What is your writing process?
For this 41K word scifi romance novel, I began with the question of creating a science fiction-y pet, since the book would be part of the Pets In Space 3 anthology. I had to develop a story that involved the animal in a meaningful way, not just a throw away line like “And the cat purred!” So the pet must be able to drive at least part of the plot, for me to feel I’ve succeeded. I also want to have a science fiction-y element to the pet itself. While I was pondering, I saw a really distinctive Siamese cat and I thought that would be fairly easy and interesting animal for our talented artist Nyssa Juneau to turn into an alien feline for me, with the addition of a third eye and a few other alterations. But I’ve done a cat and a catlike alien before, for my novella in PISA1, although Midorri, the alien pet there actually is kind of a cross between a red panda and a tribble who acts like a cat. So I wanted something very different, to push the envelope a little more this time and I started thinking about what if the cat wasn’t actually a real animal at all? I ended up making F’rrh a ‘jenfellini’, which is something like a genie or perhaps a mischievous spirit, living in a beautiful lacquered box when not out and about making mischief. Then I knew the heroine was going to be a long lost princess (or maybe she’s an imposter out to steal jewels!) and the hero had to be a Security Officer. The rest of the plot filled itself in as I wrote, which is my usual process.
Do you have any odd writing habits?
Other than spending too much time on the internet when I’m supposed to be writing LOL? It’s so easy to get distracted – pop onto google for one second to research something and next thing I know, an hour’s gone by and I’m deep in a Twitter kerfluffle.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you?
Andre Norton was my biggest inspiration when I was growing up. The first book of hers I ever read was Catseye, when I was young. I wanted to write scifi adventures too, but with more romance. MUCH more romance! Nowadays I’m inspired by and love Nalini Singh, Jeffe Kennedy, Anna Hackett and more, for a variety of reasons.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Becoming a full-time author, having more than twenty five published romances and continuing to write! Of course, raising my family is first and foremost in my heart and obviously the most important thing I’ve done, but speaking strictly about non-family-related accomplishments. I’m also very proud of my career at NASA/JPL and my NASA Exceptional Service Medal. But I’d wanted to be a full-time writer since I was about seven.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still sitting here at my desk, writing more books full of adventure and romance. Who knows how many books I might have released by then? I love telling my stories.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Get the words on the page. Write every day, even if it’s only ten words, because those words add up over time. Don’t self-edit as you go – avoid the trap of perfectionism. First drafts are meant to be UGLY! Then you can go back and revise and tweak and add and subtract…but get the bones of the story told rather than endlessly polishing one paragraph or one sentence and never moving forward. Always have a professional editor once you’ve arrived at a pretty final draft.
What are you working on now? What is your next project?
My next project is releasing Timtur: The Teacher’s Alien Healer in October, followed by Gabe in November. These are the next two books in my scifi romance Badari Warriors series. I’m currently writing the seventh book in the series, out in early 2019.
What literary character is most like you?
Depending on the day and my mood, I’d be a combination of Jo in Little Women, Lessa in Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series (with golden dragon, please) and Ripley in “Aliens” (who I realize isn’t literary but she’s quite the character). Frederica in Georgette Heyer’s book of the same name…I have endless favorite characters to slip in and out of.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?
Ireland, which is where many of my ancestors hail from and which always looks like ‘home’ to me when I see pictures of it. Or Australia, where I have many lovely readers! In both places, I love the accents which are music to my ears and I’d be thrilled to see the unique sights in either locale.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
Real animal? A cat, with a nice warm house, many toys, and abundant food. Fantastical animal? A dragon! Yesssss….
What’s on your bucket list (things to do before you die)?
Have one of my books made into a movie! I did have one instance where there was serious interest from Hollywood, early in my career as a published author, but then the prime mover in the situation suddenly got a juicy long term role in another project and without them, no one else was as excited about the book (except me of course LOL). I live in Southern California and know a number of people ‘in the industry’ so I’ve seen the reality of the business and never got my hopes up that the deal would happen. So much in Hollywood is nothing but dreams and hopes. So few optioned projects actually go the distance and get made. And sure enough, it didn’t! But it was fun to think about.
If you could have any name in the world, what would you choose?
My pen name pretty much answers that question! I always wanted a name that started with a V and had many syllables.
What do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?
I have vivid, in color dreams. I usually only remember bits and pieces in the morning and they’re never anything to do with my book plots. I will say though that I occasionally have dreams where I go back to junior high school of all places, which is odd! I’m usually looking for a favorite teacher and wandering the halls.
Title STAR CRUISE MYSTERY DANCER in the Pets In Space 3 anthology
Author Veronica Scott
Genre SciFi Romance
Publisher Cats, Dogs and Other Worldy Creatures
STAR CRUISE: MYSTERY DANCER Blurb:
Tassia Megg is a woman on the run after the death of her elderly guardian. Her search to get off the planet in a hurry comes when chance directs her to an open dance audition for the luxury cruise liner Nebula Zephyr’s resident troupe. If there is one thing Tassia can do, it is dance!
