|Look familiar? Think again.|
One of the most exciting things about writing science fiction romance is the broad, unbounded field on which we can play. As SFR writers we can--and do—travel to other planets, visit neighboring galaxies, live among alien cultures, have friends and enemies in alternate universes, in the past, in the future.
So why would anyone stay home? That is, why would anyone write a science fiction romance set on Earth, here and now?
My science fiction suspense romance Unchained Memory, just out from INK’d Press, is such a story, set (mostly) on the Earth of today, an environment familiar to any reader who picks up the book. The book has no steampunk past, no dystopian future, no tentacle love, no battlestars.
But very quickly, my human hero and heroine discover the world they live in is not as benign as it seems. They are forced to recognize that the stuff of science fiction nightmare—alien abduction, mind control, interstellar slavery—is a very real part of the world they thought they knew. They have to adjust their world view to include this new perception. And so do my readers.
Like any SFR story, Unchained Memory opens the door to a new universe and asks readers to leave their current beliefs about things as they are at the doorstep. The Earth of my novel is at the center of a hidden battle between an interstellar slave-trading empire and the organization of abolitionists dedicated to fighting that empire. This is the universe of my Interstellar Rescue series, about the brave (and sexy!) men and women, some of them human, some of them not, who defend the Earth from those who would exploit it.
In creating my universe I had to determine all of the same things other SFR writers do—how do we travel among the stars, what kind of economic and cultural circumstances would allow for the slave-trading Minertsan Consortium, what other alien races might we encounter, what would the mining or agricultural planets look like, and so on. Once that worldbuilding was accomplished, I could set my stories anywhere within the universe. I chose to begin on Earth, closest to home, before I set my readers off into their new, expanded cosmos.
It doesn’t take long before the readers of Unchained Memory are asked to buy into the basic assumptions of the Interstellar Rescue universe. What happens to my heroine, Asia Burdette—and what she uncovers with her hero, Ethan Roberts—challenges all her old assumptions about the world and replaces them with features of the new one. This revelation is not only an explanation for Asia and Ethan, it’s also an introduction to the vast, unexplored universe of the series.
Of course, I can’t say too much about how I do this in the book. I will say in future books in the series (Book Two, Trouble in Mind, launches in Fall, 2015; Book Three, Fools Rush In, in early 2016) we’ll spend more time off-planet, taking a close-up look at the villainous, slave-trading Grays and even engaging in a few space battles!
All the while, defending “hearth and home”, fighting the threat to Earth and to innocent victims of the Grays everywhere, will be a recurring theme.
Donna S. Frelick was an RWA® Golden Heart® Double Finalist in 2012 in the Paranormal category for the first two novels in her SFR Interstellar Rescue series. She currently lives in Virginia with her husband and two talkative cats. Find her at http://donnasfrelick.com; blogging at http://spacefreighters.blogspot.com; and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DonnaSFrelickAuthor.