We bring you another guest that is an iconic figure in the genre and the online community. Heather Massey was one of the Smart Girls first supporters and I’ll always be grateful for her enthusiasm (and willingness to spread the word!). I predict one day in the future, Heather’s books will be on the must-read list for a course on SFR in the 21st Century! I can hear the instructor intone “Notice how, on the book cover, both the woman’s hat and her gun, are bigger than the man’s. This represents….”
Since we are a few days into the celebration, let’s mix up the order of things a bit and start with our questions.
The Mini Interview
Q. When did you realize SFR was a genre?
A. The year was 1983, and I was enthralled by Leiji Matsumoto’s science fiction anime series Space Battleship Yamato. The show featured an epic romance and that’s when I discovered SFR was a genre—and fell in love with it. I’ve sought out similar adventures in books ever since.
Q. What SFR book had the most impact on your reading and/or writing?
A. With me, it’s never just about the one book because I read widely in SFR and find many things to enjoy in many different stories! But I’ll endeavor to narrow it down to just a few. 🙂
Catherine Asaro’s Alpha made me realize just how much I adore android romances; Lise MacTague’s Depths of Blue is a cool action-adventure lesbian SFR with intense social commentary and it made me want to glom every f/f SFR I can get my hands on; P.J. Dean’s alien invasion series The Felig Chronicles made me hungry for more black heroines in sci-fi romance; P.J. Schnyder’s A Gift For Boggle impressed me with the daring risk of featuring a heavyset hero with a disability; Anna Hackett’s Beneath a Trojan Moon and Sandra McDonald’s The Outback Stars delighted me with their portrayals of heroic heroines; and the works of KS Augustin (Restoration), Jacqueline Koyanagi (Ascension), and Carol van Natta (Overload Flux) gave me (and the genre) a much needed infusion of diverse characters.
Q. Do your books lean more SF or Romance?
A. I’d say they lean slightly more toward SF and action-adventure since I like to include external plots and even an occasional Weird setting or characters in my stories. That said, they’ll appeal mostly to women who enjoy those elements. I’m a woman, so I write my books with a female audience in mind. Long live the female gaze!
Heather’s question for readers:
What kind of diverse characters would you like to see more of in sci-fi romance?
Answer for an entry in our drawing!
About the Author
Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express.
In addition to TGE, she’s a front-page blogger for Heroes & Heartbreakers, Coffee Time Romance’s steampunk site, and Strange Flesh Press. She wrote a column for Germany’s LoveLetter magazine and her posts have been featured at SF Signal, Dear Author, Tor.com, and numerous other book sites.
To further help expand visibility for SFR, she became the Releases Editor in 2013 for Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly, a free digital magazine.
She’s also an author in the genre. To learn more about her published work, visit heathermassey.com. When Heather’s not reading or writing, she’s watching cult films and enjoying the company of her husband and daughter.
Follow The Galaxy Express on Twitter: @thgalaxyexpress
What she’s added to our book prize extravaganza:
Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts
Violet Whitcomb dutifully assists her world-renowned scientist father, but what she truly craves is love and adventure. A fateful trip across America’s wild frontier delivers this and more. First, she meets an irresistible man aboard the train. Then a rogue inventor known as the Iron Scorpion kidnaps her father and she alone is left to plan his rescue.
A man with a secret…
Mysterious gunman Logan McCoy knows tangling with the Iron Scorpion is asking for a death sentence. But pretty, feisty Violet might be worth the risk–if they survive the odds.
A perilous quest…
Despite an undeniable attraction, their alliance turns contentious when Violet insists on including a third partner on their mission: Arthur, her father’s latest invention and the world’s most advanced automaton.
Will Violet and Logan rescue her father and defeat the Iron Scorpion? What dark secret is Logan hiding? And finally, what role will Arthur play in this wild West drama? Discover the thrilling answers to these questions and more in Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts!
This edition includes over ten thousand words of bonus material!
Or buy it today on Amazon.
20 thoughts on “Featured Author: Heather Massey”
I don’ have any special characters just the more diverse the better as long as there is a good story to go with the characters and the romance.
