VS: Welcome to a periodic series of interviews I’ve begun to highlight authors in my favorite genre – science fiction romance! This post first appeared on the AMAZING STORIES MAGAZINE blog.
VS for ASM.: What was the first scifi romance book you ever read and what did you like about it?
EGM: I remember reading Robert Heinlein’s Star Beast in middle school. What drew me to it was the nifty looking beast on the cover, but what I loved about was the relationship between John Thomas and his girlfriend. I’m not sure everyone would agree it’s scifi romance, but John Thomas does end up engaged at the end. Of books that are acknowledged scifi romance, Anne McCaffrey’s Restoree would be next. I read that in college. I was thrilled by Sara’s resourcefulness and adored Harlan in all his ‘alpha maleness.’
ASM.: What was the first scifi romance book you wrote?
EGM: The Cartel: The Apprentice, Volume 1 was the first book I wrote as well as the first scifi romance. I started the draft in 2010 and actually had the story arc for the entire series completed when I published it in December 2012.
Logline: Life within the Serengeti Cartel is perilous, riddled with malice and intrigue that can threaten the mightiest of warriors. For Lilian – brilliant, despised, and one misstep away from execution for her father’s crimes – only one man stands between her and destruction: Lucius Mercio.
ASM.: Which of your SFR books is the bestselling?
EGM: The Cartel is the first book in the ten-volume series, The Twelve Systems Chronicles. As such, it’s my best seller. However, it’s been on perma-free status for a couple of years, so ‘seller’ may not be completely accurate. I just finished a 10th anniversary sale for the series which bounced the boxed set, The Twelve Systems Trio, into second place in terms of a ‘money in exchange for the book’ best seller.
ASM.: How do you go about world building? Do you do elaborate planning, keep a big file, use post its, wing it – what method works for you?
EGM: The initial inspiration for The Cartel came with a backstory on how the civilization originated and evolved. As I worked through the narrative and the different books took form, I developed an array of files. There is a master folder of support details for the series with a dozen documents with everything from PowerPoints of building layouts to spreadsheets with the number of votes in the Twelve Systems’ Governing Council. The most critical document is a 27-page ‘Support Details’ that holds critical reference materials such as; the annual calendar of Metricelli Prime, comparative life time lines for major characters, and the full inventory of the habitable planets in the Twelve Systems. There are twenty-three planets when the series starts and two more discovered by its conclusion. The characters visit fifteen including the two new ones.
ASM.: What was your most recent book and what was the story spark or inspiration for that story?
EGM: After ten volumes of sci-fi, I was ready for something different. A few years ago, I responded to a flash fiction prompt at GoodReads Group Halloween party. I liked the heroine so much, I just had to give her a story. Once the final volume of The Twelve Systems Chronicles published, I moved forward with Elemental Fire: The Hidden Realms #1. Published in October 2022, it has been nominated for a Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewer’s Choice Award.
Sin Marston is a rare human who can see through glamor. With the veil with the treaty of 2010, the magical visitors, known as the Hidden, flowed into the Terran realm. With her unique talent, Sin’s services are in demand from businesses and law enforcement with Hidden problems. She also has a growing clientele of Hidden visitors wishing to avoid confrontation with the Human Protection Society and other anti-Hidden Terrans.
After thwarting a daring art heist, Sin encounters a stunning fire elemental who reveals the theft was something very different. Everything she thought she knew changes.
Radzik Cray has lived for centuries, building his magical and political power base. The appointment as the Elders’ Council Warden for the Eastern United States comes with untold wealth and power, as well as untold danger. When he meets Sin Marston, he is interested in a pleasant distraction. Instead, he discovers that Sin is not all she appears and his control over his territory is not as absolute as he thought.
ASM.: Which book was the most fun to write and why? The most challenging and why?
EGM: I’ve really enjoyed writing all my books. I consider Serengeti Valor: The Apprentice, Volume 5 a particular favorite. It brings together the backstories of several major characters and marks a watershed in the relationship between Lilian (the heroine) and Lucius (the hero). It also has my heroine engaged in defending the cartel in a pitched battle against a diabolical enemy complete with sci-fi advanced weaponry. It was my first attempt at a battle sequence and I was pleased at how well it came out and how much my readers enjoyed it. It was also a bit hard to write, because one of my favorite secondary characters dies in the battle.
The most challenging to write was final volume of The Twelve Systems Chronicles, Thorn Bearer: Thornraven Volume 3. There was a lot to tie up and I wanted to the final volume to do justice to my characters and my readers. At the same time, it was bittersweet—after twelve years, I was saying goodbye to a universe that was as real to me as the here and now.
ASM.: Do you also write other genres? Which ones? How does writing a book in that genre compare to writing an SFR?
EGM: Elemental Fire is Urban Fantasy Romance, and I did find it a bit easier to write than sci-fi. Set in and around modern-day Boston, it does not require the level of world-building needed in sci-fi and I had some fun with pop culture references to move along both character development and narrative line. Setting up a consistent set of ‘magic physics’ took a little doing, and I couldn’t resist sneaking in some sci-fi references and multi-verse theory.
ASM.: Do you have a ‘writing buddy’ pet? Care to share a photo?
EGM: This is Zimmi. She’s a fifteen-year-old Jack Russel Terrier and has been with me every step of the way on all my books.
ASM.: What’s next for you?
EGM: I can’t quite stay away from the Twelve Systems. I’m starting a series of novellas that will provide some popular secondary characters with their HEAs. I’m about 20K words into Chrys: Thornscore #1 and hope to release it this summer. After that, I’ll return to The Hidden Realms for more adventures with Sin and Radzik.
ASM.: What’s on your To Be Read List?
EGM: Currently, I’m working my way through a paranormal romance anthology, Faeted Mates. After that, I have Cara Bristol’s Maelstrom and Cynthia Sax’s Raw Desires on pre-order for the end of February.
ASM.: Give us your short author bio and where you can be found on social media.
Award-winning author EG Manetti has always enjoyed a vivid imagination and occasional scribbling. Her epic science fiction series, The Twelve Systems Chronicles, has received four Paranormal Guild Reviewers Choice Awards, seven InD’tale RONE (Reward for Novel Excellence) nominations with five volumes award finalist badges. Shield Bearer: Thornraven, Volume 2 received the 2021 RONE for Science Fiction.
Elemental Fire: The Hidden Realms #1, her first venture into fantasy, combines her favorite aspects of the urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and action/adventure genres.
A former information technology project manager, EG resides in Florida with her beloved (often confounded) husband and their severely OCD Jack Russell Terrier. She writes as often as possible, cooks exceptionally, and gardens adequately.
Social Media Links
EG Manetti Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/EG-Manetti-Author/
12 Systems Chronicles on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Twelve-Systems-Chronicles/
EG Manetti on twitter: https://twitter.com/egmanetti
EG Manetti on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/egmanetti/
EG Manetti on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@egmanetti