"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
May 2003 Issue
Making Romance Magic!
Update: Robin D. Owens
I'm single and living in Colorado with cats. I've been seriously writing for eight years and HEARTMATE is my fourth completed book. I began writing paranormal contemporary romantic suspense, switched to Regency Historical novels and found my voice in Futuristic/Fantasy Romance. I'm currently working on my fifth and sixth books— both set in the world of Celta (I have lots of ideas for this world). My best writing moment—being the first futuristic romance published in the Magical Love line by Jove! My worst writing moment is every time a rejection hits.
I'm a true INFJ personality type = Introverted, intuitive vs. factual, "feeling" rather than thinking, and make quick judgments.
I'm a nightowl, Scorpio, love pets, and I learn best through touching (tactile). I'm usually optimistic. My other creative outlet (and major achievement) is as a member of the Lungfish Theater improv group.
I love to read and read everything, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, thrillers, romance. I firmly believe that any man who reads a well-written romance will learn what a woman wants.
An Interview with Robin D. Owens
PNR: Well it's been a long wait for the sequel to your award winning debut novel HEARTMATE, but well worth it. By the way, how did it feel to win such critical acclaim with your very first book?
Robin O.: The validation felt GREAT! And I was really READY. I'd been writing seriously for about 8-9 years and HEARTMATE was actually my fourth finished manuscript. Just getting published was difficult, and then to get wonderful reviews and win the RITA - a person couldn't ask for more. Ok, I admit I asked, I prayed every day as a matter of fact. I prayed over my books before I sent them in for the RITA. <G>
PNR: Book two is HEART THIEF. We have met Ruis, the hero/thief before. He was the one who had stolen T'Ash's heart gift in HEARTMATE. In order for the reader to form a positive opinion of him, he must now become a sympathetic character. We know that Ruis is a Null. What is a Null? How has this affected his life?
Robin O.: Making Ruis more sympathetic was a major hurdle. When I first began, I wanted him to be more angry and that just did not work. I often think of my writing as sculpting, freeing the REAL story or character from a block of marble, and it took a lot of carving for Ruis to become the man he is now. A NULL is a person who has no psi-power (Flair/Magic). Even more, a Null, negates the magic of others and general spells if he/she stays in the same place for too long. Since almost all technology on Celta depends on psi-power spells (imagine wearing clothes made by magic and nullifying it, suddenly you're naked) ~ Those people with a lot of Flair are extremely unhappy when they have to put up with him for any length of time - so there's a built-in prejudice against him by everybody, but most especially those in control of the power of the world. Essentially, no one cared if he lived or died, so he was the perfect victim as a child.
PNR: Ruis' uncle, Bucus T'Elder is head of his family and also has been appointed head of the Council that will pass judgment on him? How does this bode for Ruis?
Robin O.: I see Bucus as an example of "absolute power corrupting absolutely." He is completely self-indulgent and has managed to get everything he wanted in life. He has no morals and will accept no limits to his wishes. For his own reasons, one of which is the simple fact that Ruis escaped Bucus' torments as a boy, Bucus hates Ruis and wants him killed.
PNR: The heroine of this tale is Ailim D' Silverfir. Tell us about her. What is her flair talent, and how has it affected her life?
Robin O.: Ailim is a telempath, which means she can feel the emotions and hear the thoughts of others. Consequently, ever since she grew into her great Flair, she's had to shield herself from picking up the emotions and thoughts of others. However this makes her a fabulous judge. When we meet her, her grandfather and mother have recently died and Ailim is now coming into her title, and an estate she finds is bankrupt.
PNR: Why has she come before the Council?
Robin O.: Her Family has convinced Ailim to beg the FirstFamilies Council for a loan to keep from selling their ancient castle and lands.
PNR: What is her reaction to her first contact with Ruis? Aside from the physical effects, what makes them so compatible emotionally?
Robin O.: Ah, well Ruis negates her shields. Since there's no one else around and she can't read him, all the usual daily battering at her is just gone. Being with him also expands her physical senses. I see the two as both loners, both alienated from their immediate family, both recipients of great gifts that have isolated them, so they can identify with each other. Ailim has an extremely ethical character (another reason she became a judge) and any injustice bothers her. Just as she faced the battering of others' emotions on a daily basis, Ruis has faced an emotional battering from peoples' scorn and injustice on a daily basis. And they both want to "fix" things. Ruis wants to make old Earth machines work and Ailim wants to make the laws of her society work for the good of everyone.
PNR: Ruis' sentence is banishment and he faces death should he ever return to Druida but for the first time in his life he has met someone who is not uncomfortable in his presence. Add to this that she is a beautiful desirable woman and you have a real dilemma. What does Ruis choose to do about it?
