I sat down (virtually) with Veronica Scott for a short interview. Veronica Scott’s latest release, Danger in the Stars, is part of her delicious Sectors SF Romance Series!
Cynthia Sax: Where did you get the idea for Danger in the Stars?
Veronica Scott: When I was writing Star Cruise: Stowaway for the ‘Pets In Space’ anthology last year, I had the premise of an empathic alien priestess stolen from her own world and held captive by an interstellar crime syndicate to do their bidding. In that novella, the story was about the woman’s escape with the help of my ship’s crew and two pets. When I finished writing that one, I realized I had a lot more story to tell on the general theme, and so I started thinking about a sister, also held as a prisoner, but not lucky enough to escape. How would it be for her, to be in the midst of the criminal operations, trying to stay true to her own values, but forced to commit crimes? Who would help her? And then of course Conor, the hero, came into my head and said, “I will.” He’s a man of many secrets, by the way, but no spoilers from me!
Cynthia Sax: You had me at secrets. (grins) How does Danger in the Stars start?
Veronica Scott: Miriell and her mob controller have just arrived on a new planet, sent to help the mob boss there with a specific target. Miriell is ill from the cryo sleep and her handler is impatient, anxious to make a good impression on the people who hired them, so he’s rough with her. Conor is there, to oversee things for his own boss and right away Miriell is attracted to him, feels safe around him, even though she knows that’s crazy – why would a high ranking mob enforcer help her? But when she looks at him with her empathic power she sees an intriguing hint of the pure blue that signifies a warrior, hidden deep in his soul, but marking him as one to be trusted. So right from the beginning I’ve set up the conflict where she knows she can’t trust anyone in this place, yet instinctively she wants to lean on Conor. Will he help her? Can he help her? Or is he a dangerous weakness in her self-protective stance? And the story takes off from there.
Cynthia Sax: Mmm… I love warrior heroes! Tell us a little bit about the series Danger in the Stars belongs to and the order we should read the stories.
Veronica Scott: This story fits into my Sectors series, which is set in the far future, out in the galaxy. Most of the books in the Sectors SF Romance series are standalone adventures with romance and an HEA, although occasionally I write a direct sequel. I’m already thinking about a third empathic priestess, and her story, so I may write one more in this general set of plots. Never say never! I have a page on my blog where I give suggestions on what order to read the Sectors books, to the extent that it’s helpful to read any of them before reading others.
Cynthia Sax: That’s awesome. What do you love about writing in your SciFi Romance?
Veronica Scott: In science fiction literally anything can happen (and often does). So the author isn’t constrained by anything but their own imagination. And I love the idea of a hero and equally strong heroine up against the worst the galaxy can throw at them, and fighting through to that Happy Ever After ending.
Cynthia Sax: I love that too. Thank you for joining us today, Veronica Scott!
Miriell, a powerful empathic priestess, has been kidnapped from her own primitive planet along with a number of her people, and sold to the evil Amarotu Combine, largest organized crime syndicate in the Sectors. When she and her handler are sent to use her power to commit an assassination, she must leave behind her own sister as hostage to ensure her compliance. Miriell cannot ask for aid without endangering herself and others.
Despite his best efforts, Combine enforcer Conor Stewart is entranced by Miriell, and helps her evade the worst of brutal treatment from the rest of the mob. But Conor must keep his distance, before the lovely empath learns that he has secrets of his own–secrets that could get them both killed.
The situation becomes dire when Conor and Miriell come to the attention of both the Combine overlords and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the Mawreg’s next victims? And will Conor help her, or remain loyal to his evil bosses?