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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TOPIC: In a galaxy far, far away...with Linnea Sinclair

Some of the most wonderful moments of my childhood included reenacting or creating my own scenes of such science fiction classics as George Lucas' Star Wars, Glen A.Larson's Battlestar Galactica (the original version) and Gene Rodenbury's Star Trek.

Most days my friends went along with my desire to turn the Jacaranda tree in my front yard into an Viper or X-wing fighter.

We fought over whether we were going to be Jedi's or belong to the Dark Side of the Force. And how we so wished transporters or the TARDIS were actually real!

In many ways I never lost that obsessions with all things sci-fi. I still love watching SF TV shows and movies - old and new - V the TV series, Dr.Who, Lost in Space, Farscape, Firefly, Stargate, ET, Tron, Dune, Planet of the Apes, Alien, The Terminator, Mad Max, Fortress, Waterworld, Pitch Black, Independence Day, The Matrix, Armageddon, I,Robot, I am Legend, Avatar, District 9, Cowboys & Aliens...the list is endless.

My love for sci-fi didn't stop at TV shows or movies. I loved reading the genre as well.

I became a huge fan of authors like Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Patrick Tilley, David Brin and Sharon Green.

And then I discovered science fiction romance - the best of all worlds!

So, for those of you who don't know what it is, or for those who love it as much as I do, this is a blog series devoted entirely to science fiction romance and the authors who write it for our enjoyment.

Strap yourselves in, prepare to jump to Warp 9 and you never know...you might find yourselves in a galaxy far, far away...addicted to a new genre...and a new author...

 In a galaxy far, far away...with Linnea Sinclair
Winner of the prestigious national book award, the RITA®, and published by both the Dell and Spectra imprints of Bantam Random House as well as the Gallery imprint of Simon & Schuster, science fiction romance author Linnea Sinclair has become a name synonymous for high-action, emotionally intense, character-driven novels.

Reviewers note that Sinclair’s novels “have the wow-factor in spades,” earning her accolades from both the science fiction and romance communities. Her books have claimed spots in the Locus Top Ten and received starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly.  Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine consistently gives Sinclair’s books 4-1/2 stars (their highest rating). Starlog magazine calls Sinclair “one of the reigning queens of science fiction romance.”

The Down Home Zombie Blues, her 2007 release, was optioned for movie production in 2010 and began principle photography as The Down Home Alien Blues in February 2011. Release date TBA.

Sinclair, a former news reporter and retired private detective,  resides in Naples, Florida (winters) and Columbus, Ohio (summers) with her husband, Robert Bernadino, and their thoroughly spoiled cats. Readers can find her perched on the third barstool from the left in her Intergalactic Bar and Grille at www.linneasinclair.com.

Has the SF genre always fascinated you?
If you consider Mighty Mouse and Astro-Boy...yes. Always. Non-humans, non-human abilities and/or high-tech (or what passed for high-tech in the 1960s), the "other," the "not here...." All those things pulled at me strongly ever since I can remember.

What SF/R addictions can you lay claim to?
I have a Star Trek Barbie & Ken (in original box, never opened). Star Wars coffee mugs, NASA coffee mugs and socks, Star Trek coffee mugs including an NCC 1701 A Enterprise one from the set, given to me by Duke Marsh, the director of THE DOWN HOME ALIEN BLUES... pretty much if it has stars or an outer-space them and I can afford it, I have it.

Is there any one author, TV show, movie, producer, actor, other influence that inspires you?
Author would definitely be CJ Cherryh. I adore her FOREIGNER series. She's an auto-buy for me.

I also love Jack Campbell's LOST FLEET books (another auto-buy), and books by RM Meluch, Ian Douglas, Julie Czerneda, Lisa Shearin, Karen Miller/KE Mills, and Laurie R King (yeppers, some non SF/SFR in there).

Certainly Lucas and his Star Wars projects are a huge influence on me, but I find I'm more moved by the printed word than visual recreations. I guess I just like the movies in my own head better.

What sucked you in to writing science fiction - as opposed to being just a fan or reader of SF and whether it's straight SF, space opera, SFR or any other combination?
Oh, I'm still a reader and long-time fan. What started me writing my own stories was to put a romantic spin (and an HEA) to the stories I already enjoyed.

To a great extent, I pre-date SFR. There was SF when I was growing up and there was romance, and never the two did meet. I did find some SF stories that hinted at some kind of romantic relationship between the main characters but more often than not it didn't end in an HEA. Or I found romance novels purportedly set in an SF setting but they never read like real SF to me. So I had to create my own.

As an author published in SFR, have you seen or do you see the genre gaining popularity in the marketplace?
I think it waxes and wanes, and is somewhat driven by whatever new movie, TV show, or video game is in vogue. Then there's the issue that many publishers--moreso in NY--don't know how to market it. We're the proverbial square peg or perhaps the heart-shaped peg in a star-shaped board.

I would like to think, as technology becomes more and more inseparable in our daily lives, that some of the 'fear,' the 'ick' factor for SF decreases. And perhaps more readers--who already enjoy action-adventure and romance--will give us a try.

