Today my guest is Stella Atrium, the author of SufferStone: Book 1 of the Dolvia Saga. This novel is a blend of science fiction and fantasy. Though not a mystery/crime fiction novel, when a book is described as “...intense tale of greed, corruption, idealism ...” it is easy to draw parallels.
FAST FIVE: Stella, thank you for visiting today. Rather than an elevator pitch of 140 characters, can you share with us a more detailed account of the novel and your research for SufferStone?
STELLA ATRIUM: The savannah on Dolvia has what we call a Third World economy. Corporations from Earth have come adventuring through the wormhole to take advantage of the mineral wealth and the cheap labor market. But the tribes are protective, and their women are mostly illiterate.
Kyle Le is troubled with the gift of second sight, like flashes of insight for events in the near future. She's an orphan, and her sisters cling to the land her father owned. They have no status in community, only the service of her gift to a tribal leader.
So the upshot is… inside the fantasy genre, I try to present women who need to solve real problems like having no voice in community, or no right to work; no access to capital to start a business. No reinforcement for talent.
My intent was to pry open the archetypes of alien women in sci-fi who are, shall we say, sexually available to the story's hero. You know the types — warrior, witch, street urchin, unavailable princess who sneaks around, armless mermaid. Let's present a few female characters who drive the story and solve problems using the tools at hand.
FAST FIVE: You have created a unique setting, a fantasy world with female characters taking control of their lives with ordinary means. Within Kyle Le’s Third World, is “the job” the most important part of her life?
STELLA ATRIUM: Brian Miller runs the mill where Kyle Le works, and Miller communicates offworld using an EAM, or extra atmosphere modem. He shows Kyle Le how to access the transport's library where they call up an image of Dolvia, a blue and green planet with atmosphere and clouds. Kyle Le is very impressed with seeing the whole face of Dolvia.
The savannah is being settled, unevenly, by offworlders who seek fortunes by mining the mineral wealth. They have a network for supply lines through the worm hole to Earth, and introduce futuristic gadgets to indigenous cultures, changing the balance.
There’s tension between the young tribal people who are hungry for the new products and the older generation who want to maintain tradition.
FAST FIVE: The Mystery/Suspense genre is the focus of Fast Five interviews, but what unique twist makes your novel stand out?
STELLA ATRIUM: Kyle Le is promised to the warrior Cyrus, even though she doesn't like the idea. She's motivated to resist the future planned for her by others. That's why she's open to new ideas like working for wages, and traveling offworld with soldiers.
The tribes unite to resist a mining company that grabs rights to parts of the savannah and starts over-using the water supplies. There’s a trial of a collaborator in Part 4, and a battle to regain control over the land rights. Even after this battle, Kyle Le wants to maintain her independence and refuses to “lend her mantel” to the victorious leader Cyrus.
FAST FIVE: How does your main character’s profession draw her into suspenseful situations?
STELLA ATRIUM: Kyle Le has second sight, so leaders from many groups solicit her ideas for what will happen next. Some tribespeople try to twist those images to fit outcomes they prefer. Kyle Le is slavishly committed to revealing the images only with no explanations, which only causes more tension and more threats on her life.
A couple of her prophecies come true only after the final battle and after her friend Brian Miller learns his fate.
FAST FIVE: With Kyle Le’s show of independence and her special gift, one story would only whet the reader’s appetite. Is this book part of a series, and are you working on a sequel?
STELLA ATRIUM: The sequel titled HEARTSTONE is due for release in Summer 2012. Book II is at the printer, but delayed because response to the first book has been so positive. We wanted to give SUFFERSTONE more time to gain an audience.
A giveaway on LibraryThing is in the works for March, and a possible Amazon giveaway of SufferStone to precede the launch of Book II in the series. Watch and see. Watch and see.
FAST FIVE: I am reading and enjoying SufferStone now and look forward to the release of the sequel. This isn’t a Fast Five question, more an “if/then” scenario: If Paris is not an option, then where would you most like to spend your time writing and why.
STELLA ATRIUM: I would move to a small town in Greece, in Peloponnese where I can swim in the Mediterranean each afternoon. The waters are warm and untroubled by tides. The people are friendly and great cooks! Maybe I would get little writing done, but my tan would become world class. LOL
Read more about Stella Atrium and find her books at:
Twitter: @SAtriumWebsite: http://stellaatrium.com/
Writer blog on OpenSalon: http://open.salon.com/blog/satrium/popularity
Purchase Kindle version of SufferStone on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/SufferStone-Book-Dolvia-Saga-ebook/dp/B006QWECKK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1325175480&sr=8-2