Daily Archives: February 8, 2012

What to Read Wednesday

Welcome to What to Read Wednesday!  Thanks to everyone who keeps coming back…you’re all awesome!  And if you’re here for the first time…glad you found us!

Today we have author Sue Ann Bowling visiting.  She is one amazing lady.  Sue Ann will be telling us about two books since they are  intertwined.  Tourist Trap and Homecoming.  So sit back and relax, you’re going to not only meet someone special, but hear about a couple of very interesting books.

Welcome to What to Read Wednesday Sue Ann!  I’m excited to have you here.  Let’s jump right in!  Tell us a bit about yourself. 🙂

I’m a retired scientist (atmospheric science) with a fair background also in astronomy, geophysics and genetics. Extinct animals and past climates come in naturally, as does the way geography affects the climate, and these come into my books. I did some popular science writing as well as academic papers, but the fiction is recent. I actually started Homecoming and Tourist Trap well before I retired, writing down some of the stories I’ve been telling myself for years, but it took close to 15 years before I was really satisfied with them.

Tell us four things you never leave home without.

Insulin pump, glucose meter, and a fast acting source of carbohydrate! Those are essential for a type 1 diabetic. The fourth? Probably my belt purse.

If you ever sneak and indulge in sweets, what’s your dessert of choice?

Don’t tell my doctor, but now and then I indulge in chocolate coconut crème brule, weighed out to the gram so I know how much insulin to take.

Good choice.  If you’re going to be naughty, creme brule is he way to go.  🙂  What genre or genres do you write?

Science fiction, but not the extreme scientific type, in spite of my science background. I concentrate on social structure and how it fits with the ecology of the planet, and people, and the people don’t all have to be human. They do have to have motivations that make sense to them. Also, except for relativity (hard to have a plot without simultaneity) and the existence of ESP, the science has to be accurate.

Describe your writing space.

Believe me, you don’t want to see it! I use a room originally intended as a bedroom and have a big L-shaped desk which is taken up by three computers (one with two monitors) and four printers. I also have a bookcase and a rather disorganized file cabinet. Actually it would be a pretty nice space if I cleaned off the books and papers piled on every horizontal surface (including the floor.) The “third bedroom” has become the library, with books completely covering the walls.

It sounds well used and comfy.  What’s the best part of the writing process for you?

When one of my characters takes over and opens whole new worlds of opportunity.   

The worst?   


LOL…I think most authors struggle with that 🙂  Tell us about your latest release?

That would be Tourist Trap, but since it is in essence a continuation of Homecoming, most of what I will say refers to both. Homecoming covers Roi’s early years, and includes a period when he is completely paralyzed. Tourist Trap is a little more of an adventure book, since Roi has recovered from his paralysis in Homecoming. Roi and his friends are enjoying a guided trip on Falaron, a planet Terraformed from Earth in the last Ice Age. What they don’t realize as they are dogsledding, riding, sailing, and hang gliding (not to mention interacting with mammoths and sabertooths) is that Roi’s half-brother is trying to kill them.

I love a good thriller mixed in with a story…Now let’s play LUCKY SEVEN….Pick seven words to describe your books.

Empathy, family, responsibility, slavery, esper talents, conservation laws, individuality.

Share a favorite quote or sentence from your book.

“It all has to fit together, I know that much. The religion and morality, the economics, the ecology. If one changes the others have to as well.”

What is your favorite attribute of your hero?  Your heroine?

I don’t have a hero and heroine as such. Roi, who is the main protagonist, is first and foremost a person who cares about others. Marna lets absolutely nothing stop her. Especially when it comes to protecting Roi!

What comes first…title, plot or characters?

Title is definitely last. The characters and scenes have grown over many years; the coordination of the scenes into a plot came next.

Will you share with us what inspired you to write your latest story?

Tourist Trap, like Homecoming, has been in my mind for years, though many of the details were fleshed out as I wrote. Just living in Alaska inspired a lot of the scenes, especially the dog mushing and the blizzard.

Please tease us with an excerpt of your book HOMECOMING!

            Lai paused as the trail entered a grove of haro trees, looking up to confirm that the triangularly braced branches–another example of the upside-down vegetation of Riya–were heavy with ripe nuts. It was an odd arrangement, with each cluster of nuts hanging in the center of a triangle of limbs. Lai used telekinesis to pick several ripe clusters, packing them into the string bag he had tied to his belt before leaving the shuttle. Haro nuts and chocolate–he was bringing his share of their breakfast.

