"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
March 2002 Issue
When Worlds Collide!
O'Shea's passions are writing, airplanes and traveling. Fortunately,
she's been able to enjoy all three. After receiving a degree in advertising
copywriting, she took a job with a major U.S. airline and now works
in 757 Engineering. Besides teaching her about the planes she loves,
it's given her an opportunity to travel to places like Australia, Papua
New Guinea and Canada's Yukon Territory.
An Interview with Patti O'Shea
PNR: Before we talk about your acclaimed debut novel, Ravyn's Flight, lets learn a little more about you. I understand you are an engineer with a major U.S. airline and that you love to travel. What inspired you to become a writer and how do you find time to write?
Patti O. : I do work in 757 Engineering, but my degree is in advertising copywriting. I started at the airline with the intention of moving over To their advertising department, but discovered I enjoyed working in the maintenance area of the company and decided to stay there.
inspired me to become a writer, well, I've always had stories in my
head. When I was little and played dolls with my friends, my scenarios
Were always elaborate and involved. I never wrote anything down, though,
time is a huge problem. I write on the weekends and bring my laptop
PNR: For several years now a handful of dedicated romance authors have been working to bridge the gap between romantic Science Fiction, and Science Fiction Romance. You might call this category "the final frontier" of romance. A challenge perhaps, but still it might be considered a risky area for a debut novel. What inspired you to write futuristic romance?
O. : I've
always loved futuristic romance even before I knew it existed. I had
a fiction writing class and the teacher went around the room to ask
us what we wanted to write. I said romance mixed with science fiction.
She told me there wasn't such a thing and I needed to pick one. I still
remember a few years later when I found Kathleen Morgan's "The
Knowing Crystal" at Waldenbooks. I think I shrieked with pleasure
My favorite part of writing futuristic romance is the opportunity to create my own society and rules, then watch my characters change and grow under these parameters. From my first glimpse of the story in RAVYN'S FLIGHT there was no question it took place on another planet. And while the world Damon and Ravyn come from is very similar to what we live in now, there are also a lot of differences and I enjoyed looking at how it influenced who they are.
PNR: It has been said that RAVYN'S FLIGHT has taken the category several steps closer to closing that gap. The readers are very excited about the book. You've garnered several PEARL nominations among others. Obviously you made the right choice. We're you excited about the recognitions?
Patti O. : The recognition has been absolutely thrilling! It's the best Feeling in the world to know people have read my book and enjoyed it! And to see my name listed with authors I've read and admired for years is the most incredible thing. There are still times when I have trouble believing it.
PNR: Ravyn's Flight is quite a bit darker than other recent futuristic romances. There is definitely an element of horror, which definitely adds to the suspense. Let's introduce the heroine, Ravyn Verdier. She is a member of the Colonization Assessment Team on Jarved Nine. What is the purpose of the CAT team and what is Ravyn's assignment.
Patti O. : Colonization Assessment Teams are sent to planets deemed Possibilities for settlement. The teams consist of twenty people, each with a Different specialty, who analyze various aspects of the planet and make regular reports of their findings to CAT Command on Earth. Ravyn Verdier is a communications specialist and her job involved encrypting and transmitting the various reports to Earth. She also received news and other information about what was occurring at home, as well as personal messages for team members. Her responsibilities also included the routine maintenance of the communications equipment, and when she had time available, she assisted other team members with their duties.
PNR: What appears to be a routine mission suddenly takes on the aspect of a nightmare. What does Ravyn find, and how had she been spared?
Patti O. : The CAT team was having a birthday party for one of their members who happened to be from Chicago. Ravyn knew the Cubs were playing in the World Series and that the signal may have traveled far enough from Earth for her to receive it. She thought it would be a treat for her friend to listen to the game so she slipped away from the party and went to the communications room. Just when Ravyn thought she'd picked up the game, there was a distortion in the broadcast. Since part of her job involved the upkeep of the comm equipment and a transmission was scheduled for the next day, she felt she had to fix it immediately. After running diagnostic tests and finding nothing wrong, she went to the sub-basement to check out the communications base equipment. It was while she was in this small room on the lowest level of the facility that her teammates were killed. The communications glitch saved her life.