If you consider many of the more recent James Bond films, much of what's there borders on SF-type tech. I think the most natural growth for the SFR market would be to seduce the James Bond/super spy type fans.

Published work in the SF/R genre: 9
  • GABRIEL’S GHOST*  (Dock Five Universe)
  • SHADES OF DARK* (Dock Five Universe)
    HOPE’S FOLLY* (Dock Five Universe)
  • REBELS AND LOVERS* (Dock Five Universe)
  • Anthology: SONGS OF LOVE & DEATH: Tales of Star-Crossed Love, “Courting Trouble” by Linnea Sinclair; George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois, Eds.
Finding Linnea:     website     Facebook

What unique slant have you given SF in your books?
I don't know if it qualifies as a unique slant per se, but my books are very much distinguishable by my writing voice: lots of snark, lots of fast-paced action, lots of cliff-hanging. But I'm also a poet at heart.

I have a collection of, oh, twenty or more poems that form an SFR ballad--an entire novel in poetry form--that I wrote over thirty years ago. Poetic word choice, pacing, and cadence play large parts in what I write.

Are there other SFR novels like mine? I can think of several, from Susan Grant's books to Catherine Asaro's to Ann Aguirre's to Julie Czerneda's to Sara Creasy's, Jess Granger's, Marcella Burnard's and others. But each of us have our own unique take and unique slice of the SF/SFR/RSF pie. But my voice is mine, just as Julie's is hers and Jess's is hers.

I think an author's voice--his word choice, pacing, stylistic preferences, and more--are a very important part of whether a reader is willing to go along for the ride the author creates. It works toward the required suspension of disbelief, and works heavily toward the required emotional attachment the reader must make with the lead characters. The author's voice can make the unreal become real.

I try to make my author-voice, my writing style, such that the reader gets sucked in to the characters and worlds quickly. I recognize that I'm writing far out of most readers' everyday experiences, so I aim for intimacy; I am for details. I aim for my own peculiar take on life, which all my characters embody to one extent or another. Sometimes I do it better than other times but at all times I'm very aware that I need to make the unbelievable, believable.

Have you received feedback from readers about your work and what did they like about it?
I've received tons of feedback, yes. I get emails from readers. I have a Yahoo fan group with over 700 readers on it, and over 900 on my Facebook fan page. Pitiful amounts compared to JK Rowling or Nora Roberts, I'm sure, but larger than I expected given the quirkiness of SFR and the fact that I really don't go trolling for fans.

Those who like my books do so for the reasons I've stated: snark and action. Those that don't tend to fall into one of two categories: "Great SF action--ditch the romance!" or "Great romance--ditch the tech and space stuff!"

Can you share a little about your latest release (or a series or a novel from your backlist)?
I was thrilled to contribute a novella to an anthology edited by George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois. I'm a big fan of both gentleman; I've read Dozois "Best of SF..." anthologies for years, and never dreamed I'd actually be in one.

"Courting Trouble" is in SONGS OF LOVE & DEATH (Simon & Schuster) and the anthology now out in paperback (much more affordable). It received great reviews from both the SF and romance community, and a nice nod from Library Review (very important with anthologies).

Along with my story, there are stories from Diana Gabaldon, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Mary Jo Putney, Peter S Beagle... well, you can see it's quite a mix.

The full author parade is on my site.

It's out in hardcover, audio, and paperback.  My novella is a "new" world and characters. I'd considered doing a spin-off story from one of my other books, but I didn't feel I could count on the entire SF community being familiar with my worlds and characters. Yet I still wanted what I wrote to carry my brand. So "Courting Trouble" is fast-paced and fun space opera with a romance subplot.

LOCUS--one of the premier SF magazines, noted:
"A cross-genre project collecting love stories in settings from science fiction, fantasy and, inevitably, romance. Most of the authors are Big Names, and some, but not all of their stories are set in established series...[Courting Trouble]: A lot of action and adventure going on amidst layers of conspiracies... Adventures ensue, ending, of course, in romance."
—Lois Tilton, Locus Online Reviews
And from the romance corner, there's the well-respected Kathy's Review Corner:
“With Courting Trouble, Linnea Sinclair has once again delivered an intense, action filled story with complex world building and a heart-tugging romance... A science fiction "best friends" romance with a hero oh-so-in love with his heroine written by a superb storyteller...how could I not love this story?"
—Kathy’s Review Corner

The other big news I have is that my THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES is now in movie production. Fans can follow the progress on a blog created by one of the actors.

It's the most amazing thing watching your words, your characters, come alive on screen.

Think back to all the TV shows/cartoons, movies and books you've read in the SF/R genre and answer the following... 
SF/R hero: Bren Cameron 
SF/R heroine: Aeryn Sun 
SF/R villain: Regarth Serian Cordell Delkavra, or "Del" 
SF/R alien race: the atevi 
SF/R technology: matter transporter (beam me up!) 
SF/R space craft: Millenium Falcon 
SF/R TV show or movie: Farscape
SF/R quote made by a character/actor/person: It's a toss up between the dialogue on FARSCAPE and on FIRFELY/SERENITY, though for me FARSCAPE wins, but only slightly.


