Alexis Glynn Latner, author feature, book feature, Cara Bristol, Carysa Locke, cats, dogs, Hero Dogs, interview, Laurie A. Green, Lea Kirk, Pauline Baird Jones, pets, S.E. Smith, scifi romance, service dogs, Susan Grant, Veronica Scott
When an animal has a feature role in a book, I am immediately drawn to that book. My life is enhanced by cats (many cats), two of which are pictured here. I have also had the joy of several dogs/walking buddies in the past. So this Pets in Space anthology is something I can’t help but be enthusiastic about. Plus, Pets in Space is promoting a very good charity. Needless to say, Pets in Space is on my TBR list! (If you agree, you will find pre-order links at the end of this article.)
So, I am thinking…..the authors of the Pets in Space anthology must have similar feelings about the animals in their life and in fiction. I could be wrong. But I don’t think so. Just to make sure though – I could not pass up the opportunity to find out. So here it is. Pets in Space authors subject themselves to my general, personal and possibly impertinent questions.
Interview With SciFi Romance Authors: Pauline Baird Jones, Veronica Scott, Susan Grant, Laurie A. Green and Lea Kirk
1) What was your first reaction to a pets in space anthology?
Pauline: It all started because a bunch of us authors were talking about our pets in a Facebook group and I (jokingly) said, we should do an anthology called Pets in Space. I didn’t think anything more about it until Veronica Scott contacted me privately and said, “We really should do this anthology. It would be so fun.”
I couldn’t argue with that, so we started knocking around dates and such. One thing we both agreed on: a portion of the anthology’s proceeds had to go toward a pet related charity. We were both thrilled to discover HeroDogs. Just seemed such a perfect pairing for an anthology of stories where some of the pets are heroes and of course, many of the humans are, too. (I say “many” because there are some dastardly characters in the stories, but ALL the pets are great.)
We’re so excited Pets in Space is a reality and no longer a “fun” idea. And who knew that this summer Carrie Fisher would agree that we “need more pets in space?” #awesome #score
Veronica: Well since Pauline Baird Jones and I are the originators of the concept, I LOVED it! She and I e mailed back and forth about it, getting more and more excited about the fun challenge and then we decided to proceed this year and invite other authors to ‘play’.
Susan: I thought: No way! Am I really going to be able to write about two of the subjects I love the most? I’m going to enjoy reading the other stories as much as I did writing mine.
Laurie: My very first reaction when Pauline Baird Jones and Veronica Scott mentioned the idea was eyebrow-raised excitement. Pets are such a huge part of my life that an anthology combining two of my very favorite things—science fiction romance with pets—is something that I not only wanted to be a part of but was equally eager to read!
I think Pets in Space is a timely idea. (Just ask Carrie Fisher. ) Romance is a big part of the human experience and it will be a factor as we begin to explore our solar system and the stars beyond. But pets are a huge part of many peoples’ lives too, and I can’t help but believe we’ll find a way to bring them along with us when our time comes to seek out new worlds and the deeper reaches of our cosmos.
Lea: When this anthology was first mentioned to me I thought, ‘Perfect! My two favorite things, pets and space. I am so in.’ My second thought—which every one of a certain age is thinking, so don’t deny it—The Muppets Pigs in Space segment. You can hear the announcer saying it in your head now, can’t you?
2) Tell me about your first pet that you remember.
Pauline: The first pet I remember gave birth to kittens in our closet. You have probably guessed she was a cat, pure white and pretty tough. I once watched her chase a dog five times her size out of our yard. But my favorite cat was Smokey, a beautiful gray cat that liked to sleep with me. He’d lay his head on the pillow next to mine and sometimes he’d put a paw on my cheek. He was a bed hog and he liked to be let out between four and five in the morning, but I still loved him.
Veronica: I have one crystal clear memory of a pair of white rabbits, named Meadow and Thumper, from when I was three. (That makes my adult movie actress name Meadow Northcliffe, by the way, if I acted in such flicks, since we lived on Northcliffe Road at the time.) The first pet I really cared for and considered my own was Cinderella, a gray tabby, when I was seven.
