Monday, October 11, 2010

Welcome to new Brigade Member, Maree Anderson!

The Brigade would like to welcome new member Maree Anderson! We invited her to sit down under the big microscope and she did. Brave girl! :-)

Please tell us a little about yourself

I’m a Kiwi -- a New Zealander -- and I’m addicted to SFFP romance. Oh, and chocolate -- the darker the better. Not to mention coffee, and the occasional (ok, ok, busted! more than occasional) glass of excellent NZ wine. I’m not quite so addicted to my local gym, but I’m working on it ;-) I have an extremely understanding husband, two very patient kids, and one perpetually hungry cat that nibbles the tops off cheese rolls left out on the kitchen counter. Before she adopted us, this same feline fur-beast, Minnaloushe -- who was named after the cat in a poem by Yeats -- had a book written about her. She even featured on the cover. One day, I hope to be as famous as our Minna, but in the meantime I’ll stick to writing SFFP romance. (Besides I’m allergic to cosmetics, so the only cover I’d ever feature on would likely be a horror. Seriously. Hence the whole pink wig and hiding behind a book.)

We’d love to hear more about your book.

I’m thrilled to bits and beyond to have achieved one of my personal career milestones, namely publishing a novel-length story. FROM THE ASHES, releases in December *dances around the room like a mad-woman* It’s a SFR with an alien hero and a kickass take-no-prisoners, space-courier heroine, and I’m hugely excited about it. Not that you’d ever be able to tell *grins*

I love reading SFR and I love a challenge, so I thought I’d have a go writing one. It started out as a novella called Double Trouble, written entirely from the heroine’s point of view. But I reeeeally loved my alien hero, Asher — he was such a complex man — and he kinda haunted me. His side of the story needed to be told. So I decided to rewrite the story and give Asher his own point of view. To my delight, my editor loved it and contracted it on the spot. But she reckoned I could expand it, so I gave it everything I had and we ended up with novel of around 60,000 words. The new title is a nod to Asher, a Phoenixae alien.

(It’ll be available at Red Sage Publishing from December 1st:

Warning: this is erotic romance so it’s pretty, er, hot. *blushes* Here’s the blurb:

FROM THE ASHES: Calista’s a freelance space courier recovering from a disastrous marriage during which her ex sold her as a slave. Sure, she’s emotionally damaged, but you should see the state of her ex! She’s also an expert pilot who can illegally reprogram and augment all manner of tech. She’s been ripping off the system and flying under the radar her entire life. Until now.

Asher’s her “cargo”, the mouthwateringly gorgeous Phoenixae alien who accidentally hatched from the egg she was transporting, and bonded with her. He’s been bred as a sex slave and he can read her mind. Which wouldn’t be so bad if 1) she didn’t abhor slavery and everything it represents, 2) she wasn’t horny as hell, and 3) he wasn’t doubly tempting because of his extra er, male parts! Oh, and then there’s the small issue that if Asher is killed and his body burnt, he can be resurrected. He’s one hot commodity that illegals will kill to possess.

Take one sex-deprived space courier who’ll risk everything to save a Phoenixae alien from a life of slavery. Add one mouthwateringly hot alien sex-slave who knows her deepest desires, feels her pain, and lives to please her in every way. Mix with a ruthless ex-husband intent on vengeance. And stir in a sadistic Libertine noble who will do anything at all to get his hands on a Phoenixae.

From the ashes, an unexpected hero will emerge…and he’s full of surprises!

Would you like to share any upcoming projects?

