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Behind the Book: THE KEY

How I came to write a science fiction story—one curiously devoid of actual science!

behind the book movie marquee

Back in the day, when I was a new author, no one wanted to interview me, so I interviewed myself. They became my Behind the Book interviews. With the opening of this new, alternate reality website, I thought I’d bring the relevant ones over a little at a time. So here is the one for The Key! 

Welcome to the story of how I came to write a science fiction story—one curiously devoid of actual science!

Me: Well, this is such a weird departure for you, I hardly know where to begin with this interview.

I: You could start where you usually do. Or not.

Me: I could, but I think I’ll start with where this came from. Where on earth did you get the idea for this book?

I: Well, once I finished Out of Time, I started kicking around ideas for the next book. This “kicking” involved watching Stargate Atlantis–

Me: You were researching book ideas by watching television?

I: Um…yeah.

Me: Okay…so how did that work for you?

I: Well, not so good at first. I started getting ideas for Atlantis and not my book. It got so bad, I decided to write my idea down, just to get it out of my head. It was pretty pointless since I didn’t own the rights to write anything about these characters.

Me: And how did that work for you?

I: Well, one hundred pages later…not at all. But I liked the character I’d created that did belong to me, so I decided to try to migrate her to a story I did have the right to write. I tried different approaches. I even tried to take her out of the science/fantasy world, but she had some special things about her that belonged in a fantasy type world, so I pressed forward and suddenly the story just clicked.

Me: Were you able to use much of your 100 pages?

I: Not as much as I would have liked. (sigh) But just getting a great character was worth it, IMHO. I love everything about this character. She’s pretty much everything I’m not. (grin)

Me: There’s something else…different about this book, right?

I: (sigh) Yes. It’s…long. By the time it is for sale, (Author’s note: my then-editor didn’t cut it all, so it is still long) it might not be as long, but it is longer than any book I’ve ever written. I didn’t mean to do that. It just…happened.

Me: It just…happened? It had nothing to do with you typing, oh, too many words?

I: No, it just happened. I’m too lazy to type too many words.

Me: Right. So, moving on, this book, does it contain your signature humor mixed with your signature peril?

I: Absolutely. My early readers tell me that they are glad about that, too. I had a lot of fun with the setting, with the characters, even with some of the names.

Me: How do you have fun with names?

I: Well, the story is set in another galaxy, so I had to make up all kinds of names. When I could, I had fun with that, but it was also kind of hard.

Me: Does your galaxy have its own language?

I: No. I didn’t want to go there. I’m lucky I know MY language, no way I could make up another one. Clearly, this isn’t a book for hardcore science fiction readers unless they are also able to get a bit whacky and have fun—and are able to do without the science component.

Me: Why did you leave the science out of the science fiction?

I: You just had to ask, didn’t you? (sigh) Basically, science is my worst subject. Even ahead of math. Way ahead. I bought a book about world building and right away knew I was in trouble. They wanted me to do math AND science! So, if you want a meticulously researched book, this isn’t it. I made it ALL up. It’s all fiction.

Me: There’s a funny story about your character, isn’t there?

I: You know there is. Sara Donovan, my main character can seriously kick butt. Well, one day I was channeling her, trying to get her walk down. I had to go get the mail. Some guys were working on a roof across the street and I guess I was walking like I thought she’d walk and I got whistled at. It was pretty funny. Of course, they were too far away to see how old I was—or they’d probably have fallen off the roof.

Me: You channeled Sara a lot, didn’t you? Is this typical for you?

I: I usually get pretty deep into my characters, but this deep has only happened to me twice. The other time was The Spy Who Kissed Me and I thought that was because the book was first person. But Sara clearly wanted this story told.

Me: And it’s not over, is it?

I: No, one of the characters who didn’t get the girl isn’t happy about it. He wants me to write a book for him, but we’ll have to see. I found him a girl, but not a story just yet…I do wish he’d let me do a few things in my real life though.

Me: Really? I mean, you want to do taxes?

I: Okay, so no, but I don’t want to go to jail either.

Me: I’m with you on that one.

I: I thought you would be.

Me: Now let’s talk about the space battle. What were you thinking? We don’t know how to write a space battle!

I: I know. I kept thinking I could write a space/action/adventure and not have a space battle, all the while the story was moving toward a…space battle. A big one. Then I thought I could do like Jeff Strand did in How to Rescue a Dead Princess and just put “space battle” here, but this isn’t that kind of book. Sigh.

Me: So you…

I: …decided I needed a space battle consultant and immediately thought of my son. He’s been doing all sorts of space battles on his computer since he was pretty small. And he’s a reader. Good combo.

Me: And he did a great job, didn’t he?

I: Well, great in the sense that it is a great space battle, IMHO. Not so great in that he took all the cool stuff I’d made up and blew it all up!

Me: I think you are exaggerating just a little.

I: Maybe a little. But, dang! He was pretty ruthless. And he looks so sweet!

Me: People used to think you were sweet…and then they read your books…

I: True…but does that look like the face that could blow up a thousand ships?

Space battle consultant

Me: No, it doesn’t. Well, we should wrap this up. Anything else to add?

I: I  hope you enjoy my BAB.

Me: BAB?

I: Oh. Um…my big a** book? Otherwise known as my weird a** book?

Me: On that…high note, we’ll end this with what dignity we can muster.

If you haven’t tried out The Key: Project Enterprise 1, it’s never too late! Here’s a little blurb:

She’s a stranded pilot. He’s an alien castaway. Can their love save a galaxy torn apart by war? 

Sara Donovan knew her top-secret expedition would be dangerous. But she never imagined she’d end up separated from her crew and stranded on an alien planet. When the smoke from her crash landing clears, she’s surprised to find a marooned resistance fighter ready to lend a hand. In a war-torn galaxy, Sara refuses to give her trust lightly… especially when she risks exposing the strange abilities she’s kept hidden since childhood.  

Kiernan Fyn survives each day on the hope of exacting revenge on the warlord who murdered his wife. Sara is his ticket off the desolate rock to a new better future…until she’s targeted by hostile forces who thinks she holds the key to a long-lost civilization. In a fight for their lives, sparks fly as Sara and Fyn attempt to decipher their hidden connection with the powerful key before their ruthless enemies distort its power for galactic domination.  

The Key is the first novel in the phenomenal Project Enterprise sci-fi romance saga. If you like interstellar chemistry, fast-paced action, and sprawling space operas, then you’ll love Pauline Baird Jones’ award-winning epic. 

Buy The Key to unlock a rollicking romantic adventure today!

Don’t miss out on the excitement in this Independent Book Bronze Medal and Dream Realm Awards Winner! Not to mention a science fiction romance novel by ME! (My science teacher just rolled over in his grave!)

Perilously yours,