Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Science Unleashed with Guest Blogger: Greta van der Rol

Win a copy of Morgan's Choice & chat with 
featured author Greta van der Rol 
today at the Book Boost!

She's here to chat about mixing science with romance and here's what she had to say...

Does the very idea of science in a romance scare your little cotton socks off?

I guess for some people it would. It’s that word ‘science’, isn’t it? Conjuring up visions of test tubes and physics and math. I'll bet fantasy doesn't worry you so much, though. Magic is easy. It just happens, right? Dude's got a magic ring/sword/comes from another dimension, or he's an angel or demon or werewolf or something. You just take it as read and move on.

Think about this. The difference between fantasy and science fiction is that in fantasy, the author doesn’t have to explain how the great warrior suddenly disappeared – he’s got a magic ring. But in science fiction, the author would explain that the ring is a crystal which excites the warrior’s aura, increasing the wavelength of light given off to a wavelength undetectable to the human eye. The warrior is therefore rendered invisible to those looking at him. (Or some such plausible rigmarole). There now. That’s wasn’t so bad, was it?

Let’s consider a piece of science fiction everyone has heard of – Star Wars. Some die-hard science fiction fans (like me) will say it includes a lot of fantasy and even more dodgy science. Which, as it happens, is true, but who cares? It has spaceships, princesses, ray guns, aliens and a whole heap of fun. And a little bit of romance.

Not much romance, I grant you. On the flame scale, it might score half a flame. Maybe a glowing coal? But a romance for all that. Remember the rather chaste kiss between Han Solo and Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back? On a similar vein, Star Trek's Captain Kirk appears to have had it off with any female he could get his hands on, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly both had their romances. I’ll bet I wasn’t the only one hoping they’d get it on a bit better than that. In fact, I KNOW I wasn't. Just have a look at some of the fan fiction.

Enter science fiction romance. It’s a growing sub-genre catering for folk who like their spaceships, aliens and ray guns mixed with a little bit of hanky-panky. Or maybe rather a lot of hanky-panky. It’s what I write.

I must explain here that I am at pains to make my books science fiction and not fantasy. You'll not find half alien – half human characters in my stories. Mister Spock in Star Trek I might accept, if the Vulcans are really an offshoot of humans – in other words, closely related, more closely than apes.

But I cannot imagine a truly alien race having a genetic makeup so close to ours that we could produce offspring. So my aliens are either totally alien, such as the Ptorix in my Iron Admiral series, or they are not really alien, as in my novel Morgan's Choice. I also make sure the story line is fast-paced and action-packed, so there's something to keep everybody happy. Oh, and the romance is an added extra, not the main course.

One reviewer said “Author Greta Van der Rol has a deft touch, combining a well-drawn science fiction plotline with romance and adventure, with enough of the romance to more than satisfy those that enjoy it, yet not compromising the integrity of the science fiction setting.”

There you are. Something for everybody. And if you think Morgan's Choice is something you might enjoy, find out how you can win a copy below.

A Note from the Book Boost:  Welcome back, Greta.  I like the way you've helped us define the difference in the two sub-genres.  I like my romance mixed with a little sci-fi from time to time.  But my love of sci-fi is more limited to the likes of the X-Files or Roswell.  Maybe it is an alien thing?  Thanks for joining us and please tell us more.


Two alien ships respond to Morgan Selwood’s distress call, but the rescue turned out to be more than she bargained for.

He will use force if necessary to remind her of her place…
Autocratic, aloof, Admiral Ravindra wants to use the strange alien female and her gifts in his battle against an unknown force threatening to annihilate his worlds. Born to rule, a man of wealth, power and privilege, he will have what he most desires.

She will use courage and independence to carve a new future…
Morgan Selwood is a Supertech, bioengineered from birth to stand against the horrors of the Cyber Wars. Her abilities and appearance are the stuff of legend, exactly what the resistance needs to throw off the yoke of millennia of oppression. Caught in the crossfire Morgan must choose sides.

Together they will face a threat beyond imagining.

Excerpt (edited for length): 

Morgan wriggled her arms behind her back. The wrist bands weren’t tight but she’d been wearing them for hours now. They’d shoved her into a bare grey room and left. No chair, no water, nothing. Even the sensors were switched off. She wondered again where Jones and Sayvu were. They’d hustled them both away somewhere else. Soon enough they would come for her. She’d paced for a while, fought down the pressing urge to use the toilet. That was just fear. They’d been so close to getting away. 

Leaning against the wall she closed her eyes and let herself slip down until she sat on the floor, knees raised, her head tilted back. Maybe this was all just a nightmare and soon she’d wake up. Wouldn’t that be good?

Her eyes opened at the swish-hiss of the opening door. Fear rose like lava from her belly. She swallowed. A tall man wearing a black officer’s uniform stepped over to where she sat, towering over her. Somebody else put down a chair in the middle of the room and left.


She tried, wriggling to angle her legs so she could stand. But without the use of her hands, she simply struggled on the floor like a landed fish. With a last effort that sent her thigh muscles burning she got herself onto her knees. Panting, she rested a moment before the final surge. She hated this. She hated this. On her knees, helpless.

The officer reached down, grasped her shoulder in one hand and pulled her upright so fast her feet left the ground. He let go and she swayed, regaining her balance. The light winked on the gold sunburst on his shoulder. 

Well, well. Her heart beat steadied. Maybe she wasn’t for the firing squad just yet.

Want More Greta?

Visit her on the web here:  http://gretavanderrol.net/
Pick up a copy of her book today!  Click here.

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Suzanne Hamilton said...

Love the sound of this book, Greta & how you have so succently explained the difference between science fiction & fantasy. I'm an unpub writer of futuristic romances of which I have been informed dont contain sufficient science to warrant being hard sci fi but too much science to be labelled as straight futuristic romances. Its great to know there are others out there, will def check out your books as they sound right up my allen. Hope Morgan's Choice sells squillions.

Greta said...

Thanks, Suzanne. MC is doing quite well - it seems to have struck a chord with readers. Hang in there. Lots of people want a bit of science to go with their romance.