"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
April 2003 Issue
Update: Catherine Spangler
Catherine Spangler fell in love with romance from the moment her parents began reading to her. She teethed on fairy tales, then moved on to Nancy Drew, Louisa May Alcott, O. Henry, Sherlock Holmes, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, then on to romance greats such as Kathleen Woodwiss and Joanna Lindsey.
also discovered fantasy and science fiction. Her interest in SF romance
was probably sparked by her family's deep involvement with the space
program. She grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, and her father worked for
NASA, on Redstone Arsenal, where Werner Von Braun headed up the space
PNR last spoke with Catherine Spangler in October 2001, shortly after her third Shielder series novel SHAMARA hit the shelves. It proved to be every bit as popular as the others, winning Ms. Spangler a PEARL Honorable Mention (Best Futuristic Romance) for the third year in a row. Her April release, SHADOW CROSSING IS sure to be just as pleasing.
And don't miss this special gift from Catherine, a free short story! See THE SHIELDERS...... LEGEND OF DESTINY Think Pink!
PNR: In your last novel the Shielders escaped through a wormhole to a new quadrant, with the aid of Eirene, and Enhancer, and the mystical Shens. Have they found Shamara at last?
Catherine S: In a way, it appears the Shielders have indeed found shamara (which is the Shen word for sanctuary). They share a beautiful planet with the Enhancers, and they're free to come and go without persecution. The new quadrant seems to be well run by a council made up of representatives from all the societies in the quadrant, with laws ensuring that everyone is treated fairly; that there is no hunger or disease. Yet there are some startling, dark secrets, and apparently a major cover-up. A small powerful faction has designated the ninth sector of the quadrant as a place for the "undesirables" and has cut them off from the rest of the quadrant. The people in the ninth sector are barely surviving in deplorable conditions, and have no way to get outside help. The space stations ringing the sector are part of the cover-up, insuring that word does not leak out.
PNR: Former smuggler Celie Cameron, though not a Shielder, is a part of the exodus to the new quadrant. For those readers who have not read Moriah Cameron's story SHADOWER, give us some background on her younger sister Celie. What is she running from?
older sister, Moriah, married a Shielder man (Sabin Travers, from SHADOWER),
and thus the two women are now part of the Shielder "extended family",
and thus their exodus to the new quadrant. Celie and Moriah's history
is one of abuse at the hands of men. Their father was a drunken, cruel
shadower (bounty hunter) who mentally and physically abused them before
trading them in a game of chance to another vicious shadower, Pax Blacklock,
who raped Moriah repeatedly. Fortunately, Celie was young and escaped
that particular fate, but she was badly scarred from her experiences
with these two men. Later, she ended up committing what she considered
a horrendous crime-murdering her own father. She never told anyone,
not even Moriah.
Catherine S: Life is less complicated in that it's less desperate and far safer. But Celie has discovered she's an "adrenaline junkie", and she misses the rush she felt whenever she was facing dangerous situations in her old life. Now she has too much time on her hands. She's bored, and her life seems dull and routine. She's turned to creating special paintings, but it's not enough to fill the void in her life.
PNR: What happens when she makes her first delivery to Joba, a planet in the ninth sector, to change all this?
Catherine S: She discovers appalling conditions on Joba, conditions she hasn't seen anywhere else in the quadrant. The air is polluted, the landing strips and buildings in disrepair, and there are ragged beggars in the streets. She can't comprehend how this could be, not in this quadrant where everything is orderly and well run, where there is no hunger and little disease.
PNR: Celie's previous experiences with this type of world, tells her to look for her client, Max, in one of the planet's seamy bars. Before she enters one, she gets another surprise. A stowaway?
Catherine S: Poor Celie! It seems part of her karma is having stowaways on her ship (the first one was Eirene, in SHAMARA). When she reaches Joba, Celie discovers that Raven, the daughter of Chase and Nessa McKnight (from SHIELDER) has indeed stowed away on Celie's ship, in hopes of seeing some of the world. In view of the terrible conditions in Joba, Celie is not very happy to see Raven. She thinks the girl is too young and too innocent, and she feels responsible for Raven's safety.
