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March 2003 Issue
When Worlds Collide!
Update: Susan Grant
Susan Grant blasted into the romance-writing world at warp speed
has been called a breakout book, a blend of science fiction and romantic
suspense. Those who know you also know this to be a book of the heart.
Like your heroine, Jordan Cady, you are a mother as well as a 747 pilot
for United Airlines. You are well familiar with Jordan's flight path,
and her responses to an emergency situation. This story takes place
in the near future, only a few years beyond the tragedy of September
11th, in which four American jets were hijacked and used as weapons
against American targets while the rest of the nation watched in helpless
horror. On that day many unlikely heroes emerged,
mom and a pilot, Jordan is not a "superwoman." Often uncertain
and frightened, and yet she worked to be the best leader she could be.
Readers have told me that this character "flaw" worked for
them because it built a great deal of empathy, and that they were challenged
to imagine what they'd do in such circumstances. I was so pleased to
hear that, as I find myself drawn to the theme of ordinary people put
in extraordinary situations. That's why I didn't want Jordan to always
know what to do, and maybe not even be the perfect leader in the end,
but still improving, still growing in the role. When I write my heroines,
I try slip into their bodies and "be them." Jordan's job was
the same as my own, and so I found it easier to imagine how I'd react
if I were in her shoes. At the time I was writing her character, I had
to go back to flying the week after 9-11. I didn't want to. I wanted
to stay at home and safe with my kids. I didn'twant to head back into
the skies and risk being sliced with a box
PNR: United Flight 58 is on a routine flight from Honolulu to San Francisco. Suddenly the plane disappears from radar screens. Tell us what occurs before this happens?
Susan G.: The crew of the 747 sees what looks like an isolated storm cell off the nose. They maneuver to evade it, as procedure dictates, but it seems to "follow" them, matching their movements. But no matter what they do, a collision seems imminent.
PNR: How does Jordan come to be responsible for the entire flight?
commercial airline flight is run much like a cruise ship, in that you
have a captain, followed in descending rank by the other officers. If
the captain becomes incapacitated, as what happens in Contact, the senior
first officer would take command. In this case, Jordan is the only FO,
and so she assumes
PNR: Jordan's primary thought is to return home to her daughter and she is willing to do anything it takes to make that happen. She's been trained for a terrorist hijacking. When it become apparent that their captors are outside the aircraft, how does she handle the situation?
have no choice but to fight back using every means of defense
For Kào Vantaar-Moray this had been a mission of mercy. The starship
"Savior" named for his adopted father had been on a routine
mission to patrol the rim of Alliance territory and dispatch any Talagar
invaders. They just happened to be in the right place at the right time
when calamity a previously uncharted world is destroyed by an asteroid.
He had been assigned to interface with survivors. There are several
reasons that Kào has been given this
Susan G.: Orphaned at two, Kào Vantaar-Moray is very much a "wounded" hero, bordering on the ubiquitous "tortured alpha male" hero we love so much in romance literature. He's been a POW,captured after a failed mission for which he takes full blame. He seeks to redeem himself in his adoptive father's eyes, a man regarded as a hero not only by Kào,but an entire civilization. Though part of him is embarrassed by the task, as he sees it as a glorified baby-sitting job. He desperately wants the refugees to behave, in order to make the chore run smoothly and make his father's life easier, but the Earth refugees are frightened and distrustful, and Kào can't seem to convince them otherwise.
the flight has been evacuated it is up to Jordan and Kào to ensure
that the passengers of UAL flight 58 are assimilated. This means daily
Susan G.: They share a deep curiosity about each other coupled with an immediate physical attraction that they both try to squelch because of their duty to others, not to mention the basic conflict of interest. But they come to find they sharemuch in common, a tenuous thread that binds them together, heating the physical attraction they try to fight.
PNR: On earth Jordan's daughter Boo remains optimistic that her mother will return. The reader is aware that no calamity has actually occurred to the planet. We won't spoil the story by asking any more questions, but suffice it to say that the real story begins here. You take this pair, and the readers through many twists and turns, before we discover who can be trusted and who has betrayed. The reader response to CONTACT was very positive. Do you have plans for another romantic suspense novel?
Susan G.: You know, all my novels are hybrids of some sort, suspense mixed with romance swirled with SF and fantasy and more. I suspect I'll always write these blends of genres - and yes, some will have more of one type of element, such as suspense, than others.
PNR: You have two stories coming for 2003. "The Star Queen" is a novella in THE ONLY ONE anthology will be out in May. Jas isn't the only one? Do tell.
