Sunday, March 20, 2011

I’ve a sweet tooth for Sandra Sookoo’s writing, so when I heard she’d started working on SF, with a strong romantic twist, my interest was sufficiently piqued to pick up a copy of one of her latest titles―Damaged Cargo.

What more could a gal ask for: a strong-willed female pirate captain with a penchant for corsetry; a man with a mission to rid a planet of an evil dictator; and a strong-willed crew of misfits, all tumbled together on the Wraith Orchid?

Captain Emma Gardine keeps everyone at arm’s length as she travels the galaxy, always ready to take advantage of an opportunity for a tidy profit or a quick steal. For her, men are merely a means to an end, a way to satisfy her physical urges. Hiding her vulnerability, she goes about her daily business with a tough-as-nails exterior. That is, until she meets Tarik Vertouth, who works his way on board her ship with ulterior motives – hostile takeover. Tarik needs the Wraith Orchid to fulfil his mission: to kill his despotic father, the ruler of the planet Nazulara.

Today Toad welcomes Sandra to her corner for a cuppa tea and a chat about her novel.

I’ve heard you mention on some of your blogs that this one’s very much geared toward Firefly fans. Care to elaborate?

Well, I hadn’t really thrown my hat in the ring with writing SF, so after watching Serenity and not liking it, I bought the Firefly DVDs. I ended up really loving them, which gave me an idea. My husband had been nagging me to write another SF book so I took inspiration from the ship and the costuming of Firefly. Instead of cowboys, I made my crew pirates and had a great time doing it.

Why name the ship the Wraith Orchid?

Now that was interesting. I needed a name for my ship. I’m totally bad at it so I had help from my husband, who is a total sci-fi geek. I chose “orchid” because these plants are rare and varied, kinda like the crew and “wraith” because they slip through galaxies, stealing and generally making trouble. Even though it’s a cargo ship, it needed a grand name.

If you had to pick lead actors for your two main characters, who would be top on your list?

Oh, wow, I’ve never thought about that. I actually based Emma off one of my close friends. This gal has held her own in bar disagreements, neighbor fights and all kinds of stuff, and she does it in heels with a “take no prisoners” attitude. I suppose, if I had to choose, Angelina Jolie would be good, because let’s face it, she looks good with guns strapped to her, LOL. As for Tarik, hmm, maybe Russell Crowe. He does well with serious roles and can be nasty when he needs to.

You offer a social “return” to Victorian norms in your futuristic setting. Why is this? Why would people look back to that era for their styling?

I liked the idea of this because things were simpler then. There was very much a set of rigid rules and norms in place to control society—at least on the surface. In my fictional world, I instituted that as an additional constraint and a breeding ground for pirates. You can’t buck the system if there isn’t a tough one in place. I also adore historical writing so it was only natural to combine the two in this story.

You’ve left some untied threads near the end. Is there a sequel in the pipelines?

You bet. I didn’t think there would be, but somehow, sci-fi is now in my blood and I can’t walk away. This spring I’ll be starting work on the follow-up novel. This will be Tomis’s story as well as one of Tarik’s sisters. I’m excited to begin work on it since the notes are quite expansive and very complicated. Will the Wraith Orchid be back? On the fringes I think. It won’t be about them as much.

Thank you for dropping by at Toad's Corner, Sandra. We hope to have you visit again soon!