PNR: Although her native Earth is quite far away, much too far to get help quickly, a Special Ops team has been sent for training to the far side of the planet. What brings Damon Brody and his team to her aid?
Patti O. : The Special Operations team led by Captain Damon Brody had been ordered to complete a training mission on Jarved Nine. They were to spend two months on the planet; six weeks training and two weeks assessing the progress made by the CAT team. The military was quite interested in the abandoned alien city and wanted to begin searching for advanced technology as soon as the leaders of the Western Alliance gave the orders. The Spec Ops team had only been on the planet a few hours when they heard the emergency beacon from the CAT facility and responded.
PNR: Damon is the one to discover Ravyn. What is his reaction when he learns that she is the lone survivor? That she had not activated the distress beacon?
Patti O. : Damon is a compassionate man and seeing the state Ravyn is in, his first reaction is to comfort her and assure her she's all right. He is also very protective of her and determined she's getting back to Earth safely no matter what he has to do to ensure this.
When she calms enough to tell him that she wasn't the one who triggered the emergency beacon, Damon's first thought is to check the safety of his men. If Ravyn didn't activate it and her team members had no opportunity to do so, the only other possibility is the killer. And if the murderer is The one who was responsible, the only possible reason could be to lure in others who may be on the planet.
PNR: Now knowing that they are being stalked by an unknown evil, the pair decide to find sanctuary in the abandoned Old City. It's a rather long and arduous journey. One would expect Damon to be well prepared for such a situation. How does Ravyn fare?
O. : Ravyn
grew up with a mother who was an army doctor, a stepfather in Special
Operations and a stepbrother who was ten years older than her so she
pushed herself hard to learn what she could and become adept at it.
And at an early age, Alex, her stepbrother, taught her self-defense
and a lot of other things that most children never learn. However, when
she told Alex she was applying to the Colonization Assessment Teams,
he insisted on setting up an entire training program for her, one far
PNR: Mutual respect for each other's abilities blossoms into love, a distraction they definitely don't need. To top it off, Ravyn's identity would definitely pose problems for Damon, should they manage to survive. How does he handle this situation?
O. : When
Damon realizes his feelings are little too warm toward Ravyn and that
he is having difficulty keeping them in check, his first reaction is
to try to keep things all business between them. This "robot warrior"
persona aggravates Ravyn because talking with Damon is the only thing
that's made this ordeal bearable for her. However, once Damon's control
breaks, it's Ravyn who backs away, only she does it with a "we're
just friends" approach. When they both realize they're not going
to be able to use past
PNR: Several other elements contribute to the drama. It becomes plain that the evil presence stalking them had been responsible for the planet's lack of life Damon's suspicion that the killer is a fanatical ritual killer is also confirmed, but they are not left without hope. Within the deserted city walls, the pair find the key to their survival, but the solution relies on aid from others. We won't spoil the novel by giving away any secrets. So let me ask, what's next for Patti O'Shea? Are there more futuristic romances in your future?
Patti O. : I recently finished another futuristic romance. This story is completely set on another world with all new characters, but it gave me a chance to explore the idea of gatekeepers that I introduced in RAVYN'S FLIGHT. This other planet is settled by the same aliens that built the abandoned city on Jarved Nine, only this colony is succeeding. more or less.
The blurb I'm using is:
She's the lady who will one day lead their planet.
the barbarian warrior who abducts her in a
of them is thrilled to discover
RAVYN'S FLIGHT - Ravyn Verdier is on a mission to test the habitability of Jarved Nine. Damon Brody is sent to rescue her when the rest of her team is mysteriously killed. Trapped on a planet that harbors an unimaginable evil, they have only each other.
An abandoned city holds the key to their survival, but what they find behind its ancient walls defies all their preconceived notions and tests the limits of the bond that has formed between them. To succeed, they will have to cast aside their doubts and listen to their hearts. For only when they are linked body and soulwhen they realize love is their greatest weaponwill they be able to defeat the force bent on destroying all life.
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