"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Team Canada - A Spotlight on LTDBooks
Linnea Sinclair is a former news reporter, former private investigator, and now an award-winning author in the science fiction romance and fantasy genres. A long time 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars' fan, she writes what she wishes she could live: adventure and romance in the space lanes.
Until she's recalled to active duty in any available space faring fleet, she can be found in south Florida with her husband and four demanding cats.
PNR: Linnea, you write as Linnea Sinclair and Megan Sybil Baker. Is there any signifcant difference between your Megan persona and your Linnea persona?
Linnea S: Megan Sybil is my younger, thinner self. At least, that's my usual quip, but there's an element of truth in it. I started writing under the name of Megan Sybil Baker when I was still in grammar school. I'd found a 'Meaning of Names' book in the back of a large dictionary and was fascinated with origins and flavors of first names. 'Sybil' means prophetess and even back then, as a wee kidling, I loved fantasy and science fiction. 'Megan' is an Irish name and I was lovingly cared for as a child by an Irish nanny named Margaret. Baker was simply an easy name to remember and pronounce; my family's surname is Polish and rather unpronouncable. And yes, I 'americanized' it to Sinclair when I was a news reporter.
As for writing today, however, Linnea is Megan Sybil and Megan Sybil is Linnea. It's more that I write for two different publishing houses-- LTDBooks got the younger, thinner me. NovelBooks, Inc. has the more mature [stop laughing, Cy] , slightly pudgy Linnea.
PNR: You are author and cover artist. You did your own cover for FINDERS KEEPERS (NovelBooks Inc.). Do you feel this worked well for you? Will it be something you will be doing more often?
Linnea S: It was a joy to create my own covers, and as well, to be able to work closely with NBI authors in creating covers for their books. I was just reading a thread over at the Harlequin site and the number of readers who complained about the innacuracy of covers was amazing. I know I'm very influenced on cover art and use it to make a quick judgment as the tone and theme of a book. It's disconcerting to find, not only a blonde on the cover when the heroine's a redhead, but a 'serious/dark' graphic on a book intended to be humorous.
I also did the cover for GABRIEL'S GHOST, my LTDBooks release last month. I received a lot of encouraging feedback from my publisher and editor there as well.
next NBI release, COMMAND PEFORMANCE, also has my cover art, and an
exact representation of my Maine Coon cat on the back and the front.
As well as other recogizable people, including Doc Eden Fynn, one
of the main characters who's modeled (quite literally) after a close
friend of mine, an RN.
PNR: Your book WINTERTIDE (by Megan Sybil Baker from LTDBooks) won an EPPIE and was finalist for several awards including 2000 PEARL Award for Fantasy/Magical. This was your first fantasy novel. You state on your web page "Wintertide grew from a need I had to explore a young woman's journey into her real self." Can you tell us more about this? Will we find bits of you or your friends in Khamsin, the heroine in WINTERTIDE?
Linnea S: One of the advantages of writing SF&F is that you're not constricted by 'life as we know it' and the rules and customs of same. With Khamsin I had the chance to explore a young woman's emotional, spiritual and intellectual growth under some of the most challenging of circumstances: death of a spouse, abandonment, rejection, vilification. Khamsin is barely 17 years old in chapter one; certainly a very young age in which to be thrust into those situations. But 17 in 'Cirrus Cove' isn't the same as 17 in Palm Beach, Florida or Columbus, Ohio. And Khamsin, though she doesn't know it, is a sorceress. Mixing all that together, I had a chance to create an innocent woman tempered by fire, so to speak.
Then again, you can ignore all the above and find out that WINTERTIDE is simply a lavish sword and sorcery fantasy with a young sorceress, a couple of rip-snorting good demons, a really neat-o telepathic cat and a sexy and mysterious traveling tinker.
Is Khamsin me? Not really. Elements of her tenacity are mine. Her cat, Nixa, was based on my cat, Friday, who recently at the age of 20, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. But Khamsin was someone I wanted to 'play' with for awhile. Her innocence and trusting nature intrigued me. So I threw the poor dear into the midst of some horrible circumstances, just to test her mettle. What good are characters if you can't torture them?
PNR: GABRIEL'S GHOST, your newest release for LTDBooks is science fiction romance instead of fantasy. Can you tell us more of what influenced this story? Is there a special scene that you really had to work through? What emotions & conflicts can we expect?
