaway details: To enter for a chance to win a free PDF download of SILVER SERENADE, simply leave a comment for this post. Share your favorite scene from GALAXY QUEST or SPACEBALLS! The deadline to enter is 9 p.m. EST on Sunday, July 18, 2010.

Joyfully yours,