Zanne Raby will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?To be honest, the genre chose me! When I was younger, I loved sci-fi, especially plot-driven action. As I grew older, I moved on to reading historical fiction. Any time period from pre-historic to mid-twentieth century intrigued me. After I left the Air Force, I had an idea for a novel revolving around a group of women who set off to establish a paradise. Somehow, it morphed into a distant planet across the galaxy, and from there, I needed a backstory. And voilà! The series “The Chronicles of Deneb” was born. My recent release is the second book in the series, Descent into Darkness. In this book, I begin to introduce the woman who will become the lead in one of the later novels, but she’s just a kid. I’ve already written the plot that will take centre stage in the more later novels of the series. There’s going to be about two more novels before I dust off that old work and polish it up to merge into the series. Lots going on!
2. Writers write what they know and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world? I’m the first born of three children and grew up in a military family. We moved all across the country and my teen years were spent on a base in Germany. Our family moved about every three years, from base to base. This influenced my view of the world more than being a first born since I was exposed to a whole bunch of characters very young in my life. It also gave me a better appreciation of various cultures and traditions. I leverage this in Descent into Darkness, for example, when the humans who have fled Earth and are now living on an alien planet are doing their best to integrate into a very foreign society where they have to learn a new culture and language. As well, I have friends across the world and I’ve woven many characters into my novels, reflecting my own experiences.
3. Where is your favorite place to write?Normally I write in a dedicated office. Where I live, we have winter for about six months of the year. Snow,ice, freezing temperatures. That pretty much restricts me to working inside. But when the weather gets nice, I pull my laptop or iPad out on the deck where I can listen to the birds and the water from the fountain while getting some badly needed Vitamin D. I work best in nature. If it’s very hot, I take my writingdown to the river where the water rushes and tumbles over the rocks and write there. It’s very inspiring.
4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains? For me, it’s darned difficult! In my most recent novel, I cast off two my favourite cast members. Now, I’m not going to spill the beans on who they are, but I have to say it was challenging. After the death of one, who died heroically saving their colleagues, I couldn’t write for a few days as I was processing the whole thing. They’re gone but since they were in a relationship, their partner is holding on to their memory. The second character I terminated was at a turning point in their life. I mean, they were just horrible but were revisiting their core values. And they crashed and burned. No one cares, no one will ever miss them, but neither does anyone know that they were ready to mend their ways. Like a flickering flame, their life simply went out and there is nothing left.
5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?Without a doubt, I have several faves. Ellis Peters, the writer of Brother Cadfael mysteries is one of them. Jean Plaidy, author of historical fiction. Edgar Rice Burroughs, oh I adore his old sci-fantasy novels! Then there’s Bernard Cornwell with the Sharpe series and Jean Auel who wrote the “Earth’s Children” series. All of them are stellar writers and their stories speak to me. Now there’s also Lois Bujold McMaster, who is a master of the space opera genre in my opinion. I really enjoyed the Vorkosigan Saga, and I’ve got a burning question for her. In the first two novels of the series, she concentrates on a female captain of a Betan research starship, Cordelia Naismith, who is taken prisoner and marries her captor, Captain Lord Aral Vorkosigan. The plot really gripped me. But then, Lois changes tack to focus much of the rest of the series on their son, Miles. I’d ask her why she chose to do this, when Cordelia and Aral were such captivating characters.
6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.When I was a teenager, I lived with my family in the Black Forest region of Germany. Almost every weekend, my parents would take us to visit old, ruined castles that seemed to litter almost every mountaintop. We’d putter about the ruins for about an hour, then descend upon the village at the base of the hill forlunch (there is always a village). While I was there, I would secretively take a small stone from the castle ruin. I kept the stones in a box under my bed.
7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a backpack for company. What three items are in your survival pack? Now here we go with me being totally practical. I’d bring a UV water purifier stainless steel water bottle. Water’s a big deal, right? With UV killing off the nasty bugs that might be lurking in my water source, I’m going to be keeping my tummy happy. Next, I’d pack a machete. Very useful in making shelters, harvesting food and with a big blade, you never have to worry about running out of ammo. And lastly, I’d bring along one of those ferro-rods fire starting kit. That deserted island could get pretty cold at night, and the flames would not only keep me warm, but double a signal fire while cooking the yummy food I’d find on the lovely island.
8. If you could have one superpower in your existence, what would it be?This had me stumped. I mean, do I want to fly? Do I want to be invisible? Can I travel through time? Whatabout being immortal? There are so many choices. When it comes right down to it, wouldn’t it be great to have the power to teleport anywhere? Start the day off by having breakfast overlooking the ocean in the Caribbean, then spending the morning hiking the coastal hills of the Mediterranean before enjoying an alfresco lunch of crusty bread, cheese, and fresh fruits. In the afternoon, I could zip off to a world-class spa in Bali. Then it’d be off to New York for a delicious supper and afterwards take in a show. The best part of it all would be that I get to come home at night and sleep in my own bed! So that would be it – the power to teleport.
