I’ve always been fascinated by epidemics and the measures that the medical profession must take in order to deal with an outbreak. My Dad had cholera as a kid and I believe was the only person in the entire state of New York that year to have it, and eventually the epidemiologist tracked the source to an apple he’d eaten, from a tree near an infected water source. Hearing my father talk about this incident inspired me to read a book on epidemiology, with fascinating stories of doctors locating Patient Zero, or the first person to come down with the disease in question, and trying to figure out where that person acquired the illness, among other things.
I love movies like “Outbreak” and “Contagion.” There’s a 1992 TV movie entitled “Black Death” with Kate Jackson, about the plague breaking out in New York City that I particularly enjoy. Of course these fictional tales have a happy ending, and the cure is found.
So long story short, I always wanted to write a plague story. At the same time, I also wanted to write more novels about interstellar cruise liners. I created a wonderful starship for Wreck of the Nebula Dream and then of course had to destroy her, but as time went on, I kept thinking of intriguing stories I could tell on a cruise ship sailing the stars. I loved the idea of using the ship as my “village”, with a recurring cast of characters. The two ideas came together, in Star Cruise: Outbreak, partially inspired by a run of news stories about noroviruses on ocean-going cruise ships. I pondered what would happen if a seemingly benign-but-unpleasant bug hit an interstellar cruise ship and was really the start of a much more serious outbreak, harbinger of something never seen before.
I’ve used the design and details I developed for the Nebula Dream to create a newer, upgraded liner named the Nebula Zephyr, and staffed her with a crew and passengers who have to deal with this outbreak. After a lot of research into various earthly diseases, I came up with an alien ailment that combines deadly aspects of several real viruses and conditions. I decided my heroine Emily would be the ship’s doctor and the hero would be the head of security. Both are military veterans and suffering from varying degrees of PTSD, so that’s an added complication for them to work through on their way to romance, as they handle the outbreak.
I plan to write many more stories set on board going forward (assuming readers enjoy the idea!). But no more outbreaks, I promise. I’ve also brought back Meg and Red from Star Cruise: Marooned as secondary characters in this new novel.
Here’s the story:
She saved countless soldiers in the wars … but does she have the weapons to fight an outbreak?
Dr. Emily Shane, veteran of the Sector Wars, is known as “The Angel of Fantalar” for her bravery under fire as a medic. However, the doctor has her own war wounds–severe PTSD and guilt over those she failed to save.
Persuaded to fill a seemingly frivolous berth as ship’s doctor on the huge and luxurious interstellar cruise liner Nebula Zephyr, she finds the job brings unexpected perks–a luxe beach deck with water imported from Tahumaroa II, and Security Officer Jake Dilon, a fellow veteran who heats her up like a tropical sun.
However, Emily soon learns she and Jake didn’t leave all peril behind in the war. A mysterious ailment aboard the Zephyr begins to claim victim after victim … and they must race against time and space to find the cause and a cure! Trapped on a ship no spaceport will allow to dock, their efforts are complicated by a temperamental princess and a terrorist–one who won’t hesitate to take down any being in the way of his target. If anyone’s left when the disease is through with them…
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 Woman in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “City On the Edge of Forever.”
I have to say, I love the idea of an outbreak aboard a space cruise ship, but then I love this series! So cool. What say you, peeps?
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