NOTE: This post first appeared on the AMAZING STORIES MAGAZINE blog…
Veronica Scott for AMAZING STORIES: Welcome to my periodic series of author profiles. Today I’ve chosen Tasha Black, who has been writing heart warming and fun scifi romance stories for years now. She’s the first name which comes to my mind when the topic of babies in SFR arises. The cover for her book Tolstoy always sticks in my meory as the prime example of this trope. I’ve always been a huge fan of her books and was happy for a chance to interview her.
VS for ASM.:What was the first scifi romance book you ever read and what did you like about it?
TB: The first SciFi Romance I ever read was actually Stranger in a Strange Land. It’s not a typical happily-ever-after romance, but it’s definitely a love story. A young man, human, but raised on Mars, comes to Earth as a diplomat, and learns about sex, laughter, religion, politics, and most importantly, love and family, under the tutelage of a wonderful, crotchety old man, a nurse, a journalist, a couple of space men and a bevy of women, all of whom find the man-Martian dreamy. It is truly the story of seeing human beings with all our selfishness, sadness and fury, and falling in love with us anyway. (I’ll let any interested readers enjoy the book themselves to find out why!)
Robert Heinlein wrote it before I was born as a provocative eye-opener meant to challenge societal norms. As a curious 14-year-old, wanting to rage against the machine, I ate it right up. And I swooned over Valentine Michael Smith, the man-Martian, and my first book-boyfriend!
ASM.: I read a lot of Heinlein as a kid too. I mostly remember Podkayne of Mars and The Puppet Masters! What was the first scifi romance book you wrote?
TB: My first SciFi Romance was Reconstructed, a billionaire romance with an easy-to-hate wealthy bad boy main character, who learns humility and heroism through adversity and the love of a no-nonsense woman. I love this story so much, yet it is the worst-selling series in my entire catalogue. Maybe I bit off too much trying to make an antihero like West Worthington into a cyborg superhero! At the time it came out back in 2015, superhero romance was not “a thing”.
Here’s the premise:
Some heroes aren’t born… they’re built.
Westley Worthington has it all. Piles of money, good looks, a head for business, and a seemingly limitless supply of women who want to please him. And that’s just the way he likes it. Until a brush with death causes him to rethink his priorities, and consider someone besides himself for the first time in his privileged life.
For a limited time, if readers would like a FREE copy of Reconstructed, and several other books of mine they can get one when they join my newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/VysAL
ASM.: Which of your SFR books is the bestselling?
TB: My bestselling SciFi Romance is Noxx, the first book in my Alien Adoption Agency series. Noxx was published in January of 2021 and the series is ongoing, with a new hero and heroine finding a happily-ever-after in each story. Book 13 is coming out in September! My husband and I struggled with infertility, so stories about family-building are important to me, and I think they resonate with my readers too. This series takes place on frontier moons, where adoptive single mothers go to raise their little ones, each under the guard of a fierce dragon warrior. I’m sure you can see where this is going! The small towns on the moons, fun side characters, and dreamy dragon guards all add to the wonder of exploring a new world and becoming a new parent all at the same time.
ASM.: None of us can ever pick a favorite book or character but if you had to go live in one of your own books, which would you choose and why?
TB: Oh wow, that’s a tough one! I think I would choose the world of Alien Surrogate Agency. These books, starting with Piper, are set on the sprawling campus of a massive fertility center where human women go to carry babies for single male aliens. The Midsummer Center is run by a computer called Oberon, who read thousands of romance novels in order to create a vision of the most romantic place in the galaxy, a place where no one could resist trying to conceive, even if you have to do it the old-fashioned way.
Of course, the fertility center in the stories has nothing to do with how actual “Earthly” fertility treatments and surrogacy work. But it was fun to explore theme of fertility and be able to give 100% happy outcomes to all my characters!
Some of the locations at the center include beaches, castles, roller-skating hills, ballrooms, mountain lakes, and unbelievably luxurious houses with pools, views, and of course someone else to do the clean-up and cooking!
ASM.: What was your most recent book and what was the story spark or inspiration for that story?
TB: My most recent release, Chloe, was a book in the Alien Surrogate Agency series and it’s about a teacher, named Chloe, and how she falls in love with a man she doesn’t know is an intergalactic rock star at the Midsummer Fertility Center. They solve a locked room mystery, hike a massive mountain, and there is even a high-speed roller-skating chase.
I come from a family of teachers. My husband was a teacher too, before he left his job to write with me! I feel that teachers are some of the most overworked, underpaid, misunderstood professionals in our society.
In the story, the rockstar was treated poorly by a teacher, and it takes a lot for him to let his guard down with Chloe, who may be the only person in the system who doesn’t realize he’s famous.
They each had to do a lot of hard work to get to their happily-ever-after, and it was so much fun to get them there!
ASM.: I do love a good rockstar romance for sure. Your own favorite tropes? Least favorite tropes?
TB: I love all kinds of tropes when I’m reading! But my absolute favorite trope to write is family building – whether it’s the story of a single parent, an adoption story, a secret baby, or even an infertility story, I’m happiest when I’m writing about finding home with a partner and a family.
ASM.: What’s next for you?
TB: Jhon, the thirteenth book in the Alien Adoption Agency series, is coming out in September and I’m in the middle of writing it now. This is the story of Ella, who quit school to raise her youngest sister when the local baby-care facility closed. Now she has left her whole family and everything she knows to adopt a baby on a frontier moon. She’s doing it because the adoption agency is also giving her a farm, and she hopes to be able to send money home to support her siblings. Heartsick and homesick, she never imagines that she will find, happiness, comfort, and acceptance, in spite of her lack of education, from the prestigious Invicta warrior who was sent to watch over her adopted son. Writing about the moment she meets her son, and the instant, gut-wrenching attraction between Ella and Jhon has been absolutely scintillating. I never want to put down my laptop to do anything else!
ASM.: Sounds good for sure! Counting the days till we can read it. What’s on your To Be Read List?
TB: I’m embarrassed to admit that I still haven’t read The Murderbot Diaries! Also on my list are new releases from Susan Hayes (the most recent books in her Crashed and Claimed series) Tamsin Ley’s Galactic Pirate Brides series, and your Star Cruise Star Song, Veronica – you KNOW I love rock stars in space!
ASM.: I can promise you the Murderbot series is terrific. And yes, we do share that love of rock stars in our scifi romance. Give us your short author bio and where you can be found on social media.
Tasha Black is a USA Today bestselling author of SciFi, Fantasy & Paranormal Romance. She’s an adventurous soul, who loves traveling, reading anything she can get her hands on, making up cozy, sexy stories, and sipping pumpkin spice lattes, even when she’s in warm climates!
You can find me in these places:
My Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/VysAL
My Website: www.tashablack.com
LINKS TO OTHER PROFILES IN SFR INTERVIEWS (listed alphabetically by authors’ first names):
Great post. Think Tasha should have trademarked Oberons capabilities. Didn’t ChatGPT “Llearn” from romance novels.
Hi GillyFlowerBlog, yes, I had no idea how topical the idea of an AI character learning how to create romantic settings by reading romance novels would become a year after the first book with Oberon came out! When I was writing it back in the winter of 2021, this was a fantastical and futuristic idea to me. In reality, I can’t imagine an entity like Oberon ever replacing human authors or architects. We humans are capable of finding exquisite meaning and beauty in our world in spite of (or maybe because of) our imperfections. For better or for worse, I truly hope that humans will keep making art for humans, and machines will be used for menial day-to-day tasks, so we all have more time to make art!