I’ve had a couple of paranormal novellas published and there’s one recurring character, the snarky and totally amoral Demon King, Asmodeus, who has been a real hit with readers — I have no idea why ;-). So if you’re interested in Demons and Lycans and omnipotent beings called Sentinels, then check out EVEN DEMONS GET THE BLUES and LET SLEEPING DEMONS LIE. They’re Books One and Two of my Demons series, but they’re written as standalones. Here’s a link where you can read the blurbs, sample chapters, and reviews:

I’m also thrilled to have a light paranormal romcom coming out in print in June next year: KAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF will be released in the Red Sage Secrets Volume 30 anthology. I got the idea for “Kat” from one of my daughter’s favorite manga series: Fruits Basket. I’m amazed where we writers find our inspiration for stories. Our brains are scarily wonderful places ;-)

I’ve also contracted a novel-length fantasy with Red Sage, which I believe is scheduled for release early next year. It’s called SCENT OF A MAN. I’m just waiting to hear back from my editor about final revisions on that one, so there’ll be details on my website very soon.

(You can buy my books direct from the publisher and at various outlets. Buy links are listed on my website.)

What do you like about writing SFR?

Although I always tend to have some paranormal or fantasy element in my stories, writing a straight-out SFR complete with space ships and aliens — not to mention a few different planets! —was something a little different for me. I think I mentioned previously that I love a challenge? Well, it was a challenge, and it was also great fun to write. I loved immersing myself in the “world” and writing about  various tech and gadgets. And aliens. Who can forget the aliens? For me, it was an opportunity to step outside the “norm”. I had no idea whether it would work, mind you. It was a gamble.

When my husband, who grew up with Heinlein and Anne McCaffrey, read the manuscript and gave me The Best Feedback Evah. He said, “Well, looks like you can write SciFi.” *VBG* But then, husbands kinda have to say nice things, don’t they? Otherwise they get dumped in favor of sexy aliens, LOL. Anyway, I’d love to write another. I’m just waiting for the right inspiration to come along and smack me upside the head. Which, of course, is a perfect excuse to buy more books and “research” the genre. Mmm. Darling? I think I need another bookcase, coz I can hardly see my desk any more. J

What do you find challenging about it?

Resisting the desire to over-explain or info-dump when I’m writing about some cool futuristic device or concept. SFR readers are smart, savvy people — they “get” it. They sure as heck don’t need to know all the myriad of stuff that’s running round in my brain squealing, “Ooh ooh! How cool is that? Let’s get it all down on paper and devote a couple of chapters to explain how it all works.” As much as I wanted to go completely wild, I had to resist. I’ll always remember how brilliantly Robert Heinlein conveyed a futuristic setting in one sentence: “The door dilated.” So if I’ve succeeded in sketching my futuristic world and tech in such a way that it’s not too intrusive, and yet is still believable to readers, I’ll be a very happy girl.

What is your favorite SF book or movie?

One? I can only choose one? *whimpers piteously* Dark Angel Firefly Dollhouse The Fifth Element StarDoc series Stephen Donaldson’s The Gap series. (Erm…yes, that really is all just one long series- book-movie title. Really.)

If you could have a robot that did one chore/task and only one, what would you choose?

Robot Chef who could produce gourmet meals that two adults plus two teens with diverse tastes would enjoy. Every night. Without fail. And the veges would be so delicious that the kids would clean their plates without a single complaint.

What SFR book would you most like to be stranded in and with whom?
Mine! I mean, an out-of-this-world gorgeous alien sex-slave who’s bonded to me? Like that would be a bad thing. LOL. Mind you, I could do without the vengeful ex and the sadistic Libertine freak popping in and out and ruining my fun. Hmmm. Yeah. They were pretty heinous. Might just skip right to the end and wallow in the Happy Ever After.

Favorite mode of fictional travel?
Teleporter: No more looking out the office window at 2.55pm and going “ah, crap!” because it’s raining cats and dogs (thanks to that demonic raincloud that hangs over the kids’ schools and pours down the instant they set foot outside). Beam ‘em straight home — take that, wet muddy school shoes. Awesome! Well, so long as you’re not one of those parents who frets about that  .000001% chance your little darlings might re-materialize and be a wee bit “mixed up”. Hey, nothing’s perfect.

