Monday, June 20, 2011

Guest - Cheryl Brooks

Good morning! One of our favorites is with us again today - Cheryl Brooks, who writes the amazing series on Cat-Star Chronicles. Cheryl will show us how she uses her imagination and research to create the worlds in her books.

Sourcebooks has offered two copies of Virgin to our readers. Read on to find out how to enter the drawing.

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The Power of Research
By Cheryl Brooks

When writing science fiction, I find that I invent more things than I research, although I’m finding it difficult to stay one jump ahead of modern technology. Stuff that’s happening right now would have fallen within the realm of sci-fi just ten years ago. When I was a kid, it was hard enough to find a pay phone. Now it seems like everyone has a phone in their hand, and the things you can do with a cellphone change every day. “There’s an app for that” wasn’t in the general lexicon until very recently, but we’ve certainly latched onto the idea.

As a result, exercising my imagination has become far more important than research, unlike, say the research a historical writer must do. The locations of cities, battles, and where Napoleon spent the night on a certain date don’t matter to me. I do check my science facts, and I’ve made timelines and maps of the various planets as well as their locations within our galaxy, but to become an expert on such things as what women wore beneath their ballgowns during the Regency period is unnecessary.

We’ve all seen enough science fiction classics to make the leap of faith necessary to believe that interstellar travel is possible and can be accomplished in a reasonable period of time, but to attempt to explain the theories involved is pointless when writing a romance. Perhaps the best example of this was Star Wars. Starships, advanced technology, and weird aliens were presented—and therefore accepted—as commonplace, proving that it’s best to wow the audience without the characters having the same reaction or forcing them to explain everything.

When I look into the future, my research often has more to do with the workings of nature than technology. I’ve reviewed the characteristics of various climates and terrains and have studied diagrams of wind currents and ocean breezes. I’ve learned the best conditions for growing avocados—no frost and not much wind. For my next book, The Cat Star Chronicles # 8: Stud, I researched various primitive weapons and how to make them. I may not ever need to make a bow or an arrowhead, but I’ve seen it done and could probably get the hang of it eventually.

In my latest release, Virgin, my hero and heroine travel to the planet Rhylos, which is referred to as the playground of the galaxy. The idea for Damenk, a major city on that world, came as a result of a trip I once took to Las Vegas. Now, I realize that a trip to Vegas might not seem like research, but if you’ve ever been there, you’ll probably agree that it’s a bit like visiting another planet. To create Damenk, I also read up on the power of pheromones and subliminal advertising and then let my imagination run wild.

Virgin introduces a new species to the series, the Aquerei. Their world is covered in water and has very little land, much like the setting of the movie, Waterworld. Since the Aquerei live primarily beneath the sea, I had to revisit my days of being a Jacques Cousteau fan and study the undersea world of nudibranches, mollusks, and anemones. Ocean currents became important. I stood by the salt water aquarium in my dermatologist’s office and took notes on the way anemones moved, their colorations, and the feeling I derived simply from observing them.

I often feel that time spent on research is time subtracted from my writing, but it’s worth it in the end. Besides, you never know when you’ll need to know how to grow an avocado or make an atlatl.

What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of an atlatl? Before I did my research on primitive weapons, neither had I.

But I learned.


VIRGIN BY CHERYL BROOKS—IN STORES JUNE 2011

He’s never met anyone who made him purr…
Starship pilot Dax never encountered a woman he wanted badly enough. Until he met Ava Karon…

And he’ll never give his body without giving his heart…
Dax is happy to take Ava back to her home planet, until he finds out she’s returning to an old boyfriend…

As their journey together turns into a quest neither expected, Ava would give herself to Dax in a heartbeat. Except he doesn’t know the first thing about seducing a woman…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cheryl Brooks is a critical care nurse by night and a romance writer by day. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America. She is the author of The Cat Star Chronicles series and lives with her husband, two sons, five cats, five horses and one dog in Indiana. For more information, please visit http://www.cherylbrooksonline.com/


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-- Lynda Again
   As I mentioned earlier, Sourcebooks has offered us two copies of Virgin. How can you get in the drawing? Easy!

Send an email to me at Lynda@LyndaKScott.com by Friday, June 24

1) Put Dax in the subject line

2) What new species shows up in Virgin for the first time?  ________ 

3) Give me your name and snail mail address.

On Friday, Wookie (my alien kitten) and I will select and announce the winners. Good luck all and have a Blessed Day!

13 comments:

Cheryl Brooks said...

Good morning, Lynda! Thanks so much for having me here on Star-Crossed Romance and also for the terrific review! I'll be around off an on throughout the day to answer questions and respond to comments.

Lynda K. Scott said...

HI Cheryl! Thanks for stopping by!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Cheryl and Lynda,

Research is really important to all kinds of fiction. With science fiction, it helps to regularly read science magazines on a regular basis. Myself, I love Science Daily. But there are so many great resources out there in newspapers and magazines that keep a writer current.

Congrats on the new novel!

Cheryl Brooks said...

My pleasure, Lynda!

Thanks Jacqueline! I do check out the occasional copy of Science News, and it's given me a few ideas in the past. It's hard to find the time to read all of it, though!

Victoria said...

This sounds really good. I like the idea of a water world. May have to get my biologist son to help me out while reading ;).

Cheryl Brooks said...

LOL! It won't be that hard, Victoria! I don't get all that technical.

Victoria said...

Hey Cheryl I forgot to tell you that I have heard of an atlatl. Many moons ago when I was reading Jean Auel's Earth Children series I wanted to know more about the weapon Jandalar created. Learned about all kinds of primitive weapons. Yes, I am one of those that must understand what I'm reading :).

Pauline B Jones said...

I once had a source tell me, if we can imagine it, then someone somewhere is trying to make it happen. So true that what seems not possible now, could be possible for our children or their children. Good blog! Thanks for the info!

Cheryl Brooks said...

@Victoria. LOL! Ever heard of Atlatl Bob? I got most of my info from his YouTube videos. He's a hoot!

You've got that right, Pauline! Just look at the stuff in Star Trek that we have today!

Lil said...

Enjoyed your post. I am also told that the showing of research has got to be balanced or the book can be a less that smooth read.

Cheryl Brooks said...

Yep. Sometimes the research will show too much.

Ana said...

I didn't comment on this? Cheryl's books are amazing to those who haven't read any of her series and I'm so very excited to read Virgin :)

Lynda K. Scott said...

Wookie had a great time playing with the names I put in the prize box! But finally settled on

Anna M. of Ohio and Nancy B. of VA.

Congrats! I know you'll enjoy your copies of Virgin as much as I did!