I am excited to welcome Lynda K. Scott, who is celebrating the release of her new novel, Riding the Odds.
An act of desperation and the beginning of seduction…
Spaceship captain Tara Rowan has her secrets. One is her Rider, Zie—an organic symbiote, like a living tattoo—that enhances Tara’s physical abilities. But Zie is no ordinary Rider, and Tara can never risk anyone discovering Zie’s true origins. Especially not the sexily dangerous stranger who appears out of nowhere and makes Tara’s pulse race…
Except that “Trace Munroe” isn’t exactly who he says he is. He’s in fact a Holy Knight, who does everything by the book, and Tara is his only lead in tracking down a kidnapped princess. And Trace will do whatever it takes to get that information—including blackmail. But a blazing attraction to Tara is definitely complicating things…especially when Trace realizes that following his code of honor means destroying the woman he’s falling for.
Literary Escapism: For those of my readers unfamiliar with Riding the Odds, can you give us a brief look at your novel and what readers can look forward to? Something we haven’t seen yet?
Lynda K. Scott: Sure. Tara Rowen is just one of the many aliases that Mariah Hawkins has had to use since she pair-bonded with the Rider, Zie. Not that she’s a real criminal but she’s been on the edge of lawlessness and the powers that be are pretty strict with their ideas of law or criminality. Trace Munroe is a man who’s lived most of his life under the name of his adopted father, Anthony Sinclair, the King of the planet, Empyrea. One of the minor themes of Riding the Odds is ‘a rose is a rose by any other name’. That’s something that both Tara and Trace learn as the story progresses.
LE: Why Tara and Trace? What was it about them – either individually or as a couple – that drew you to them and want to tell their story?
LKS: Tara has deep seated survivor’s guilt since the loss of her parents, then the loss of other plague survivors when they crashed on Eridani. Even though she has Zie as a companion, she needed someone like Trace (strong, capable, fiercely loyal and protective of those he loves) to help her accept that her survival was a good thing. As Trace comes to know and love Tara, he begins to question his loyalty to the Holy Knights. He needs Tara to open his eyes to the possibility that not Holy Knight is honest or good.
LE: Can you introduce us to a few of the side characters that we’ll be meeting or who will play an important role to/for Tara and/or Trace?
LKS: Zie, Tara’s symbiote Rider, is probably the most important secondary character. For Tara, Zie is mother/child/friend/advisor all rolled into one. Then there’s Drummer, whose story will be in Book 2 (tentatively titled Riding The Storm). Drummer, aka Christopher Drummond, is an ice jockey who pilots a small Mustang space ship that can capture ice chunks from comets to deliver to desert planets or planets with the need for some of the more rare elements it might contain. Drummer is also an Eridani survivor and has a Rider, Quen, as well.
LE: Can you tell us more about Tara’s symbiote? Is it sentient, a being that interacts with her, or something along for the ride? How does (or will) this relationship affect Tara – both mentally and in her ability to create friendships?
LKS: Zie, the Rider, is definitely sentient. Wild Riders can have their own goals and can influence their hosts to attain those goals. That’s one of the reasons why they were outlawed. But if they happen on the right host, they will actually be a partnership and make compromises on their goals. Tame Riders are not very smart and abide by their hosts wishes. Once bonded, they will die if forced to leave their host. A Wild Rider may chose to leave its host, for instance, if it thinks it’s better to more up the food chain, it will direct its current host to find a superior animal. When they come in contact, the Wild Rider will leave one host for the other. Tara and Zie are capable of forming independent friendships with others just as any best friends can do. Of course, there won’t be any secrets…or at least there won’t be many. It would take a strong personality to keep a secret from someone with access to your mind.
LE: When you create your characters, do you strive for realism or do you prefer to write caricatures? Have you always written them this way or has your process changed and evolved since you began writing?
LKS: For primary characters, I go for realism. I want the reader to think they might meet this fictional character and be able to relate to them. I’ll do this for important secondary characters as well. Very rarely do I use caricatures although if it’s a walk on character, I might.
