Pauline Baird Jones began her writing career penning romantic suspense (fictional murder doesn’t get you strip searched!) but she had a secret longing to ramp up the spills, chills and daring do.
By chance she wrote a science fiction romance, realized she’d been mixing fiction into her science since high school (oops, sorry science teachers!), and thought, why not go where she hasn’t gone before? After that, it was easy to stir in some steampunk.
The Key was the first in her Project Enterprise series, which concludes with Kicking Ashe. To find out more about her and her books visit: http://www.paulinebjones.com/
Here's the blurb for Kicking Ashe:
A science fiction romance novel
When you save Time's tush - or its version of one - it ought to cut you a break, not kick your tush some where and some when. Though boo yah on providing a hot guy in leather to pull that tush out of the impact crater that Ashe so did not make despite the somewhat damning evidence to the contrary.
So, the siterep:
- She's stuck on primitive planet
- Time Tracker suit down
- Lurch (her nanite) unable to connect to any tech (see primitive above)
- Surrounded by a bunch of buccaneer types who haven't been around nubile, young women cause it's against their law
- The one guy (Vidor Shan) she'd like to kiss on the mouth is off limits (time rule)
- Someone gunning for Shan from somewhere in time
Not that she plans to stay down. Or give up the guy.
Before treating us to an excerpt Pauline Reveals:
In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character. What do you like best/least about him?
Vidor Shan started out as a lesser villain in Girl Gone Nova, so the plan was to dislike him with maybe one or two qualities to make him not cardboard. But as I wrote him, I developed—not a soft spot exactly—but a sort of, “Hmmmm. He might be reclaimable in another book.” It was interesting getting to know him, though it took three tries to find him a heroine who could sufficiently humble him for the role of hero.
So, what I ended up liking about him was his persistence, his refusal to give up or take no for an answer. Oddly, this was also what I found annoying about him. LOL! But in the end, it allowed him to be redeemed and get a girl.
And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
There are some heroines that I relate to instantly. Ashe…well, she took me a while. When she first stalked onto the page in Steamrolled I had not planned to feature her in her own novel. She was a minor heroine who was supposed to “star” in the subplot. She totally annoyed Doc (who starred in Girl Gone Nova and made a guest appearance in Steamrolled).
So even though I got to know her pretty well in Steamrolled (and yeah, she kind of annoyed me, too) I had to go deeper to relate to her in Kicking Ashe. In the end, what helped was her dealing with being so completely lost. Now I’ve never been lost from time and in space, but I have been lost and felt disoriented. I used that feeling to connect to, and help make, Ashe softer and less of a twit.
It did make my eye twitch a bit, but I got over it.
What do you most enjoy about writing romance?
I love watching people fall in love. I LOVE making them earn that perfect person for them, making them prove they are worthy of another person’s trust. As Doc realized in Girl Gone Nova, it was easier for her to risk her life, than her heart. And if the love seems impossible? Well, that just makes it more satisfying when the last barriers fall.
What do you like best and least about writing?
I love meeting my characters, I love “reading” my story as it unfolds over time and I love that surprised and delight I feel when I work it out and stumble across the finish line with my characters.
What I dislike is the business part of writing. Figuring out the money (though there’s not always a lot of that), the taxes, where and how to promote, the rejections that steal your creativity if you let them, the reviews that are less than glowing—all of it can take a toll on your Muse.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What would be your tips to overcome it?
I have suffered from two kinds of writer’s block. One comes from Life. There is just too much happening in my real world. Sometimes there just isn’t any escape from reality and I’ve had to trudge through until the situation eased enough for creativity to flow again.
The second kind comes from trying to a) start a story too soon or b) push it in a direction the characters don’t want it to go. I solve this one by back tracking to the point where my plot went wrong and then striking out until I find the right path.
Anything special you require to keep the creative juices flowing?
Diet Dr. Pepper. Chocolate (type varies by mood and availability) and a playlist. I fashion a playlist for every book. It seems to help jump-start the Muse. If I have Diet Dr Pepper and chocolate. Sometimes I need a salty munchy, too. Like right now I am trying out Tostitos Artisan Baked Three Cheese Queso. It makes a nice contrast with the Dark Chocolate Mint M&Ms chased down by a cold DDP.
