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Why Veronica Scott Wrote Trapped on Talonque

 

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Thanks for having me as your guest again! I really regard coming to visit your blog and discussing “why I wrote” the story as a lucky charm for any new release of mine.

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of alien civilizations that rose and fell long before our time. I first came across the concept in Andre Norton’s Time Traders series, especially in the Galactic Derelict story, where the heroes inadvertently went on a trip on a Forerunner spaceship that made its preprogrammed stops at various worlds that were now abandoned. They ended up on one that seemed to have been the United Nations-type center of its time, and then they had to somehow get the ship to retrace its path back to Earth. She planted many hints and raised many questions about the Forerunners in her science fiction novels and I loved every mention. I craved more.

When I was establishing my Sectors universe, which is the galaxy-spanning civilization for my scifi romances, I knew I HAD to include this element that I love so much, with all the mystery and ability to drop tantalizing hints. I refer to my ‘forerunners’ as the Ancient Observers (or AO for short) and my humans are as fascinated by the ruins and installations they find as I was by Andre Norton’s. Like she did, I try to make it clear there may well have been more than one such civilization in the millions of years before the humans made it off the Earth and out into the wider galaxy.

I kept thinking how cool it would be – maybe – to have my people actually find an AO survivor somehow. But my daughters pointed out that would be giving away too much of the mystery I’d spent all that time creating. OK, good point. So, Bithia, the ‘sleeping beauty’ in Trapped on Talonque is from an ancient, spacefaring civilization but not ‘the’ AO, who predate even her time. To make the story work I had to think long and hard about why such a person would be left behind on a more primitive planet by her own people and how she could survive without aging. Then I got to have fun imagining what it would be like to be her, and finally be set free…but thousands of years into her future. Suffice it to say nothing is as she hoped or expected.

One of our favorite fairy tales at my house has always been that of sleeping beauty, so I enjoyed doing a scifi take on the story…but there’s no prince, only my gallant and resourceful Special Forces soldier, Nate Reilly. He becomes fascinated with Bithia, needs her help to survive and rescue his men, and of course falls in love with her. So he’s not leaving her behind, is he? Instead of helpful fairies, we have a clan of priests and priestesses who know many of the secrets of the Sleeping Goddess, as Bithia is called on Talonque, but have their own agenda.

And how long can even the best alien technology keep functioning with no maintenance? (I did enjoy throwing problems at this group of characters.)

I needed a reason for the local rulers to keep Nate and his men alive in the beginning, and a challenge for them to overcome, so I developed the game of sapiche. It’s based in part on ritualistic ball games played centuries ago in Central and South America, in part on gladiatorial type contests in ancient Rome and owes a nod to the ritual combat the Aztecs would sometimes put captured warriors through, where they had no real chance of winning and saving their own lives but were forced to fight anyway. Sapiche is like all ball games – there’s passing, blocking, strategy, scoring….and very high stakes.

So there you have it – the influences behind what became the novel Trapped on Talonque.

The story:

Will an alien sleeping beauty awaken to save him, or destroy everyone around her?

When a Sectors Special Forces soldier and his team crash land on an alien planet, they’re taken captive and given a challenge–win at the violent ball game of sapiche and live. Lose, and they die, sending a mysterious, alien beauty to an even uglier fate. To survive, these soldiers must win the game and find a way to free the dangerous prisoner from her locked chamber.

Nate Reilly and his team are in deep trouble. Prisoners on a backward alien planet, they’re brought before an alien ‘goddess’, sleeping in her high tech seclusion. Nate is astonished when she awakes and establishes a psychic link with him. But her news is not good–he and his men must win a brutal challenge set by their captors, or they will die. She’ll give her aid, but in the end their courage and strength must win the contest.

Bithia sleeps in her chamber, as she has for thousands of years, since her own people unaccountably left her there. Viewed as a goddess by her captors, she must hide her ancient secrets to survive. But only the bravest of men may free her. Can she use her psychic powers to keep Nate and his men alive long enough to help her escape, or will her only hope of freedom die with them?

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Author Veronica ScottBest Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”

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This book sounds SO fun and your cover is amazing! I’ve got it on my Kindle and will be diving in soon! So dear readers, it’s a Sleeping Beauty science fiction romance! How cool is that?

I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value).  (And don’t forget that once a quarter I’ll be tossing in something fun from the Perilously Fun Shop!) Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.

Perilously yours,

Pauline