Planning a Novel with Margaret Fieland and C*ntest

Shameless Elysian Fields Tour Promotion!
* There is a fun interview over at The Demon Librarian today, as well as a review (thank you, thank you!), and this is a Tier 1 stop, which means a chance to win a copy of Elysian Fields from the nice folks at Tor.

* Also, thanks to these folks who’ve posted new reviews (and some from earlier you might have missed) at:
       Offbeat Vagabond (this is also a Tier 3 site and another chance to enter for the iPad; review is of Royal Street);
       Badass Book Reviews (there also was an earlier flash-fiction up this week and giveaway);
       Smexy Books (Ouch! Oh well, can’t win ’em all);
       Frankie’s Bookshelf (also a chance to win the iPad here–you can enter at each stop);
       Book Passion for Life;
       Addicted 2 Heroines;
       What the Cat Read (also a chance to enter for the iPad).

Now, to the real blog at hand, and a special giveaway!

Today, please help me welcome fellow author Margaret Fieland to Preternatura. Margaret is here today to talk about her latest release, Broken Bonds, which was published by MuseItUp Publishing in July. 

Born and raised in Manhattan, she has lived in the Boston area since just after the blizzard of 1976, thus missing the opportunity to abandon her car in a snowbank and walk home. She is the daughter of a painter and the mother of three grown sons. An avid science fiction fan, she selected Robert A. Heinlein’s “Farmer in the Sky” for her tenth birthday, now long past. She lives outside of Boston with her partner and a large number of dogs.

In spite of earning her living as a computer software engineer, she turned to one of her sons to put up the first version of her website, a clear illustration of the computer generation gap. An accomplished flute and piccolo player, she can also write backwards and wiggle her ears. Thanks to her father’s relentless hounding, she can still recite the rules for pronoun agreement in both English and French. Her articles, poem, and stories have appeared in anthologies and journals such as Melusine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved.

You can learn more about Margaret by visiting her website or by visiting her blog. 
ABOUT BROKEN BONDS (Novels of Aleyne):  When Major Brad Reynolds is assigned to head the Terran Federation base on planet Aleyne, the last thing he expects to find is love, and certainly not with one of the alien Aleyni. How can he keep his lover, in the face of political maneuvering and of Ardaval’s feelings for his former partners— and theirs for him?
And now, let’s hear from Margaret…
Planning a Novel

Margaret Fieland

I started my writing life as a poet and took up fiction writing when I joined a writing forum and got hooked. As to the science fiction thing, the world building intimidated me, so in late September 2010, I decided to write a science fiction novel in order to overcome my block. I had nothing to lose, except, perhaps, some sleep, and the latest episodes of my favorite TV shows.

I spent the next month on heavy world building, working out the characters and situation, and a page of notes about the plot. I created my aliens, their society, its values, literature, artwork, the Terran Federation, the politics of the inter-species relationships, and lots more. The ideas had been percolating in my mind for quite some time, but I’d simply ignored them.

There several things that went into the creation of the story and setting. The first was a story I’d read years ago where the aliens formed households of two couples, but they weren’t all sexual with each other. My reaction? That’s not how I would write it.

The next were some of my experiences abroad, both studying French in Vichy, France, one summer and another summer spent as a co-op in the Netherlands. The culture shock I experienced, and my difficulties with the language, all went into the book.

The third piece was my middle son, a captain in the army. At the time I started writing the novel, he was stationed in Afghanistan, and so my main character’s father was deployed to the Federation Guard base in the desert on Aleyne.

The fourth was my poetry. As a writer, poetry is my first love, so I looked for a way to work some of my poems into the book. I invented a poet as part of the universe of the novel and had my main character study his work. I wrote thirty one poems, and eight appear in the novel.

The fifth, and final piece, is my day job. I work as a computer software engineer in the area of database security, and my middle son is in army intelligence. Computers, and computer espionage, play a big part of the plot.

My main character is a cross between human and alien, but he’s accepted as human. The simple questions: how many limbs do they have, where do they live, what do they eat, I answered easily. I made my aliens black, with a few features that distinguish them from humans, vegetarians, ecology-minded. I spent a lot of my prep time on working out their cultural values, the history of their involvement with the Terran Federation, the politics of both my aliens and their human counterparts, and the like.

The novel I wrote for 2010 Nano, Relocated, was published last year.  Broken Bonds, the latest Aleyne novel, came out at the end of July.
Thanks, Margaret! It’s always interesting to hear how authors come up with ideas and what influences their worldbuilding. And sci-fi romance is hot hot hot right now–have any of you guys read a SFR you enjoyed? I’m a fan of Jennifer Armintrout’s Obsidian, a YA SFR.

Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Sand in the Desert, the book of poems Margaret wrote to go along with her novel, Relocated. And I will add a digital copy of Broken Bonds! 

15 thoughts on “Planning a Novel with Margaret Fieland and C*ntest

  1. Always interested in how an author does her world building. Your books sounds intriguing. Will have to add it to my TBR pile. I would recommend Linnea Sinclair as my favorite SFR author. Heather Massey has a blog called the Galaxy Express that is dedicated to SFR and she lists quite a few authors for you to explore.

  2. Blog tour done for today

    I think you meant Jennifer L ArmenEntrout ^^ if teh book is obsidian from teh lux series ( ^^ she has an near homonyme with the gal armintrout but that’s not the same^^)

    i haven’t read that much SFR but i have one on my pile right now from angelia Samos and i’m really interested to get to that one ( first finish what i’ve started

    • Thanks, Miki! Yep you’re right. Jennifer ArmENtrout wrote Obsidian. Jennifer ArmINtrout wrote American Vampire, one of my favorite reads last year but it doesn’t have aliens in it :=)

  3. I love Gini Koch, Alien Affairs series, Karen Kelley’s Princes of Symteria and Lauren Dane’s Federation/Phatom Corps series. Broken Bonds sounds great. Thanks for sharing. evamillien at gmail dot com

  4. I love Jennifer Armintrout’s books except for her Lightworld/Darkworld series. Blood Ties series is my favorite of her works.

  5. I am relatively new when it comes to reading Sci-fi books, but I am enjoying my new journey into the genre! I would love to read your books, as they sound interesting, and exciting! Thank you for the interview. It was very informative!

  6. I am amazed at the imagination that goes into writing a SF novel. I envy writers who can use world building and map out their stories.

    I enjoyed reading how you got your start, Margaret. Nice interview.

  7. Margaret, sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed the world building for your sci fi story. So much to think about…vegetarians and ecology minded too? I bet you had a lot of fun expanding your creative powers. Best wishes with your new release!