Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An interview with REVELATIONS OF TOMORROW Author A.R. Norris, & Giveaway

One of the themes in A.R. NorrisREVELATIONS OF TOMORROW is the nature of ethnicity in a futuristic setting. Any time we have a conversation about ethnicity in science fiction romance is a good thing, especially since this subgenre has the potential to offer readers so much in terms of diversity.

With that in mind, I invited A.R. Norris to answer some questions about her recent release. The author has also provided a digital copy of her book, which I'll give away to one lucky passenger (details follow the interview).

To set the stage, here’s the story description:

The crew of Daring Star salvages a load capsule and finds the beaten body of Jetta McCree. Turns out Jetta's discovered her employer has developed a biochemical droplet and is contracted with terrorists to manufacture on a large scale. Captain Noah Bonney fights off corporate security forces, her ex-husband's pirate fleets, and carnivorous beasts to keep the young woman safe and transport her to the safety of the Imperial Home Port.

But the adventure brings to surface demons Noah's been suppressing and secrets from her people's history she's tried to forget. Now, she must face them if she's to reconcile with her daughter and keep the love of her life from leaving. With 450 years under her belt and nothing but eternity ahead of her, she's built a thick shell… one she's not sure she can break.

Now for my interview with A.R. Norris:

The Galaxy Express: Which tags apply to REVELATIONS OF TOMORROW?

A.R. Norris: SF, romance and of course their love child SFR. There's also military SF and a good dose of space opera.

TGE: REVELATIONS OF TOMORROW is about the adventures of Captain Noah Bonney after she rescues a young woman with a dangerous secret. But what is it really about? What kind of subtext can readers expect from the story?

ARN: Well, there are two main futurist concepts that weave throughout Revelations of Tomorrow, ethnicity and genetic engineering. There is a lot of alien diversity in SF, but other than hair color and eye color there's not always diversity within the human race. Did we all just blend together into one race? One ethnicity? Did we lose our uniqueness along the way? Don't get me wrong, I love the alien worlds, species, and whatnot in many of the SF stories today. I just sometimes feel that the uniqueness and diversity of humans is not given enough credit and celebration.

TGE: Who is Captain Noah Bonney, and what does she do?

ARN: Noah Bonney captains the Merchant Marine vessel Daring Star. Noah and the crew of Daring Star salvage a load capsule and find the beaten body of Jetta McCree. Noah fights off terrorist groups, corporate security forces, her ex-husband's pirate fleets, and carnivorous beasts to keep the young woman safe and transport her to the safety of the Imperial Home Port.

TGE: Please tell us a little about the romance in the story.

ARN: The key romance is between Noah and Lieutenant Matthew Amherst. They are already lovers at the start of the story, but it's not all roses.

Noah is also a Telomere, which is a genetically engineered race that doesn't age. Telomeres have become rare due to social warfare, genocide acts and unforeseen genetic repercussions, leaving Noah as the oldest.  Needless to say, Noah comes with emotional baggage.

This has created a barrier between her and Matthew. The love story is how, and if, she can come to terms with her demons and accept the love Matthew wants to give her, and be capable to return it fully.

TGE: REVELATIONS OF TOMORROW is the first book in your planned Telomere Trilogy. Describe the universe you created for this story.

*Rubs hands*

Because I was exploring such biggies as genetic engineering and ethnicity in the future, I wanted to keep the technology pretty common/simple. For transportation and travel I went with the quantum-transportation theory. There's still a bit of old fashion space travel, to reach each network point and for the "leave the train station and get to town" parts.

The overarching government is an Empire. From the government "center" the galaxy divides like a sliced pie into 8 regions, which are governed by Kingdoms. Each planet and satellite (artificial or natural) is run by a Provincial Authority.

The Excellencies have established the Merchant Marines, who provide security to the galactic trade routes. The Kingdoms have their own military forces, Guard Sectors. And, yes, you guessed it; the Provincial Authorities usually have their own security force as well. As any self-respecting Empire, there is a lot of feuding: Citizens against Province, Province against Kingdom, Kingdom against Empire. Province against Province, Kingdom against Kingdom...well, you get the picture.

