DAB: What prompted the novel's premise?
HRM: I always wanted to tell David and Mari's love story, so I had this idea about a novella that could be a bit more sensual in nature and focus just on their storyline instead of the multiple plots and epic arc that run through AMBASADORA and will continue on in the second book, FRAGGER. I found out from several readers that they also wanted to see more Mari and David, so I decided to make the novella a full-fledged novel.
DAB: Which character in GREENSHIFT do you most identify with, if any, and why?
HRM: I'm a little bit of both David and Mari, though I bring something of myself to every character I write - there's no way to avoid my personal schema when I write. I'm like David in the respect that I'm always trying to be the responsible one, but am willing to break the rules for someone I care about. I'm like Mari because I love sweets and use my brain more than my muscle.
DAB: Were there any characters you found difficult to write?
HRM: No, I knew what their roles had to be from the start, so I was prepared even when writing the abusive scenes. Now, on the flipside of that, I was surprised how much I enjoyed writing from Mari's Point of View (POV). She is nothing like Sara from AMBASADORA, but she fit in well with David's and Sean's POVs.
DAB: How long did it take to craft this novel?
HRM: Roughly four months.
DAB: There's always debate over whether or not to outline when starting to write a novel. What typically works best for you?
HRM: I outline down to individual scenes. It's the only way I can keep so many characters and plotlines in check. When I begin a project, it's common for me to write an 80-page outline, which is basically a skeleton first draft.
DAB: Do you ever write to music or do you prefer silence?
HRM: Spotify is my new writing buddy. I've always liked listening to music, especially as I associate certain songs with some of my characters and scenes. And with Spotify I can put songs on repeat for as many times as I want, which helps me get into the writing zone immediately. It's like a trigger for me to jump into my story - I can't help but to think about it when I hear particular songs.
DAB: What other writing pointers do you have for our audience?
HRM: This goes back to the outlining. I believe outlining is why I never get writer's block. As soon as I come up against a challenge in my plot, I start listing questions for myself to answer. The answers shape (outline) the scene so I can keep moving forward.
DAB: What's next on your writing horizon?
HRM: I'm revising a short story for a Philip Jose Farmer anthology and working on two more books in the Ambasadora-verse. STARRIE is another stand-alone, well sort of. It picks up where GREENSHIFT leaves off and we follow David's brother Ben and his love interest Naela. FRAGGER is the second book in the main arc - it's another epic, multiple POVs, intertwining plots type of read. More of a thriller style like AMBASADORA has. And, speaking of thrillers, I'm revising a thriller titled ATOMIC ZION, which I wrote just out of graduate school. It still has Science Fiction Romance (SFR) elements, but takes place in modern times here on Earth. I will probably always include SFR in my writing.
DAB: Thanks so much for stopping by. Please give us the final plug for GREENSHIFT.
HRM: Here's one of the more light-hearted excerpts from GREENSHIFT. It's how David thinks of Mari:
When David started on this path of regret at having given up his fleet commission, he just remembered the placid, stony look on Lyra's face when she put a gun to his head and challenged his control of the Argo Protector. It had been the single most heart-breaking moment of his life.
"Don't you think so?" Mari asked.
David hadn't been paying attention. Taking a fifty/fifty chance, he said, "Yes."
Apparently it was his lucky night because she seemed pleased with his response.
Once again she brought him back to the present and grounded him. She would never know how grateful he was for those times when just the cadence of her voice coaxed him out of that dark place in his head. Just like her beautiful, shining eyes, Mari had become his light.
"Do you remember how you started ordering everyone around your first day on the Bard?" she asked.
"And how they all just snickered and walked away? Yeah, I do." David could laugh about it now, but at the time he'd been pissed.
"Except for me," Mari said.
"Except for you," David agreed. "You were always there to help, even when I didn't need it." He smiled to let her know he was joking.
"If you're talking about that time I accidentally sent all your clothes to the cleaners and you had to borrow Geir's stuff for two days...."
"That's exactly what I was thinking about."
"At least you didn't have to wear any of Sean's clothes. Besides, you looked good in those tight t-shirts," she said.
The blush that crept into her cheeks made David want to touch her, to see if her skin felt as flushed as it looked.
She got a little shy then and worried her bottom lip between her teeth.
I can do that for you. He was mesmerized by that plump, wet lip.
She stared at him like she knew his thoughts. The blush grew a little deeper. This time she lowered her eyes and moved the food around on her plate with her fork, but she couldn't hide her smile.
She did this often, being bold and forward as though coming on to him, then pulling back demurely at the last second. It drove him crazy...in an absolutely wonderful way.
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