Thursday, February 28, 2013

Interview with Leonie Rogers, author of Frontier Incursion, a YA paranormal novel, and International Giveaway!

Frontier IncursionGuess what, gang? The fun just keeps coming. Today, Leonie Rogers has been kind enough to join us in a great interview. And tomorrow, the main character of the book, Shanna will be by to give her take on things. Make sure to check it all out!

Goodreads Book Description: For Shanna, joining the Scout Corps had been a dream come true. The Scouts were charged with expanding their knowledge of Frontier, a hostile planet their ancestors had crashlanded on 300 years before. As the youngest in her class, Shanna struggles to find acceptance and respect amongst her older peers - a task made more difficult by the fact that she has not just one, but two of the colonists' huge feline companions, their starcats.

On a routine patrol, she and the other cadets are swept up in the greatest challenge yet to be faced by the settlers of Frontier. Now they find themselves on the very frontline of a war they knew nothing about, and possibly the Federation of Race's last chance against the hostile Garsal. Suddenly their world has changed, and in ways never dreamed of by Shanna and her fellow scouts.


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Author Blurb: Growing up in Western Australia, Leonie was an avid reader from an early age. Her mother vividly recalls her stating “I can read faster with my eyes than you can with your mouth, Mum…” at around the age of six. Her parents and great aunt encouraged her interest in literature, providing her with books of many different genres, and . She began writing during high school, placing in the Western Australian Young Writers Award in 1980, and she fondly remembers several of her English teachers, who encouraged her to write, both fiction and poetry.

Leonie trained at Curtin University as a physiotherapist and moved to the remote north west of Western Australia, as a new graduate, in late 1986. She continued to write poetry for herself and for friends. Living in the remote northwest, she had the opportunity to work with camels, fight fires as a volunteer fire fighter, and develop vertical rescue and cyclone operation skills with the State Emergency Service.

After relocating to NSW with her husband and two children, Leonie continued to work as a physiotherapist, while still dabbling with writing. Finally deciding to stop procrastinating, Leonie decided to write the novel she’d had sitting in the back of her head for the last twenty years. Her husband and two teenage children have been extremely tolerant of the amount of time she has devoted to writing in the last few years.


Author Interview

1. Can you tell us a little about how you started writing?

I began writing in high school.  I’d always been an avid reader, and then I discovered that I liked to write.  I had two particular English teachers who encouraged me, and I’ve often wondered if I might encounter them again and say thank you for the words that kept me writing.  For a long time, I mostly wrote free form poetry, but I’d had a novel bumping around in the back of my head for a long time, and I finally decided to write it down.

2.  Can you tell us a little about Starcats and how you were inspired to write about them?
Which Starcat is your favorite?

I love cats.  When I was a kid, we had cats we chose, cats that chose us, and then as a young adult, Spike came into my life.  He was the coolest cat in the universe.  He was a sleek black cat who hung (literally) around on the back of chairs and loved carrots so much that he was known to thieve them by breaking into the cars of unsuspecting visitors.

When I began to write about Shanna, I knew she was going to have animal companions of some description, and then an image of a massive black cat, with glowing markings appeared in my mind and the first starcat was born.  As you’ve probably noticed, starcats are real cats - they like sleeping on the bed, and have vast quantities of character and personality.

My favourite starcat?  Possibly Boots whose personality mimics Spike’s.  Or Satin, who is a queen of cats.  But then there’s Twister, who climbs trees, or Storm the dependable.  To be honest, I wish starcats weren’t just a figment of my imagination, because I want one too!

3.  Shanna is a terrific protagonist. How do you come up with characters? Which was the hardest to write? Which was the most fun? Did any of them surprise you?

My characters appear as pictures in my head.  This whole book started with an image of a girl scaling a massive cliff face.  I immediately knew she was on a different planet, and was clever, courageous and intrepid.

Most of my characters appear like that - they form fully sprung from an image, and they have their own back story, and personality.  It’s sort of weird, but that’s how they are. 

