my good friend Marina Landry has a freshly published sci-fi romance book running around entitled A Star Called Home, and I’m here to spread the news! Amazon’s summary is as follows:
Jul Kisling’s heart aches for the homeless children living beyond her office window. Her father, Chancellor of the Third Quadrant of Akila, refuses to use his power to help them. Frightened but determined, Jul secretly searches for transportation to bring some of the children to a newly-colonized planet.
I haven’t finished reading it yet, so I can’t do a proper review. in lieu, here’s an interview she did with the publishers on their Facebook page. 😀 give it look-see, if’n you don’t mind. I’d really appreciate, and I know she would too! (oh, and here’s a link to her personal webpage, as well.)
As is tradition, today [Sunday] begins a new week of getting to know a DBP author, and this week you’ll meet a BRAND NEW author with DBP… Marina Landry. Marina’s first book, A Star Called Home, released this month. So, let’s get started with our first question…
Marina, The right setting is critical for a story to work. Have any of your books started out in one setting and ended up in another? What changes did you make and what made them necessary?
MARINA: In my Journeys trilogy, the stories began with most of the action taking place on Earth’s moon, which had been terraformed. The planet Earth was the setting for some secondary scenes. As I developed the stories, it became obvious that the situations on the moon seemed too much like things that would happen on the planet. So, I changed the main actions to take place on post-apocalyptic Earth, and the secondary scenes to take place on a spacecolony orbiting Earth. This change opened up wonderful opportunities to mix high-tech with more primitive situations, and to allude to issues caused by the current ways we govern citizens and relate to our planet.
Are you a full-out plotter? Are you a “let’s see what happens” pantser? Or do you think you fall somewhere in between? Describe your process in coming up with and executing a story idea.
MARINA: I seldom begin writing at the beginning of a story. When I have scenes in my mind that move me, I want to write them right away, then add to them later. So, my stories begin as a loosely linked chain of intense conflicts, surprise twists, emotional interactions, and a happy ending. After that, I work on the hook and begin writing the story straight through from the beginning.
How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you? Tell us why you love writing in whatever genre you consider your favorite (if you write in different genres).
MARINA: I’ve loved science fiction romance before there really was such a thing. In middle school, I read old copies of Andre Norton and Anne McCaffrey paperbacks, for example, and found them so much more wonderful than what I was reading in school. I especially liked the way science fiction addresses controversial issues and inevitable futures, making readers examine their beliefs, even though the author disguises the issues as fiction. As I grew older, I wanted speculative stories with more romance. I remember being at the RWA convention in San Francisco when the new genre “futuristic romance” was announced, and I knew I had found my niche.
Do you work any reality from your own life into your novels? If so, do you change it to make it more or less dramatic? How and why?
MARINA: In my experiences, life can be stranger than fiction—and often less credible. In A Star Called Home, a couple believes they were married by a police officer. This is based on a true story told to me by a real police officer. Years ago, he asked an elderly couple, after several domestic disturbances, why they didn’t just separate. They insisted they had sworn to the police officer who married them they would stay together “until death do you part.” They described the style of police uniform from decades before, which the officer had worn at their wedding. My friend told them, “Raise your right hand,” and he divorced them. The man and woman went their separate ways, relieved smiles on their faces.
The couple in A Star Called Home were still very much in love. So, while the discovery that the marriage was performed by a police office was a shocking scene, a solution was soon found to allow the couple to stay together. As this was a minor subplot in the story, I felt the discovery added enough tension, and there was no added drama of a quasi-divorce or separation.
Marina Landry, as a writer, who would you consider your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? Why?
MARINA: My totem is the spirit bear, also known as the Kermode bear, an endangered subspecies of the American black bear. Many spirit bears have fur that is transluscent, like polar bears, and looks white. During dreams and meditation, I’ve often received images of a white bear in a rainforest stream, rather than in snow, and it confused me for several years before seeing one on the cover of a National Geographic magazine.
Rarely seen, spirit bears are known for an elusive, ghostly, and timid nature. However, they are omnivores, and mothers are ferocious toward any perceived threat to their cubs. These are all characteristics I can see in myself. To me, the spirit bear is a reminder of the fragility of life, no matter how strong you are, and the importance of learning to live in harmony with all the creatures of the Earth (including people). The spirit bear also represents to me how introverts are often mistakenly assumed to be passive or uninteresting.
Did you ever write a novel with a message to the readers, or at least, a message you hope your readers garnered from it? What was the book, and what was the message? Why did you want to express it?
MARINA: I hope readers of A Star Called Home embrace the message we all have unique gifts and a place where each of us is appreciated for what some would consider flaws. This message is, actually, a mantra of tolerance I live by, especially with my students, so it was natural for me to want to create it for a wider circle of people.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote/scripture/poem that you feel motivates you? What is it, and how does it affect you?
MARINA: “Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent, if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
We all have a voice worth hearing. This quote by Henry Van Dyke has often given me courage to express my thoughts and to respect the thoughts of others. It reminds me how alike–and how perfect–all humans are in their uniqueness.
We wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to Marina Landry for spending the week with us.
Futuristic romance author Marina Landry is gaining attention in both the romance and science fiction communities for her heart-warming, emotionally intense, character-driven stories. She has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest, won First Place in the Golden Triangle Writer’s Guild Contest, Single Title Category, and First Place in the Heart of the West Contest, Paranormal Category. She received Honorable Mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest. She has had one short story, one novella, and two poems published in Romance and Beyond Magazine.
Living in south Louisiana, she has taught English language arts and mathematics, with her students ranging from middle school to college. She teaches the craft of writing on-line for all levels of writers. Though her education has not followed a typical path nor timeline, she has Masters Degrees in Adult Education, Education of the Academically Gifted, and Secondary Mathematics Education. She is a member of several writing and teaching organizations in addition to the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and American Mensa.