PNR: As predicted, Celie and Raven find Max, and his look alike android Rurick in the bar. After assuring that Max isn't responsible for the deplorable conditions of Joba, Celie leads them to the shipment. What happens next?
Catherine S: As they are moving the shipment of goods from Celie's ship to Max's ship, they are attacked by unknown assailants and find themselves in the middle of weapon fire. Their only chance at survival is to board Max's ship and take off, which they do.
PNR: Max is injured saving Raven from the attack. Raven is fascinated with him and is determined to nurse him, leaving Rurick and Celie to make repairs and pilot the ship. Celie finds herself oddly attracted to Rurick. Besides the fact that he seems to have a warmer personality than his human look alike, what is the android's appeal for her?
Catherine S: Rurick's appeal is that he's "safe" (at least that's what Celie thinks-LOL). Since he's not "real", she doesn't consider him the threat that a real man would present. Not only that, but when she's around him, her libido goes into overdrive, and she suddenly finds herself wondering what it would be like to kiss a man, or maybe even to experience the mating act. She understands that she has issues with men, believes she can never have a normal heterosexual relationship, but that doesn't stop her hormones from functioning. So she begins to wonder if maybe she could experience a few things with Rurick-things she would otherwise never consider.
PNR: Of course the reader knows that Rurick is the real man, not the android, and he's every bit as attracted to Celie as she is to him. What problems does this pose for him?
Catherine S: It is really great fun letting the readers in on Rurick's secret. They get to watch him squirm as Celie asks him to "demonstrate" a few things. Poor Rurick. He walks a very difficult path. Being a real man, he finds Celie extremely attractive, and it is *very* difficult to resist her advances. But he's an honorable man, and he knows it would be wrong to take advantage of her incorrect assumption. He also understands her issues with men, and he doesn't want to validate her belief that men can't be trusted. So he holds back (and takes a lot of cold showers <g>).
PNR: Even if he could reveal his secret, Rurick and Celie would be at cross purposes. She wants to return to her ship and get on with her life. His priority is to uncover an Interstellar System conspiracy. He knows that his life is in danger, and that a relationship with Celie is just not possible. Why then does he do everything he can to keep her beside him?
Catherine S: At first, he has no choice but to keep her with him. They can't go anywhere until his ship is repaired. Then they must go immediately to Altair, because the colonists there are dying from disease and starvation, and Rurick doesn't dare take the time to return Celie to her ship. After that, he's prepared to go to her ship, until word comes that his father is extremely ill and he must go to Jardonia at once. Since Celie's ship is the opposite direction, he has no choice but take her with him to Jardonia. However, he fully intends to take her to her ship after his father is out of danger. Of course, fate has other ideas.
PNR: What makes her ultimately wish to fight by his side?
Catherine S: While Celie wants to get as far from Rurick as possible, she's also compassionate and concerned about the people in the ninth sector. She wants to help. Plus, when she hijacks one of Rurick's ships, and he catches up with her, he uses the threat of turning her over to the authorities to get her agreement to accompany him to Sarngin. There, he hopes to speak to members on the council and try to discover who is behind the conditions in the ninth sector. The developing relationship between Celie and Rurick also lures her to stay with him, although she knows her past will prevent them from ever having a permanent relationship.
PNR: For Celie's part, she believes that her dark secrets would forever keep the two of them apart. Though Rurick is a Crown Prince, he is not without family problems of his own. Tell us a bit about Rurick's upbringing and how it has shaped the man that he's become?
Catherine S: Rurick's mother was not from Jardonia. She was an outsider, but she was like a breath of fresh air to the stilted and formal Riordan court, and the people loved her. She died when Rurick was only six, and his father remarried two years later. The new queen was a Jardonian and brought back the pomp and ceremony. She and the king had two children of their own, Kalina and Sevilen. Rurick and Kalina have never gotten along, but he loves his half brother, Sev. Rurick has never truly fit in with the ostentatious and formal Riordan way of life, but he feels honor bound to fulfill his duties as the crown prince. When he is thirty-two, he travels to the ninth sector to find out more about his mother's people, and it is then he discovers the deplorable conditions there.
