Today I have a Galactic explorer and a romantic star-gazer all rolled into one. Diane Dooley, author of Blue Galaxy, Mako’s Bounty, the forthcoming Blue Nebula, and numerous short stories, as well as being a fellow Absolute Write Blog Chainer. A blog buddy, so to speak. Diane has a good eye for fiction and a no-nonsense but encouraging critiquing style that welcomed me to the Absolute Write Water Cooler. Sadly, I have been lax on my posting to that site, lately. But, fortunately, Diane’s sense of humour made such an impression on me, I continue to stalk…err… follow her via her blog. Welcome aboard, Diane!
It’s good to be here, Dale. I’d forgot that I’d critiqued your work. Hope I was gentle with you! *grin*
I never look for gentle feedback, just useable feedback, of which you definitely supplied, thank-you. The story didn’t make Glimmer Train’s cut, unfortunately
I’ve always been a sci-fi junkie. Battlestar Galactica, Space 1999, oops my age is showing, and Firefly, but what always drew me to a particular show, was the spaceships. Each show had its trademark ship. Firefly took it one step further and made the ship essentially another character. Shows like Farscape and LEXX went so far as to make the ship alive. In your books, how important was the ship?
Like you I always enjoyed the ships, but it was the characters that were most important to me. And the same follows in my books; the ships are important, but it’s what happens in them that really interests me.
I’m noticing more and more women interested in Sci-fi and superheroes. Have women always been interested and if so, why are they just now showing it?
Right at this moment I am completely and utterly sick of superheroes. I never want to see one again! My husband and sons will ensure that that is not the case, unfortunately.
I read my first science fiction when I was about ten, having already become a fan of British science fiction TV shows. There wasn’t an awful lot of sci-fi being written specifically for girls my age, so I made the leap to classic science fiction quite young. Arthur C. Clarke was an early favorite and Ray Bradbury, of course. So I’ve always enjoyed the genre. My very first exposure to it must have been either The Clangers, a very old TV show for kids, or Dr. Who (the John Pertwee doctor). Did these get shown in Canada?
I think women have always been interested in science fiction. I know I was, though I must admit it was hard to love it at times. There was a distinct lack of female characters in my early sci-fi reading. The TV shows and movies made up for that, though. Dr Who usually had a female sidekick and the other TV shows had female characters.
I use to catch Pertwee’s good Doctor on Channel 11. Fuzzy and in black and white but the theme song was awesome! I agree, sci-fi has, for long time, been written and geared for men, to its own detriment, I feel.
Has a change in the media made Sci-fi and superheroes more accessible or acceptable to women?
Maybe more of a change in attitudes. Can you imagine Star Wars without Leia? Bladerunner without Priss and Rachel? The old attitude used to be: this science and space stuff is for guys and about guys. Kind of like the superhero genre still is *grin* Once women were offered as viable characters? That’s really all it took.
Which author or authors inspired you when you were growing up? What drew you to write Sci-fi?
I’ve been a voracious reader from a very young age. I read everything I could get my hands on, and when I ran out of kid books I snuck off with grown-up books. The local librarian knew me by my name and my tastes, even letting me get books out of the adult section “for my mum.” Jeez, everything from Blyton to the Brontes, really. My tastes are crazily eclectic. My favorite author is Nabokov, but I’m equally comfortable picking up and enjoying a Harlequin romance. I get the best of all the worlds.
What drew me to write sci-fi? I just got an idea for a story – one with elements of La Femme Nikita and Orwell’s 1984, set in a future dystopian society in the Pacific Northwest. Et voila, I was a science fiction writer. I write, like I read, in many genres. The stuff I’ve been able to finish and sell are usually science fiction with elements of romance and my dark, disturbing horror stories. I also write contemporary romance, I’ve got a historical on the back-burner, among other projects. I love writing humor, though it’s very difficult to do so. I should probably stick to one thing and try to make a name for myself in one genre, but I’m pretty sure I’d get bored very quickly.
Don’t do it. Like you, I never want to be pegged as solely a horror writer. In fact I don’t consider what I write as horror, it is a mix of emotions, not just fear.
Do you prefer sci-fi books to movies and TV shows and what is your favorite sci-fi now?
I like ‘em all. I’ve been reading a lot of Bacigalupi, Mieville and C.J. Cherryh recently. I loved the Battlestar Galactica reboot and Firefly. My favorite semi-recent sci-fi movie was Sunshine.
What sci-fi do you still have a soft spot for even if it seems cheesy by today’s standards?
John Norman’s Gor series was pure 100% cheese the moment its words touched the page. My pleasure in reading them was mostly to poke fun at them, like I do here. I suppose that counts as a soft spot. I certainly got a lot of laughs out of them, though I did give up by number four or five.
Mako is such an edgy character, how do you balance that edge with the romance?
Oh, it’s easy. Foul-mouthed, broken-toothed, hard-as-nails bounty hunters deserve love just as much as the next person. Don’t you think? More technically, I try to blend the edginess and the romance with liberal doses of humor. I really like writing characters with an edge and it seems to have worked out okay with this book, though with my first, Blue Galaxy, I’m afraid I annoyed quite a few romance readers with how terribly wicked my heroine was *grin*
And finally the hard question. What made you decide to write and what keeps you writing?
When my kids were younger I did a stint as a stay-at-home mom. I just about went insane, so I started writing as an intellectual exercise to counteract the fact that my IQ was dropping daily. It was harder than I thought it would be, but I learned and worked and improved. Then I thought it would be cool if I could actually make money off this writing thing. That was even harder than writing. I’m a full-time writer now, combining freelance with fiction writing. The latest challenge is to stay both productive and creative, and be a good boss to myself. I keep writing because I get depressed when I stop, and I like working from home. Oh, and I also have bills that simply must be paid.
Thanks for your time, Diane. Could you introduce us to Mako and the world she inhabits?
Thank you, Dale. Here’s Mako:
For nine long months, at the behest of the evil Ravenscorp, Mako Dolan has been hunting the space pirate they call The Saint. Now she’s finally lured her prey to a one night stand with a mysterious woman—herself. But Vin Sainte is not at all what she expected. Far from being a ruthless space pirate, his main occupation seems to be rescuing nuns, adopting orphans and praying like a champ.
For nine long months Vin Sainte has been fleeing the bounty hunter from one temporary refuge to the next. Now he’s got Mako exactly where he wants her: weak from gravity sickness and ripe for conversion. Problem is he didn’t expect a foul-mouthed, hard-as-nails bounty hunter to be such a devoted daughter. His head on a platter is Ravenscorp’s price for her mother’s freedom.
They have less than twenty-four hours. One will win; one will lose. Mako might be a fearsome predator, but Vin has the Lord on his side. Who will win the bounty?
To get your own copy of Blue Galaxy go to Carina Press HERE.
The sequel, Blue Nebula, coming September 14, 2012 to Carina Press.
Mako’s Bounty available at Decadent Publishing HERE.
To find out more about Diane and her writing, visit her HERE.
Diane wants to hear from you, so ask questions. Read her books? What was your favourite? We want to hear from you. Yes you, the one in the blue shirt, don’t pretend I mean someone else in the room…
I will borrow from the classic, Science Fiction Theatre for my closing, “I hope you enjoyed our story. We’ll be back one month from today with another exciting adventure from the world of fiction, science, and horror. Until then, this is your host, Dale Long, saying… see you next month.”