Please help me welcome Greta van der Rol to my blog today.
Thanks so much for allowing me to guest on your blog, Cynthia. If your readers would care to leave me a comment, naming what it was inspired the virus in ‘The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy’, they’ll be in the draw to win an ebook copy of The Iron Admiral – which is an omnibus of both my Iron Admiral books. (The answer is in the post, folks – and please tell me what format ebook you’d like – epub, mobi or pdf)
What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I mainly write Science Fiction with a dollop of romance. I’ve always enjoyed space opera. Star Wars was a favorite, despite the lousy science. You just suspended belief and went along for the ride. But I would have liked a bit more spice (if you know what I mean) so I’ve added a little bit in my own stories – based on the old adage, write what you’d like to read.
Tell us about your current series.
My Morgan Selwood books are my most popular. The setting is the far distant future, many centuries after Mankind was nearly wiped out in a colossal war known to history as the Cyber Wars. Morgan Selwood is a cyborg. But don’t tell her that. She’s very much all woman – except she has a super computer in her brain, and her eyes are artificial so she can connect to any sort of computer equipment.
Her story started in a novella called Supertech when the reader is introduced to her straight out of the Fleet Academy.
In Morgan’s Choice she ends up lost in space, where she is ‘rescued’ (captured) by an alien warship. Although things are decidedly rocky at first, she develops a relationship with the alien admiral and becomes involved in the local politics. You might say this book is sort of a cross between Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
This was followed by a short story entitled A Victory Celebration, mainly in response to people who asked for a bit more interplay between Admiral Ravindra and Morgan.
And now there’s Morgan’s Return, where Morgan goes home to where she began in Morgan’s Choice, and (needless to say) soon finds herself up to her ears in trouble.
What is your favorite part of writing?
You might find this a bit odd. Editing. I love finishing a story, then going back to polish it till it shines. It’s a bit like building a house. You watch it go up, brick by tedious brick, then you get to decorate.
What is your least favorite part of writing?
The blank page.
What is your next project and when will it be released?
The next project will also be set in Morgan Selwood’s universe, but it won’t star Morgan or Ravindra. They’ll both have a cameo appearance but their story has been told. I expect the new book will be released late 2013.
Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Often from real events in history. For instance, the plot for my first Iron Admiral book, Conspiracy, was loosely based on Hitler’s rigged-up plot to start WW2. The Nazis staged an attack on a radio station just over the German border with Poland by men dressed as Polish soldiers. They broadcast inflammatory statements which Hitler used as his excuse to invade.
In a similar vein, the virus in that book was inspired by the Black Death which devastated Europe in the mid 1300’s.
I also assume that whatever else changes, human nature never does. There will always be tribalism, religion, fundamentalists, intolerance, greed – as well as love, strength, altruism.
I mix it all up with fast-paced action, add a scoop of romance and bake until done.
Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.
In this series the hero is Admiral Ashkar Ravindra. He’s tall, too hard to be handsome with amber eyes. He’s Manesai, not Human, although his race is genetically derived from Humans. His eyes are like a cat’s. No whites and with vertical pupils.
He is a man of wealth and power, born to be a Fleet admiral. It’s in the blood and to a certain extent hereditary. But he’s a little bit different in that he is not as hide-bound and traditional as his compatriots, which is why he keeps Morgan, an alien, around. His intention originally is to use her for his own ends but that changes over time as respect is enhanced by love.
He’s not a ‘nice’ man. At all. Perhaps his greatest strength is his ability to see the bigger picture and do what is best for his people.
His greatest weakness is his need to control. Especially Morgan, who does not appreciate control. Oh, and he also does NOT like submarines. Not one bit. All that pressure…
Tell us about your heroine. Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.
Morgan was modified at birth, when her super computer was fitted in her brain and her eyes replaced with improved artificial models. Apart from her eyes, which look like mercury, she’s outwardly a normal, living, breathing, loving woman. But Morgan differs from other Supertechs in one important respect – she’s not specially biddable. She carried the mental scars of her modification and ruptured childhood like a chip on her shoulder. She has no love for authority and despises rank.
