I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Heidi Skarie to talk with me today about her book, Star Rider on the Razor’s Edge. Heidi writes visionary novels that are an intoxicating amalgam of action, adventure and romance, featuring strong, spiritually inquisitive heroines. Star Rider on the Razor’s Edge is her first science fiction novel. She previously published Red Willow’s Quest, a historical novel based on a past life, about a Native American maiden training to become a medicine woman.
In the fall of 2015 Heidi plans to publish her new novel: Annoure and the Dragonships, another historical novel based on a past life, about a young woman kidnapped by the Vikings. In 2016 Star Rider and the Ahimsa Warrior, the second book in her Star Rider series will be published.
How did you discover indieBRAG?
I discovered it when I as surfing the Internet looking for marketing ideas.
Please tell me about your book, Star Rider on the Razor’s Edge.
The story is based on a series of six dreams that were like watching an exciting, action-packed space opera. The story was the classic battle between good and evil, love and power, and the struggle for religious and political freedom. I enjoyed the story so much I decided to expand on the dream and make it into a novel. While writing, I discovered the enjoyment of creating your own characters and worlds. The main character is a feisty woman named Toemeka Ganti who is part of a four person Coalition team sent on a mission to overthrow General Bhandar, the despot of Jaipar, and part of Samrat Condor’s military power structure. Toemeka has various psychic abilities including being able to communicate telepathically and being able to leave her body and travel in the Inner Worlds. She also has a spiritual teacher who she meets with both inwardly and outwardly. Samrat Condor is a self-proclaimed god, powerful sorcerer and interplanetary conqueror. Toemeka has a deep hatred for him because his men destroyed her village, killed her family and took her prisoner. She was rescued by the Coalition and ended up joining them in the fight against Condor.
On Jaipar Toemeka must preserve her undercover identity, despite secretly taking on several side operations that threaten to derail her primary mission. At her undercover job her project is to create a shield-destroying oscillator prototype, which for the allies is a key to winning the conflict. However her overbearing boss Commander Rochambeau suspects that she’s an undercover operative and is pressuring her to become his mistress or face certain death at the hands of General Bhandar.
Michio Kimes, a handsome spiritual warrior training to battle sorcery, seriously complicates Toemeka’s mission when she falls in love with him. Her only hope of surviving these tremendous odds lies with her trusted Coalition partner Erling Fenian and their team, who band together with the local underground resistance, the Kameets, in the fight to free the people of Jaipar and restore the rightful heir to the throne.
How did you come up with the name, oscillator?
I wanted a name that may not be really used in this context, but that sounded scientific and like a device used by the military. I looked through other science fiction novels for ideas, looked through lists of actual military equipment, and played with different words and sounds until I found one I liked.
If your story were made into a film, who would you want to play the leading role of Toemeka Ganti?
Jennifer Lawrence who was the lead actress in Hunger Games would do an excellent job in the role of Toemeka. She’s a talented young actress and has starred in well-known science fiction films.
Why did you choose the setting of your story in another world?
The original dream took place in another solar system during a time of interplanetary war. The world had advanced technology and spaceships that travel quickly between planets. Placing the story in another world gave me the freedom to create my own governments, religions, sentient beings and plant life. It also gave me the freedom to have characters who had abilities beyond what people in our world have.
Please tell me a little about Samrat Condor. What is one of Samrat’s powers?
Samrat Condor is an interplanetary conqueror and black magician. He’s from a warring race of tall beings who live extremely long lives. He’s also a self-proclaimed god and created his own interplanetary religion. On the planets he has conquered, he demands that the people worship him. Samrat Condor has the ability to project his astral body to other worlds to attack his enemies there.
What is an example of how the coalition and the resistance work together?
When Top operatives of the local resistance (the Kameets) are captured, Embrosa, the resistance leader, contacts the Coalition members and asks for their help. Toemeka and her Coalition team join members of the Kameets on a daring rescue mission that saves many of the Kameets, but results in Michio being captured.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The “working title” for the book was The Razor’s Edge, which in the book means walking the razor’s edge between the social and spiritual consciousness. But one day I saw on a movie marquee The Razor’s Edge and discovered my “working title” was the name of a famous book by W. Somerset Maugham. I changed the title to Star Rider on the Razor’s Edge. Toemeka’s aviator call sign is Star Rider, which gives the image of being on a spaceship flying through the stars.
Who designed your book cover?
Deranged Doctor Design. They work with you until you have a cover design that will make your book cover stand out.
When you’re stuck on a scene in your story, what do you do?
I usually go for a walk with my husband when I’m stuck on a scene. He often comes up with good ideas. I also ask my critique group for help with a scene if it doesn’t seem to be working.
What are you working on next?
I am in the process of self-publishing Annoure and the Dragon Ships. It’s about a young noble woman who is kidnapped off the coast of England during a Viking raid in 794. I’m also editing on the second novel in the Star Rider series.
Do you stick with just genre?
I write science fiction with elements of fantasy and historical fiction.
Where in your home do you like to write and what is your process?
I write mainly in my office at home, but I also have a laptop that I use when traveling. When I get a story idea I write the entire first draft. Once the first draft if written, I share it with my critique group. We meet once a month to exchange chapters and get feedback. After going through the book with the group, I go through it again and then give it to a few friends get feedback on the entire book. Once that process is completed I give it to a professional editor.
Is there a particular hobby you enjoy when you’re not writing?
I’m also a fine artist and do oil painting. I did the cover art for my first book Red Willow’s Quest and for Annoure and the Dragon Ships.
A Message from indieBRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Heidi Skarie who is the author of, Star Rider on the Razor’s Edge, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Star Rider on the Razor’s Edge, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.