The ES Siren series is written by Shona Husk, Denise Rossetti and Mel Teshco and kicks off on August 28th 2014. This is a behind the scenes look at how the series came together.
Last year I had a bit of an idea for a series and it was the kind of world that could easily work as a continuity because while there was an overarching plot (a ship taking free settlers and prisoners to act as labor to a new world to set up a colony) there were so many angles and characters to explore along the way. So I emailed a couple of my author friends and asked if they’d be interested in joining me on this adventure into the unknown with no guarantees of being able to sell the series. Mel Teshco and Denise Rossetti said yes. Yay!
What happened next was hundreds of emails…literally hundreds ranging from what color should the prisoners wear to what did the ship look like, to how long would the trip take, to what was life like on the new planet.
What had started as little spark of a concept was very quickly becoming huge and we hadn’t even started writing yet.
We had to get organized and fast.
Enter Dropbox (which was Denise’s idea). We started documents for characters, locations and a general overview. While we still have to brainstorm an issue via email, it is then saved in Dropbox—and much easier to find than rummaging through tons of emails.
Denise and I pitched the series to Joel from Momentum book 12 months ago at a conference. I am so thrilled that the series is about to hit the virtual shelves.
My story features and army medic who have rather stayed on Earth and a man who wanted nothing more than to get off Earth, even if that meant committing a crime to get on board Siren.
For me the experience has been a lot of fun. Growing a world with other writers is very different to doing on your on your own, and yet it’s been amazing to watch as stories mesh together. I hope we get to write many more.
When Shona and Mel asked me to join them in the ES Siren continuity, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. From my point of view, it was absolutely perfect. First, I love Shona and Mel, both as writers and great people, and I trust them too—no small thing. Second, it was pure Science Fiction, something I couldn’t wait to dig into. I thought the whole concept was terrific, and the sheer scope of it was breathtaking. But the very best thing for me was that writing with friends meant that I would have to meet the deadline or let them down. Generally speaking, deadlines are not my best thing!
Once we had the settings worked out, we got to build a world together via email and skype – incredibly cool. It’s like magic the way one idea sparks off another and another. There are the education classes and the knitting of socks, for example, but you’ll have to read to find out!
Another concept was an aphrodisiac date-rape drug called sexmeth, invented by Mel for our villain to use. I couldn’t bear the thought of the revolting man getting away unscathed, so I (or rather my character, Doctor Lily Kwan) invented an antidote for it.
Because Mel and Shona had created major characters who were prisoners, I decided to go with a romance between a civilian, the scientist Lily Kwan, and a non commissioned officer, the Siren’s hard-as-nails Quartermaster, Master Sergeant Con Madison. Ta da! Wealthy science geek meets former gang rat. Suspicion, misunderstanding and frustration ensue. Heh heh.
What I’ve really enjoyed is the reassurance of having two clever writers to bounce ideas off. We’re greater than the sum of our parts and the result is a rich and fully developed world. It’s fascinating to see how each of us ‘sees’ the Siren and her people, the differences and similarities.
With each book, the Siren and her sister ships voyage further into the unknown, while the inevitable human dramas play out on board. I can’t wait to see how it ends. Actually, to be honest, we know how it ends, what I should say is that we can’t wait to tell you!
I was thrilled when Shona asked if I’d be interested in writing for this continuity. I mean who’d say no to working with two fantastic writers!?
Now that I’ve started this journey, I take my hat off to anyone who’s done something similar. You really have to be on your game to make sure every last detail is correct, and take notice of things that might very well jump out at a reader (thank god for some detailed notes in Dropbox!) For example the same bad guy in each of our first books had to stay in character. Not only did he have to be an arrogant asshole in book 1 to book 3 he also had to have the right mannerisms and same physicality.
I’ve loved how different our stories are, our voices and our characters, and I think that’s one of the things that make this continuity so unique. But although our characters interweave and want desperately to survive the trip to Solitaire, they still have very different goals.
My book features a male prisoner who is an artist forced to take the journey. He’s an ‘all whites’ prisoner – mentally ill and highly dangerous. My heroine is a soldier committed to getting off Earth and starting a new life. She thinks anyone who doesn’t want the opportunity is an ungrateful and undeserving wretch.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how all our characters in our next three books of the continuity are going to act – lots of dramas ahead!
ES Siren Series:
#1 Yours to Uncover by Mel Teshco http://www.amazon.com/Yours-Uncover-ES-Siren-1-ebook/dp/B00LKVFAKS/
It's the year 2202. Earth is grossly overpopulated and seriously polluted. Rita Songworth has spent half her twenty-two years trying to escape the dying planet. It's taken the last five of those years to realize making it in the hard-ass infantry is her only way out, via space transporter Earth Ship Siren.
But the journey to Unity, the new colony, isn't easy. Rita has to resist an attraction to hard, brutish prisoner, Tristan MacFallan, whose masterful hands create more than the beautiful art he's been assigned to make. His forbidden touch affects her profoundly and he sees things in her no man ever has before. But obeying Kane, her ex-lover and malicious lieutenant, who is appointed to keeping the prisoners under guard, comes at a high price. Is she willing to sacrifice everything to keep her secret and her lover safe?
#2 Yours to Command by Shona Husk http://www.amazon.com/Yours-Command-ES-Siren-2-ebook/dp/B00LKVFAJY/
Corporal Sienna Jade wasn't given a choice about joining the mission to Unity. Seen as a troublemaker after reporting an assault by a senior officer, the army wanted her gone. Sienna resents the army for assigning her to Earth Ship Siren, and suspects the fleet's Unity mission will fail. But others would do anything to escape Earth ...
Alex Tariel knew his only chance to get a place on ES Siren was as a prisoner, so he stole water rations. As a former construction foreman, his skills make him a valuable prisoner on board, but still a prisoner unable to control his own life. Instead of keeping his head down, he gets involved in the fights set up for gambling privilege tokens, the only currency aboard ship among the prisoners.
Getting patched up by Corporal Jade might be the best thing that's happened to Alex on the trip so far, but becoming her ship husband puts him between her and the lieutenant who tried to kill her for kicks on Earth. While Sienna tries to keep control of her feelings for Alex, Alex would do anything to protect her, if only she'd let him.
As ES Siren faces its first crisis, a little trust and love goes a long way.
#3 Yours to Desire by Denise Rossetti http://www.amazon.com/Yours-Desire-ES-Siren-3-ebook/dp/B00LKVFAK8/
It's 2202 and on board ES Siren, the brilliant Doctor Lily Kwan has worked in secret to develop an antidote for the aphrodisiac rape drug, sexmeth.
She'd be overjoyed if it wasn't for an embarrassing problem: the antidote has no effect on her extraordinary reaction to Connor Madison, the Siren's tough quartermaster. Scientifically, it should be impossible, but the man's a raging fever in her blood. If a single dark glance sets Lily on fire, a kiss might kill her dead – but what a way to go!
A former gang rat from the slums of a dying world, Con came up the hard way, so when geeky Doctor Kwan tops his hit list of possible drug runners, nothing's going to save her—not her family's money, nor her clever mind.
Not even the smile in her eyes.