I'm holding in my inner squeeing fan girl today and trying to be cool as I introduce my guest poster today, the wonderful Cari Z. I've been a big Cari Z fan for ages, even since I noticed that she was writing some darn good stories for various anthologies - her story in the Sindustry II anthology has become one of my top comfort reads. Changing Worlds is her first novel length story and she's here to tell us something about it today. Over to you, Cari!
I confess, I was a sci fi fan long before romance caught my eye. I scrounged my dad’s old paperbacks and read reams of pulpy, space-faring adventure stories. Romance was not the cornerstone of these books. They were more about doing battle and firing ray guns and, maybe, kissing the girl on the way out the door. Even once I set my sights a little higher, romance wasn’t really anywhere to be seen in popular science fiction. Plausible explanations for faster-than-light travel, yes, because realism’s what you get when a physicist writes science fiction. An epic love story, not so much.
Similarly, I’ve read a number of romances that just happen to have a “space” setting, or touch on science fiction tropes without really getting into them. That’s understandable insofar as the author isn’t really interested in writing sci fi; they’re attracted to a unique scenario or place, and not the science of science fiction, the exploration that is the hallmark of that genre. Romance has plenty of exploration of its own, just of a different kind. The two genres very often flirt with each other, but far less frequently manage to marry and be the kind of book that I love: a real science fiction romance.
When I started Changing Worlds, I was working off of a short story that was, in essence, romance in a space setting. There were ships, there were aliens, but the reality of those things took a back seat to getting a relationship off the ground between my two main characters. I was happy with how the short story, Opening Worlds, turned out, but I knew I wanted to do more for my novel. I wanted to write that sense of newness and exploration and explanation that’s so ingrained in science fiction, and I wanted it while keeping up the process of romantic discovery between my heroes.
Jason is a human, and Ferran is a Perel, the aliens from my short story, but in Changing Worlds, it’s Jason who becomes the alien, accompanying Ferran back to his home world. Their controversial marriage becomes the focal point of conflict between two powerful political factions on Perelan, and they have to navigate the troubled waters of political and social upheaval while learning how to love each other when nothing is easy.
The world building for this story was so much fun, working out the complexities of Perel society, their level of technology, their industries and politics and so much more. I got to speculate about humanity’s level of development, too, our medical technology, and how far into the stars we had spread. It was hard to stop once I got going, and I could have drowned this manuscript in detail without too much encouragement. I tried to at some points, in fact, and my editor had to gently rein me in and remind me to get back to the main story.
And the main story is, at the heart, a romance. Changing Worlds is a love story, one where my heroes are challenged to overcome tremendous obstacles for the sake of their intense but fledgling romance. They’re put through the wringer, jumping through hoops set up by both sides before their marriage was allowed to occur, and they take it because they’ve chosen to be together and they’re doing everything they can to make it work. In the end, the story is about their love and dedication, but without the science fiction aspects, these two would never have met. Changing Worlds is a science fiction romance, and I hope that lovers of both genres will be happy with this book.
Thanks to Well-Read and Jenre for having me today! Be sure to check out Changing Worlds at its Storm Moon Press webpage!
Cari and Storm Moon Press are offering up a copy of Changing Worlds as a prize to one lucky commenter. Please leave a comment along with your email before the end of Saturday 26th May and I'll announce the winners on Sunday. Good Luck and thanks to Cari and Storm Moon Press for the giveaway!