Probably the hardest character to write was Master Cerren.  I needed to have him recognisably different, and adult.  He needed to be compassionate but a bit of an enigma.

I really enjoyed writing Boots.  The starcats are characters themselves.  They’re not just the token animal.  Boots has a sense of humour, likes to be comfortable, and is oozing with self confidence.  I particularly enjoyed writing about his courting of Satin.

Probably the character who surprised me most was Socks.  She was originally just going to be a token mention.  She had other ideas.  Her sense of humour and delight in aiding and abetting Master Cerren snuck its way into the story, and established her as a character in her own right. 


4.  I was really impressed with your world building. Did you have experience exploring yourself? How did you research your setting?

I’ve lived in Australia all of my life.  One of the most wonderful things about Australia is its diversity of environment and weird animals.  It’s a huge country.  As a child, I went on camping holidays with my family, which involved fishing and climbing in the Stirling Ranges in the South West of Western Australia, and as kids we were always playing outside in creeks and in the bush. Later, as a student, I bushwalked with friends, and went and climbed hills in the middle of the night to see Haley’s Comet. 

As a young physio, I moved to the remote northwest of Western Australia, and had the unique opportunity to train camels with an uncle, and then walk them around 500km in about three weeks, through the Pilbara.  As a member of the State Emergency Service, I learnt about and participated in cyclone operations, vertical rescue, map reading and navigation, and walked and swam in some of the most remote and beautiful places in the Pilbara.  Over the years, my husband and I have visited some amazing places all over Australia and New Zealand.

When I began to write about Frontier, I (again) began from that picture in my mind - a girl scaling a massive cliff above rampant vegetation.  I once read that you should write what you know, so I pulled the experiences of multiple cyclones, a wide variety of environments and climates out of the back of my brain, and then began to invent.  I knew it needed to be dangerous, and I knew the colonists needed to be able to use the environment to survive, so I gradually built this picture up in my mind - geography, vegetation, wildlife.  I drew maps, scribbled all kinds of things in my notes, and then worked hard on trying to keep things consistent.

5.  What can we expect from your characters in the future?

Some of them grow up a bit!  There are some startling revelations from some others.  A couple of new starcats have wriggled their way into the plot line - this seems to be a starcat thing - and there’s a few characters that have needed a bit more development.  There will be quite a bit of drama in this next book, and some sadness.  You can’t take on an alien race and come out completely unscathed unfortunately.  I’m writing busily most days, on Book 2.  

Wow, I need to read the next book pronto! You'd all better line up for your copies of this great book! 

Tune in tomorrow for the interview with Shanna, the main character of the book!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

17 comments:

  1. I love dogs <3 This book sounds really good; I'm gonna have to check it out.

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  2. I love all animals, except snakes, but dogs and cats are at the top of my list :)

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  3. I love cats and dogs most. I don't have a cat right now (my cat was stolen *cries*) but my 11 year old dog gives us happiness. :)

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  4. I like cats and dogs, but I think I'd like a duck or other bird to raise!

    eai(at)stanfordalumni(dot)org

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  5. I love my bunny (Ducky) and dog (Pruts) <3

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  6. My favorite animal is the wolf. My favorite pet..well a tie between both my dogs. And my favorite inanimate object...hmmm..possibly any book I am reading at that moment.

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  7. I love my bunnies. XD I have two at the moment, and they're such sweeties... most of the time.

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  8. I do not like rodents nor snakes. I like most other types of animals. My favorite is probably a dog. Sounds like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the review and the giveasway

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  9. Great to see an Aussie writer, and a physiotherapist at that!

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  10. Right now, I'm gravitating (what an interesting word) to the rabbit.

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  11. Cats! Especially kittens, or my cat Sasha :)

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  12. A Dog. Thanks for the giveaway

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  13. Cats are always my number one. Independent and moody but still loving and adorable. But I love animals tbh :-)

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