Linnea S: GABRIEL'S GHOST was influenced by two things: 1) an adult-ed creative writing teacher who said we could work on anything we wanted to in her class EXCEPT for poetry and science fiction, and 2) a cut on the Santana "Supernatural" CD entitled "Put Your Lights On" [Everlast]. Anyway, back to the teacher in that adult ed class I took a few years ago, when I was still a practicing private detective and was looking for a way to get my mind off my casework for a little while. I took umbrage that science fiction was the outcast in the class and so, typically, decided to write an SF story. The teacher's 'theme' for that project was 'fear'... and so the first line...Only fools boast they have no fears... was penned during the freewrite section of that class, along with the subsequent opening paragraphs. We were then told to take our opening paragraphs home and come back the following week with three or so pages. What I returned with was the first two pages of GABRIEL'S GHOST... right up to Sully's, "Welcome to Hell, Captain. Welcome to Hell." What you read in the book is pretty much as it was written that day, several years ago.
Those first two pages sat for about a year. But they pulled on me. I had no idea who Chasidah Bergren or Gabriel Ross Sullivan were. But they pulled atme.
Then I heard "Put Your Lights On" and the story just erupted. Sully's comments as to the 'darkness' that lives deep inside him, and 'nothing to fear' throughout the novel are directly taken from that song.
Was there a certain scene I had to work through? I wrote the entire novel in 34 days, so yes and no. There weren't so much scenes that I struggled through as much as there were scenes I found out -- the hard way -- that I dare not go to sleep unless I'd finished them. There were a few scenes that, exhausted, I left at a 'cliffhanger' point and I'd trudge to bed at around 2AM and my eyes would refuse to close. The brain would whirr, spark. And at 2:45AM I'd be back at the computer.
is, GABRIEL'S GHOST is chock full of cliffhangers. It's an emotionally
intense book; reviewer Carla Arpin called it an 'addictive tale'and
a 'wild ride'. Romantic Times Magazine (and I'm leaking this early
here because the review won't be out for a few months) called it 'an
edgy, futuristic thriller'. I didn't write it to be a thriller. I
wrote it because Sully and Chaz wouldn't leave me alone. It's not
my fault they kept getting into troublesome situation after troublesome
situation, is it?
PNR: FINDERS KEEPERS has received several impressive awards - the 2001 P.E.A.R.L. Award; 2001 Dorothy Parker Award; 2001 Sapphire Award. How do you feel about the enthusiasm and appreciation for your story? Did it "feel special" when this story came together for you? Will we be seeing other stories in the same universe?
Linnea S: I'm absolutely bowled over by FINDERS' wins and reviews and reader feedback. It was written purely to be a fun book. It never occured to me that readers would take to my crazy characters as much as I did, or that readers or judges would enjoy them as I did. I wrote FINDERS because Trilby is a hoot and a half and probably the only woman in the galaxy who could give Rhis a run for his money.
I've long been a Star Wars and Star Trek fan. FINDERS was my way of having the same kind of fun and yes, Dezi is a nod of appreciation to George Lucas. FINDERS is something of a personal 'what if?'... what if I were a starfreighter captain, at a point in my life when just about everything plus one has gone wrong? And then this ship damn near crashes on top of me... what if?
Trilby just wants to survive to make her next payment on her ship. But what if what she gets is more than survival? Maybe she gets acceptance and love... and a whole handful of trouble in between.
FINDERS let me explore those what ifs, it let me be Trilby for awhile. It was fun, and that's the only reason I wrote it: for fun.
At the moment, I have no plans for a sequel to FINDERS, though I've been asked. Possibly I'd like to explore a 'prequel' of Hana Jankova, Rhis's trusted Special Ops commander, and Zak Demarik, his executive officer. They're a May-December couple. How they came to be would be another fun 'what if'. I got to know Hana pretty well while writing FINDERS, even though she's a minor character, and she's career driven, sharp, focused. She had no intention of falling in love and definitely not with a man who was not only to some extent her immediate superior, but also her competition. How Zak managed to change her mind would certainly be an interesting story to explore.
PNR: Which characters in FINDERS KEEPERS, whom did you like the most? Do you see yourself or your friends in your charaters (good or bad points)?
Linnea S: Oh, there's lots of me in Trilby. People who know me well picked up my dialogue and quips coming out of her mouth. There's a bit of me - my tenacity again - in Hana Jankova. And Farra Riminava is my friend in Russia, Marina, right down to the accent.
My favorite character was Yavo Mitkanos, Farra's uncle and the chief of security on station. Big, gruff but lovable. Loyal to a fault yet compassionate. I loved when Yavo and Rhis finally resolved their differences. There were times I wasn't sure if 'Uncle Yavo' would ever be able to say a kind word about anyone in the Imperial Fleet.
I also became intrigued by Dallon, the handsome and easy-going yet incredibly brave supply ship captain. He's someone I might want to explore in the future. Um, I mean, someone I might want to explore in a BOOK. Honest. In a BOOK. (Although if I could ever meet him in person... well, nevermind...)
PNR: Will you be concentrating more on science fiction romances or will we see more fantasy in your future works?
