I just want to take the time to welcome author Sharon Lynn Fisher to the Blog. She is the author of Ghost Planet and most recently The Ophelia Prophecy. She is here to talk to us about her journey into Sci-fi romance!
Welcome and thanks for stopping by!
From Dragons to Insects: My journey to writing sci-fi romance
The Literati Press provided a couple of suggested topics for this post — how I came up with the idea for my latest release, THE OPHELIA PROPHECY, and how I got started writing. Writers love challenges, and I thought it would be fun to combine the two topics, so here goes!
Like many authors, I’ve known I wanted to be a writer since I was a little kid. I was an avid reader growing up — preferred that activity to pretty much every other, to the extent that I’d play sick so I could stay home and finish books. I never wanted the good ones to end, so I would often write little tribute stories when I finished reading them. After reading THE LITTLE LEFTOVER WITCH in grade school, I wrote a story about a little “lopsided” witch. Another particular favorite was A WRINKLE IN TIME, and when I was 13 I wrote 30 or so pages of a novel about a boy who used a magic cube to travel in time.
I’ve always written speculative fiction, though my actual reading habits have included more classical authors in my adult years. But as a teenager and young adult, I devoured fantasy series written by Tolkien, David Eddings, Tad Williams, and Melanie Rawn, to name a few. I dabbled in sci-fi, but I assumed if I ever published, it would be fantasy.
In hindsight I think the reason for that was romantic plot elements were much more common in the fantasy stories I was reading, and I am strongly drawn to romance as both a reader and writer. Romance and fantasy are easy bedfellows (so to speak!).
So I did write fantasy, for many years. I completed one fantasy novel based on Native American mythology when I was in my 20s, and I co-wrote a high fantasy/romance with a former boyfriend. I submitted thirty pages of another high fantasy novel to Ace in that same time period, and that first submission actually made it out to a second reader. I was ecstatic!
And, I quit. It was not a conscious decision, but quit I did. I suppose you could say life got in the way. I remember my 20s as a whirlwind of job and relationship changes. At the beginning of that decade I moved from my hometown, Oklahoma City, to Memphis, TN. At the end, I moved to Seattle, WA. In Seattle I found plenty of distractions from writing. Rock climbing! Mountain biking! Snowboarding! I got into food and wine. I broke my knee. I got married and had a kid.
Then one day I was 39, and I hadn’t written fiction for 15 years. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was also in a period of pretty severe postpartum depression. I started writing again. It helped me escape. At first I wrote romantic fantasy. I submitted probably five stories to the Writers of the Future Contest. I kept getting honorable mentions, but couldn’t get any further. Partly, I was learning my craft, but I also got it in my head I’d have a better chance if I wrote a sci-fi story.
So the idea for GHOST PLANET was born. Really just the title. I reverse engineer all of my work — start with a title, then write a story to match it. Somehow the title is enough to organize my brain and my muse behind the Herculean effort of unpacking the rest of the story. Writing that first book converted me completely. I enjoyed it so much! It felt so freeing and fresh! I’d reached the point in fantasy that I was having trouble coming up with what felt like original ideas to me.
From there I started down the rocky road to finding an agent. It didn’t feel like it at the time, but that happened pretty quickly. I got a lot of requests for the manuscript right off the bat. The book was named a finalist in the Romance Writers of America Golden HeartÒ competition. I found an agent — actually I worked with three different agents before one stuck. The fact was I had a great premise, but my story needed work.
Something like ten months after signing with my agent at Writers House, we had a sale. Sci-fi romance is a tricky genre, and it took us a while to find just the right fit.
So this was the time to think about whether I was going to stick with sci-fi. Considering my first real foray into the genre had yielded such promising results, you might think this wouldn’t even be a question. But just a like a genre has to be the right fit for an agent and publisher, it has to be the right fit for the author. You can’t write it (successfully) if you don’t feel it.
But I’ve never looked back. I’d found my voice. I’d found joy in blending science with speculation and romance (often with a dash of fantasy or paranormal just to spice things up). I’d found my inner geek! Or rather it had found me.
I’d begun writing THE OPHELIA PROPHECY right before the sale of GHOST PLANET. Like all my books, it started with the title. Also with a dream I had about two praying mantises fighting with wooden staffs. It incorporates elements of biopunk and post-apocalyptic themes, and of course, romance.
And as a nod to the fantasy lover in me — and to my lifelong obsession with fairies — I framed my praying mantis/human transgenic organisms as a sort of futuristic fae.
Well, I know that this book is already on my review stack, but I think that it may have moved itself closer to the top. I am definitely looking forward to reading this and getting my hands on Ghost Planet as well.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your journey with us!
The Ophelia Prophecy
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.
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). You can visit her online at SharonLynnFisher.com.