Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? I loved science fiction as a kid—in any form, books, television, movies. So when I began writing, it was as a writer of STAR TREK fan fiction. I thought it would lead to a career as an SF author, but an early mentor in the field, SF author Ann Crispin, told me I had a talent for writing romance. This was just as paranormal romance was on the upswing and science fiction romance as a mainstream subgenre was in its infancy. But that SF story I’d been working on suddenly worked as an SF romance. Unchained Memory, the first book in my Interstellar Rescue series, was later named a Finalist in the Romance Writers of America®’s Golden Heart® contest for unpublished manuscripts in 2012. It was published last year. Trouble in Mind which launches February 16, was also a 2012 Golden Heart® Finalist.
Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from? I come from a long line of Appalachian storytellers. It just comes naturally after having grown up listening to my relatives tell stories around the dinner table.
How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. I wrote Beatles fan fiction as a young teenager. I was a student journalist all through school.
What kind(s) of writing do you do? Currently I stick with SFR and the wide-ranging topics of science, fiction and film reviews of my blog (Spacefreighters Lounge). But I have done a lot of freelance journalism and editing.
What do you think most characterizes your writing? A strong voice, a sense of place, finely drawn characters and the use of sexuality to express emotional growth.
What was the hardest part of writing this book? All of my books involve complicated plotlines, but this one in particular was challenging, in that I had to weave the different subplots along a timeline to get everyone into place at the end. Whew!
What did you enjoy most about writing this book? I enjoyed spending time on the alien home world of Minertsa, creating a culture and motivations for the alien “bad guys” of my series. We see a lot more of the “Grays” in this book and yet I still wanted to remain grounded in human emotions and realities.
Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them. The Dineh, or Navajo people are part of the battle against evil at the end of the book. Their spiritual ways are touched upon as the characters discuss a strategy to defeat the bad guys. I did my research and tried hard to be respectful as I incorporated these ideas and characters into the book, recognizing that I myself am an outsider and not privy to the actual rituals.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing? I love all the writers of the so-called New Age of Science Fiction of the 1960s, particularly the women—Ursula K. LeGuin, Joanna Russ, Zenna Henderson and others. Of modern-day authors, I read Stephen King, J.R. Ward, Eloisa James, Christine Feehan, Diana Galbadon and Linnea Sinclair semi-religiously. All of them have shown me by example what good writing is: how to craft a story, how to eliminate unnecessary words and choose just the right ones, how to build worlds and mold characters. At first I had no idea what I was learning. Now I know to pay attention.
What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia, West Africa in the Seventies. One of my earliest fiction efforts as an adult was a short story called “Close Encounters in the Third World,” about an old woman in a remote village who sees an alien spaceship up close. I still call that one my “helicopter” story, because my efforts to describe the thing she saw in HER point of view led my literal-minded husband to ask, “Is it a helicopter?” No. Back to the typewriter.
What projects are you working on at the present? Book Three in the Interstellar Rescue series is Fools Rush In, the story of space pirate Sam Murphy and Rescue agent Rayna Carver. This one will be set entirely in space, unlike the first two books in the series. I’m hoping my readers will be willing to follow me out into the Great Unknown, especially since Sam and Rayna have made appearances in both previous books. Fools Rush In should be ready for launch by next fall.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend? Names are a challenge in writing SFR. If you are naming aliens, or their home worlds, you have to choose something that sounds exotic, but remains pronounceable in the English language (for English readers), or your readers will stumble every time they read the name. I’m writing a series, so I have different races of aliens, too, and their “languages” should appear to be somewhat consistent, that is, they should use similar combinations of consonants and vowels. In reality, of course, it’s unlikely we’d be able to translate anything a real alien would say into anything that sounds like an Earth language. But this is fiction, and allowances can be made. There are resources out there, but I haven’t had to use them yet. If I get further into the series, that may become necessary!
If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be? I’m a bear. In the winter, all I want to do is eat and sleep.
Donna S. Frelick was an RWA® Golden Heart® Double Finalist in 2012 for the first two novels in her SFR Interstellar Rescue series. She lives on 43 beautiful mountain acres in North Carolina with her husband and two talkative cats.
She couldn’t get him out of her mind— and that’s when the trouble started.
FBI Special Agent Alana Matheson is good at her job, despite a past that would make even a seasoned agent cringe. She has no time for the outside help the victim’s family has brought in on a kidnapping case, no matter how good–looking he is.
But galactic tracker Gabriel Cruz is no ordinary private investigator, and the skills he brings to the job will save both their lives. Because Lana and Gabriel are not the only ones seeking an unusual little boy and his mother. Their rivals in the chase are not of this world, and only an alliance built on the bonds of love can ensure that Lana and Gabriel beat the alien hunters to their prey.