Please tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a retired scientific generalist and an applied mathematician with multiple advanced degrees and journal-published research that’s been downloaded around the world. My research might be interesting to Sci-fi writers since it provides an analog for the number of planets of various sizes that might be expected to form in accretion disks orbiting distant stars (Trappist 1, for example, with its 7 Earth-sized planets).
At the moment I’m publishing my second SFR series, AGES OF INVENTION, which honors women scientists and those women who funded European royal societies of science in the past.
Tell us about your book:
My latest book, FLY LIKE AN EAGLE, a non formulaic, sci-fi, time-travel, steampunk romance introduces an alternative science history. It’s a story of forbidden love where only the lovers can stop a world-obliterating timequake by determining if Franklin’s Kite Experiment—ushering in the electronic era—is a go/nogo.
What inspired you to write this particular story?:
This is the second book in the AGES OF INVENTION series. What started me writing the first book, ENTANGLED, was the paucity of women named as great scientists of the past. I, too, like the women in the movie, HIDDEN FIGURES, had to learn and work as the only woman in my graduate courses and the world of corporate science. As I investigated the controversity about who discovered calculus, I noted that it was the royal wives who encouraged their husbands to establish the European Royal Societies of Science which funded the great scientists of the past.
Please share a favourite snippet from your book:
Just welcomed into her home, was a man she barely recognized as her father’s associate, John Vaughan… and his footman. They stood speaking with her father.
She would analyze Vaughan’s features to see how he’d aged from the younger man she’d remembered. Vaughan and his man motioned toward her father, and then in the direction of the painting.
Looks as if they’re discussing it. Well, she had her own opinion about such gifts and would not to be left out. She also wanted to alert her father about the giant bird she’d seen the hawks attacking, but then she remembered how his eyes glazed over anytime she spoke eagerly about the nesting hawks. Hard metal and angular things interested him more than the natural world.
Flowing effortlessly down the stairs like the well-brought-up lady she pretended to be, Samantha wondered about the artist who created that canvas, why anyone thought such a scandalous gift would be appreciated, let alone hung on a wall in her household.
Crossing the foyer, she approached the men. They faced away from her, gazing at the painting. Vaughan’s man stood a little behind the others, dressed all rudely informal as one of her father’s livery stablemen might.
Disturbingly tall. His exposed hands, forearms, and neck were tan. Yes, very tan indeed. He’d not bothered to tie his shoulder-length hair back, And it was black, very black, almost the blue-black of the night sky, just like the brave in the painting her father, Vaughan, and this savage were now viewing.
“I wonder who painted it?” she said aloud to no one in particular
Her father and Vaughan, closer to the painting, hadn’t heard her, but Vaughan’s man turned and she forgot to breathe. He’s the model, subject of the painting, the Indian brave surrounded by those sex-crazed maidens. He’d dressed somewhat differently this time, she admitted. Clothed. Yes, and it was strangely troubling to her that he was.
Had she just seen a twinkle in his eye and a twitch of his full and naughty lips? Yes, definitely a twitch. He bowed to her, never taking his eyes from where—she reminded herself— she’d forgotten to close her shawl and don her bodice lace. She squinted to see her appearance in the mirrors above the wainscoting and noticed her breasts were dangerously close to popping out of the scooped neck of her gown—or was that in her imagination, the effect of her disrobement by his eyes?
How rude. How could her father allow the savage to look at her that way? How could her aunt?
Her aunt’s negligence wasn’t difficult to figure out. Before Samantha descended the stairs to view the painting, the room to her guardian’s door had been opened by maids attempting to prepare for the guests. Her aunt rested on a chaise—pickled.
“Do you like the painting? Horrible. Horrific. Is it not?” the savage said. “I thought you might recognize me, and I can see from the way you’re looking at me you do. I told Davies to destroy it. Instead, he finishes the painting and sends it to my father by way of yours. I couldn’t be more embarrassed.”
He didn’t look embarrassed. Not as embarrassed as the brave in the painting being fawned over by those young women. Not as embarrassed as she, with him examining her chest.
“I’ll wait,” he said.
“Wait?” What could he mean?
His eyes squinted, sparkled. “Go on up now and finish dressing.”
Was he laughing at her? Meaning to instruct me about my own business?
Samantha scrunched her face, giving him the meanest look she could muster. Wrapping her shawl around her more tightly, then clutching it, she wondered why she’d decided to leave her lace behind, her breasts open to all his scrutiny. Looking down at her slippers, because she couldn’t force herself to look up into his smug face, she stifled a retort and rushed up the stairs to her bedroom. Behind and below, she heard a confusion of men’s voices, perhaps chastising that rude man.
She hurried into her room, closed the door, and rested back against it. With uncomfortable awareness, she knew that man had been Vaughan’s half-breed son, Migizi. She vaguely remembered his visits. When we were much younger.
Opening her shawl to assess the problem, she almost expected herself to be naked. At least she felt naked, and something else, some other part of her body, down there between her thighs, beat as rapidly as her heart.
Samantha knew where the throbbing came from. She wasn’t that naïve. She’d read about it while viewing the medical illustrations in her comparative anatomy texts.
Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?:
Honestly, looks and names are not as important to me as personality. And for that, as mostly a pantser, I let my characters find themselves. Of course, I do lots of historic research of those mathematicians and scientists of the past before I give them voices.
Any tips for aspiring authors?:
Don’t worry about your first words. You have a committee in time just waiting to help you out. They’re the you of tomorrow and the next day, and the next day. All the me(s) who edited my books for me wish all the you(s) great success.
Questions for fun:
If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change?: No.
Why/why not?: As a fluid mechanics person, I choose a real, existing, physical parameter called The Flow. My time-traveling Native American, Migizi, in FLY LIKE AN EAGLE, calls this flow by its Algonquin name—Bimijiwan. So my philosophy might be, Go with the flow.
Here’s a quote that starts off the novel, FLY LIKE AN EAGLE:
“Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.” Franciscan Father Richard Rohr
As you can see, I like to blend science and spirituality in my books. I believe them to be two major aspects of existance.
What super-power would you choose?: A creative mind has got to be the greatest superpower, because no matter what life brings, in some way, it can always be seen from a positive perspective.
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?: To love the universe—cubed.
What is your favourite book?: SECOND FOUNDATION (I love Arcady, and, of course, Asimov)
Favourite genre and why?: Romance, because it’s the best genre to learn about character development from both male and female points of view.
Upcoming news and plans for the future?: My critique partner, Jackie Leigh Allen, will know more about that than I would. Each year, I get so exhausted going to RWA Conferences around the States. Not to worry—Jackie has already reserved the hotel rooms for us, so I’ve got to go!
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!:
Pippa and SFR BRIGADE, You are so very much welcome.
Everyone, have fun reading and writing SFR.