07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Love I Space!

by M. L. Buchman

Okay, I admit it. I'm a romance writer who loves science fiction, but has written almost no science fiction romances at all.

First, a frame of reference of what I mean when I say that I love science fiction. When I was 9 years old, my dad finished a book and set it down on the table. I picked it up to see what it was: Arthur C. Clarke, The City and the Stars. I was in my mid-20s before I willingly read a book that wasn't science fiction or fantasy. I would talk poor unsuspecting elementary and junior high teachers into letting me read those "weird" books in a genre that some of them had never even heard of. Write a parody of a "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"? Sure. I wrote it about the Pioneer 10 Spacecraft (then a recent launch rather than presently several times farther away than Neptune and still trucking along).

The science fiction that I have written is mostly SRE...science fiction with strong romantic elements. This is because, well, I've always been a mush. Give me Notting Hill over the Avengers any day of the week.

So, after years of writing romances and a few thrillers, I find myself thinking about science fiction once more. Science Fiction romance is on the rise and my three short stories in my Future Night Stalkers series were a test of that. They've been fun to write and as a bonus, have sold very nicely as well.

I thought that was all I had done. But then I realized that I had a strange little set of stories that were scattered about in different places--some published, some not. They had started out with Solar Stupid which had started out as this odd voice in my head that I decided to try out on paper. Then it grew Moon Shine and Double Down and... So I set out to collect them together. And once I had, I couldn't help myself and I wrote a pair of new stories, and some introductions, and...

Less than a week after I first had the thought, I released the full Chronicles just yesterday.

While the Me and Elsie stories aren't romance; they're in that SRE category. Kinda. Well, it's a hard series to describe...(most folks either love it or hate it). But it was really a surprise to me that I had been keeping my hand in science fiction all along without really noticing that I was doing it.

Of course The Me and Elsie Chronicles (and Jen too) isn't exactly mainstream SF, either. It's a voice piece. It's Appalachian gal truckers in space. (Having grown up in a small hick rural town, I found it oddly comfortable to write these stories. I prefer to think that's because of my love for science fiction rather than my inner hick, but there are times it worries me a little bit.)

And for some reason, this last two weeks of August is all about collections. I just finished the final installment in my contemporary romance series: Eagle Cove with Keepsake for Eagle Cove. That in turn led me to creating The Complete Eagle Cove.

And, what with thinking about collections so much and all, I went ahead and collected my Ides of Matt stories for 2015 which will be available for pre-order by next week.

Part of what is so surreal about all this is: if just a decade ago I was to write about thinking up and releasing all of this work (Me and Elsie and The Complete) over a 15-day period, it would have been science fiction. In 2006 the Kindle didn't exist. Creating a collection of short stories and having it available in days instead of a year would have been unimaginable. Finishing a novel then thinking, "Oh, that should be in a collection too," and then releasing them on the same day (8/30), never would have happened!

Suddenly I'm questioning just how much I know about science fiction in the first place. Sure, I've read hundreds, maybe thousands of them (even more than I've read romances). But when I think about how fast the world is changing it boggles the mind. I'd be presumptuous to try and write an SF story.

But then I think about it. I already have. And the Future Night Stalkers are begging for a novel (which knowing me means two or three). And then when I really think about science fiction romance, there's this odd voice in my head...

M. L. Buchman has over 50 novels and 30 short stories in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and twice Booklist “Top 10 of the Year,” placing two titles on their “Top 101 Romances of the Last 10 Years” list. He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of the Year” by RT Book Reviews and was a 2016 RWA RITA finalist. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate projectmanager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. 

He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.


Judith Ashley said...

Such a fun post, Matt. It is amazing what can happen in a decade!!! especially in the wonderful, somewhat magical world of publishing!

Sarah Raplee said...

"Appalachian gal truckers in space." Gotta read that!

M. L. Buchman said...

Judith, I'm always amazed at what changes in the last week. But when I think back a decade...oh my gosh!

Sarah, It ain't the mos' normal a my books, but it be a fun ride...least to my way a thinkin'. (Was sure a blast to write!)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Matt! That is pretty amazing to have three releases in a week. Like you, SF was my first love. It began with a Wrinkle in Time at age 10. I think that was a year after it came out. I was hooked and whenever there was library days at school, I would go looking for SF. By 12 I was devouring Asimov, Clark, Heinlein, and my personal favorite Simak. However, by age 12, I was simultaneously sneaking my mother's Harlequin romance novels. I read more of that then SF because she belonged to the book club and it was 4 free reads per month. :)

I love that there is SF Romance now, and I too have thought about writing it. However, right now I have three series to finish. Not sure when I'll get to those SF Romances. I guess I'll have to be satisfied with checking out yours. :)

M. L. Buchman said...

I was always most of all a Clark and Asimov fan. Absolutely scoured the shelves of every library I was ever near though.

But I didn't read my first romance, actually my first 3, until a publisher dragged me to the RWA National Conference in 1996. I took home a huge bag of the giveaways, and read every one of those as well. So, romance came late, but (obviously) I was totally hooked.

Nothing beats a good love story...not even science fiction I'm sorry to say. :)