Launching Romance into the stars.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Part 2 of my chat with SFR Author, Diane Burton

Please welcome Diane Burton back to Backward Momentum. If you missed the first part of our chat, you can find it here. And we continue to talk about science fiction romance and Diane's latest release, Switched Resolution.

When I create my worlds, I tend to add bits and pieces from stories I’ve enjoyed, and add my own touches as well. Sometimes right from the beginning, and other times they’re added as I’m writing. How about you? Where do you get your ideas for the world’s you create?

DB: I’ll have to check out After Earth and Upside Down. I heard they remade Superman. Should be interesting. I’ve been watching Defiance. (Why is it that all the good shows are on Monday night???) I haven’t quite made up my mind about it. You’re right about the world building in that one and in how different races/species have to get along for the common good. My family is from St. Louis and I still have relatives there so it’s interesting to see/hear references to things that St. Louis is noted for. Toasted ravioli, anyone? I have two worlds in my books—one for the Switched series and then one for the Outer Rim series. I wished I hadn’t done so—much easier to stay with just one. When I wrote Switched, I liked the idea of a group deciding a person’s career and their spouse, and someone rebelling against it. I recall something similar in The Giver by Lois Lowry. As I continued writing, I realized how much I needed to keep track of all the details. I also realized that I had to create the world of the Alliance of Planets—the planets themselves, governments, social customs, even the geology of the planets. A lot I had to base on Earth but also on things I’d read or seen in SF movies, a lot like you. <g>

Yes, keeping track of the worlds is such a hard thing to do. I totally understand why people have “World Bibles” as I do. When I started writing for the Elatia series at Decadent, the world was already developed, so I worked with the information I was given. And with any science fiction romance, there are also the technological and scientific aspects. While some stories in the genre involve a great deal of technology, others only add a brief amount of science, focusing more on the relationships. Where do yours fit into the spectrum, and how do you research the information you do add to your stories?

DB: As a writer of sci-fi romance, Jess, you know readers expect some science and technology in the story. They’re also smart enough to figure out terms through context without a lot of detailed explanations. Generally, readers of SFR are interested in the relationships, not just between the hero & heroine but between the other characters as well. Regarding the technology, I don’t know about you, but I don’t need to know every little detail on how my car works. I just know it does. Same with the technology in my stories. That being said, the science has to make sense in today’s understanding. So how do I research alien locales and starship propulsion? I wish we could do it in person, don’t you? Most of my research is done on the Internet, some in books, some via the Science Channel on TV. I just got two new series (DVDs & companion books) from The Great Courses. One is called Understanding the Science for Tomorrow and the other is Black Holes Explained. The latter was recommended by Linnea Sinclair. I’m looking forward to watching them. Who knows what tidbit of info might spark an idea for a new story?

Exactly! And yes, I’m guilty of zoning out in stories that go into great detail about the technology. But we do need to add some, and make sure it is accurate. My research is done by the same means, but seeing everything live would be so much better. For a couple of my stories though, I’ve interviewed and had help from people who do have experience with the technology, or related to the setting or other aspects of my stories. That’s the closest I can get for many due to clearance issues. Those Great Courses sound absolutely fascinating. I’ve been eyeing up their catalogue for months. I’m going to have to take the plunge soon. Now, Diane, you just released Switched Resolution, which is the third and final book in your Switched series. Can you tell us about this story and where we can find it? Also, how does it feel to be finished writing this series?

DB: When I wrote Switched, I never planned to turn it into a series. (Talk about doing things by the seat of your pants.) But as I wrote Marcus & Jessie’s story and met her twin and his, I just knew I had to find out what would happen when Scott (a NASA reject) traded places with Marcus, a starship captain. Would he and Veronese (Jessie’s twin) overcome their prejudices toward one another and become friends? More than friends? That’s how Switched, Too came about. Then I wondered how Marcus was doing on Earth. Could he fake being Scott enough to fool their mother and Scott’s friends? Would he regret leaving his old life? Did Jessie, pregnant with Marcus’ babies, make a mistake when she refused to return to his ship? Meanwhile, the supposedly incarcerated rebels steal the starship with some of the crew aboard. Scott, Veronese, and their allies have to rescue the crew and take back the ship. To find the answers to all those questions, I had to write Switched Resolution. I know this probably sounds weird to non-writers or writers who are strict plotters that I have to write a story to find out what happens. Good thing it’s okay to find what works for you as a writer. What works for me is the wonder of discovery. If I plot out every scene and know exactly what’s going to happen, it would feel as if I’ve already told the story.

As to how I feel about finishing the series—happy and sad. Happy that I could tie up the loose ends from the previous books and somewhat relieved that the characters are on the right track. At the same time, I’m sad to leave the characters. They’ve been part of my life for nearly fifteen years. (Not that I’ve thought about them every minute, mind you.) My characters become real people to me. So letting them go is a little like watching my kids go off to college or across the country for a job. Now it’s time to move on to other works, other worlds. More characters are calling “write my story.”

Switched Resolution is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Isn’t it strange how we authors have people talking to us inside our heads? Yet, if we didn’t write their stories, we’d be considered crazy. LOL I look forward to your new characters and worlds. I have a bunch of my own characters nagging me to write or finish their story, too. But, there never seems to be enough time. Maybe one day I’ll get all of their stories told. Though, I doubt it. Do you have ideas already for what you’re going to write next? And where can readers find out more about you and your stories?