TGE: What appealed to you about making ethnicity a significant element/theme of your story?

ARN: The main appeal was a push back on the general community discussion about how the multiple ethnicities are merging into one.

One, with the advances and excitement of genetic engineering and my SF geeky hope we will get to space and expand makes it implausible to me.  Two, There is no core difference between the various ethnic groups. We are all homo-sapiens. So why did we end up so different appearance-wise and social structure-wise? Two key reasons, for me anyways:

1.      Groups break off from their parent society (or rebel them) to secure their race, culture and/or traditions. When the masses start to pressure them to meld, they leave or set hard boundaries to keep the status quo.

2.      Geographic and distance barriers promote the separation of populated areas, in which the pool of genes is limited and create a defined ethnic group. The barrier also limits exposure to other ways of thinking, religiously and morally.

No, no. The human race will not evolve into a single ethnicity or social structure. And really, who would want it to? The world is not perfect and we don't all get along, but do we really want a single cardboard society?

So, I tried to show a future where distinct and precise cultures exist, and try to co-exist. It’s conservative in many ways, yet progressive in others. Those pimples -- racism and prejudice -- exist in many grey shades, ranging from the common fear of other races by newly exposed characters all the way to full ugly hatred that spews into antagonist actions.

TGE: Is there anything else you’d like to share about REVELATIONS OF TOMORROW?

ARN: Here’s an excerpt: This scene is where Brenda Bonney, a vessel doctor, runs into Captain Makai Yourimoc. It's a very subtle and understated experience to me, in that someone recognizes the uniqueness of another and is what made him attractive to her.


Brenda meandered through the vessel's hallways. She'd never really meandered before, she realized with a quiet laugh. Everything was always a rush or with purpose. Outside, space slowly whirled around. Or actually, the vessel's passenger casing whirled around the core vessel frame. Further down the corridor a large man leaned against a view window. His presence, the mood emitting from him, compelled her to stop.

He was almost in complete profile, angled a little toward her direction. Space shimmered beyond the window, and accented his frame. Tall, wide, and imposing were the words she thought of when she looked upon him. Adding the shaved head, black ceremonial ring-braided beard, and chiseled cheekbones, she included strong and willful. Spotting the curved sword and StarStrike on his hip, she added another word. Lethal.

Yet, he seemed broken, she observed with a twinge in her heart. Guilt etched through the wide features of his face. Even from the short distance and partial profile, she saw the exaggerated almond-shaped eyes brimming with moisture. His face set, exposing a terrible grief.

She considered turning back the way she'd come, to leave him to his ghosts, but his head tipped her way and those deep brown eyes looked at her. Into her. Her heart lodged in her throat and she smiled meekly.

"I'm sorry. I… I was trying to figure out if I should turn around or not." She vaguely gestured down the hall and then let her hand drop.

He seemed to force the grief back and rewarded her with a gallant smile. She liked the dimples that popped right below those hard cheekbones. It softened him. His voice resonated in a rich tenor in the rough Yuriotz speech. Pleasant warmth spread along her abdomen and sent a delicious shiver along her spine. She fought off the urge to close her eyes and soak in the almost tangible texture of the words.

On her neck the linguistic collar translated. "Was lost in thought. I apologize for the uncomfortable setting."

She shrugged. "No apology needed. Really." She took the last few steps toward him and offered her hand. "Dr. Brenda Bonney. I'm with the Daring Star crew."

"Captain Makai Yourimoc of the Lady Victory." He tapped his thigh in an absent manner and then stepped back with what seemed like reluctance. "I better return to duties. Welcome aboard, Dr. Bonney, albeit belated on my part.”

Also, these are the places where readers can find REVELATIONS OF TOMORROW: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Desert Breeze Website, All Romance Books

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

And now for the giveaway:

Leave a comment and be entered for a chance to win a digital copy of A.R. Norris' REVELATIONS OF TOMORROW. To make it more interesting, I'd like to hear your ideas about how you'd like to see science fiction romance explore ethnicity/diversity.

Format available: ePub

The deadline to enter is 12 midnight EST on Saturday, December 3, 2011.

Joyfully yours,