Author Spotlight – Jennifer Povey

Author Spotlight – Jennifer Povey

I’m thrilled to be hosting a good friend this morning, science-fiction author Jennifer Povey

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Jennifer R. Povey is in her early forties, and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband. She writes a variety of speculative fiction, whilst following current affairs and occasionally indulging in horse riding and role playing games. She has sold fiction to a number of markets including Analog, and written RPG supplements, some of which are available from Occult Moon Publishing. Her first novel, Transpecial, was published by Musa Publishing in April, 2013. Her most recent release is the apocalyptic science fiction novella trilogy “The Silent Years.”

You can follow her all over the Interwebs:

Her website

Her blog

Her Amazon Author Page

Her Smashwords page

Her Tumblr

And here are a couple of her books.  First, TRANSPECIAL:

Transpecial

 

A ship has vanished in the dark, in the very outer reaches of Earth’s solar system. Alien invaders sweep through the void, destroying outposts and threatening humanity. The truth is known only to a few: We fired first. We fired on aliens whose very appearance and body language sent all humans into a flying rage. All but a few. Now an autistic savant from Mars and an alien diplomat seek peace…while some on both sides desire only war. Suza McRae and Haniyar must bridge the gap between their species, or risk a war that will destroy everything and everyone in its path.
And here’s an excerpt:

The ship slowed into Martian orbit without incident. Mars had no large, artificial station in orbit. Why bother, when Mars had two nice natural satellites that only needed a bit of digging and sealing? Slowly, the Falcon glided towards Phobos.The moon, a captured asteroid, was riddled with holes. Turning it into a serviceable base had been far easier than constructing something from scratch. However, from the outside, it still appeared rough and ugly. Warren watched it until he and Leroy had to head to the bug. Again, the Falcon was not going to waste time docking. Not to transfer two personnel.

Everything had gone far too smoothly. Warren strapped himself in. The bug crew consisted of the two of them and a young Ensign piloting. He looked as if he should still be in high school. Relative aging, of course. Seeing how young he looked made Warren feel old. And regretful. If he and May had been able to have children…no, they’d have waited until after the war.

The bug had glided about halfway to Phobos when brilliant unshielded light flooded the cockpit from behind. Warren lifted his hands to protect his eyes.
The Ensign screamed. Leroy screamed louder.

“Don’t look back!” Warren followed that with language he had mostly learned from Leonard. Dammit, Leonard was dead now.

The explosion had been massive. Only the thickness of the bug and the polarization of the viewports had saved their eyes. But what would save their necks?

“Get out of the ship’s path.” He could not let himself panic, and he bit back a longer blue streak than the one he had already produced. It would not help. The Falcon was almost surely dead, and even if the enemy did not kill them, they might die anyway, struck by flying debris. “Take us straight down.” The bug was rated for it, in case it had to be used as a lifeboat.

He’d found his command voice again, after two years of rust. The boy threw the bug into the maneuver with no questions.

Leroy screamed again. The alien ship swooped, almost on top of them. They rolled under its belly, somehow escaping notice. It must have just transferred in, behind the Falcon.

The intruder had destroyed the ship with one, maybe two shots, and now was turning its attention to Phobos. Warren could see glows along its side, bluish white. Plasma? Yes. Plasma lasers, far more powerful than most of the weapons Earth had. All of the rust vanished as he recalled what it was to be under fire. His pulse slowed, calmed, controlled. Time slowed.

“Make us move like falling debris,” Warren told the pilot. His hands itched, but he had never been a hotshot, not even in his day. And his reflexes were not what they used to be. Besides, as the pilot sent the bug into a spin that only appeared uncontrolled, the back of the boy’s hands glinted. Webbed. The work they were doing with piloting and web interfaces…

Where on Mars would they land? Hopefully not too far from one of the colony domes. “I hope you speak Chinese, Leroy.”

“The…basics.” Leroy was turning that interesting color. He was clearly about to be spacesick again, and again. He grabbed for a bag as the vehicle started to fall into the upper atmosphere.

Warren started praying to a God he hardly believed in. A simple request: don’t let that ship notice us.

The bug hit the ground and tumbled, end over end, three times. It came to rest near a large piece of the Falcon’s hull plating and a chunk of Phobos, at the base of Olympus Mons.

And here’s another: THE SILENT YEARS: MOTHER
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Dorothy Mayling thought her worst problem was the long-standing family feud over her sister’s choice of husband. Or her son’s grades. Then the rumors started – bird flu in Seattle, SARS in Washington State? The truth is a hideous, terrible disease, one that slowly steals away the ability to speak and reason, turning people into nothing more than zombies. Worst of all, it was meant to be a weapon. Can Dorothy hold her family together as the world ends around them and people fall, one by one, to the silent plague?
And here’s another excerpt:
Winter was settling in. They had enough hay stockpiled for the livestock. But for next year? They would have to grow their own. Jason and the other men were bent over a sketched map of the land, working out what to do about the hay.
Dorothy decided to leave them to it. She would only be a cook too many. Three days ago, the grid had finally failed, contributing to her empty feeling. There had been more and more brownouts and then the power was gone. She took it as a sign: things would not go back to normal.Their preparations had kept them alive so far. And their luck was holding out. They seemed to be immune, or just out of the pattern of infection.She stepped out onto the porch. The air was still and  quiet. It was just like one of those apocalypse movies where the survivors were shown at the end staring into space. Except, this was not the end. Or maybe it was; the last page of the story had happened, and all that remained were a few surviving characters. The author was no longer writing, the characters left in that moment, not moving forward…

Thud.

