Welcome to my stop on The Ophelia Prophecy Blog Tour presented by Tor Books! I’m pretty excited to have author Sharon Lynn Fisher visiting to talk about a topic that I know you’ve been dying to read about: Interspecies Couples. I loved this book (you can read my review here) and I was curious to hear how Sharon decided to write about a human/insect-creature romance. Plus Tor is kindly giving away a copy of The Ophelia Prophecy at the end of this post (US only), so keep reading! Without future ado, please welcome Sharon to the blog.
Writing the Interspecies Couple
A lot of folks have been curious about my decision to focus on a human/bugman couple in my new release from Tor, THE OPHELIA PROPHECY. The funny thing is, I didn’t put all that much thought into it when I began writing. In those first couple chapters of all my books, I’m taking orders from my muse. The analytical part of my brain doesn’t really come into the process until later. In those early days working on OPHELIA, I kept my focus on the foundation of my story — at its most basic, a tale of post-apocalyptic star-crossed lovers.
And it’s not like it hasn’t been done before. Humans and vampires. Humans and wolf-people. Fairies. Zombies. Artificial life forms. Operating systems. Even a lizard man. I remember how captivated I was by the relationship between Worf and Deanna Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. She was so feminine and, well, soft-looking, and Klingons were so dang alpha. So rough around the edges (though admittedly Worf had a softer side). There was something exciting and compelling about that.
Despite the fact the interspecies thing had been done before, bugs were rather a horse of a different color. Once I’d committed myself to writing OPHELIA, my more pragmatic side began to question whether I really knew what I was getting into.
This book is not just science fiction, but science fiction *romance*. Granted my audience is primarily women who are interested in both genres. But I had to assume that for them, as for me, there’s a certain “ick” factor when it comes to most kinds of insects. I am fascinated by some of the species we consider to be noble (praying mantis v. house fly), but that doesn’t mean I want one crawling up my arm. I remember when I was in college a praying mantis about the size of my hand came in through an open window, and I couldn’t sleep until my boyfriend shooed it out.
And yet I’m asking my reader to be comfortable in the company of various insect/human combinations on pretty much every page of the book. Why? Partly because I trust a reader of science fiction to have an open mind, and partly because I trusted myself to frame the world and its inhabitants in a way that would not disgust (except when it’s supposed to).
I wrote about the Manti in a way that appealed to me, in hopes it would also appeal to my readers. I have a huge pile of illustrated books about fairies (that have been accumulating since I was a child), and it felt very natural and fitting to describe an insect/human transgenic race as a sort of futuristic fae. Some are winged. Some are colorful. Some are spiky. Some are all of the above.
And I made the choice early on that the hero would be more human than not; most of Pax’s insect traits are on the inside. Not so for his sister, Iris, who I also plan to write a book about. But by the end of OPHELIA, the reader has had a chance to get used to Iris and her physiology. I recently read THE LAST HOUR OF GANN, and I marveled at how Smith managed to pull off a fully reptilian alien as a romance hero. Besides being a very talented writer, I think it was due to having literally hundreds of pages to get the reader comfortable with the character.
Because really the key to writing compelling interspecies relationships is less about physical description and more about demonstrating that the quality of being “human” has very little to do with genetics.
About the Author:
A Romance Writers of America RITA Award finalist and a three-time RWA Golden Heart Award finalist, SHARON LYNN FISHER lives in the Pacific Northwest. She writes books for the geeky at heart—sci-fi flavored stories full of adventure and romance—and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. Her works include Ghost Planet (2012), The Ophelia Prophecy (2014), and Echo 8 (2014).
About The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher:
Our world is no longer our own.
We engineered a race of superior fighters–the Manti, mutant humans with insect-like abilities. Twenty-five years ago they all but destroyed us.
In Sanctuary, some of us survive. Eking out our existence. Clinging to the past.
Some of us intend to do more than survive.
Asha and Pax—strangers and enemies—find themselves stranded together on the border of the last human city, neither with a memory of how they got there.
Asha is an archivist working to preserve humanity’s most valuable resource—information—viewed as the only means of resurrecting their society.
Pax is Manti, his Scarab ship a menacing presence in the skies over Sanctuary, keeping the last dregs of humanity in check.
But neither of them is really what they seem, and what humanity believes about the Manti is a lie.
With their hearts and fates on a collision course, they must unlock each other’s secrets and forge a bond of trust before a rekindled conflict pushes their two races into repeating the mistakes of the past.
The Ophelia Prophecy is the thrilling new SF romance from Sharon Lynn Fisher, author of Ghost Planet
And now for the giveaway! I have one finished paperback to give away to a US reader. Entering is simple—just leave a comment on this post. You can comment on Sharon’s guest post or tell us whether or not you’d ever consider entering into an interspecies romance…One random commenter will be selected on April 18th. Good luck!