Susan: Alice was a stray cat, but I was allowed to feed her on the back porch. She was with me for about a year when I was a first or second grader. When I walked home from school, she was always there to greet me. My grandmother would pour some milk in a small bowl to give to her. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t like Alice hanging around and gave her away after. So sad! When my own children were growing up, our house was always filled with pets, from fish to cats and dogs, even a couple of snakes. I made up for not having any cats or dogs when I was a child many times over.
Laurie: My very first pet was named Ginger, and he was an unlikely cross of beagle and collie. He was slightly larger than a beagle and had a beautiful, short golden-ginger coat with four bright white paws and faint collie markings on his face.
My brother and sisters were all much older than me, so by the time I was ten they had all moved out of the house and I became an only/lonely kid. I adopted Ginger while my parents were away on an extended trip, and by the time they returned we were all but inseparable. To say they weren’t very keen on adding a dog to our household is a huge understatement, but Ginger managed to charm them enough that they relented and I had my first-ever “very own” dog. Ginger and I had some great adventures. We went on long hikes in the forest behind our house and I taught him to do an obstacle course—climb ladders, jump over low fences and walk “tightropes” (actually elevated boards)—long before I learned some dogs did these things in actual competitions.
I lived in a sparsely populated area of northern Michigan and most of my friends were many miles away, so Ginger was often my sole companion and “bestie.” I wish I had a picture to share, but they’ve been lost to time. I still miss my little buddy and think of him often.
Lea: My silly, little, Hula dancing doggie, Mai-Tai. I was four-years-old and living in Hawaii went we got her. She and her litter-mates were advertised as Cocker Spaniels, but when we got there my parents realized there had to be a black Labrador in the ‘woodpile’ because that’s what she looked like, a small black lab. Her siblings all looked like Cockers and had names like Brandy and Sherry, therefore, my parents dubbed our puppy Mai-Tai. And, yes, she’d roll over on the grass and wiggle back and forth. Her version of the Hula.
3) Is your pet also your muse? Or is he/she a distraction?
Pauline: Sadly, our longtime family pet, Felix, passed away a couple of years ago. I say “family pet,” but he was our son’s cat from the tip of his ears to his sleekly pointed tail. Despite Felix’s belief that I was *his* pet, he was a good cat. When I would be working at my computer, he liked to settle into a nearby (empty) file folder box. But my dearest memory of Felix was how he tried to comfort our son while he was getting chemotherapy treatments. He always knew when something wasn’t right and was there for our son.
Veronica: Are we asking me or the cat??? Jake would of course say he’s the Muse and that he should be written into every book and thanked profusely. (Hint: he’s an irresistible distraction.) Keanu the other cat is more laid back and just likes to sleep on the chair next to my writing desk. He does require about five minutes of concentrated petting at the start of every writing session.
Susan: Skye, my 2 1/2 year old border collie, has one emotion: joy. This constant joy and all the interaction she loves can definitely be a distraction. But as she has gotten older, she has learned to nap while “mama” is writing, often for many hours. I can safely say she has gone from being a distraction to a muse. I used many of her qualities when I wrote Bang-Bang, the dog in my novella Stray.
Laurie: They fall totally in the “muse” category. Right now, we have two house dogs—both miniature longhaired dachshunds (who inspired my StarDog character, in part)—Katrina and Luna. Katrina has been with us for seven years and is my writing-buddy-muse extraordinaire. She came with her name, that just happens to be the same as the heroine in an upcoming novel and the name of the StarDog vermin-huntress in my story, which fit perfectly with one scene of the story.
Katrina has been the perfect little writing companion who knows what “let’s go write!” means, and happily romps to my office to curl up in a bed beneath my desk during the hours I’m tapping away at the keyboard. When Luna came to live with us this past June (they are both from the same breeder and are, in human terms, aunt and niece), Katrina quickly taught her the writing-buddy ropes. There are now two little beds beneath my desk, though sometimes the two like to snuggle up together and share. (Peeks under desk and whispers, “Like right now.”)
Lea: For most of the Pets in Space writing experience we have not had a pet. But we were looking, and our next pet found us and came home a couple of weeks ago. A seven-year-old Doberman who has blown my preconceived notions of the breed out of the water. He’s a love! My hubby decided his name should be Ranger (yes, after the dog in my Pets in Space contribution, Space Ranger). Ranger is more of a distraction at the moment because the newness of his presence still hasn’t worn off. He needs at least two walks a day, which is good because before he came I wasn’t getting out at all. (cone of shame)
4) Who do you feed first – your pet(s) or your family?
