I love reading. Books and stories–fiction and nonfiction–take you to places you can never go and let you become friends with people you will never meet. I love writing even more because then I get to create those places and people. People with characteristics I want but will never have except on the page. Places no one will ever go because they’re in the past or future. And science twisted into science fiction that drive the plots of my stories. For example:
People: Sergeant Nicky Matthews in Hearts of the Missing, Tony Hillerman Prize winning book. She’s actually based on a real person who worked as a police officer on the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos in New Mexico. Her stories about crime on the reservation and how she had to walk a very narrow line as a non-Native were fascinating. Like Nicky, she was always an outsider in the culture she policed. And like Nicky, she saw ghosts and had supernatural experiences that she couldn’t explain.
Characteristic: Bravery. When Will Smith walked up on that stage and slapped Chris Rock, it shocked the world. While that would never happen for the vast majority of people, did you put yourself in the place of either of those men and IMAGINE how you would’ve reacted? I did. And even though I was raised to turn the other cheek, I hoped I’d have been brave enough to tap Will Smith on the shoulder and knock him to the ground. Maybe not the popular opinion, but I think a lot of us get verbally slapped around by the bullies in our lives and we’re tired of it. In one scene, Nicky’s captain in Hearts of the Missing excoriates her. When I wrote her response I poured all of my internal bravery into it and it felt so good. Nicky’s not afraid to run into the fire. Thus the title of the second book in the series, The Third Warrior.
Places: The Pleistocene BioPark in Unmasked, the start of a new series of murder mysteries. This is a fictional futuristic zoo in northern New Mexico, one where a huge swath of land has been forcibly re-wilded for extreme de-extinct creatures to roam: mammoths and dire wolves and saber-toothed cats and short-face bears and do-dos and choose you favorite extinct animal genetically engineered from ancient DNA. Can you imagine? It would be amazing. I want to bring this place to readers who love science and animals, and mix in murder. I’m so excited about this series and Unmasked is FREE to download and read.
Science into Science Fiction: Whether it’s the perfect genetic victim for illegal organ transplants, or infective organisms that chelate minerals from its host’s brain, changing their violent predilections, or orchids that fluoresce different colors based emotion, or 3D-printed uteri used to birth genetically created de-extincts, I’m always looking for new ways to twist the science in our world into science fiction to drive my stories. Those orchids will pop up in the next book in the Nicky Matthews Mystery series, Spirit Daughters, releasing this fall. Cover reveal coming soon!
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