Please welcome Marcella to the blog everyone!!
Monday morning, I opened my email and had to look twice. Was that..? Holy lima beans. It was an email from Nalini Singh with my book title, Enemy Within, as the subject line. I’d read Ms. Singh’s book, Mine to Possess and enjoyed it so much, I went right out and snapped up Hostage to Pleasure and Angel’s Blood. Devoured them…then deadlines hit and reading for pleasure came to a screeching (and it had better be temporary) halt. My point is that when Berkley bought Enemy Within, I was thrilled to be writing for the same house and even the same imprint, Berkley Sensation, as one of my new favorite authors. Little did I know that my sainted editor (who hasn’t been bribed with chocolate, I swear!) would send an advance reader copy of Enemy Within to Ms. Singh, who would then read it, like it well enough to email me to say so, and then graciously ask if I’d like to guest blog. I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough. Thank you for the invitation.
I’m Marcella Burnard. I write science fiction romance (SFR) for Berkley Sensation. The whole writing thing started when I was twelve, I think. I’d seen a B-grade pirate/adventure film and decided it had been done all wrong. I borrowed my mother’s Selectric typewriter, set it up in my bedroom even though I didn’t know how to type, and went to work on The Definitive Pirate story. The heroine was twelve. She had a black panther named Scott as a pet. And she was an expert swordswoman. Yeah. The seven seas were never the same. Neither was my school work, but that’s another issue.
So when I set out to write a slightly more grown up pirate story, I kept the swordswoman heroine, ditched the panther, and aged my gal up a bit so she could reasonably be a military captain in her own right. I handed her a handsome pirate who might know a thing or two about swordplay himself and who needed her space ship to save himself and his crew. Good times. I had the makings of a rollicking bit of fun in space.
Yes, Ari did start the book with a case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from having been a prisoner of war. That didn’t have to change my light, fluffy, action-adventure, did it? I remained wrapped in my state of denial right up to the last fight – you know the one at the very end of your favorite movies – Indiana Jones where everyone’s faces melt, or Luke in an x-wing making the last shot that destroys the Death Star and saves everyone. My characters whispered to me at night time when I couldn’t drown out their voices with activity. “You know what has to happen,” they’d say.
I did know. So I stalled.
One of my critique partners finally threw my manuscript pages on the table one day, turned to me, gave me *that* look and said, “What is your problem? This is horrible, awful and wonderful! Don’t come back without the ending! And make it worse!” I wanted to slit my wrists with my pen, but it was a felt tip and all it did was make a mess.
I went home, swallowed a huge lump of fear, and wrote the final quarter of the book in all of its bloody, gross nastiness. No one would want to read it. How could they? I hadn’t wanted to write it. But something happened as I did. The book started living and breathing on its own. It was a little frightening at first, then exhilarating, to have my story escape my control like that. It really had grown up and it wasn’t my pre-teen pirate story anymore, though I tried to fool myself that it was still light. Fun.
Until the day my fabulous agent, Emmanuelle Morgen, said, “No one writes grim scifi the way you do!”
Grim? Really? Even with pirates and swordfights? Dang. Should have kept that black panther sidekick…
Backcover Blurb of Enemy Within
After a stint in an alien prison, Captain Ari Rose wonders why she even bothered to survive. Stripped of her command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a Ph.D. she doesn't want, Ari never planned to languish quietly behind a desk. She wasn't built for it, either. But when pirates commandeer her father's ship, Ari once again becomes a prisoner.
As far as pirate leader Cullin is concerned, Ari's past imprisonment puts her dead center in Cullin's sights. If she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then he's convinced she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. Cullin can't afford the desire she fires within him and he'll stop at nothing, including destroying her, to uncover the truth.
Link to Marcella's Blog