LE: How do you separate your imaginary world with real life? Do you often take something you see during your daily life and twist it a little to make it work elsewhere? Is there any part of your imaginary world that you wish was a part of your real life?
LKS: Because I’ve also written paranormal, I have separate rooms – Real Life, SciFi, Para. And yes, I will take something I see or do or someone I observe as I go through my day and make a note of what I find interesting or special. Then when I go to the SciFi or Para room, I have a solid thing to work with, to nudge here and there to make it part of my created worlds. Especially for my SciFi or Speculative fiction, I like to take science facts or hypotheses and push them a little in the direction I want them to go.
LE: In any romance, chemistry between two individuals is key; but with science fiction, creating that chemistry can be tricking depending on the parties involved. How do you keep the romance from turning creepy when one of the participants has an alien quirk?
LKS: There has to be a level of real liking to develop a tolerance for the alien quirk. In Zie’s case, she has to come across as something to be liked if not admired. Trace (Tara’s love interest) begins the story by being totally anti-Rider but as he sees Zie and Tara’s relationship, his thoughts soften. Not that he’s a total convert. I think that takes time. If fact, when a young, juvenile Rider starts the bonding process, Trace pretty much tells him to stop trying to help him because the young Rider’s ‘help’ is actually causeing more harm than good.
LE: Is there any particular legend or mythology that was the inspiration for your Holy Knights? What is their role within the Riding the Odds universe and how will it affect Tara and Trace down the road?
LKS: I modeled them a little after the Templars to start with. And threw a little ‘Judge Dredd’ in there to boot. Because they partrol many star systems and planets where regular courts aren’t possible, they are a combination of judge/jury/executioner. Trace resigned his position to find his missing sister but after he discovered the lies told by his superior, his trust with the organization is broken. Plus he was having doubts about being judge and jury. It was time for him to find a new path in life. Luckily for him, Tara came along just in time.
LE: What was it about the science fiction genre that drew you to write in it? Was there a certain book that captured your imagination and lead you to thinking up your own fantastical stories or did it come to you naturally?
LKS: When I was a pre-teen, I came across a copy of THE FOUNDATION AND THE MULE by Isaac Asimov. There was science, danger, adventure and, yes, romance in that book. I was hooked. There weren’t too many Science Fiction Romances (though it’s gotten more popular recently) so I had to make my own.
LE: And my favorite question to ask…Which authors do you read and/or think “Damn! I wish I had thought of that”?
LKS: Oh wow, great question. The late Andre Norton wrote a lot of fantasy/paranormal/science fiction and she did a marvelous series (The Witch World) which had elements of romance. Then there’s the late Anne McCaffrey who wrote the Dragonriders of Pern series and the Ship that Sang (Brain Ship) series. I’ve already mentioned Asimov with his Foundation series. Then there’s Orson Scott Card (Ender series), Leguin (Left Hand of Darkness), and recently Suzanne Collins with her The Hunger Games series. Oh, and The Maze Runner series by James Dashner. Yes, when I find an author or series I like, I go on a buying spree. My book shelves will testify to that.
Meet Lynda K. Scott!
In her family of Kentucky ‘ridge runners’, telling tales was a tradition that even the children participated in. From candle-lit tellings of scary stories to writing fan fiction in high school to using her writing talents on her job as a computer programmer/analyst, Lynda has always had a flair for and joy in words. She began writing short science fiction/fantasy then turned her attention to novel length fiction with sensuous romance. She has placed or won many writing contests including the RWA Golden Heart, the Golden Pen, OTFS (On The Far Side from the FF&P Chapter of RWA) but the best prize is seeing her work published. In addition to writing, Lynda dabbles in gourmet cooking and has lately been exploring vegetarian and gluten free cooking. She often refers to herself as the Mad Scientist of the Kitchen but almost all of her creations turn out successfully. The ones that don’t are never spoken of again. Occasionally, she shares one of her recipes in a blog post or in a book. She also shares book reviews and talented authors on Star-Crossed Romance. She lives in Michigan with her husband, her fluffy alien kitten, Wookie, and her darling Golden Retriever, Skye.