PNR: Betrayal is found where they least expect it, and the reasons for it are deplorable. However we can guarantee an unexpected happy ending for these two. And Raven has a few surprises in store for her as well. The next story in the series will be SHADOW FIRES tentatively scheduled for early 2004. This is the story that your free short story "Think Pink" leads up to?
Catherine S: Yes, it is. The story, The Shielders . . . Legend of Destiny, is on my website under the "Think Pink" link (http://www.catherinespangler.com). In the short story, we meet Jenna dan Aron, a Shielder woman who has visions of the future. She foresees her own fate, that of marriage to a fierce Leor warlord. In SHADOW FIRES, her vision comes to pass, as Jenna agrees to mate with Arion of Saura, in return for the Leors transporting two Shielder colonies from the old, dangerous quadrant to the safety of Shamara. She goes with Arion to his planet, and has to adapt to a very barbaric and unsettling life style. It's a "Beauty and the Beast" type of story. Jenna must learn to accept and love Arion as he is, and he must learn to allow her love and compassion to heal him.
PNR: I understand the hero is a Leor? For those unfamiliar with this race, give us a little background on them and this new hero?
Catherine S: The Leors are the result of cross breeding between a reptilian race and humans. They are basically humanoid, and can mate with humans. But they have some superhuman traits, and they are ultra alpha. They're massive-tall and muscular, and they have no hair anywhere on their bodies (think of The Rock with no hair, or Yul Brenner on extra testosterone). BTW, the Leor women are also quite large and bald, like the men. The Leors are fierce and warlike, but very honorable. The hero of SHADOW FIRES, Arion, is no exception. The leader of his clan, he has no place in his life for emotion or softness, and never imagines a human female will be so complex or so fascinating, or so darned much trouble!
PNR:Okay I have to ask this for the readers who simply loved Lani (the blue-feather courtesan) in SHAMARA. Will we be seeing her again?
Catherine S: Oh, yes, Lani makes at least two appearances in SHADOW FIRES. She's now Gunnar's mate, and he has advanced to the position of Komissar, the powerful head of all the Leors. Lani manages to keep everything in an uproar, and is determined to instruct Arion on how to handle his new human mate, Jenna. Needless to say, Arion does not appreciate her interference, but he can hardly go against the mate of the powerful Komissar.
There is also the appearance of another android, Maxine (created by Max, the android in SHADOW CROSSING). Maxine is every bit as quirky and outrageous as Max, and she and Lani team up to teach Arion a thing or two about women.
PNR: Do you have any other Shielder saga stories on the drawing board? What is next for Catherine Spangler?
Catherine S: There's the possibility of a sixth book, although it's not contracted at this time. Tentatively titled SHADOW DESTINY, this will be the story of Kendra, the widow of the young Shielder who is killed in the "Think Pink" story. In her grief, Kendra swears vengeance against the Controllers and goes after them, a single-woman army. Along the way, she comes across an Enhancer who has been imprisoned. (I refer to him as "that darned Enhancer", an inside joke). The Enhancer, Joran, was briefly introduced in SHAMARA, when he was a prisoner being paraded through the marketplace on Saron. Together, he and Kendra will combine their powers and take on the Controllers-with surprising results.
I'm also working on a romantic comedy. I'd like to stretch my writing muscles and try some new things, although I think I'll always write romance. I couldn't imagine writing anything else.
SHADOW CROSSING - Celie Cameron had spent her youth as a smuggler, skirting the law. But though shed given that up, she missed the adrenaline rush of danger. Then a routine delivery went haywire, throwing her into the arms of a handsome pilotan android, or so she thoughtand Celie suddenly found herself embroiled in a galaxy-spanning intrigue and deception.
Rurick was a miracle creation, with golden eyes, sensuous masculinity, and stunning charisma. But though he attracted her as no human ever had, the secrets the pilot hid threatened everything Celie had ever believed. From a glittering royal palace to a shipwreck on a barren planet, she resisted his allure until ultimately she learned to trust her heart. Then, together, Celie and Rurick swore to challenge the evil that threatened the Verante quadrant. Their love would bring light to the darkest expanse of space known as . . . SHADOW CROSSING.
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