Genre: Science Fiction
In the world-building tradition of Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. LeGuin, The Moreva of Astoreth is a blend of science fiction, romance, and adventure in a unique, richly imagined imperialistic society in which gods and science are indelibly intertwined.
It is the story of priestess, scientist, and healer Moreva Tehi, the spoiled, headstrong granddaughter of a powerful goddess who is temporarily exiled from Temple life in her beloved desert home to a volatile far northern corner of the planet for neglecting to perform her sacred duty, only to venture into dangerous realms of banned experimentation, spiritual rebirth, and fervent, forbidden love.
Interview with author Roxanne Bland
What inspired you to come up with the idea for your book?
Actually, the first inspiration for this book came thirty, thirty-five years ago. A friend and I collaborated on a story while we were in college. I’d always wanted to write it down, but never seemed to find the time. Though I’ve forgotten the details, the basic storyline has always stuck with me. Years later, I read Zecharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles series, in which he posits that aliens looking for gold came to Earth, created humans, set themselves up as gods, and founded the Sumerian civilization. Then, years after that, the second inspiration hit me—why not find a way to meld our story and Sitchin’s theories? And so I did, and the result is The Moreva of Astoreth.
Do you have a favorite scene? If so, what was it?
I think my favorite is when Moreva Tehi and Laerd Teger were trapped by the mudslide. Sheltered Tehi had to dig deep into herself to help them both survive. She couldn’t let her fear get the best of her.
Is there a character you’d trade places with? If so, why?
Moreva Tehi. I’d love to date Laerd Teger. And I’ve always liked science, though I was never any good at it. My talents lie elsewhere.
Any challenges in writing this book?
Actually, The Moreva of Astoreth was fairly easy to write. It just sort of flowed.
Any tips to share with someone who wants to be published?
If you want to go the traditional route, you must polish and hone, hone and polish your manuscript until it’s sharp as a knife blade and shiny as a new penny. Develop a thick skin—you will be rejected, and usually without a real explanation, other than “it’s not right for us,” assuming you get an answer at all. Or you can go the independent author—indie—route, and publish it yourself. Or you can do what I did—set up my own publishing house.
Do you have a favorite book (out of the ones you’ve written)?
The Underground. It’s about a werewolf trapped in a bitter love triangle with a vampire and a mage, who falls for an amnesiac space alien who may or may not be a serial killer. This book is important to me because I was going through a difficult time in my life and writing it was quite cathartic. Every character, even the “bad guy,” is a facet of me. And then there’s the message of the story: oppress a person or people hard and long enough, and they will rise against you, and when they do, it won’t be pretty. That was exactly how I felt.
When you’re not writing, what are you up to?
Working, usually. My day job is pretty demanding, which is one reason why I write in the wee hours. I also sneak time off to read whenever I can.
What do you love most about writing?
Well, in general, I get sheer joy from writing. What I really love is watching the story unfold before me.
Do you have a favorite writing environment?
I can’t say it’s my favorite, but I do all my writing in my office. I marvel at people I see in coffee shops, parks and whatnot pounding away at their laptops, oblivious to the tumult around them. I can’t do that because I always end up watching the people instead of my screen. I marvel that they can type on those small keyboards—my fingers get tangled up and I’m doing more backspacing than actual typing.
How do you go about choosing the names for your characters?
Usually I sit back, close my eyes, and let names float through my head. When I think of one that matches my character, that’s the one I choose. Other times, I’ll go to a website for baby names and take a look through them. Be careful doing that, though. The way these cookies track you, all of a sudden I was seeing ads for baby stuff. Very annoying.
Do you have a favorite genre you like to read (other than the ones you write in)?
Well, I have two favorites: thrillers and horror. I lover Jeffrey Deaver and Tess Gerritsen. As for horror, of course there’s the master, Stephen King. But there’s also Peter Straub and Dean Koontz.
What’s your writing routine?
I get up at about two a.m., and write until about six or so. Longer if I’m really into a scene.
What’s on your “bucket list?”
Some of these I can’t do because of physical limitations, but here goes: be a pilot. Visit Antarctica. Hike the Himalayas. Tour Morocco and Egypt—heck, tour Africa while I’m at it. Take a train across the U.S. Have a house in the mountains and a house on the beach—summer in the mountains, winter on the beach.
What would be a must-have for a romantic date?
Romantic date? What’s that?
Print or e-books–do you have a preference?
I prefer print books, but you can’t beat e-books for traveling.
What’s your favorite song on your playlist?
Anything by Beethoven.
Favorite time of day & why?
Three a.m. I’m a night owl, and I much prefer the night to the day, though daytime has its good points (when it’s sunny). Besides, it’s when I get my best writing done.
How long have you been a writer?
Writing was a hidden passion for me. I started writing as a child; I won a city-wide contest when I was about ten. But in all those years, from childhood to adulthood, I didn’t take it seriously. I was into music (I am, or was, a pianist), and writing was just something to do to pass the time. I didn’t get serious about writing until 2001, when I was going through that dark period I mentioned earlier. That’s when I discovered that I loved writing. I’ve never looked back.
Intricate worldbuilding and an intriguing story make this an exciting read. I was really immersed in the culture and the story of Moreva Tehi. I think the comparisons to authors such as Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. LeGuin are quite apt. You’ll lose yourself in the world author Roxanne Bland has created. This is highly recommended for science fiction readers and anyone who enjoys an adventure.
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.