Friday, October 29, 2010

Guest Author: Marcella Burnard

I'm delighted to have Marcella Burnard on the blog today! I had a chance to read an early copy of her debut science fiction romance Enemy Within (out November 2nd) and thought it was fantastic. Dark and gritty and intensely emotional. Very much recommended if you like sf romance.

Please welcome Marcella to the blog everyone!!

Marcella Burnard

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 k
now. 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 ho
me, 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!”

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


Jeffe Kennedy said...

I just can't wait to read this book! *drums fingers impatiently*

Shannon McKelden said...

I'm so excited to read this book, even though SF is not my normal genre of choice! Well done catching Nalini's eye, Marcella! She's one of the best of the best...and I think you're going to join her there as a hugely popular author in your own right! Hugs, my friend!


Kylie Griffin said...

Marcella, your book is on my TBR pile and as soon as I find a spare day I'll probably finish it in one sitting.

Great interview - I love hearing how the germ of an idea gets made into a whole story.

Go SFR (sci-fi romance)!

MaryK said...

Oooh, definitely should've kept the panther. LOL Maybe next time? ;)

I can't get over Scott the Panther. With a name like Scott, he'd have to be a shapeshifter, you know. :D But not an alpha, the engineer maybe.

Chudney Thomas said...


Marcella Burnard said...

Oh, MaryK. Now you've given me more fuel for another inappropriate fire! :) Jeffe, Shannon and Kylie, thanks so much for stopping in.

Anonymous said...

Honestly - if your blog post is anything like your books? Count me in! I had so much fun reading your post that I simply can't even imagine how much I will enjoy your books. And while I simply adore Happily Ever After books with hearts and roses... this secret little part of me craves the dark and gritty side on occassion! XD

PeppyPilotGirl said...

ROTFL, @MaryK - and I agree!

@Marcella - this sounds terrific and will definitely going on my list!

Marcella Burnard said...

Chudney, Patterson1219, and Peppypilotgirl (very cute photo!) I hope you enjoy the book - you'll have to let me know whether or not the tone came anywhere close...

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to read and comment (and waving to the new Twitter followers!)

Tina Louise said...

You are a kick! I can't wait to read it. So much excitement...will I survive?

Tina Louise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.