9. Favorite snack? Chips. If I buy a bag of chips, they’re gone in a day. So bad for me, but darn, they taste so good!
10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit? Oh dear if I answer this correctly will I get a ticket from the cops? Just as an aside, I drive a Honda Element. Do you really think that this toaster on wheels could break the sound barrier? I can always try, right?
Descent Into Darkness
by Zanne Raby
GENRE: Science-Fiction / Space-Opera
Descent into Darkness: Mayhem follows the Mayflower in the second book of The Chronicles of Deneb series. Journey along with the crew of the Space Ark Mayflower as they adapt to their new home on the planet Deneb. But along with their struggle to integrate into an alien culture, a new battle sweeps across the planet with the arrival of the human-transmitted Chimera bactovirus, bringing war and fanning the flames of racial intolerance. With a bloody conflict raging across the planet, the crew of the Mayflower is split between the two factions and embroiled in the chaos and destruction. Descend with the crew into darkness, where the only survivors of a global war will be on the right side of the border.
“Pallav? You alright?” Tara’s voice broke him from his reverie and he pasted on a phony smile.
“Sorry darling, I was a million light years away. I’ll be fine,” he promised. Sweat trickled down his back in the unrelenting heat of the Denebian day, his disruptive pattern shirt already sticking to his body as he shrugged into his rucksack.
“Daddy, I’m gonna miss you.” The chirpy sing-song voice of little Jolanta gave him cause to smile at the child as she held out her arms to him. Swooping her up, Pallav dropped a kiss on the little girl’s rosy brown cheek, her eyes glistening with tears.
“And I’m going to miss you too, little one.” Hugging the orphaned girl to his chest, he burrowed his face into the cloud of dark hair that was as soft as a feather before pinching her cheek and gently setting her down. Guilt pierced his heart at the sad resigned look on the child’s face. Had it not been for him, Jolanta would be snug as a bug with her biological parents and not in lockdown high above the capital city living with a pair of humans.
Poor little thing… she’s known so much loss in her short life, he thought. Surrounded by death as the human Chimera bactovirus raged across Deneb, Jolanta had been cruelly abandoned by her mother after Tara retrieved the fallen child from the cobblestoned marketplace in the centre of the capital city. He could still picture his wife walking through the door with the tiny tot in tow. Shocked, surprised, but then captivated, Pallav let the child into his heart. It wasn’t like his two teenagers wanted him around anymore. No, Luke and Isabella were busy chartering their own course in the Wessel world with Gomalan insisting that they attend the best boarding school in the nation.
Taking advantage of his position, Pallav had initiated a thorough search for Jolanta’s parents only to get confirmation that they were amongst the thousands in Styria who had succumbed to the pandemic. Since her arrival, the young orphan had been his little shadow, never leaving his side, following the big man’s movements with her luminous opalescent eyes. He smiled inwardly at the thought of Jolanta climbing into her little cot and begging her new daddy for a bedtime story. Guilt-ridden he realized that he’d miss her more than his own children who were so immersed in their new lives that even their weekly holotalks were rushed and awkward. Laughing at himself, Pallav knew he was totally under the child’s spell.
“I promise to be back in time for market day, so no tears, okay?” Taking the little urchin’s chin in his hands, Pallav stared into her eyes. “And you have a promise to make to me too young lady, don’t you?” The little brown head nodded up and down, serious eyes acknowledging the responsibility her adopted father had assigned to her.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Since the days of the Napoleonic War, there has always been a member of Zanne’s family in uniform. Choosing to follow in the footsteps of her ancestors, Zanne joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1980, and was selected to attend the Royal Military College of Canada – the first year that women were accepted into that prestigious academy of learning. After graduation, she studied to become a Transportation and Movements Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
During a career spanning 38 years, some of the most memorable experiences involved command of 8 Mission Support Squadron as part of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, leading a study on support to the Canadian Arctic involving several trips to Northern Canada, including Canadian Forces Station Alert (the most northern settlement in the world), a three–year tour with NATO at Joint Force Command Brunssum, a deployment as the NATO Liaison Officer to United States Central Command, and finally a nomination as the Deputy Commander for the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group.
After hanging up the uniform and putting away the combat boots, Zanne bought a small acreage in Central Ontario and designed her own house. With an office overlooking the picturesque shores of Georgian Bay, surrounded by maps and images of alien worlds, she is pursuing her life-long ambition to become an author. Enough of the reports and returns that littered her desk over her career, now she could turn her attention to unleashing the creativity that had taken a back seat to the analytical world of logistics. The time had come to shake the dust off and begin a new career. The winds of change had called.
Zanne is currently crafting The Chronicles of Deneb, a sci-fi series that will take the reader from a dystopian earth on a voyage across the galaxy in search of a safe haven. But the planets the team discover provide anything but the sanctuary they sought. In her spare time, Zanne enjoys travel, photography, hiking, and gardening. And always, a good story to pass the time.
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