Robin O.: Ruis also has a passion for Earth machines - and all the best are in the city of Druida. To deny that passion, the one thing that has made his life bearable, is impossible for him. He had some time in the jail to think about things and knew where he could hide in plain sight in the city.
PNR: How does the honorable Judge Ailim D'Silverfir respond to this conflict between love and duty?
Robin O.: That was a difficult line for me (and Ailim) to tread and still keep Ailim sympathetic. She truly believes in the rule of law, but she is breaking her own vows as a judge to uphold the law. She is turning a blind eye to a man who is banished but still living in the city, she is aiding and abetting him. We all live by rationalizations. Ailim's rationalization is that Ruis is a victim of injustice. Society never protected him and in fact condemned him essentially because he was different. In this case she sees the rights of the individual being more important than defending the rights of her society against him. He is more sinned against than sinning.
PNR: Fam critters are definitely personalities unto themselves in these stories. Samba, Ruis' cat is no exception. How does Samba affect Ruis?
Robin O.: Ah, Samba (my cat Mistral) is an adventurous soul. She accepts and bonds with Ruis unconditionally. That's something he never had - simple love for him as an individual. Love matters. Whatever kind of love it is, when you experience it, are on the receiving end of it, love can make a huge difference in a person's life. Ruis becomes more self-confident, realizes that he can be a worthy member of his society. Samba starts this process.
PNR: I understand that the ship Nuada's Sword also has a profound affect on Ruis. How so?
Robin O.: Yes, the Ship is a character in itself (oddly enough I think of it as male). Like Ruis, it's been ignored by the Celtans who don't value its science and technology or the knowledge of the past it contains. Celtans are focused on the future, still taming their planet and trying to keep their population up. They use flair technology. So the Ship is overjoyed to have someone interested in it. It becomes very protective of Ruis as he helps it come back alive and provides hands and help for it to continue its existence, as well as improving its quality of life. They respect and teach each other. Again, this helps Ruis grow into the man he should become.
PNR: Well of course this tale has a happy ending, but we won't spoil it with anymore questions. Your next tile is to be HEART DUEL. Who will be featured in this story?
Robin O.: Heart Duel is Holm Holly's and Lark Hawthorn's story. Holm is seen as T'Ash's good friend in HEARTMATE, and plays a role in Heart Thief, too. Lark Hawthorn is also seen briefly as a Healer in HEARTMATE and HEART THIEF. But you all should remember that the Holly/Hawthorn feud is heating up <G>
PNR: We've grown so accustomed to your personable pets. Is there one in Holm's life as well?
Robin O.: Holm Holly and Lark Hawthorn receive twin orange tabby kittens as gifts. One is a fighter, the other lazy and gluttonous - yes, Lark's is the pistol....Oddly enough when I started writing HEART DUEL, the kittens were not based on any of my cats. Only a few months later, a pregnant and abandoned orange tabby cat had seven kittens under my Mom's front porch. We raised the kittens and found homes for mama and the entire litter. My mother kept "Wilbur the Wonder Cat." But I still wonder if I brought them into our lives....
Thanks for the wonderful questions, and letting me talk about Heart Thief and Celta. Like most authors I can ramble on ad nauseum about my creations. I have a "Celta" page up on my website with bits and pieces about the world. This month I have a brief three page scene cut from HEART THIEF, featuring my cat Diva who will be Straif Blackthorn's fam (HEART THIEF was incredibly long, so I will be putting up "out-takes" for a while). Next month, when HEART THIEF comes out (June 3), I will put up Ruis' "Death or Banishment" vote of the FirstFamilies.
PNR: What is next for Robin D. Owens?
Robin O.: I am only contracted to Berkley through HEART DUEL (coming next May). Naturally, I would like to continue the series as long as readers are interested. I have plenty of ideas.
the fourth book would be Straif Blackthorn and Mitchella Clover,
HEART THIEF - Ruis Elder never asked for his unusual trait -- the ability to neutralize others' psychic talents. Because of it, he has always been hated in his own homeland, destined to roam the harsh planet, alone. But trouble finds him in front of the ruling Council -- and face-to-face with the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. There's only one problem: Ailim is onthe opposite side of the bench...
Ailim has never before felt such passion coursing through her as she feels in Ruis's presence. And she never thought she would -- at least not with a man so far beneath her station, a man who does not even have psychic powers. But even on the planet Celta, love is blind to such details. Separately, Ailim and Ruis must forgo their old lives. But together the can take on the world...
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