Security Officer Liam Austin is suspicious of the newest performer to join the Comettes. She shows all the signs of being a woman on the run and seems to fit the Sectors-wide broadcast description of a missing thief, accused of stealing priceless artifacts. As he gets to know Tassia during the cruise, he starts to wonder if she’s something more – a long vanished princess in hiding from deadly political enemies of her family perhaps? And what’s the story with the three-eyed feline companion other crew members swear Tassia brought aboard the ship? Does the animal even exist?
As the ship approaches its next port of call, all the issues come to a boil and Liam must decide if he’ll step in to help Tassia or betray her. Life is about to get very interesting aboard the Nebula Zephyr as Liam tries to uncover the truth. Could F’rrh, the peculiar alien cat he has been hearing about, be the key to the mystery and Tassia’s fate?
Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 3 Anthology Blurb:
Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!
Tassia concealed the food she’d bought under her coat and snuck up the back stairs of the cheap hotel, hurrying to their room before anyone could challenge her. Food wasn’t allowed in the rooms but Madame Xandrina was too ill to go out. The greasy sandwiches Tassia’d had to buy weren’t the right thing for an elderly invalid, but it was the best she could do with their limited credits. Soon, she’d have to sell something else from their ever shrinking stash of artifacts.
Putting the brightest expression on her face she could manage under the circumstances, Tassia keyed open the portal to their room. “I’ve brought sandwiches, freshly cooked stew and a tiny box of juicy kleemta berries.” She shut the door behind her and went to place the container on the battered bureau. “You love those.”
Xandrina wasn’t in the single room, but Tassia heard her coughing in the bathroom. The coughing went on and on until finally she knocked gently and went inside to check. Xandrina was on her knees, clinging to the sink to keep from falling further. She was deadly pale and coughing up blood.
“Goddess have mercy.” Tassia rushed to get a cloth to wipe the blood from her elderly companion’s face then helped her to the bed. Getting a glass of water, she managed to persuade Xandrina to sip a bit and soothe the cough. “We have to get you to a clinic, get some meds.” She rose but the other woman grabbed her wrist and held on tight.
“No, Tassia. I’m done. There’s nothing anyone can do for me now.” Xandrina held her fist to her chest as the coughing overtook her again. “We both know this has been getting worse for months. Did you dance well today? What did you learn?”
“I shouldn’t be wasting our credits on dance classes any longer,” Tassia said. ”You won’t let me perform for anyone but you, so what’s the point?”
“The point is you love to dance and a person of your station must be able to dance to fulfill her duties, to claim your rightful place.” The old woman’s eyes burned with intensity.
“The old world is gone—when will you accept the reality?” Massaging her temples as she and her companion revisited this familiar argument, Tassia couldn’t whip up much energy for the conversation. “There will never be a chance for me to become a high priestess of Normeia, much less to sit on the Fire Throne and show how I can make the magic flames dance at my command. We need to deal with what is, not what you wish would happen. The Ruatsar system doesn’t even belong to our family any more.”
“As long as you live, the bloodline lives.” Xandrina was stubborn.
Tassia bit her lip and went to get the stew before it grew stone cold. “Here, Madame, you must have something to eat.”
Xandrina waved away the bowl impatiently with one claw-like hand. “Show me what you learned today.”
Biting back a protest because there really wasn’t room in the tiny rented space, plus the tenants below complained if she made too much noise, Tassia moved to the area beside the grimy window and went on tiptoe, assuming the correct first position for the folk dance she’d been learning at the small local dance studio. Humming the tune for herself, she moved through the steps. As she performed the final spin and curtsied to her audience of one, she relished the feeling of being in the flow of the dance.
“You failed to finish the last two moves properly,” Xandrina said, clapping feebly despite her criticism. “But a good dance overall.”
“Always so observant.” Tassia laughed and went to retrieve her smaller portion of the food. “Eat some of the stew before I decide to come over there and spoon feed you myself.”
Xandrina shook her head and her cheeks were glistening.
Tassia did a double take. “Are you crying? Madame, what’s wrong? Are you in pain?”
“Our roads part now,” the elderly woman said, sniffing. “I read the cards three times while you were at class. Death approaches, for myself certainly, for us both if you don’t leave now, tonight.”
Hand shaking, Tassia set her half eaten food aside. “The Ruatsar New Regime agents found us again?”
“So the cards say. You must go without me—I can’t travel further.” Eyes dull, shoulders slumped, Xandrina patted the bed. “This is my final stop, but you must run, so that all I’ve done wasn’t done in vain. You have to get off this planet and continue the trip; get yourself to those who can protect you.”
“I won’t leave you.”