  1. Congrats on Linnea dropping by for a visit. Her books are some of the best I've read and really cemented for me what SFR can be at its best. And your blog is terrific. I'll be a regular visitor from now on.

  2. LOVED all those great 70's and 80's sci/fi shows especially Battlestar Gallactica. One of my faves was another Glen A.Larson's show, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century!!
    I loved Twiki and his "biddi-biddi-biddi" and wise crack one liners (showing my age much!!)

    Somehow though I've never really enjoyed straight out sci/fi books, elements of yes but the whole in space thing doesnt really do it for me...OR I just havent found the right author yet!!
    I might have to give Linnea Sinclair a go now though so thanks for the interview :)

  3. G'day Willa, glad to have you visit and so good to hear you enjoyed the interview with Linnea. I'm seconding you on your comment about her books - my fav. is GAMES OF COMMAND. :-) Also good to hear you'll be back to the blog!

    Hey, Cath! Will it make you feel better to know I also watched Buck Rogers. I always thought though that cow horn headdress worn by Princess Ardala just made her look like a Texas longhorn! :-D

    Seeing as you've never really enjoyed straight SF you may have to try a Linnea Sinclair, I think. She mixes SF with R so well. Which one to recommend though...hmm, that's a tough one to answer. Which one do you recommend to ease a newbie into your world of SFR?

  4. I so loved Boomer and Apollo growing up lol. I am a scifi fan too. Even have my 9yr old obsessed with Dr Who. He grew up watching all the B&W eps and now is loving the colour ones. And now Buck Rogers is on TV early on Sat so when I feed the twins we all watch BR now lol. Classic!

    I'm a massive space opera fan too. Love me some David Weber! And have read all of Linnea's and even taken some of her workshops. Inhaling as much info as possible.

    Kelly Ethan

  5. Kylie - you say your fave is Games of Command... Let me say that Kel-Paten (hero of GOC) is my All-Time Fave Hero. Love him! And if you go to her website... you can find add'l scenes. Never can get enough Kel-Paten. (Hint, Hint Linnea)

  6. Thank you, Kylie for introducing me to an SFR author (and a list of a few more). :)

    Buck Rogers, ah yes. He introduced me to 3 Dog Night - what a man.

  7. Kylie you are introducing far too many authors and their wonderful books!

    Linnea I'm ashamed to say I've not read any of your books, though I've heard great things about them! I'm guessing your past careers have helped greatly in your writing =)

  8. Thanks so much for an interesting post, Linnea & Kylie. Linnea, I am a fan of your books and love sci fi. Hope to see more of them in the future.
    Congrats on the movie -- will definitely be looking out for it.

  9. I'm also a huge Kel-Paten fan. Really enjoyed 'Games of Command' but then I love all the techy stuff.

  10. Linnea, looks like we have a few GOC fans here! :-) Thanks so much for your comments everyone, and for warmly welcoming Linnea to my blog!

    Good to see mums passing on their addictions and favorite SF shows to the next generation.

    Mel & Sandy, you HAVE to read Linnea's books!!! Add them to your teetering TBR piles.

    Suzanne, you & I both are hanging out for the movie!

    Greta, if you like techy SFR then check out Sara Creasy - she's visiting my blog in the next couple of weeks! Her SCARABAEUS series is a fantastic mix of tech, SF & romance.

  11. Kylie, great interview and what a guest for your blog series!
    Linnea, have loved your books for many years now. Finders Keepers was the first one I read and then I had to go out and get the rest... and have since been buying them as they come out. And sorry, everyone, as much as I love Kel, I have to say Philip is my favorite. I've read Hope's Folly too many times to count!

  12. FINDERS KEEPERS was my first Linnea book, too! And then I quickly read and reread and reread again everything else she wrote.

    You know, I haven't reread one of your books in a while. I'm suddenly having withdrawals!

    re: popularity of the genre. I'm thinking it's going to take a BIG young adult novel to really make the genre stand out. You know, kind of like Twilight was for vampires. Vamp stories pre-existed it, of course, but I've talked to so many non-readers who suddenly became readers of UF/paranormal fiction b/c of Stephanie Meyer's books.

    I was hoping ACROSS THE GALAXY by Beth Revis might be that break-out-the-genre novel, but it doesn't look like it's caught on big time (not yet, at least).

    Great post and interview! Hope to meet you at RT, Linnea!

  13. Thanks all for your kind comments on my books! I apologize for popping in here late--I'm leaving Friday for Chicago and the insane Romantic Times Book convention (starts Monday for me as I'm in charge of the entire Pre-Con Aspiring Writers Program). I feel a bit as if I'm being nibbled to death by intergalactic ducks at the moment...

    I am SUPER excited about the upcoming THE DOWN HOME ALIEN BLUES movie. I'm hoping the flick will be out sometime late summer or early fall--that's the best guesstimates the director has given me. They're doing all the special effects work right now and that takes time--and sometimes puts things beyond their control. It's the most amazing thing to see one's characters "in real life." ;-)

    Again, thanks all!

  14. Linnea, a movie about one of your books would be like being published for the first time - just amazing!

    Have fun at RT! (just a little green with envy here)