The sound interrupted her thoughts, tore at them.  What was that? There was a gun just inside the door. She grabbed it. There was another thud.
Finally, she realized what it was. What they were. Three Silents, and they were knocking down the well-kept garden fence, tugging at the rails. The thuds had been part of the top rail hitting the ground.

Now they realized they could step over the lower rail. She found herself unable to shoot. They came closer.

She pulled the trigger. The shot would be a signal, a warning. She felt the stock slam into her shoulder, just as if she was shooting a deer, not a human being. Or something that had once been a human being. But there was no choice. The house door opened, Jason emerging with a second weapon. “Tore many.” He was tripping over words again.

She fired a second time. This time the shot hit, striking the Silent in the midsection. She saw the woman double up, going down with a wordless scream of pain. Too human. They were still human.

Jason shot once, twice, taking the other two down, but there was an odd look on Jason’s face. “Red.”

“No…” she whispered. She turned towards him, leveling her gun at his chest. But she could not do it, the barrel lowered.

He looked at her. “Bleach tower red.”

“Jason…” Had he realized? Perhaps, for he dropped the gun and abruptly ran past the bodies of the dead victims and into the night.

Dorothy could do nothing but let him go. It was over. They were all infected for sure, perhaps had been for a while. Most likely the incubation period was longer than they had thought.

“What happened?” A male voice from behind her, but in that moment she could not focus on who it was.

“Jason’s gone.” She should have killed him. She knew she should have, but she had not been able to.

“What do you mean, gone?”

Now she remembered the owner of the voice. Leroy. There was nobody else it could have been, but…

“Infected. He ran off.” She leaned the gun against the wall, glanced at the bodies. It did not matter. They were either immune or doomed. Taking the bodies away was still necessary, but it did not carry with it the fear of contamination. Touching them could not make things worse. Nothing could make things better.

“Hell. What if he comes back?”

“I can’t do it,” she whispered.

“Then I will.”

It was an odd relief to feel that responsibility taken away from her. “Assuming it isn’t you next.”

“More likely to be Janine,” he said softly.

She did not want to think about that, but it was more likely her, closer to Jason physically. And Janine, so fragile… “I think at this point we have to assume we’re all well and truly exposed. Immunity is our only chance.”

“We have that chance. No point giving up just yet.”

“Or a cure, if they come up with one.” Maybe that was it. Maybe she could not give up on Jason.

“Distribution would be a problem, but…”

“Write another virus. Spread it the same way.” Dorothy sighed. “Or maybe that’s too dangerous. I don’t know.”

“We’ll rebuild no matter what, but…dammit. I thought this would burn itself out and everything would be fixed by Christmas.” Leroy glanced at the dead. “I guess I was naive.”

“No. There’s nothing wrong with having your glass half full.”

“Depends on whether it’s wine or vinegar.”

“Hope is a good thing, Leroy. It’s the only thing we have.”

“Not the only thing. We have courage.”

She had lacked the courage to pull the trigger. Was that strength, or weakness? She did not know.

Finally, I’ve got an interview with Jennifer:

Who is your favorite author?

I hate favorite questions – how can I pick just one? I think if I absolutely have to, I’d have to go for Vernor Vinge.

How do you describe your writing style?

Simple. I’m not into flowery language or excessive description – I like when the words get out of the way of the story and when readers don’t have to stop and think about what the author actually meant.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

Which one? I’ll pick Transpecial. You should read it because there’s not enough good, old fashioned space opera being written right now and because people keep comparing it to something Heinlein would have written.

Have any of your characters been modeled after yourself?

Uh. Can I plead the Fifth on that one? There’s something of me in a lot of my characters – especially Suza. But I try not to model characters after myself – that would be boring.

If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?

The one I want to say hasn’t been published yet. I’ll go for Suza – after the book. Because she’s going to get to do some cool stuff (maybe I’ll sit down and write it).

What books have most influenced your life?

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne – first science fiction book I read as a kid. I’d also say Lord of the Rings – I know I’m talking about books that influenced my writing. But Verne introduced me to science fiction itself – and that led me to caring about the future as well as to wanting to write “stuff like that.”

If you could select one book that you could rewrite and add your own unique twist on, which book would that be and why?

Dragonflight. Pern’s kind of a guilty pleasure – I love McCaffrey’s world building and all, but I eternally want to fix some of her ideas about the relationships between men and women, human sexuality and, uh…yeah. She was very progressive for the time, but she really never did get her mind around how gay people actually work.

Beatles or Monkees? Why?

Beatles. If I said Monkees I’d have to hand in my British passport.

Who should play you in a film of your life?

Hrm. It would have to be a British actress because American actors doing British accents are even worse than the reverse. So I’m making my husband pick – and his vote is Sophie Aldred. Where did we put the Nitro Nine? (James’ note – I’ve known Jennifer for 15_ years, and I can totally see this.  But if she’s Sophie Aldred, that means her husband would have to be played by Sylvester McCoy.  Which I also can totally see)

 

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