Pauline: No one ate in our house until Felix was happy. lol
Veronica: Currently my cats and I reside alone and the first activity I do each day is feed them. When my kids were little, I still fed the cats first because they and I got up way earlier than anyone else in the house.
Susan: The dog!
Laurie : Well, that’s an easy one because our dogs and cats all have automatic feeders, so I suppose you could say they get fed first because breakfast (as well as brunch, elevensies, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner) is always waiting for them.
Lea: Ranger gets fed first. No question. Everyone else in the house is old enough to fend for themselves, and they also have opposable thumbs.
5) Time for a poll: Are you a cat or dog person? Or both? Or other?
Pauline: Cat person, for sure. I tried to be a dog person (I made eye contact with an adorable poodle, but it didn’t work out and he gratefully moved on to an actual dog family.)
Susan: Love them both.
Laurie: Hmmm, that’s a tough one. For most of my life, I’ve definitely aligned with the “dog person” ranks. Then my spouse, who was deployed away from home with the military for five years, retired and brought his two calico feline companions back to live with us—Serenity (she came with that name, but being a huge Firefly fan, I love it!) and Sugar.
It took some time but the two eventually adopted me into their pride, and I’ve since grown to be quite a cat admirer, too. Sometimes Serenity will even join the writing buddy troops and curl up in a chair in my office next to a stuffed rhinoceros that she’s fond of.
So, to (finally) answer the question, I guess I’d have to say that I’m now both a dog and a cat person. Each species has their charms and pluses, and DNA from both went into the making of the StarDog in my story.
Lea: I like cats, and even had two of them as a youngster. I would have more if my youngest wasn’t allergic. But, I must confess, I am a dog person at heart. Especially big dogs. Someday I’d love to have a Scottish Deerhound.
Getting to know these authors and their special pets has been a delight! Thank you Pauline, Veronica, Susan, Laurie and Lea for sharing about the four-legged friends in your lives.
Pauline Baird Jones
Pauline never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance. You can find out more about her books (and get a free story for subscribing to her newsletter) at: http://paulinebjones.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Pauline-Baird-Jones/e/B000APFS0M/
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Veronica-Scott/e/B006CUCJ92/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Air Force veteran Susan Grant is a NY Times/USA Today bestselling, RITA Award winning author of science fiction romance. Her “day job” as a jumbo-jet pilot takes her all around the world, and makes it easy to imagine faraway worlds and alien cultures. Susan loves writing smart, character-driven, action-packed stories featuring strong women and honorable men.
Laurie A. Green
Laurie A. Green is a three-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist, an award-winning author, and a science fiction romance enthusiast who founded the SFR Brigade community of writers, which is now over 900 members strong.
She confesses to being an Andromeda Galaxy groupie and would someday love to own a vacation home on Mars or Titan. She’s enthused to be a part of this wonderful anthology mash-up of two of her favorite things–pets and space.
Her family includes her husband, David, four dogs, three cats and several horses, all who reside on a ranch in beautiful New Mexico. A former military budget director and reserve state trooper, she now spends her time writing, networking, researching, enjoying the Southwestern lifestyle and, naturally, stargazing and daydreaming about other worlds.
Twitter Handle: @SFRLaurie
Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her science fiction romances. Her first book, Prophecy, was a finalist in the Molly Award, Pages from the Heart, and the LERA Rebecca contests. It’s the first book in her sci-fi romance series of the same name.
Her fascination with science fiction began at six years old when her dad introduced her to the original Star Trek TV series. She fell in love with the show, and was even known to run through her parents’ house wearing the tunic top of her red knit pantsuit and her white go-go boots pretending to be Lieutenant Uhura.
She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her wonderful hubby of twenty-six years and their five kids (aka, the nerd herd).
Even an alien needs a pet…
Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?
New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Bestselling authors have nine original, never-released stories that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!
10% of profits from the first month go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.
Add Pets in Space to Goodreads
Amazon link coming next week. For other retailers, you can pre-order Pets in Space today: