Last week, I posted about a shared sci-fi collection I had coming out February 15th with eight other incredible authors. This week, the authors in my group agreed to answer questions about why they write sci-fi romance and their experience writing a shared world.
What draws you to write sci-fi romance?
That there are no limits! Anything is possible.
Science! I love the idea of a world that isn’t constrained by the same rules that I take for granted. What if there was a place without gravity? What if there was a planet where the heroine could breathe underwater? Sci-fi gets my brain working in a different way, and poses unique challenges that I don’t always encounter when writing paranormal romance or contemporary romance.
In sci-fi the only boundaries are the limits of your imagination. You can go anywhere in the vastness of the universe so long as you have a strong ship, and a sexy alien male to guide her. Because everyone knows, aliens do it better.
I love that I’m not bound by the limits and restrictions of the real world, not just on from the fantasy/magical standpoint but especially from a cultural point of view. I can create completely new social structures, moral and cultural systems to highlight or support some aspects of the message I try to convey through my stories. It’s cool to be able to have people fall in love with characters that you would otherwise consider as monsters. Traditional beauty is no longer a factor; only the person beneath matters.
The fact that I can make s*** up. Haha, sorry, was this supposed to be PG? More elegantly put, I love that SFR can be whatever you want it to be. I can get lost in research, and overwhelmed, so it’s nice that I can create whatever kind of future science and societies I want, and make them work. As long as I’m not writing hard science (ha-ha, that’ll never happen) the possibilities are endless.
Two words: No Constraints. As long as you can provide a WHY – it doesn’t have to be real, it just has to be believable within the story – you can do anything, and I love that. I also like to read stories that are grounded in (at least a little) reality, and I prefer to write the same. Sci Fi is the perfect fit.
Normally, I write contemporary paranormal romance. Enduring, the book I wrote for Valos of Sonhadra series, was my first sci-fi romance. What drew me to the project was the amazing group of authors I got to work with. They are not just talented writers, they are also fun, kind, supportive people. And I will be forever grateful for being invited to participate in Valos of Sonhadra.
Also, SFR is a fun genre that I really wanted to try. I enjoyed writing Enduring so much, Writing SFR is a chance to create a whole world from scratch with little to no limits. The freedom is amazing! I had to stop myself from doing more world-building to stay within the scope of one book.
I’ve always loved sci-fi. I remember Star Trek (original flavor) came on after Saturday morning cartoons and I was hooked. The bright colors sucked me in (I was a kid, after all).
What excited you about sharing a SF world?
The authors! Well, also the idea of writing about a ‘golem’, but getting to know these ladies made this experience so fun and it was an honor to work with them.
Shared brains! I was excited to write a world that wouldn’t only be mine, but come from the amazing creative brains of other authors.
The ladies I was invited to join coincidentally are all on my list of “omg I love that author!!” So it was exciting to get to know them and learn from them as they revealed their writing process and their secrets!! (Ominous duh duh duhhhhhn)
It was a brand new experience and I love a challenge. Getting to work with authors I’ve been a fan of for a long time was only a huge added bonus. It didn’t hurt that the theme itself had me pretty excited. But the best part has been reading the different books, seeing how each author has expanded the universe with fresh ideas that made me go “Damn! I wish I’d taught of that!” And from this embryo of a concept, to see the world of Sonhadra really come together. It was great mutually leveraging elements of our stories or even having some of our characters meet or interact with each other.
I’d never done anything like it before! The idea was intriguing, like a ‘pick your own adventure’ series with shared tidbits. That and I absolutely loved the group world-build we came up with. Sonhadra was just a cool place.
This is like getting to play with your friends – but instead of going to their house, you get in their head. It’s neat to see how others think and work, and writing is a solitary venture, but when done this way, you don’t have to do it alone. With the right people, it can be beautiful.
I was one of the last to join the group. At that point most of the shared world had been completed. I got to see what the other authors had already accomplished, and got excited to do my part. I loved that aside from a few key elements, each author got enough room for imagination to build their own part of the planet within the shared world.
I like group projects. I know, I know. Everyone hated group projects at school except me. I was that kind of dork. I guess I just like working with other people. Writing is a very solitary thing. When you share a world, it’s collaborative storytelling and one of those rare instances when you can create with other people. You set up the outline, the rules and then you go off to your corner, work a bit, and come back with an idea or outline. Even better is when you get inspired by everyone’s ideas.
I get a real kick out of seeing how other writers play with the world and how they bend the rules.
What did you find to be most challenging as you wrote a shared world?
Consistency. When you have nine authors working together, sharing the same world, there is going to be some miscommunication. While we wanted consistency, we also wanted everyone to have free reign and have fun with it. No one wants to be boxed in. Getting everyone on the same page for some of the details that needed to be consistent across all the books was definitely challenging, but the effort was totally worthwhile.
Definitely consistency. There were times when I’d missed a detail and skipped a waaaaaays along the garden path before realizing my mistake.
MAKING A DECISION!! Lol! With nine fertile and fabulous imaginations trying to walk the same vision path, the challenges were finding key points we all agreed on, and then remembering we had agreed!
Also, with such an all star crew of writers, the pressure was on to measure up and make sure my contribution was at the same level of awesomeness put forth by the Ladies of Sonhadra!
Keeping track of all the changes. Dealing with the fallout of certain elements not having been previously discussed and realizing that half the group had written things a certain way which contradicted the other half. Trying to handle similar situations in our books while keeping it different from everyone else so it doesn’t get repetitive for the readers. Overcoming the language barrier was one such situation since we all needed to figure out a way for our heroine to learn to communicate with her valos.
The collaboration! Making sure we weren’t contradicting each other with planet facts and histories. Example, I originally thought all the inmates were going to have their hair lasered off, ha-ha. Had to go back and rework that once a few of the other authors got hold of my manuscript and pointed it out. While there was a lot of fact-checking with each other, I didn’t feel hemmed in or that I couldn’t express my characters through the book. It was a learning curve, but I enjoyed it and would do it again!
When you write together, you have to map out your world, and nail down details. Once they’re in place – and others begin writing within that framework – you can’t just go off on every wild hair that you have.
It provides a challenge, and you have to take it exactly in this spirit. Commit, work, play.
It was worth it ♥ I had a lot of fun, and writing sister-characters reminded me of when I’ve actually written stories with my real-life sister. We haven’t been able to do that in forever, but working with Poppy Rhys brought back all the best memories.
Surprisingly, sharing the world of Valos of Sonhadra was not the hardest part for me. The way we planned our books allowed for a lot of creative freedom for each author. The prison spaceship, where each story starts, disintegrates in the athmosfere of the planet Sonhadra. Depending where on the planet the parts and pieces of it landed, each main character found herself in a fairly unique environment.
The biggest challenge for me personally was having not one but two main male interests. It’s the first menage story I’ve ever written, and I was surprised how difficult it turned out to keep the story and the relationship between my trio of characters unbiased and equal. I have gained even more respect for writers of Reverse Harem novels. It’s a lot of work!
The pressure! The VoS authors were wonderful to work with but I didn’t want to let anyone down. All the pressure came from my own anxiety. What if my book sucked? What if I couldn’t make the deadline? I threw out my first draft and original outline and started over like a month into the writing process.
Nancey’s Bio: I write fun, flirty and fast stories featuring sassy heroines, out-of-this-world heroes, all the mischief they can managed and plenty of steamy fun. Hopefully you want to read them too. I live in an old house with my husband and a growing collection of cats.
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