Susan G.: LOL. "The Star Queen" is a story I always wanted to write. It's very dark and atmospheric. To quote a man who's not too popular at the moment, it's the "mother of all prequels," taking place eleven thousand years before my Star series of novels begin. It's the story of how Romjha B'kah, the legendary warrior meets and marries his queen. Many readers have already met Romjha--he appears as a gold statue in The Star King. <g>
PNR: Interesting! The hero and heroine of THE STAR PRINCESS, your August release, are no mystery. This is the story of Jas Hamilton's daughter, Ian's twin Ilana. Ilana is as different from Ian as night and day. Though their responses may have been different, both of their characters have been formed by their father's lack of honor. Tel lus more about Ilana.
Susan G.: Ilana is such a kick. You can never be glum around her. Every time I sat down to write her, she made me smile. She's single and twenty seven, living in LA, a confirmed bachelorette and filmmaker - and Fear-Of-Flying school dropout who happens to come from a family of pilots. Only one man was capable of dragging her to the altar, and I must say, she doesn't regret her decision in the least!
PNR: The hero is familiar as well. He is the hunky Vash prince Ché who was rejected by Rom's niece, Tee'ah, in favor of Ian in THE STAR PRINCE. His lifestyle may have been too familiar to excite Tee'ah but for a feisty earth woman, he may be just the ticket. Tell us about him.
Susan G.: I never intended to use Ché in a sequel, but the moment he appeared "onscreen" in The Star Prince, I fell in lust, er, in love with him. <g> He's a hunk of an arrogant, bad-boy Vash prince, and the brother of the villain from THE STAR PRINCE, who also plays a big role in this book, complicating Ché's life - and Ilana's. Ché is the epitome of a Vash prince: extraordinarily wealthy, conservative, and cultured. In his urbane and educated opinion, Ilana Hamilton stands as the shining example of the opposite of everything he'd ever want in a woman. Ha! Do I ever surprise him. It was fun watching Ilana bring him to his knees - and visa versa. <g>
PNR: Ah, I wondered if Che's brother was through causing trouble. I guess one good thrashing wasn't enough <g>. So, what is next for Susan Grant?
Banzai! <g> I'm doing an action/adventure romantic serial/series-- Banzai is sexy, and just how it sounds, a bit over-the-top, larger than life--and fun! I can't say which, as I'm still in negotiations as to how many books it will be, one or many. Here's the scoop though:
Captain Bree "Banzai" Maguire: Think comic book super-heroine with down-to-Earth accessibility. Superwoman, Princess Leia, Jinx from James Bond, and the single girl from next door all wrapped up in one sultry, kick-butt package that makes the women want to be her, and the men want to have her. She's an astronaut, fighter pilot, martial arts expert, and artist. She has the diplomatic polish of Condoleezza Rice, the determination of Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, and Joan of Arc. It seems she can do anything. And, yet, she is vulnerable. A female Buck Rogers, she is alone in a strange new world.
Commander Ty Armstrong: Decorated soldier, mountain climber/adventurer, Olympic athlete, and fighter pilot, he isthe son of the military leader of the western half the world. Acommander in his own right, this by-the-rules, disciplined man is the epitome of a modern-day Marine. He knows he has secured the coup of a lifetime when he and Banzai escape the lair of a barbarian prince. Only breaking into the gorgeous pilot's well-protected heart might just be his toughest mission yet.
Prince Kyber: Fantastically rich, notoriously ruthless, and devastatingly handsome, he is the ruler of the eastern half the world. He has all a man could possibly desire - except Banzai. When she slips through his grasp, he risks it all to steal her back.
When the book opens, we find Banzai fighting her way through enemy territory
(North Korea) to save her wingman. She tracks him to a cave, where she
is captured by a scientist experimenting on the human body's ability
to withstand periods of stasis. He jumps at the chance to apply his
theories on such a healthy captive, intending to put her to sleep for
a day or so. But the cave is bombed, killing all inside - except Banzai,
who remains asleep for five
Coming in 2004!
Featured in this Issue:
Ilana Hamilton isn't an adventurer like her pilot mother, or a diplomat like her do-right brother; she's a brash, fun-loving filmmaker who'd rather work behind the camera than be a Star Princess in front of it. Heiress or not, she's a perfectly normal, single woman...until Prince Ché Vedla crashes into her life.
With six months to choose a bride, the sexy royal wants to sow his wild oats. Ilana can't blame himbut fall for the guy herself? Not a chance! Hotshot pilot or no, Ché is too stuffy, too arrogant, and too old-fashioned. But when he sweeps her off her feet Ilana sees stars, and the higher he takes her the more she loves to fly. Only her heart asks where she will land.
Day Her Heart Stood Still"
They came from the darkest places: secluded monasteries, the Carpathian mountains, galaxies under siege. They were men with the blackest pastswarriors, vampire monks, leaders of armiesbut whose passions burned like dying stars. They had one purpose: to find those women who fulfilled them, completed them, and made them rage with a fire both holy and profane. They sought soul mates whose touch consumed them with desire, yet whose kisses refreshed like the coolest rain. And each man knew that for him there was only one true loveand in finding her he would find salvation.
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