Deborah, welcome back to Return to Rio. I’m excited when you visit–you’re always buried in projects and have wonderful news for us, so it feels like a celebration. You actually have a couple of new releases this month, Alienne Mine, a prequel to Dragon Dawn, and, with Cary Frates, the other half of Morgan O’Neill, Begun by Time, the prequel to The Thornless Rose, your Elizabethan Time Travel series.
I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peak at Alienne Mine, which isan exquisitely crafted story of improbable love, vast, far-flung dreams, and a meeting of dinosaurian and human hearts and minds. I don’t regularly read time travel and was skeptical about the science fiction elements of dinosaurs who evolved with human-like qualities. I needed to be won over–and Deborah blew me away with Dragon Dawn. The prequel is shorter, completely stand alone–but just as beautifully and believably crafted
Deborah, thanks for agreeing to share some background on Alienne Mine. Let’s get started.
You’ve visited Rio before, so we know a little about you. But you stay so busy! What would you like to share so that we can more or less catch up with you?
There’s an old adage that says “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” **smiling** I tend to be at my happiest when I’m busy, but it seems this past year has been positively frantic. In addition to writing my sci-fi prequel, Alienne Mine, the Morgan O’Neill Elizabethan time travel series (of which I am a co-author) was launched. On August 25, 2015, Begun by Time, the prequel to The Thornless Rose, will debut from Entangled/MacMillan. And the third novel to the series is due to Entangled in March of 2016. Oy! In reality, I am quite thankful for the work, but I have discovered that publishing deadlines are not for the faint of heart.
Your schedule is a little frightening. But as long as you’re smiling! I’m always struck that from your Italian time travels to Elizabethan England to your dinosaurian series, your research is meticulous—but never boring. How do you accomplish such painstaking work while keeping it simple and relevant enough to interest your readers? Are there significant differences in researching actual human periods that have more factual historical documentation, such as Elizabethan England, and dinosaurian periods, in which there is fossil evidence that must be interpreted through the lens of modern sciences and not from actual human observation?
Thank you. I’ve worked quite hard to learn how to insert information into my narrative and dialogues without overwhelming the reader with info dumps. I also taught seventh and eight grades (and high school), and I learned by trial and error what captivates inquiring minds (junior high/middle school students are great at letting you know if you are boring). As for researching human vs. dinosaurian periods, imagination is needed for both. I find I’m looking through the proverbial “glass darkly” because we will never truly know what existed before our own time. I do believe human emotions and motivations to some extent mirror what we feel and observe today. As for dinosaurs, we have the birds to study. For all intents and purposes, they’re the living, breathing descendants of the theropod dinos. I just visited a zoo with my grandniece, where we watched emus walk about and feed. Dinosaurs! Just add a bit of imagination, a few ancients plants and animals like horsetails, magnolias, turtles and crocs, then a dash of terrible wonder, and you have a Cretaceous environment just ripe for literary adventure.
Through teaching, we become the taught! And on the general subject—the Jurassic Park series—do you love the movies or hate them, either on a personal or scientific level?
I’ve read Jurassic Park and seen the movies Jurassic Park and the new Jurassic World. Michael Crichton must be commended for his brilliant and original idea for Jurassic Park. The novel is great fun, and the flicks are wonderful popcorn movies, although they stretch reality and scientific findings a wee bit. For example, in Jurassic Park the amber which provided the DNA for creating the velociraptors was supposed to come from Central America. But velociraptors lived in Cretaceous-era Asia, so that DNA would not have been found in samples of mosquito blood preserved in American amber. In Dragon Dawn, I tried to make certain my ancient plants and animals originated and lived in the correct places. That being said, I take my hat off to the late Mr. Crichton for a really good read.
Alienne Mine is the prequel to Dragon Dawn, a short, very compelling story that introduces us to Drajulal-kishah, or Alienne, a sentient alien who selects a human, Ed McAdams, as her Chosen. Alienne’s character intrigues me. How did she come into being, and how did you achieve such a perfect blend of qualities human readers could relate to and admire, while creating the other worldliness she possesses?
