Author Spotlight with Colette Duke
K.S. Hello and welcome to the blog. I am very excited to have you here. Why don’t we start off with a small introduction? Tell us a little about yourself.
C.D. Hi, Katie, and thank you for having me. I’m Colette Duke, and I write science fiction romance. That sounds a bit like an addiction, doesn’t it? Well, most of the time, it is.
K.S. Any interesting writing quirks or stories you would like to share with my readers?
I absolutely cannot write a story without writing an outline first. I’ve tried to “pants” stories. They never work. And I have to have my office door closed so I don’t get distracted. My family has come to accept that when the door is shut, they don’t open it unless the house is on fire.
K.S. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What sparked the desire to pen your first novel?
C.D. There wasn’t one moment that sparked my desire to write novels—it was more an evolution. I’ve always been a voracious reader. When my kids were young, I couldn’t do much that required long stretches of concentration. But when I had more time, I tried writing in different genres that didn’t quite feel right. Then I started writing fantasy novels, but technology kept creeping into them. Finally I gave in and tried writing science fiction romance. Which is how Galaxy Command and the Beacon series were born. The first Beacon novel is in the outline stage and is set shortly after the three short stories that begin the series.
K.S. What genre do you write?
C.D. Science fiction romance. It’s the Star Trek fan in me. You can’t outgrow some things.
K.S. What would you say has inspired you most in your writing career? Or, who is your favorite author and why?
C.D. Every author who has sat alone at her keyboard for months or years and kept writing until she wrote a story people loved—and then did it again and again.
K.S. What does your family think of your writing?
C.D. I’ve been writing for so long, they think it’s normal for me to sit at my computer without blinking, moving, or responding for extended periods. That is normal, right?
K.S. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your book/s?
C.D. My idea of appealing cover art is more similar to what twelve-year-old boys like than to what my readers like.
K.S. What inspires you?
C.D. Creatively? A stray thought, usually. What if you wanted to get in, get out, and get on with whatever you had planned for your day, but . . . airborne algae clogged the intake ports of your landing craft? What if trees were sentient? Just normal everyday stray thoughts, lol.
K.S. Can you tell us a little about any of your novels?
You bet! This is an excerpt from Emerald 3: a Beacon short story. The entire story (minus a non-G-rated scene) is also available as a free read on my website (www.ColetteDuke.com).
Visible through the landing craft’s viewing window, a single mountaintop jutted like a pink castle from the thick mist that cloaked Emerald 3. Fioran adjusted the controls to ensure the craft stayed on course between the twin moons and well above the planet’s permanent cloud cover.
Emerald 3. It was an ill-conceived name for the giant ball of gray-white clouds. But recent probe transmissions indicated lush foliage on the planet’s surface, and someone in Galaxy Command had decided on the name.
A faintly green puff of mist rose in front of them. As the craft passed through it, warning indicators lit up.
“Something’s up with the propulsion system,” Fioran noted, waiting to see if the glitch would resolve itself after they left the green mist. Another warning light. “Lovely. Navigation system just went down.”
The landing craft bucked. She flicked off the autopilot and grabbed the manual controls. At least they were above the clouds, where they could see. Galaxy Command had wanted them to set down in the murk. When she’d refused, risking her promotion and her job, they’d agreed to extend the mission. She and Alohxi would travel on foot down the mountain to confirm the data collected by the probes, and back up again, instead of just moving explorations to a proper planet that wasn’t buried in clouds. Then they’d set the beacon to guide the colonists and get back out to the stars.
“You don’t question Galaxy Command,” she muttered. Who’d want to colonize this place anyway? Anyone living here would never see the sky. No wonder no life forms existed here, other than plants.
Alohxi, the only other crewman aboard, included in the mission for his empathic abilities, slid into his seat beside her. “Maybe next time you’re tempted to challenge authority, you’ll remember climbing down all these cliffs and back up them again, and you’ll keep your mouth shut and just land where you’re supposed to.”
“Only a fool would try to land without visuals. Surface is probably a swamp.” The elevation sensor dipped, and she pulled up on the controls. The craft responded, but it felt sluggish. Instead of climbing, it sank into the dense cloud cover. “Bring up the external sensors.”
“External sensors have failed,” Alohxi announced as the thick white clouds gave way to a denser substance that darkened the viewing window to a vivid green. “And the green stuff is back.”
K.S. Where can we buy your book?
K.S. Do you have a website, fan site, or Blog that we can visit?
C.D. My site and blog are at www.ColetteDuke.com. Occasionally I tweet: @ColetteDuke.
K.S. Do you have any closing advice to aspiring writers?
The best thing you can do for your career is write more books. But remember to live your life, too.
Katie, thanks again for having me on your blog. It’s been a lot of fun.