Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday's Interview -- Tracy St. Johns 1

1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?

I have written sci-fi and paranormal erotica for the most part. I love world building and creating different life forms that think and act differently from those of us on Mother Earth. And the paranormal holds immense fascination for me with its cast of inhuman creatures that can seduce and terrify all at once.

2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?

My stories always choose me...usually when I'm in the shower. I have no idea how soap and writing are linked, but that's where my muse shows up. The ideas almost always have a science fiction or paranormal bent to them. I grew up on Star Trek and Twilight Zone reruns, so I guess it should be no surprise.

3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?

I might try historical some day. I'm addicted to the History Channel; I'm a mythology geek. I've been contemplating an erotic series centered around the ancient Greek gods.

4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?

I enjoy horror, particularly Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I've lately plunged into the Sookie Stackhouse series, which is just plain fun escapism for me. If I'm going to read science fiction, it's usually Ray Bradbury, Piers Anthony, or E. E. Knight. And of course I read erotica. Anais Nin was my first exposure and still my hands-down favorite.

5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,

I've been writing since I was a child. I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a writer. Reading always provided an escape for me, and I lived through the books my parents bought me. But my first 'serious' writing started when I was about 20 years old, with the hopes of someday being published. It only took 23 years to achieve that goal!

6. Which of your characters is your favorite?

My favorite character thus far is Jessica McInness, the heroine from my second book 'Alien Rule'. She's feisty, quick-tempered, and doesn't put up with any nonsense her three would-be mates try to pull on her.

7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?

There are villains, but they actually play very small roles. Usually the greatest conflicts my heroes/heroines face are their own weaknesses, which can be pretty profound. To create my villains, I start with their motivations. Are they greedy for power? Is their view of the world skewed? Do they feel cheated and thus justified in pursuing a less than noble path? No one sets out to be the bad there has to be very good reason why a character becomes a villain.

8. What are you working on now?

I have several projects at different stages. I'm editing the fourth installment of my Clans of Kalquor series, about a third of the way through the first draft for a new paranormal series, outlining the fifth Clans of Kalquor book, and outlining a novel that I'm co-writing with another author. Whew!

9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?

The latest release, due out May 27, is 'Alien Conquest', the third of the Clans of Kalquor series. The idea for this one was based on the notion of, what would happen if the Kalquorians, desperate for female mates from Earth, stumbled across a convent full of nuns on a remote planet/moon? Yes, this was one of those questions that showed up in the shower, and I had a lot of fun answering it.

10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.

The heroine, Cassidy Hamilton, doesn’t think life can get any worse after being sequestered against her will in a convent on Europa. A Kalquorian invasion changes her mind in a hurry, and she barely eludes her people’s greatest enemy by hiding in the convent's ventilation shafts. Fear and desire become a heady mixture when her spying reveals the aliens’ intentions for Europa’s nuns: bondage and seduction.

The war with Earth threatens Kalquor’s already precarious survival, and Captain Tranis is determined to conquer the fanatically religious planet. But capturing the curvy beauty who escaped him and his clanmates Lidon and Degorsk is a welcome distraction. Once they have Cassidy in their possession, the three men discover something harder to win than a war: a woman's heart.

From the book:

Cassidy Hamilton sighed before shoving a chocolate in her mouth. As cloying sweetness invaded her taste buds, she studied the page displayed on her illuminated reader for the second time.

The book was a dry read, a dissident rant from decades before when Earth’s nations had first been gathered under one banner, ending all war on her home world. Peace reigned over the once battle-torn planet for the most part, tended to by armored soldiers and soulless battle drones capable of wiping out entire cities. Revolts had been quashed with quick ruthlessness, barely disturbing the fearful complacency of the general populace.

The author of this particular book had no doubt been executed for his anti-unified government views. The long-ago renegade seethed over the assertion all Earth’s outdated nuclear warheads had been detonated in space, an impossibility he warned, given the smallness of the blasts transmitted through the government-controlled media. He then went on with extensive mathematical formulae to prove his point, formulae that went on for five pages.

It wasn’t that Cassidy couldn’t grasp the weighty data. She played in mathematics the way a child might play with clay. Normally, she’d be scrutinizing the computations, looking for errors or little twists in logical application that would serve the author’s needs. Tonight she couldn’t concentrate though. The knowledge that more interesting tomes awaited in the illicit book collection stored in her reader kept her from focusing on the outlawed manuscript.

She shifted, searching for a more comfortable position in the cramped ventilation shaft. Stretched out on her belly, her stiff, long-sleeved nightgown bunching around her knees, it wasn’t easy to move around. The narrow ductwork, glowing silvery-white in the wash of light from her reader, was the only place she dared to read the illegal materials she’d downloaded from her grandfather’s collection before being sequestered in the convent on Europa.

It was still early in the convent’s sleeping hours on the eternal night side of the moon. Cassidy read every night in her hiding place, nibbling on sweets and snacks bought with the modest allowance her grandfather sent her. She’d been stuck on Europa for three years now, her days a monotonous drone of praying, tending crops, scrubbing floors, and Bible study. Even creeping through the ventilation system to spy on her fellow aspirants and the nuns had worn out its novelty. Only the stolen collection of banned books kept her mind sharp and sane. Fortunately, the library was vast. She’d barely sampled the many offerings her grandfather had kept hidden deep in secret computer files.

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