"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
April 2003 Issue
Born in Victoria, Australia, my childhood was spent in a variety of places, both in towns and the outback. Now settled in Western Australia, I work as a nurse. A love of animals has me involved in animal welfare, and certainly explains why the cats hog my bed and the hot water bottle!
Reading has always been my escape, writing my dream. Horror, myths, legends, fantasy and history there are no limits to the wonders to be found. And romance? Well, that adds the spice, hope and happiness ever after..
An Interview with Angela Verdenius
PNR: What inspired you to become a writer? To write futuristic romance? What type of books do you prefer to read?
Angela V.: I've always wanted to be a writer from as far back as I could remember. I loved reading, and wanted to create on paper the worlds and characters that filled my daydreams. The first futuristic romance I read was Johanna Lindsey's Warrior's Woman, and from there I was hooked. Writing futuristic romances gives you a universe of the unknown, just waiting to be populated with characters and events. The only limit is your imagination. I actually read a variety of books. Romance (of course!) in most genres (with a preference to paranormal), horror, history, legends and myths, books on the unexplained, and autobiographies if they're written in a humorous way, such as Doreen Tovey and James Herriot.
PNR: HEART OF AN OUTLAW is the first book in your futuristic Heart and Soul series. The story begins with two young Daamen Traders, strolling through the marketplace, when they are carried away by a crowd drawn to a slaver's booth. Though the two men plainly do not approve of slavery, they are surprised by what the slaver is offering. What is so unique about this woman?
Angela V.: The fact that she is a outlawed Reeka Warrior Woman. It was generally believed by the populace that none had survived being hunted. To actually have a live Reeka in the Lawful Sector is incredible.
PNR: Why had the Reeka warriors become outlaws?
Angela V.: First suspected of killing all their menfolk - adult and children - they were forced to move from their settlement and wander. Later they were accused of massacring a settlement, and then it was "open season" on the Reekas, and they became the prey for bounty hunters and soldiers.
PNR: What prompts the Daamen Captain, Darvk, to go against character and purchase this slave, Tenia?
Angela V.: Darvk has a compassionate heart, so part of it was the revulsion at the thought of the young Reeka being bought by a brothel owner, her spirit crushed, and the Reeka herself eventually killed through repeated rape and perhaps trying to escape. But on another level, he was captivated by her. One look into her eyes and he was a goner - not that he knew that straight away!
PNR: Though Darvk's intention had been to rescue Tenia, she is somewhat less than grateful. What is her response to her new "owner"?
Angela V.: Well, she tries to escape him, and is willing to fight to the death if need be. "Freedom or death" is the Reekas' code. Even while bleeding from a serious wound, she holds both Darvk & his crew at bay. Who could blame her? She thinks she's going to be a play-thing for a crew of giant, burly traders.
PNR: What makes him decide to keep her, rather than set her free?
Angela V.: Darvk knows Tenia will be hunted, and he can't bear the thought that she would get hurt, recaptured or die. For her own safety, he is determined to keep her. And underneath it all, there is this attraction...
PNR: In spite of her intentions to escape it is important to Tenia that Darvk believe that the Reeka warriors are not guilty of the crimes they are accused of. Why?
Angela V.: It's Darvk's friend, Maverk, who starts off that particular conversation, stirrer that he is! Tenia hates the fact that her sister warriors and herself are accused of heinous crimes, and when the subject is brought up, she verbally blasts both Darvk and Maverk. But later, as their friendship starts to develop, and she realises Darvk's true character, she has the need to tell him. His kindness is what finally breaks through her barriers.
PNR: As you sayDarvk's honourable treatment of Tenia soon softens her attitude toward him, but in spite of growing feelings she still feels honour bound to escape. Why are her loyalties divided?
Angela V.: Tenia is one of the leaders of the Reeka Warrior Women, and as such, it is her duty to find other survivors and seek out the truth behind the accusations. The Reekas are a close-knit tribe. They are sister warriors, and care for each other, for they have been through hell, and it's not finished yet. A vow was taken for survivors to discover the truth. Also, Tenia knows she'll always be hunted while still an outlaw, and this means danger to anyone near her. She's not going to risk Darvk's life.
