Forged in “the dark crucible of emotion,” the fiction of Jeanne Adams explores character and relationship emerging from the turbulent collision of suspense and adventure, enriched by her multi-faceted imagination. Praised by John G. Hartness for her “old-school fun science fiction with heart and humor,” Adams, an award-winning author and a courageous genre hopper, will present her literary alchemy at Dragon Con 2018.
Daily Dragon (DD): Your novella The Accidental Plague in Outcast Station features a not-so-classic plague plot, a subgenre of science fiction. Although dedicated to “all the science fiction/fantasy authors from whom I learned to love the genre,” naming Andre Norton, Robert E. Howard, Anne McCaffrey, and Edgar Rice Burroughs specifically, what traditions and ideas inspired this tale?
Jeanne Adams (JA): What a great question! I love action films and especially loved The Rock and Outbreak. There are so many stories with a bad-guy-villain, and sometimes it’s fun to have something different, something that seems inescapable. I think that’s why apocalypse stories are so popular! So those kinds of thrilling race-the-clock movies and books were, in part, the inspiration for The Accidental Plague.
DD: The Accidental Plague is also a character-driven story of a deep friendship between persons of different species, a humanoid woman from a despised planet and a tall, toothy male alien. How did this cross-species connection enhance your story?
JA: Hopefully, it added a dimension to the work that wouldn’t have been there otherwise! I think the two characters played off well against one another. It was also an expression of something I believe—friendships, like love, are built on connection. Sometimes, that connection is being fellow outcasts, but in this case, Craggrl is widely accepted. He, however, accepts the “unacceptable” Ravi. That dynamic is a catalyst for change for everyone on the station. I think it goes to show that one smile, one connection, one honest exchange, can really change the world.
DD: Outcast Station is a shared world with two authors currently contributing. How did this loose collaboration work out the rich detail and intricate world building so obvious in the first volume?
JA: I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Author Nancy Northcott and I had so much fun building the world and all the creatures in it. We are both long-time fans of science fiction and fantasy and wanted to create a realistic, vital world for our characters. We spent hours both in person and on the phone working through government, military, medicine, species, and more. It was a blast!
DD: Will you be revisiting Outcast Station?
JA: We will indeed! There is a Christmas on Outcast Station dual-novella volume in the works, and an as-yet-untitled stand-alone origin story in the works as well.
DD: Your Slip Traveler novel The Tentacle Affaire, #1 (followed by The Rum Runner Incident, #2) includes both science fiction and fantasy elements, a bold move in fields where genre melding is sometimes shaken, but never stirred. What special challenges did this strange brew entail?
JA: The Tentacle Affaire represented a lot of special challenges, I must admit. My tag line for this book is “She doesn’t believe in magic, he doesn’t believe in aliens. They’re both wrong!” A lot of authors have worked with the idea of a magic/tech collision. I was actually trying to write that, but it kept morphing into a magic/tech collaboration. I’ve never thought they were mutually exclusive. And so, Tentacle Affaire, and The Slip Travelers came to be.
DD: What plans do you have for more Slip Traveler installments?
JA: Yes indeed! I’ve already outlined several more adventures for Cait and Aiden. The second book, The Rum Runner Incident, takes place in Savannah, GA and is, essentially, a ghost story. That should go to press in early 2019. The third book in the series, tentatively titled The Edinburgh Affaire, will be another alien-on-earth sort of book.
DD: Your Haven Harbor series, including book #1, The Witches Walk, and three novellas After Midnight, A Midnight Promise, and A Yule to Remember, imagines a modern community founded by Salem witch trial fugitives (who were the real deal). What inspired you to extend a possible result of the Salem tragedy forward a few centuries?
JA: Many people have used the Salem Trials as a jumping off place, and I’m no exception, but mine was inspired by the real-life escape of one of the accused. He happens to be a relative on the Adams side of things! His friends broke him out of jail, spirited him off, and hid him until the whole thing blew over. It was done so well, the reports at the time thought it confirmed his status as a witch! So, I guess you could say genealogy gave me the jumping off point!
DD: Including any peeks back at its Salem legacy, where can fans expect this magical series to venture next?
JA: Thank you for asking! As a matter of fact, as we head home from Dragon Con, a prequel to The Witches Walk will hit the stands! This story is in another two-novella set, bundled with the fabulous USA Today Bestselling author, Barbara Devlin The Buccaneer Brides will feature an historic Haven Harbor prequel. Set in 1710, just over a decade after the founding of Haven Harbor, a witch must help a pirate break a curse, lest it kill everyone on the pirate ship and infect the town as well. The next full-length novel in the Haven Harbor series should be out this winter!
DD: What factors prompted you to expand from your prior work in romance and romantic suspense into science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal/alt. history?
JA: Interestingly enough, I spent all my early writing years trying to break into science fiction and fantasy. However, I love suspense as well, and couldn’t seem to keep the blood off the pavement or the people out of bed, so romance was a good fit! I’ve always written both, but sold the suspense to New York before I got a bite on the fantasy. My publishing house, Kensington, and my editor there, the late, great Kate Duffy, didn’t “do” fantasy or paranormals at the time, so under that contract, I stuck with suspense. Once Indie Publishing became a thing, I was free to pursue both lines of writing. It’s a brave new world in publishing, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
DD: What did you keep, add, or discard in the process?
JA: Well, every book I write has blood on the pavement and people figuring out how to love or care for one another. The darkest crucible for any character is emotion, especially relationships—whether love or grief. That’s present in all my books, whether complicated by guns or lasers, drug lords or aliens.
DD: Do you feel that your genre work blends, merges, honors, and/or explodes romance tropes and why?
JA: What a fascinating question! I think twist them. Tropes are incredibly useful—a shorthand of storytelling, if you will. However, many of the romance tropes bore me, and others are just silly. But love, and relationships, and healing the heart are themes so universal that in my opinion, they’re beyond tropes. That said, I feel that my genre work—in every genre—blends the tropes I do use. I honor some, and ignore others, and usually, it’s a blend. I tend not to explode things because I’ve yet to have an idea that radical. I’ll sure do it if a story ever calls for it!
DD: Where can fans find you at Dragon Con?
JA: I’m on several of the Urban Fantasy panels. You can catch me at:
- “The Plot Thickens: Mystery & Suspense in UF,” Friday at 1PM in Chastain 1–2 (Westin)
- I’ll be participating in “Readings in Honor of Kathryn Fernquist Hinds” on Friday at 7PM in Techwood (Hyatt)
- On Sunday, I’ll be presenting at the “Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Readings,” 7PM in Techwood (Hyatt)
- On Monday, I’m on an UF panel titled “Magic Practitioners in Urban Fantasy: Witches and Warlocks” at 10AM in Chastain 1–2 (Westin)
I’ll probably fill in on other panels where needed, so I’m sure your readers will see me around!
Otherwise, they can find me at www.JeanneAdams.com, on Twitter @JeanneAdams, on Facebook.com/JeanneAdamsAuthor, and on Instagram @JeanneAdams.