Carol has some amazing science fiction and paranormal books out there! You have to check them out. I just downloaded Shifter Mate Magic: Ice Age Shifters Book 1 - it's FREE right now. I'll give you the link if you promise to come right back here to read Carol's interview > https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C7NHNGD/
Hi! To start off, please tell us your name, where you’re from, and what you write.
Hi. I’m Carol Van Natta. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado with a resident mad scientist and several equally mad cats. I write space opera and paranormal romance. This is my office. It’s a mess. Yes.
How did you become an author? Please share a bit of your journey with us.
I’ve been a reader since I could hold a book and a writer for almost as long. In high school, my friends and I wrote Star Trek fan fiction. It was really bad—trust me on this—but we had a lot of fun sharing stories. After that, because I’m fond of eating regularly and sleeping indoors, I got jobs and went to college. I noodled with character sketches and plot bunnies, but had no time to do anything with them. Fast forward to 1989, when I co-authored a science fiction comedy called Hooray for Holopticon. We shopped it around to traditional publishers, because that was the only option at the time, but none were interested.
Fast forward again to 2009, when self-publishing ebooks and print-on-demand paperbacks became feasible. We decided our by-now seriously retro but very funny and well-plotted novel deserved an audience. We published it, learned a lot, and sold a few books.
Fast forward a third time to 2013, when my muse pounced on me with an idea for a space opera series with a Big Damn Story Arc about adventure, rebellion, and romance. I published Overload Flux, the first book in the Central Galactic Concordance series, in 2014. Since then, I’ve published four novels and four novellas.
I also write the Ice Age Shifters paranormal romance series. I released four short novels in that series last year, and have more in the pipeline.
What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?I’m just finishing Shifter’s Storm, book 5 in the paranormal romance series. It’ll be off to my editor and then published, hopefully by the end of September. After that, I’ll be finishing Spark Transform, book 5 in the space opera series. If the author gods are smiling on me, it’ll be out this winter.
What is the most challenging part of writing science fiction?
My biggest challenge is a tie between balancing the world building and the plot, and keeping all the pieces of the Big Damn Story Arc in line. Readers need the context of the futuristic world so they understand what’s going on, but not so much that it reads like an encyclopedia entry. Sometimes I get too sparse with the details, which causes my editor to decorate my manuscript with little red question marks.
Organizing the story arc pieces is like trying to put kittens in a box. Characters and events in earlier books in the series are going to pay off as the rebellion boils over (I’m excited to write them so I can read them!). Keeping track of all those little energetic kittens is fun, but definitely a challenge. I have a notebook full of references, and am putting together series bibles for both my space opera and paranormal romance series.
What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
For my space opera series, I’ve researched everything from the theoretical island of stability for elements, to the feasibility of a perpetual expansionist economic model, to sub-transgenic DNA, to how much thrust it takes to launch an over-burdened freighter into orbit. I love science, so it’s easy for me to lose multiple hours going down the rabbit hole of fascinating articles, studies, and forums.
For my paranormal romance series, I get to research Ice Age megafauna, geography, weather, myths and legends from all over the world, and anomalous or unexplained natural events.
Since both series have exciting personal combat sequences, I’ve had to research human health, injury, and disease. My chiropractor loves helping me figure out what would happen if someone got kicked in the knee and how long it would take to recover. My primary physician suspects I’m a secret hypochondriac.
What is your work or personal experience involving the elements of science fiction?
Oddly, my life outside of writing wouldn’t ordinarily make people think of science fiction. Most of my day jobs have involved information technology in one form or another, both private sector and government. I’ve also been a professional actor, singer, and voiceover talent, and co-directed a film festival. I blame my love of science fiction on my parents, who introduced me to Andre Norton and Eric Frank Russell when I complained about having nothing to read, and I never looked back.
What/who do you like to read and do you have a favorite genre/author?
I love to read the genres in which I write — science fiction (with romance!) and paranormal romance. I also love a good fantasy series and romantic suspense. These days, I want a romance in everything I read because the inherent hope and justice make me happy, and life is too short to be reading about tragedies just for fun.
We’d be here all day if I listed all the authors I like, and the list grows each month because I read fast. I’ll mention Linsday Buroker and her Ruby Lionsdrake pen name for fantasy and science fiction romance; Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series for paranormal romance; and Eve Langlais and S.E. Smith for both my favorite genres. (Full disclosure: I wrote a paranormal romance in S.E. Smith’s Magic, New Mexico shared-world series, but I was already a fan by the time I got to fangirl her at a romance convention.)