I guess that would depend on the type of SFR. For instance, in a comedic SFR I would like to see more children and old ones as characters. They add such a special flavor to the mix. Kids do say the darndest things after all and older adults tend to have no filter. Hilarious! In others SFR I would like to see more characters with disabilities. Not physical or emotional problems that ‘miraculously’ are cured but ones that the character lives with (and quite successfully) on a daily basis. These characters can be so inspiring.
>more children and old ones as characters
Good one! I’ve read two stories with older characters recently–KS Augustin’s RESTORATION and A.E. Ash’s LUMINOUS–but those aren’t comedic. I’ll keep an eye out!
>Not physical or emotional problems that ‘miraculously’ are cured
This. So important that the disabilities are normalized. I’ll even take it one step further and add that I’d like to see disabled characters normalized to the point that we first notice other things about them that are inspiring, such as any talents or, for example, the ability to defuse a diplomatically tense situation between two groups of alien species. In other words, more characters who do inspiring things, but just happen to have a disability.
Misa Buckley’s TIN CAT is on my TBR list and I believe her approach is how you described, in that the heroine’s use of her wheelchair is simply part of her daily life.
In SF, I really like seeing how the environment (cramped space station, harsh planet or moon) affects human relationships. So I would like to see more non-traditional relationships, and hence the characters that have them, be focal points of plots.
Thanks for your input! Here are three titles that might have the elements you seek:
DEPTHS OF BLUE by Lise MacTague and LUMINOUS by A.E. Ash feature harsh/dangerous environments. IN DISCRETION by Reesa Herberth takes place on a space station under siege by mysterious forces.
I agree, more with non-traditional relationships et. al. would be great!
Thanks for the recommendations. I will be checking to see if they are on audio!
Oh, yes. Long live the female gaze! Thanks for not forgetting that the ladies like something to ponder when reading SFR.
>the ladies like something to ponder when reading SFR
“What kind of diverse characters would you like to see more of in sci-fi romance?” I don’t think I can answer that question. I, personally, just like a well written story with well rounded characters that I can love/hate. I like to know backstories when appropriate. I want to know what makes them tick. I want to be their best friend or murder them. Sometimes that can be the same character, but so is life. Well written characters draw me into the story and make me feel a part of the story. That is what I look for.
Thanks for your feedback!
I would like to see a few more alien heroines with a non-humanoid feature or two.
I’m going to second this!
I couldn’t agree more! They’re more rare than I’d like. Three that stood out for me are KS Augustin’s EUROPA EUROPA, Melisse Aires’ REFUGEES ON URLOON, and Eva LeFoy’s THE TROUBLE WITH MEMORIES (the heroine develops non-humanoid features toward the end). I think there are more, but I’ll have to dig around a bit. Thanks for your input–I might do a blog post about this topic.
So far I’ve mostly read heterosexual SFR in which the male character is the ‘other.’ I’d like to read about more women who are at least part machine, or alien, so I can get into those minds and worldviews of women whose experience is so different from mine.
Also, I agree with MSDBMS. Disability is a complicated concept in SF and I would like to explore it.
I’m a fan of extraordinary heroines as well. SFR has its share, but yeah, the “other” male character still seems to outnumber them overall, at least in my reading experience.
>women who are at least part machine
Fwiw, I really enjoyed Catherine Asaro’s ALPHA, wherein the heroine is an android. Maeve Alpin’s A WOMAN OF INTELLECTUAL MEANS features a heroine who’s an “artificial intelligence system”–needless to say that one’s on my TBR list.
Diversity in fiction seems to be hot topic these days. I think it is even more of a challenge in Sci Fi if you are writing about a world with a sociological character that is different from Earth 2015. Or may it is actually easier. You can make up your own diverseness.
>You can make up your own diverseness.
As long as that diverseness includes various people of color, I’m in!
You don’t see much about children. How about 2 alien kids who meet in childhood and rediscover each other as adults? Lots of room to play in that set up. Loved Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts!
That idea sounds intriguing and I don’t think I’ve encountered it yet. Maybe someone will go for it!
Thanks for your interest in IGBH!
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