            He wasn’t sure at first what Marna had brought. The spiny gray globes she lifted out of her backpack did not look at all inviting. Once they had settled side by side on a log, she showed him how to strip off the spiny husks, revealing a smooth, green-gold  fruit into which she bit with obvious pleasure. Lai followed her example, finding the taste sweet with just a hint of tartness, and a spiciness that reminded him of cinnamon or cloves while being distinct from either. “Good,” he said, taking another bite.

            “And it goes well with the chocolate,” she agreed. “Pala fruit, it’s called. I’ll miss it.”

            It was the first intimation that she was even considering leaving Riya. “You managed to contact Win, then?” he asked cautiously.

            “Yes. He said to go with you. But he said Riya needed someone to love her, too.”

            Lai shelled a couple of the haro nuts, thinking. “Won’t take us nearly as long to get back to Central, with the flagged jump points, as it did to get here. And coming back to Riya, in a straighter line than through Murphy, should be faster yet once we find and flag the jump points. Do you think Riya could be loved by Humans?”

            Marna looked thoughtful. “Maybe. I’d have to think about it, after I meet more Humans. But Lai, there is one thing you must promise me if I go back to your Confederation with you. I want nothing to do with the crossbreds or the crossbreeding program. I may be stuck with Zhaim on the way back, but that’s got to be the end of my involvement.”

            He knew she disliked Zhaim, but he hadn’t realized the extent to which her distaste extended to the whole crossbreeding program. “Zhaim’s not typical of all crossbreds,” he protested. “You’d like Nik and Kaia. And I have to work with the crossbreds, to keep the Confederation running.”

            “You do as you wish and as you feel you must. Just leave me out of it.” There was no room at all for compromise, the light mental contact between them told Lai.

            Nik had been Bera’s last student, Lai remembered. His brother would have been delighted to interact with another Healer. He hadn’t realized until Marna spoke how much he had looked forward to her meeting his closest friends. His youngest children, too–Zhaim was obviously a lost cause as far as Marna was concerned, and had Lai questioning his own competence as a father even more strongly. But surely she would like Wif, Ania, even Cloudy’s child, though he didn’t know Roi well enough yet to have any idea how the boy would react to Marna. And given the way Zhaim had turned out, Roi might be better off left at Tyndal.

            “I wish you would consider meeting those I count as friends,” he said, but he felt her resolve harden even as he spoke. Better simply to accept her feelings, and hope that the attitude of the Humans she would meet would teach her that all R’il’noids were not alike. “I won’t pressure you to have anything to do with the crossbreds, but keep your options open.”

            He glanced around for a distraction, not wanting to let her talk herself into an even harder position. Their log was on the bank of a small stream, and upslope, looking into the sun…

            “Look,” he said. “There, just below the little waterfall. Are those more of the tika berries you were showing me yesterday?” The bushes had distinctive, star-shaped leaves, backlit against gray rock.

            “Oh, yes,” she exclaimed with one of those mercurial shifts of mood that left him dizzy. “And those look ripe–first this year.”

            “Want some?” he grinned, walking upstream toward the waterfall. The berries were black, with a purple sheen, and the size of his thumb. He reached for one, and then jerked his hand back as he felt how thorny the bushes were.

            “Told you they had thorns,” Marna chuckled as he sucked his scratched finger. “Pick them with TK.”

            The berries were every bit as good as Marna had promised, with a stronger and quite different flavor than the pala fruit. Lai ate a couple of handfuls of the berries, teleporting a similar number into Marna’s cupped hands, then found a stick and began poking under the bush, studying the root system. “Wonder how they’d do on Central,” he said aloud.

            “They don’t transplant well,” Marna answered, “but they come up far too easily from seed, and they’re hard to get rid of. That’s why I don’t have any in the garden. That and the thorns. I don’t know anything about the Central ecology. Do you think some of the plants from here would be safe to introduce?”

Loved your descriptions…the fruit sounded mouth-watering 🙂  What are you currently working on?

A trilogy, with working titles Rescue Operation, Horizon War, and War’s End, set a couple of hundred years after the end of Tourist Trap. It has some of the same non-aging characters and descendants of the Human characters, along with some new ones. And yes, it has food!

Thank you so much for sharing with us today!  And finally Sue Ann, where can we find you and your books?

I have a blog at and an author site at . My books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse. Amazon Homecoming Amazon Tourist Trap B&N Tourist Trap B&N Homecoming Amazon Author page facebook Homecoming


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