What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
I am currently at work on a steampunk novel that has no name and only two characters so far. Yeah, I write into the mist and its pretty heavy right now. (Bringing out the bright light. Okay, that doesn’t work in the creative mist either….)
How do you like to spend your free time?
Well, obviously I love to read. I also enjoy Angry Birds, TV (Big Bang Theory, Phineas and Ferb, NCIS and classic shows like Scarecrow and Mrs King), movies (also a lot of diversity in my movies, though currently focusing on SF and SFR) and jigsaw puzzles to unwind (and drive myself crazy in a different way than plotting—though there are similarities).
What would you most like to accomplish this year?
I would like to finish my new novel and organize my upstairs. It is the Final Frontier in our house. It sits in splendid (well, not so splendid) isolation, wholly separate from the rest of the house. It used to be our joint office, until circumstances drove both hubby and I downstairs. I could tell you why, but I’ve been married 37 years and would like to make it across the 50 years finish line, so we’ll just leave it at that.
What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult? Are you currently reading anything?
Anne of Green Gables. Though I was not an orphan, I really identified with Anne’s love of reading and her huge imagination. And when my brothers were a pain? I sometimes wished I were an orphan.
I have a terrifying TBR pile, both literal and virtual on my various ereaders, but when I am writing, I don’t read a lot. It tends to distract me from my own book and I seem able to do that without help from other authors. I do read non-fiction, though, and I am currently reading Are You There Author? It’s Me Blog by Kristen Lamb. It’s a really good book on social media for authors.
Any exciting plans for the near future?
I am planning to survive this year and hoping my trash doesn’t get quite as thoroughly kicked as last year. And if things go really well, and I get my new book well in hand, I am hoping to reduce my TBR pile. I really miss just sitting and reading!
You mentioned different characters making guest appearances in later novels. Can you explain the order and connected books you’ve written?
Some years back, I took a right turn into writing action/adventure, science fiction romance. I had such fun writing it, and got requests to write more in the world I’d created, so my Project Enterprise was born. Though the novels were written to be stand alone, I’m told enjoyment is increased if you read them in order:
The Key, Girl Gone Nova, Tangled in Time (novella), Steamrolled, and Kicking Ashe.
There are also two connected short stories that released in two different anthologies:
Men in Jeans from A Death in Texas Anthology
Steam Time from Dreamspell Steampunk, Vol 1 anthology
Now for A Taste of Pauline:
Excerpt from KICKING ASHE:
A chill, one more persistent the than others trailed down her back and the hairs on the back of her neck rose. Never a good sign. Ashe pulled her weapon, because in her experience, when the hair on the back of her neck rose, shooting at something would soon follow. Turned back to the empty corridor. Light stabbed down between the walls. Nothing. Gray, gray and more gray. So why couldn’t she look away? Why did if feel as if her life depended on not looking away? She backed toward Shan not caring if the whole building came down because of it. Neither building nor the floor appeared to be impacted by her passing as Lurch cranked her gravity inhibitor higher. Her toes dragged through the dust, just enough contact to keep her moving now. The soft rustle seemed more pronounced. Or she was getting paranoid. Not that paranoia seemed contraindicated in the situation. In fact, it felt wise. When Lurch didn’t mock or disagree, the hairs on her neck rose some more.
Did—was the floor…moving?
“Yeah?” Her voice had more quiver than she liked.
“I will try the controls and if it is safe—”
Black slits, or maybe knotholes began to dot the walls and the floor, popping out of the mass of gray. Her light could be adding shadow, but the angles weren’t quite right…
“I don’t think we have time to wait for safe.” Safe was an illusion. Family saying three hundred and something. She moved her head, tracking the light across ceiling, walls and floors, her weapon following the same path. The rustle increased in intensity, as if the light bothered something. Or attracted it.
And a few awesome review quotes:
"If you love science-fiction romance, then you will want to read KICKING ASHE by Pauline Baird Jones." Romance Junkies
"This is a series of stories that I can see myself revisiting again in the future when I want something fast paced and fun with strong heroines and hunky heros, even if some of them are completely alien!" Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
"Pauline's novels are perfect for smart women on the move. Her heroines love adventure but are, at the core, still women….Kicking Ashe is an awesome read, so don't pass up the chance to experience Ashe, Vidor and Lurch's adventure." FirePages
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Many thanks for regaling us today, Pauline. Great to host you!