Thanks so much for letting me blather on. And speaking of blathering on, aside from my website/blog, I blog Thursdays over at Writers Gone Wild, and I’m also addicted to the evil EFT trio (email, Facebook and Twitter). So feel free to drop me a line or comment — I’d love to hear from you.


Many thanks for stopping by, Maree! And again, welcome aboard!


  1. Hi Maree
    Hmmm a sex there's an idea. Tell me what supermarket do they sell them at...i'm on my way, credit card in hand.

    Jane Beckenham

  2. LOL! Jane, presuming there are any left in stock, I'd check out the chiller section. And look for a reeeeally big egg ;-)

  3. Hi Maree!

    That's one hot cover for FROM THE ASHES - do you know how they made that cover? Was a cover model used? Or is it all digital?

    Welcome to the SFRB, glad you could join us.

  4. Hi Kylie! I'm glad to join you, too *VBG*

    And as for the cover, they use royalty-free stock photos of real people. Here's the story behind the cover: When I got the first draft of the cover, it was lovely, but the guy had really short cropped hair. Since I'd described my hero as having thick fiery auburn hair, I asked if we could make a change. Problem is, it's really hard to find good-looking long-haired guys in stock photos! I figured if I was going to have a cover model who was true to my hero, I'd better put in some time and effort. Hours(!) later I sent off about 5-6 links, and noted the shot of this guy was my preference -- he was my editor's too, in fact. She said he was so like Asher it gave her shivers! And this is what they finally came up with for the cover.

    I love it! I'm very very lucky that Red Sage were prepared to try and accommodate my request. And I got a very nice thank-you email for putting in the groundwork and sending off those links to various stock photos. I also have a new appreciation of how hard it must be to find the "right" shot to bring an author's vision of her characters to life. It's not something I usually think about when I'm writing my characters!

  5. Great interview!
    Maree your book sounds great! And loved your groundwork for the cover!!

  6. Hmmm extra part? Can't believe no one else has mentioned it. I read a SF a long time ago (not a romance) in which the alien hero had an extra part and now here you are with something maybe similar. I'm just waiting for someone who can bring this idea off the pages and into real life. lol I'll bet you come close!

  7. Hiya, Mel! Thanks for dropping in to chat. And yeah, I'm glad I did what I did to help out. Because this guy on the cover really does look like how I imagine Asher. Yum....

    Carly -- I think maybe everyone's too scared to mention it? LOL. It's like that old joke about Adam and Eve, where Adam says, "Stand back. I don't know how big this thing gets!"

    As for whether I've er, "pulled this off" (OMG, the visual *cough*) well, I sure hope so. DH was fascinated and full of helpful ideas (men!). Judith, my editor, loved it and kept encouraging me to take it further. So I hope I've done a good job and done her proud.

    When Dec 1st rolls around, I don't quite know whether I'll own it or run and dive under the duvet. Even now I read bits of this story and go, OMG, did I really write that? Yikes. Mme Muse must have been feeling quite whimsical at the time.

  8. Hiya Jennifer! *waves at you from sunny-for-the-moment-anyway Auckland*

  9. Hi Maree *waving* - I would love a teleporter too. Think of all that extra reading time!!

    And congrats on From the Ashes!

    Lovely cover indeed:)

  10. Welcome! The book looks terrific. Looking forward to reading it and to getting to see more of your stories!

  11. Eleni -- And then you could teleport over to Auckland and we could have a girls' night out. That would be awesome!

    Marcella -- Lovely to meet you! And thanks so much for your kind words.

  12. Hi Maree! Love the sound of the Phoenixae - hooray for truly alien aliens. And love the hair :D

  13. Hi Sandra -- hey, thanks for stopping by! Yeah, I love his hair, too *VBG*

    I do hope I've nailed it and made Asher a really alien alien. He could have just been another male who'd gone all out with enhancements, but I wanted him to be truly different from the humans. Fingers crossed I've pulled it off.

  14. I'd be up for a girls night out Maree.

  15. A bit late to the welcome wagon here, but welcome Maree!


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