PNR: Darvk's suspicion's are aroused when Shari, leader of the Inka Empire, offers to take Tenia off his hands. What is his connection to her?
Angela V.: Shari is the wild card. His connection is through his son, of whom the Reekas are also accused of murdering. The directconnection...well, I'll leave that little bit of information for the book. It's a shocker!
PNR: I'll say! Tenia and her sister Reya are the only daughters of the slain Reeka queen. The two had watched their mother die, and had been separated during their escape. They have not seen each other for years, but a finally reunited during one of Tenia's escape attempts. Has their relationship changed? How does this reunion affect Tenia's relationship with Darvk?
Angela V.: Their relationship changed in that where Reya, as Tenia's big sister, was the decision maker and main carer after the death of their mother, being separated for so long meant that the caring role had changed. Tenia had learned to make her own decisions, to fight for herself, and not to rely on others. Basically, Tenia had grown up. Also, unknown events had changed Reya, too. She is not quite as Tenia remembered her. Nevertheless, they are still close. But they have to accept the changes between them.
The sisters' reunion does affect Tenia's relationship with Darvk. The truth of her attraction to him is suddenly pushed more to the fore, and now her loyalties become divided. Now she has her sister to consider, as well as the Reeka survivors living in the Outlaw Sector. What was a hope that some had survived, is now reality. Also, Darvk sees her as more than just the wench he is falling for. Siding with her sister, she appears more of the warrior, and her siding with Reya ignites his temper more than once. He doesn't want to lose her.
PNR: Though Reya is a much harder woman than Tenia, Darvk's best friend Maverk is as bowled over by her as Darvk is by Tenia. What is Reya's response to the situation she finds her sister in? How does she respond to Maverk's interest in her?
Angela V.: Reya is tough. Her initial response is the suggestion to simply kill the trader, Darvk, fight their way free of the soldiers and return to the Outlaw Sector. When Tenia tries to convince her otherwise, she still has no intention of staying with the Daamen traders, and means to leave at the first opportunity - without the traders realizing her intentions. Maverk irritates her. His cheerfulness and brazen words ignite her normally controlled temper. He also unnerves her, which is something she finds hard to deal with. Reya has hidden depths & secrets of her own.
PNR: We won't spoil the story by giving anymore clues to the solution of the mystery surrounding the Reekas and their supposed crimes. Suffice it to say that the conclusion will both shock and satisfy the reader. HEART OF AN OUTLAW sets the stage nicely for a second story for Reya and Maverk. It is plain that much had happened during her separation from Tenia, that makes her even more distrustful of men than is normal for her race. Will the second story, SOUL OF A MERCENARY tell her tale?
Angela V.: SOUL OF A MERCENARY is Reya's story. It's darker, for she lives a nightmare that won't let her go, and it is reaching out for her. His love for Reya will lead Maverk into her nightmare.
PNR: What is next for Angela Verdenius?
are six books contracted in this series so far, two of which are about
the sensual Argons which we are introduced to in Heart of an Outlaw.
I had fun writing them all. Right now, I'm playing around with a ghost
story, which is also a romance. But I want to stretch the boundaries
a little, and make it more of a "horror romance". More of
the chillier variety. How it will progress, we'll have to
HEART OF AN OUTLAW - Wanted dead or alive, the notorious Reeka Warrior Women were hunted almost to extinction. When an act of compassion resulted in a wounded Reeka leader being in his possession, the Daamen trading captain, Darvk, soon came to realize that the blood-drenched legends were questionable.
Plunging into a dangerous vortex of treachery, hate and passion, pursued by soldiers, bounty hunters and space-pirates, they race through the Outlaw and Lawful Sectors in search of answers. Love is born but only when the shocking truth is finally revealed can the heart of an outlaw be truly free to love.
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