It was a mixed bag regarding Alienne, with no major preparation on my part ahead of time. Regarding her physical appearance, I adore the colors blue and green, so I wanted to make her beautiful and appealing, hence her skin and eyes colors, which have all the shades of a tropical sea. The rest just happened as I wrote about her; she seemed to evolve before my eyes. After several dozen edits, there she was!
She’s a beautiful creation. I think Steven Novak does credit to her–and your series–in his covers for Alienne Mine and Dragon Dawn. Stunning work! Part of Alienne Mine is set in Hawaii, and you describe settings there unlikely to be known to the common traveler. Is Hawaii of special importance to you? Are there other locales in the world that you feel especially attached to or interested in?
My husband loves Hawaii (I do, too, of course), and we’ve visited numerous times over the years, especially Kauai. On our last trip, we went to a remote beach on the western side of the island. My character Edward’s experiences on the shore there mirror some of my own recollections, except I didn’t find an alien in the surf! **wink**
As for other places for which I have a special attachment, I’ve always loved England, especially Westminster Abbey. In The Thornless Rose, I hope my readers experience the Abbey through my own heartfelt memories in the scenes where Anne Howard confronts the past—and her own future. Writing those scenes was so much fun!
I don’t want to get off track, but the Elizabethan time travels–wow! A royal success! For the moment, though, your next chapter in this journey through space and evolution is Dawn of Time. When can we expect it, and are there any special tidbits you might throw our way while we wait?
I now have the beginning and ending of Dawn of Time written, but a huge chunk of the middle exists in that mysterious zone I liken to some kind of ether or ozone. I will tackle pulling it from the proverbial mist next year, when I’ve finished work on the Elizabethan time travel series. As a tidbit I’ll let you know there is a happy ending for Tasha—I could not let her suffer the loss of Lex for all time.
That is good news! I like to end interviews by asking my guests to tell me anything they want to include—professional, personal—whatever you’d like Rio guests to know as we wrap things up.
I want to express my gratitude to everyone who stopped by and read my words. It is always a pleasure being here, Leslie! And my sincerest thanks to one and all for reading books and supporting me and my fellow authors.
Deborah, thank you for coming. And I hope I won’t embarrass you when I mention to our other visitors today that besides laboring over your stories to create unforgettable stories for your readers, you’re always ready to offer anyone words of encouragement and support. Best of luck with today’s release of Alienne Mine, and your visit–I hope you’ll come back again soon!
Deborah’s provided some special goodies, and if you’d like my take on Alienne Mine, you can find my review on Amazon.
Alienne Mine, a Prequel to Dragon Dawn.
Far from her home world, an alien female clandestinely observes the Earth, but her intense need for a mate overwhelms her desire for secrecy. It is time to pick her Chosen, the one who will share her life. With her keen ultraviolet vision, she’s watched the human astronaut, Edward McAdams, a man with a unique and compelling aura. Is he the one? If so, will he agree to leave Earth and travel with her to the stars? But her plans are threatened when she discovers dangers lurking in the vast reaches of the Milky Way galaxy, menacing aliens who may not only imperil Edward, but everyone else on Earth.
Dragon Dawn, Book One of the Dinosaurian Time Travel Series.
What if the extinction of the dinosaurs hadn’t occurred? An alien stranded on Mars is determined to find out by sending human astronauts back in time to rewrite Earth’s past. But a female astronaut, through a strange twist of fate, survives the change in the space-time continuum. After finding herself in a dinosaurian body, she must race against time – and the formidable alien – to restore the universe to its rightful course.
Deborah O’Neill Cordes website: http://deborahoneillcordes.com/
Morgan O’Neill website: http://www.morganoneill.com/
Buy link for Alienne Mine on Amazon US:
Buy link for Dragon Dawn on Amazon US:
Deborah O’Neill Cordes is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist of historical and speculative fiction. She is the author of the sci-fi time travel novel, Dragon Dawn, Book One of the Dinosaurian Time Travel Series, and its prequel, Alienne Mine, which blends fields of study she loves in equal measure – Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a master’s degree in history. She is also the co-author of the Morgan O’Neill time travel novels. Deborah resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two West Highland White Terriers, who, alas, are precocious terriers and therefore never white.
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