May I present my guest...Cheryl Brooks

Last Sunday I featured a review of a new book titled Warrior by Cheryl Brooks. After reading Warrior, I had the chance to ask Cheryl is she would be nice enough to be a guest on my blog and she said yes. Read what she had to say about her her series came alive. Plus if you missed my review you can see it here

By Cheryl Brooks

I've had the idea for a science fiction romance rattling around in my head for a long time, but about four years ago, I read a book about a woman who had to pose as a slave to a dominant male. It came close to being the sci-fi romance I'd always envisioned, but all I could think of while reading it was how much more fun would it be if the slave was a man! Then I played the ‘what if’ game. What if that slave was a soldier captured and sold into slavery? What if he was the last of an alien species whose males were so irresistible to women that other men set out to destroy them? From there I let my imagination run wild to create Cat, an alien slave with feline traits and sexual abilities far beyond those of ordinary men. To complement this purring tiger, I created Captain Jacinth “Jack” Rutland, a tough-talking, independent space trader on a rescue mission. In desperate need of a man she can trust with her life, she buys Cat, frees him, and The Cat Star Chronicles adventure began!

I had already begun writing Warrior, the second book in the series, when Slave was taken on by Sourcebooks. It was to be a prequel to Slave, chronicling an earlier episode in Cat's life, but when the series was developed, my editor said, "No, that won't work. Here's what you're gonna do: Cat was not the last of his kind. There are others, and this series will be a book about each of them." So I rewrote both the character and the story—which now has a completely different outcome!—and transformed Cat into Leo. It was interesting because along with the change of name and coloring, Leo took on a personality of his own. He still has many of the same Zetithian traits, but while he's a little more reserved than Cat, he's also more mischievous—and much better with a sword!

I've been asked who I had in mind when I wrote the character of Leo, and though sometimes I'll use an actor or someone I've met as the basis for a character, most of my guys come out of my head. When I do use a real person, it seems to work best with someone I don’t know very well; after using their physical appearance and a few character traits, I'm then free to give them any sort of personality I like. Leo is an amalgam of traits, but the Zetithian species was inspired by one particular man, and has more to do with the way he moves than anything. He's one of the best swordsmen I've ever seen and looks absolutely fabulous on a horse!

The sexual abilities that the Zetithians possess is a product of my own wild imagination. All I did was to imagine the ultimate sexual partner. You may not believe this when you read the books, but their "equipment" was originally even more incredible—something my editor had me tone down a bit! Seems not everyone wants—well, let's not go there right now…

When I began developing the plot for Warrior, I envisioned a wise woman living alone in her woodland cottage, growing herbs, concocting potions, and treating those who come to her for healing. I could almost see the flowing fabrics of her clothing, as well as her long dark hair and green eyes—eyes that could literally set you on fire with a glance. Then I endowed her with another remarkable ability, that of telepathic communication with animals. She is human, but with a touch of alien ancestry that gives her and others of her kind their unique powers. Those talents have been passed down from mother to daughter for generations, and each witch must wait for the one man who can father her only child—always female—to enable the line of witches to continue. For her name, I wanted something that reflected her occupation, so I called her Tisana, which is derived from the word tisane, referring to an infusion of herbs.

One thing that made this story different from Slave was the setting and the nature of the story. In Slave, Cat and Jacinth were hopping from planet to planet, but they were alone together most of the time, and Jacinth owned Cat, which meant that he was hers to keep or set free as she saw fit. Warrior is set on the planet Utopia, an Earth colony that was established with the intent to live more in harmony with nature. The society has been distorted over time, becoming more feudal in nature and slavery has become a common practice. The source of conflict in this story is the fact that Leo is owned by Tisana's former lover, Rafe, who brings Leo to Tisana for healing. The love affair begins, but when Rafe needs the pair to help him track his kidnapped sons through the snow-shrouded forest, it was difficult to keep the sexual heat going. However, like most thwarted lovers, Tisana and Leo found ways to be together.

With a witch who is able to understand them, of course there had to be lots of animals in the story! Some were brought with the colonists from Earth, while others are indigenous to Utopia, but they all have their own opinions, their own brand of humor, and some rather pithy comments about humankind.

This book stretched my writing skills further than anything I'd ever done before. I'd never written a battle scene and the conversations between the animals and Tisana were tricky because they were all thoughts, rather than actual speech; what Tisana learned from them, Rafe and Leo couldn't know unless she told them, and vice-versa. However, even with all the difficult details, it is still a story very near and dear to my heart, and I hope my readers will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


naida said…
great post! I want to read this book now, it sounds good.
Cheryl Brooks said…
I hope you like it, Naida!
Linda Wisdom said…
Great post, Cheryl, my fellow CasaBabe!

I've got Warrior at the top of my tbr!

Sharon Lathan said…
Hello my friend! Glad to see you are showing up everywhere these days! Excellent piece about an excellent book. Go get 'em!
Cheryl Brooks said…
Hey Linda & Sharon!
We CasaBabes are showing up everywhere! Thanks for coming by!
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