Monday, December 14, 2015

Interview with 'The Moreva of Astoreth' Roxanne Bland

Roxanne Bland grew up in Washington, D.C., where she discovered strange and wonderful new worlds through her local public library and bookstores. These and other life experiences have convinced her that reality is highly overrated. Ms. Bland lives in Rosedale, Maryland with her Great Dane, Daisy Mae.

Her latest book is the science fiction novel, The Moreva of Astoreth.

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About the Book:

 Moreva Tehi, scientist, healer, priestess of the Goddess of Love and three-quarters god, is a bigot. She hates the hakoi who are the Temple’s slaves. When she misses an important ritual because the enslaved hakoi are participants, her grandmother, the Goddess Astoreth, punishes her by exiling her
for a year from her beloved southern desert home to the far north village of Mjor in the Syren Perritory, (where the hakoi are free) to steward Astoreth’s landing beacon. But Astoreth forbids her from taking with her scientific research on red fever, a devastating scourge that afflicts the hakoi. She does so, anyway.

The first Mjoran she meets is Laerd Teger, the hakoi chief of the village, who appears to hate her. She also meets Hyme, the hakoi village healer, and much to Moreva Tehi’s surprise, they form a fast friendship. This friendship forces her to set upon a spiritual journey to confront her bigotry. While doing so, she falls in love with Laerd Teger, who returns her love. She eventually has a revelation about the meaning of love, and rids herself of her bigotry. And she develops a cure for red fever, and is the first healer to do so.

But there is a price for her love for Laerd Teger, and that is her certain execution by the Goddess Astoreth upon her return home because she has broken her sacred vows. But then, through Laerd Teger, she learns a terrible secret about her gods, that they are not gods at all, but aliens, and rather than being part god, she is part alien. Her world destroyed, she turns on Laerd Teger for showing her the truth. They eventually reconcile. But there is still the problem about her love for Laerd Teger. Astoreth will know what she has done and will execute her. She formulates a plan, involving the erasure of her memory, in which she will bargain for her life by giving Astoreth the formula for red fever. Astoreth agrees. For breaking her vows and disobeying a direct order not to take her red fever research to Mjor, Astoreth strips her of her morevic status and exiles her again to Mjor. Back in Mjor, she recovers her memory and sends the red fever formula to Astoreth. Now freed from the constraints of being a Moreva, Tehi and Teger embark on a new life together.

For More Information

  • The Moreva of Astoreth is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Thanks for this interview, Roxanne.  Can we begin by having you tell us about yourself from a writer’s standpoint?

I started writing when I was a child. When I was about ten, I wrote a science fiction story that won a city-wide contest. After that, I wrote off and on, not with any thought of being a writer, just for myself. Once I got into college, I didn’t write at all. In my mid-twenties, I started writing again, short stories. I submitted a few that never saw the light of day, which is probably a good thing. Then about fifteen years ago, I fell ill. Took me about two months to recover. You know how when you’re sick and you’re too sick get out of bed but not so sick that you sleep all the time? I was casting about, bored, and I took up writing again. With encouragement, I turned those scribblings into my first book. I’ve never looked back.

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

Read, mostly. I like to read outside my genres, so for fiction, I’ve usually got a horror or thriller book in my hands. Maybe a good mystery. I getting into bizarro, too. I also read non-fiction—mostly ancient history and what I call armchair physics books. Like, Frank Tipler’s The Physics of Immortality, or Murray Gell-Mann’s The Quark and the Jaguar. No formulas—just plain English.

Do you have a day job? Or a night one?

I retired from my day job about six months ago. Since then, I’ve been working on The Moreva of Astoreth, but now that it’s finished, it’s time for me to go back to work. My retirement accounts aren’t THAT big!

Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

I didn’t have much problem writing the Moreva of Astoreth, unlike another book I could name. I did have a period of about two months where I just couldn’t write. Writer’s block, I guess. Everything I wrote was either garbage, or I couldn’t think of anything to write. I decided to quit worrying about it and went on about my life. Then one day I was puttering around my office looking for something, and the next thing I knew I was at the computer, writing. Whatever the problem was, it went away on its own. As for publishing, I own Blackrose Press, so no, getting published wasn’t a problem.

What is it about the science fiction genre that appeals more than any other genre you would choose to write?

Well, I don’t just write science fiction. I write paranormal fantasy, too. Sometimes both at once. And all tend to have a little romance mixed in with them. But as for say, why I don’t write mysteries or thrillers, I guess my thoughts and daydreams don’t run in that direction. Although I would like to try my hand at horror one day.

If you had to summarize your book in one sentence, what would that be?

The Moreva of Astoreth is the story of priestess, scientist, and healer Moreva Tehi, the headstrong granddaughter of a powerful deity who is banished for a year from her beloved desert home to a volatile far northern corner of Peris for neglecting to perform her sacred duties, only to venture into dangerous realms of banned experimentation, spiritual rebirth, and fervent, forbidden love.

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

I don’t pretend to be worldly, but I haven’t seen much pairing of science fiction and romance. And even though it’s science fiction, The Moreva of Astoreth deals with a very human condition—bigotry—and how we can transform our hate into love if we’re willing to face it and work hard to change it.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Christmas—because that’s when people buy the most books!

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

No, I don’t think this book would work as a series. I doubt there’ll be a sequel, either. I just don’t see it going that way. But you never know.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

In the most general sense, my life experiences—for good or ill—inform everything I write. But some ideas I get from reading. The Moreva of Astoreth came about from reading Zecharia Sitchin’s very interesting series positing that humans were created by aliens. Others are ideas that come to me while daydreaming, like the book I wrote about a werewolf falling in love with a space alien.   

What’s next for you?

I’ll go back to the project I was working on before The Moreva of Astoreth interrupted. What I mean is that I was working merrily along, when this current story started banging at the door in my head. I filed it away, but it kept popping up until it was interfering with what I’d been working on. So I wrote The Moreva of Astoreth, and now the way to my other project is clear.

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