Her greatest strength is obviously her technical ability. She can work with (almost) all computer systems, given time to learn. She also can see more wavelengths of radiation than ordinary people and can enhance her hearing.
Her greatest weakness is a pathological fear of caves and being underground. This seems from a childhood experience. In more general terms, she finds it hard to connect with people, to make friends, to trust.
Morgan and Ravindra have just left the space station at the first planet they visited.
Through the ships’ sensors Morgan watched the station’s locking arms retract into themselves like some sort of huge insect folding its limbs. She couldn’t wait to get out of the place. Iniciara had been crossed off the one-hundred-places-you-must-visit-before-you-die list. What a stinking, messy, dump. She hadn’t even liked eating the food there. Who knew where it came from? What it was? She bet the half of it was synthetic, made in a factory somewhere.
Curlew shuddered and began to move backwards. The station had applied enough thrust to push the ship out of the bay and into clear space, with the ship’s systems controlling her drift so Curlew stayed equidistant between the docking bay walls. Beyond the bay, the station’s slowly-receding bulk rose before them, a metal pincushion of ships, arranged in slowly-turning tiers.
Aft and forward side thrusters fired. Curlew pivoted, then followed a traffic lane to the designated jump area for Torreno. For Morgan, that really would be almost like coming home. She’d spent many a year on the Coalition’s capital planet, some good, some not so good. Judging by the lack of traffic, Torreno wasn’t a favored destination from Iniciara. Or maybe all the traffic for that destination had already left. Whatever. Space was a very empty place out here.
“Crew prepare for shift transfer in ten,” Jirra announced.
One last check of the sensors… Morgan’s heart thudded. “Missile, coming fast, from starboard.” She’d raised the shields before she’d finished the words. “Prepare for impact.” They wouldn’t be able to avoid the strike whatever she did.
The shields fairly blazed, crackling with power as the warhead exploded. Morgan hung on to her seat, grateful for the harness, as Curlew was flung across space. Warning lights flashed. Shields were down seventy percent. If she hadn’t seen the missile coming at the last moment, they would have been history. Idiot. Fool. How could you be so complacent? And another tiny voice whispered, how could you miss it? How could you not have seen it?
Fuck. Another one.
Davaskar’s voice was calm, however he might feel. “Looks like a seeker. Run interference.”
A cloud of ionized particles spread out in the missile’s path. Morgan crossed mental fingers. Jirra was deploying the weapons systems, but they had been in lock down while at Iniciara’s space station, and they would take a few moments of precious time to be combat-ready.
“Attacking craft to starboard, on a heading to cut us off,” Jirra said. “Second missile still on track. Prepare for impact.”
Morgan braced as the alarms shrilled. The force flung her sideways, smashing her hip against the seat arm. Something sizzled, filling the air with the stink of burnt wires. Lights blinked. Her hip hurt.
Ravindra’s voice cut through the cacophony. “What’s happening?”
She felt, rather than saw, him sit down in the command chair at the back of the bridge.
“Under fire from an unknown attacker, Srimana,” Jirra said without looking up.
“Sensors blown to starboard, systems report mild structural damage to the hull.”
A blast from a beam weapon tore across the ship’s bow.
‘Shields critical’. The letters flashed a warning on every screen while a slow beep sounded a countdown.
The unknown assailant pivoted, ready for another run.
Greta van der Rol loves writing fast-paced, action-packed science fiction with a large dollop of good old, healthy romance. Her novel Morgan’s Choice was in the top 100 best sellers for space opera on Amazon for several months. But she writes other genres, too. Her historical novel To Die a Dry Death was awarded the bronze medal for historical fiction in the 2011 eLit Awards and her latest work, Black Tiger, is a paranormal romance. Greta lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn’t bent over the computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavours.
Links for books http://gretavanderrol.net/books-2/