Linnea S: I've read the discussions on PNR about the different definitions of science fiction romance as opposed to futuristic as opposed to fantasy or maybe science fantasy, and have come to the conclusion that I have no idea what I write except that it skitters between all of those. At the moment, I'm tending towards the space opera-science fiction romance plots. But then I have THE RELUCTANT GODDESS coming out from LTDBooks later this year (or early next) and that's a mixture of sorcery and science fiction. Whatever that is. Science Fantasy? THE RELUCTANT GODDESS is set loosely in the same world as... are you ready for this? ... WINTERTIDE. But several thousand years in the future. So we still have wizards and magick and demons. But we also have starships and deep space stations. In fact, the station is called Cirrus One. (Cirrus Cove was the village in WINTERTIDE).
COMMAND PERFORMANCE, which is my April release from NBI, is pure space opera. Very much like FINDERS KEEPERS. But it has a bit of an alternate universe/time travel twist.I know, I know. Why can't I just grow up and stick with one genre?
Then of course, there's CHASIDAH'S CHOICE, the sequel to GABRIEL'S GHOST. And COMMAND DECISION, the sequel to COMMAND PERFORMANCE. Sounds like basic SFR there to me.
However, one never knows what a line from a song and a science-fiction hating instructor might motivate me to do next...
Actually, my husband, who's a professional golfer, and I have plotted out a romantic suspense with a female private detective and a touring golf pro as main characters... hmmm. I wonder if they have a large black and white Maine Coon cat?
So I make you no promises, other than the one thing I always intend to do, have one rip-snortin' good time with my writing, so I can provide my readers with many more fabulous worlds and cliff-hanging conflicts to look forward to.
Featured in this Issue:
Imperial patrolship captain Chasidah Bergren has more trouble than she needs. Stripped of command in a sham court-martial and sent to the harsh prison world of Moabar, her life can't possibly get any worse.
Until she's rescued by smuggler Gabriel Ross Sullivan, her former nemesis and almost lover. A dead man with a mission. He offers her freedom in exchange for her help in stopping an illegal genetics experiment that's already claimed far too many lives. And could place the Empire on the brink of civil war.
But Chaz doesn't know that Sully's a ghost with a deadly, dark secret. A secret she was trained to hate and fear; one she may have to risk her life and her heart to protect.
AN ACCIDENTAL GODDESS = A deep space explosion in Riftspace sends Captain Gillaine Davre three hundred and fifty years into the future, where her likeness graces every shrine, and her accident has been recorded in history as a 'divine sacrifice'. Anonymity, and lies, seem her only options. Then a long-time enemy attacks, again. Can Gillie stop the invasion without revealing her identity, and losing the man she loves?
As Megan Sybil Baker
WINTERTIDE - The war of dark magicks must end. Possession of the Orb of Knowledge must be decided. But not through the spells of sorcerers. But through the power of only two beings in the Land may pass through the ensorcelled curtain surrounding the powerful Orb of Knowledge. Khamsin of Cirrus Cove is one of them. Born in the midst of a maelstrom, her fate sealed with a sorcerer's spell, Khamsin's journey to find the Orb and save the people she loves is filled with danger and heartache, wizards and demons. And an enigmatic man named Rylan, who claims her heart in a way she never thought possible. And who opens her eyes to the truth of herself and her heritage, and to the magical power of love.
Take one unorthodox space fleet captain, whose well-earned nickname is Sass, and her side-kick CMO, Doc Eden Fynn. Add evil aliens, a secret mission and a pinch of Jace Serafino, a very sexy pirate who knows more than he's telling. He just can't remember what it is he knows. Drop in a dose of Admiral Branden Kel-Paten, a handsome, lovesick half-human cyborg, who's also Sass's Commanding Officer. Mix well. Sprinkle liberally with trouble, toss through a time warp. Add two stowaway furzels and more evil aliens for spice. Heat and stand back. Anything could happen. Just about everything does.
COMMAND PERFORMANCE. Is this anyway to run a universe? Captain Tasha Sebastian's about to find out...
FINDERS KEEPERS - Be careful what you wish for, You might get it... Her ship's in shambles, her boyfriend's dumped her and she's frankly out of funds. Captain Trilby Elliot hopes her luck had changed when a high-tech fightercraft crash lands on her repair site. Finders keepers. She can sell the ship as salvage, and pocket the profits. Except for one small problem: the pilot Rhis, is still alive and intent on commandeering her ship. And another much larger problem: someone very powerful and very impotant wants Trilby Elliot dead.
Note: GABRIEL'S GHOST, AN ACCIDENTAL GODDESS, and FINDERS KEEPERS were rereleased by Bantam Spectra in 2005 under the name Linnea Sinclair. WINTERTIDE was rereleased in 2004 by Medallion Press, also under the name Linnea Sinclair.