DB: My next book will be a romantic suspense for The Wild Rose Press. Remember the last scene of the movie Knight and Day (a wacky Tom Cruise as a spy and Cameron Diaz as an innocent bystander) where she rescues him? That’s the beginning of One Red Shoe. I’m doing the edits now, but I don’t have a release date yet. While I was waiting for the edits for Switched Resolution, I started on the next book in the Outer Rim series. Laning Servary, from The Pilot, gets his own story in The Chameleon. Readers can find out when One Red Shoe comes out and more about The Chameleon on my website:

Thank you again, Diane, for coming to visit us today! It’s been a wonderful chat! Can you give us a taste of Switched Resolution before we go?

DB: Jessica, this has been so much fun. Thanks so much for chatting with me. Here’s a little bit about Switched Resolution.

Switched Resolution by Diane Burton

Actions have consequences as Space Fleet Captain Marcus Viator and NASA reject Scott Cherella discover when they switch places. Switched Resolution, which wraps up the Switched series, takes the reader from Earth—where Marcus adjusts to a pregnant Jessie—to the starship Freedom commandeered by rebels, to the chase ship with Scott and Veronese aboard.

Excerpt from Switched Resolution: 

With duffle bags slung over shoulders, banging against hips and each other, Scott Cherella and Veronese Qilana raced through the Malawea Spaceport terminal. His ship was gone. Stolen. Not just by the rebels incarcerated on board but by three of his own crew.

“I still can’t believe Drakus and Usolde took the Freedom.” Neese panted from running.

Scott was surprised at how many people either milled around or strolled down the terminal’s main corridor in the middle of the night. He and Neese attracted attention. Maybe Serenians didn’t run through public buildings. Too damn bad. This was an emergency.

“Those two have a lot to answer for,” he said.

Once they got to the hangar—or whatever Serenians called the area where various flight vehicles landed and took off—he let her lead the way. He’d only been through there once, yesterday, after arriving aboard a shuttle from Space Station Alpha where the Freedom had docked. Where it should still be docked.

“This way.” Neese darted down a narrow passageway. “I want to know about the other man. Both Drakus and Usolde mentioned a he who tricked them. Any ideas?”

“You know the crew better than I do. Well, longer anyway.” He had only been aboard the Freedom for three weeks, ever since he switched places with his twin. And, holy shit, what a time it had been. Sabotage, capture, rescue, ecstasy, betrayal.

Yeah, he wanted to know the other guy’s identity, too. A member of the Freedom’s crew had not only masterminded the recent sabotage but also the release of war criminals and the theft of Scott’s ship. How the hell had they gotten it out of spacedock? There had to be controls. Clearance requirements. On top of that, he wondered why the Freedom. The rebels needed a ship to escape. Surely, other ships were easier to take out from under Space Fleet Security than an Alliance battle cruiser. Or maybe that had been the point. A way of thumbing their noses at The Powers That Be.

“Wait.” He snagged the strap of Neese’s bag. They’d gotten to the end of a long hall. She turned to him, questions in her Lake Michigan blue eyes. God, he loved seeing them without the silver lenses she had worn to pass as Serenian. He couldn’t wait for her short hair to grow out. Like wearing camouflage lenses, she’d dyed her hair black to look like a Serenian. He bet if left to nature, her hair would be a deep auburn like Jessie’s. With waves, too, once it was long enough. Or maybe it would curl cutely around her face.

Nah. Neese was many things—striking, intelligent, strong-willed—but never cute.

Edging her into the corner, he dropped his duffle and pulled her into his arms. “I gotta do this before we meet up with the others.”

She opened her mouth in surprise as his came down. He hoped the kiss he planted on her made her remember what they’d been doing two hours earlier. Finally alone and no longer worried about non-fraternization rules, they’d made love in a proper bed. It had been perfect. Perfect until she beat him to the punch and proposed. If the damn computer hadn’t interrupted with urgent messages, he would have made sure she understood there were some things a guy just had to do on his own.

Independent little cuss.

She broke off the kiss, her eyes huge. “We—We shouldn’t do this. Someone might—”

“Relax, Neese. Nobody’s around.”

“There could be.” When she scooted past him, her bag swung out and caught him in the side. Uttering a quick apology, she opened the door to a spacious hangar. “Chief Luqett and Mr. Glaxpher said they’d be waiting for us in Area 72.” She pointed overhead.

Up in the rafters, large white lettering designated areas. Naturally, he couldn’t read them. He didn’t think his link, which she’d programmed to translate Serenian symbols, would be able to “read” that far away.

“Where are we now?” he asked softly as he followed her.

“Area 51.”

That stopped him. “You have got to be joking.”

She turned to him and shook her head. “I do not understand.”

“Area 51. Aliens. Roswell, New Mexico.”

“Oh, that fiasco when the Cardijian ship crashed. We need to hurry.”

“You mean that was real?” He started grinning. “Hot damn.”

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing science fiction romance. Besides the Switched series, she is the author of The Pilot, a series about strong women on the frontier of space. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and two grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: 

Connect with Diane Burton online 


Diane Burton said...

Jessica, this chat was so much fun. Of course, we were chatting about my favorite subject (no pun intended) sci-fi romance. Now to get back to those pesky characters who won't quit yakking in my head.

Jessica E. Subject said...

Hi Diane! Yes, I very much enjoy these chats. And yes, I have some of those charcters, too. Let's get writing... :-)

tqbrock11 said...

Great excerpt - I really enjoyed it! I haven't read a sci-fi romance since I picked up one of Johanna Lindsey's years ago and loved it, but I'm thinking maybe it's time to try another! :)

Julian Kennedy said...

Grateful for sharing thiss