Thanks for having me as your guest! I love explaining the behind the scenes of my new books here on your blog.
The main reason I wrote Hostage to the Stars is that the hero in this book, Johnny, had more story to tell. He was the secondary character in Mission to Mahjundar, the good friend and loyal team mate, but I kept wondering what he would do after the adventure ended, he really was out of the military service and back on his home planet. Turns out he was restless, unable to settle down and plagued by flashbacks. I’m very fond of Johnny and I hated leaving him at loose ends like that. He needed something to draw him out of ordinary life and provide him a new focus. A way to transition into the new chapter of his life, if you will.
I have a really collaborative working relationship with my excellent audiobook narrator, Michael Riffle, and when he was recording of Mission to Mahjundar, we talked about Johnny. It’s always fascinating to me to see how an actor feels about my characters and their motivations, since he can’t get inside my head but must go on what’s on the page. (He does ask me questions from time to time but the book is like a script he’s there to bring to life.) Michael, not surprisingly, had good insights. One thing he observed was that Johnny does whatever has to be done, he’s efficient, and he doesn’t complain. That started me thinking about what kind of situation could arise that would make Johnny feel he had no choice to go back into action.
Leaving that for a moment, I’ve long been fascinated with the true life stories of people who are kidnapped in hostile places, held for long periods of time and either ransomed or rescued. (Or killed but we won’t go there.) You want to believe that the Special Forces will be sent in with guns blazing and gallantly pluck you out of that danger, which does happen sometimes but not always. And not rapidly in most situations. I was amazed to learn that many foreign hostage situations drag on for years before a rescue attempt happens, if at all. As an author, I was highly intrigued at the idea of writing such a situation, but without the multi-year time span. I like my adventures to move along a LOT faster.
So I thought what if Johnny was put in a situation where he had to return to active duty for reasons (no spoilers here), to accompany a hostage rescue team, and then there were complications? So the team goes in, locates the woman they were sent to extract, and only then learns of another woman prisoner from the Sectors. The team leader refuses to go after this second person and Johnny – of course – sets off to find and rescue her by himself.
Which is just the beginning, of course!
He rescued her from space pirates … but can he keep them both safe from the far greater evil stalking a deserted planet?
Space travel without Kidnap & Ransom insurance? Not a good idea. University instructor and researcher Sara Bridges can’t afford it, so when pirates board her cruise liner, she’s taken captive along with the mistress of a wealthy man, and brought to a deserted planet. When a military extraction team sent to rescue the mistress refuses to take Sara too, she’s left to the mercies of a retired Special Forces soldier, along as consultant.
Reluctantly reactivated and coerced into signing up for the rescue operation to the planet Farduccir where he once was deployed, Sgt. Johnny Danver just wants to get the job done. But when the team leader leaves one captured woman behind, he breaks away to rescue her himself.
As Johnny and Sara traverse the barren landscape, heading for an abandoned base where they hope to call Sectors Command for help, they find villages destroyed by battle and stripped of all inhabitants. A lone survivor tells a horrific tale of the Sectors’ alien enemy, the Mawreg, returning after being pushed out …
Searching for evidence to give the military, Johnny is captured. He regains consciousness in a Mawreg cage–with Sara next to him. Death is preferable to what the aliens will do to them… And even if they do escape their captors, can they alert the military in time to prevent another invasion of the Sectors?
Standalone sequel to Mission To Mahjundar (mild spoilers for Mahjundar in this story.)
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.
Three time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances! She recently was honored to read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”
Thank you so much for stopping by to share the story behind Hostage to the Stars, Veronica. I’m really looking forward to this one! So, dear readers, is your kidnap insurance up-to-date? Are you ready to take a new adventure? I know I am!
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