Please share one piece of advice to aspiring authors - what do you wish someone would have told you? Or, what did someone tell you that you’d like to pass on to others?
My number one piece of advice to aspiring authors is finish the manuscript. All the other opportunities and decisions flow from having a product to sell. This applies to authors who want to publish independently or who want to try the traditional publishing route.
My bonus piece of advice is to treat your writing like a business from the start. For one, it’s easier to protect your muse from mistakes and trolls if you have a layer of business as insulation. Second, it’s much simpler to hand your accountant a spreadsheet of expenses and income than to have to go back through 2½ years of shoebox receipts. Not that I’ve ever had to do that...
Speed round! What's the first thing that comes to mind?
City, suburb, or small-town?
Suburb. I like the relative quiet of a suburban neighborhood, but don’t like driving 50 miles to find decent Indian food.
Dark chocolate, light chocolate, or white chocolate?
White! My favorite Hershey’s kisses are the white-chocolate carrot-cake flavor. Good thing they’re only seasonal, or I’d have to buy much bigger clothes.
Alpha, beta, or both?
Beta all the way. Alphas make me twitchy, and alpha-holes and bullies make me want to introduce them to the business edge my great-grandfather’s cavalry sabre (or throw the book across the room).
Wine, whiskey, or punch?
Er, how about a large hot chai tea latte?
Hot dogs, hamburgers, or tacos?
Hamburgers, as rare as the kitchen will serve. I like tacos, but half the time, I end up wearing them.
Boxers, briefs, or commando?
Whatever the wearer prefers. Commando is fun, but I tend to imagine catching short-and-curlies in zippers, which makes me cringe in sympathy.
Cowboy boots, biker boots, or flip-flops?
Flip-flops. Boots mark up the floors and take too much time to remove.
Leather, lace, or silk?
Silk, because it comes in so many fantastic colors and flows beautifully. Mind you, I don’t wear it often because then I can’t eat tacos.
Cake, cookies, or crumpets?
Crumpets, because it’s the only thing I’d have hope of making for myself. Sadly, I am hopelessly baking impaired.
Top, bottom, or against the wall?
Yes, please. 😉
Biceps, abs, or buns?
Buns (and thighs).
Cats, dogs, or exotics?
Cats. Our front door has a sign that says “The Cats and Their Household Staff Welcome You.”
Any last words before we say goodbye?
I’m a big fan of the Love Romance Reads site and community. Thank you for inviting me over for virtual tea and crumpets.
You're welcome, and THANK YOU, Carol! You've made my day. :-)
Cats of War
April 18, 2019
Space Opera ~ Science Fiction
A tarnished military Subcaptain, a repair technician hiding from her past, and two genetically engineered cats join must forces to save an important factory.
Military Subcaptain Kedron Tauceti counts the days until he can leave the rare metals factory and his current duty station as the liaison to the galactic government’s Criminal Restitution and Indenture Obligation system. The post was protection—and punishment—for exposing a theft ring during his previous assignment. He's more than ready to get his career back on track on a new base halfway across the galaxy, even if it means leaving behind the one person who makes him want to stay. Not that he's told her, because technically, he's her warden.
Former financial specialist and current indenturee Ferra Barray, hiding from her past, only has three months to go on her restitution sentence. She's lucked into a tech repair job. If she keeps her head down, she'll soon be free to figure out her future. Unfortunately, the local shark behind every illegal scheme in the facility wants her to steal for him, and she's running out of excuses. And now the heroically handsome Tauceti, who she hoped could help, is transferring out.
Everything changes when Ferra discovers two genetically modified cats. Saving them takes incredible risks. She doesn't know what she'll do if she can't convince Tauceti to rescue the cats and keep them until she's free to come for them.
But when trouble erupts at the factory, it might just be the cats who save them.
Find out what happens in this exciting standalone novella from Carol Van Natta's award-winning Central Galactic Concordance space opera series.
Carol is a USA TODAY bestselling science fiction and fantasy author. Works include the Central Galactic Concordance space opera series and the Ice Age Shifters paranormal romance series. She shares her Fort Collins, CO home with a mad scientist and many cats.