11-21-2011: Never to be forgotten! Today is the day that Ian Somerhalder responded to me on facebook! Hey, that may not be a big deal for you, but for me.. HUGE. *swoon*
Conversation copied from FB:
ME: Finally! After an hour of searching facebook, I find the REAL you. Hi Ian!
Ian Somerhalder: Thank you.Nice to meet you
ME: My pleasure! Thank you for taking the time to notice. :)
Ian Somerhalder: you're welcome
Ian Somerhalder: I try not to disappoint my fans!
ME: Well, you're doing a wonderful job. :) It's nice (and a bit scary) to talk to someone like you!
ME: lol... (I'm secretly freaking out cuz I got to talk to Ian! *sigh*)
Ian Somerhalder: Thank you Theresa!
ME: lol... you're welcome! Just do me a favor and don't knock when you invade my dreams tonight. The husband probably wouldn't like that. hehe!
Ian Somerhalder: well I will not:)
ME: Perfect! Thanks. LOL
Guest Post: Writing SciFi with Jenna Bennett, author of Fortune’s Hero
by Jenna Bennett
Quinn Conlan had it all: a fast ship, a great crew, a gorgeous girlfriend, money, and adventure around every bend. That was before he agreed to ferry a shipload of weapons to the besieged planet Marica. Now he’s stuck in the prison colony on Marica-3, enduring weekly sessions with the camp’s medical team,” and praying for a quick death before he breaks under the torture and spills everything he knows about the Marican resistance.When opportunity strikes, Quinn takes Elsa, a Rhenian med tech, hostage and heads into the inhospitable interior of the small moon where he formulates a plan for getting his crew out of prison, his ship out of impound, and everyone out of orbit. But when Elsa professes her love, can Quinn take the beautiful doctor at her word, or will trusting her—and his heart—condemn him and his crew to an eternity on Marica-3?
Writing Scifi by Jenna Bennett
I never planned to write science fiction.
I’m a mystery writer. Have been for years. I’m doing quite well with it, and I had no plans of branching out, especially not into science fiction, which has always struck me as a particularly specialized genre. Very intimidating. Science fiction isn’t something just anyone can tackle, you know. It’s—well—science-y.
I’m not science-y. I write amateur sleuths so I don’t have to worry about all that forensic and police procedural stuff. I live vicariously through my characters so I don’t actually have to do any of these things in real life. And if I didn’t precisely fail science in school, I certainly didn’t excel in it. The thought of writing SF never even crossed my mind. Like police procedurals and books about medical examiners, it was something other people do.
But then something happened.
It was February of 2010, and my group blog, the Working Stiffs—a bunch of mystery writers—were experimenting with themed months. Scary stuff in October, things we were grateful for in November, Christmas-y things in December… and short stuff in February, in honor of the shortest month of the year.
Someone issued a flash fiction smackdown: a challenge to write a complete story in 200 words, beginning with the sentence “If you have to die, February is the best month for it.”
I think it was partly my own fault. I’d been insisting, loudly and adamantly, that I can’t write anything short. Wilfred Bereswill wanted to prove me wrong, I think. He told me later that he made the challenge 200 words, and not 100 the way it was supposed to be, because he knew I’d have a mental breakdown if I had to deal with just 100 words.
Even with the extra verbiage, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. I thought about telling Will there was no way, it just couldn’t be done. But I’m nothing if not competitive, and everyone else was able to do it, or so they said. I didn’t want to be the only one who couldn’t bring back a story and metaphorically throw it at Will’s feet.
And that’s when Quinn was born.
If you have to die, February is the best month for it.
And Quinn Conlan was ready. After a year, three months, and sixteen days in the prison camp on Marica-3, he was more than ready. He’d die today, this hour, this very minute, if it would get him out of another session with the camp medical team.
They were the best in the galaxy. Both when it came to bringing a prisoner to death’s door and to making sure he didn’t walk through it.
And they’d be back. Soon. But maybe this time they wouldn’t revive him afterwards. A man could dream, right?
Or not. Dreams are dangerous things.
Back on Earth, it was Valentine’s Day. Flowers, candy, sappy cards. Even in 3045, people celebrated a guy who’d been dead almost three millennia.
Someone else was bringing Josie flowers this year. Buying her candy. They’d told him that. Quinn didn’t know whether it was true or just another form of torture, but he’d decided to believe it. Without Josie, he had one less reason to stay alive.
He was ready, dammit. You hearing this, God? It was February. If he had to die anyway, might as well be now.
(If you highlight it and check, you’ll see it’s 200 words exactly. It took me quite a few days of cutting and pruning and finagling to get it there, too. And no, it isn’t a complete story. It turned out to be just the beginning of one.)
I have no idea where any of it came from. I don’t know why it’s science fiction when it ought to be a mystery. All I know is that Quinn was there, fully formed, with a voice all his own.
And he refused to let go of me until I’d found a way to tell his story. Whether I thought I could write science fiction or not.
A few of the details changed between that piece of flash fiction and the book, of course.
In Fortune’s Hero, Quinn’s no longer pining for Josie, although he does dream of her. He looks forward to wrapping his hands around her throat and squeezing, once he gets out of the prison colony on Marica-3. He arrived there only four months ago, but he’s definitely ready to depart. And if that means he has to die to do it, then he’s up for that.
As it happens, he doesn’t have to. At least not right away. When a guard and a doctor stop by his cell to fetch him to the lab for another session with the prison “medical team,” Quinn kills the guard and takes the doctor hostage. And things develop from there, as he has to keep himself and the doctor, whose name is Elsa Brandeis, safe from the deadly flora and fauna, and hidden from the guards searching for them, all while figuring out a way to get the rest of his crew out if prison, his ship—the Good Fortune—out of impound, and everyone out of orbit, far away from Marica and her moons.
As it turns out, writing science fiction—at least the kind of science fiction I write—isn’t really any different from writing mysteries, or for that matter writing anything else.
Marica-3 looks a lot like New Mexico. There are sand hills and rock formations and the occasional cold underground river. There are lizards and worms and spider-scorpions and such. The plants and animals are a little different than what you’d find around Santa Fe, but for all intents and purposes, the world works the same as the one we inhabit. When you fall in a cold river, you still run the risk of freezing to death. When someone shoots you, you still bleed. When you’re betrayed by someone you trust, you still want to kill them. And when you fall in love, it still carries the potential for both happiness and heartbreak.
It’s about the characters, ultimately. The genre, the setting, even the plot to a degree… those are just the trappings. The real story is about the people. And whether those people are escaping from occupied France in a blimp, from Afghanistan in a helicopter, or from a small moon on the outer edge of the galaxy in a space shuttle, doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that they get away. You know?
Oh, and that 200 word flash fiction piece? It’s now a four book series. Turns out I really can’t write anything short.
About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author Jennie Bentley/Jenna Bennett writes the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and the Cutthroat Business mysteries for her own gratification. She also writes a variety of romance, from contemporary to futuristic and from paranormal to romantic suspense. Her most recent release is Fortune’s Hero, first in the Soldiers of Fortune series from Entangled Publishing.