My new science fiction novel, Rock Killer, has what could be called an “ensemble cast.” I once counted and there are 70-something speaking, named characters. With a group like that, you’d think some romance would break out somewhere. The novel has two main protagonists: Charlene “Charlie” Jones and Alexander Chun. Now usually when there are a male and a female main characters, they fall in love. In my novel, however, they never meet except they happen to be in the same room once at the end of the novel. Their entire interaction is:
She flicked the joystick on her wheelchair and headed for the door. As she reached out to open it, the door swung aside. There was a short, Asian man coming in the room. He was wearing a blue command uniform and director insignia.
“Excuse me,” he said and stepped out of her way.
“Thank you,” Charlie replied as her chair passed by. Not too bad looking, she thought, if he wasn’t so damn short.
So where’s the romance? Well, I’m a guy. In fact, I’m a middle-aged guy who likes shoot-outs and car chases and explosions. Romance is low on my list of priorities, much to the chagrin of my wife.
But when I write, I admit, I like to put in a little romance. In Rock Killer, Alex Chun is married so that leaves him out—or at least should. Charlie is just coming off a traumatic end to an engagement so really, she’s out. But I have about seventy more characters to play with. One is Bill Thorne who just broke up with his Vietnamese girlfriend, Thi. He meets an attractive drive technician named Diana and falls in love. It ends badly.
Or there’s one of my villains, Alan Griffin, who seems as interested in bedding his co-terrorist Barbara Knect as in being a bad guy. It ends badly.
I’m sensing a pattern here. Let me think. In my previous novel, Agent of Artifice, my hero, Michael Vaughan falls in love with a women he thinks might be a KGB agent. It ends badly. Or, the novel before that, its prequel Hammer of Thor, my hero Joe Kader falls in love with a beautiful Korean woman named Pak Meyoung. It ends badly. (Although he later falls in love with a Norwegian woman named Dagmar and they are still together in the third novel of that series that I’m currently writing.)
As I said before, romance isn’t high on my priorities. My novels tend to be adventurous, violent (but never graphically), and fast paced. Maybe I just need to make time for romance (my wife would agree). Or at least one that doesn’t end badly.
ROCK KILLER | blurb & links
Space Resources, Inc. (SRI) mines asteroids for the riches a populated Earth needs without degrading the planet. Yet there are those opposed to progress in whatever its form such as the Gaia Alliance, a front group for eco-terrorists. During a violent attack on the Moon, the terrorists steal an exploration ship, arm it, and rename it the Rock Killer.
Charlene “Charlie” Jones of SRI security is trying to infiltrate the Gaia Alliance’s cabal to find evidence linking them to the murder of her fiancé. But a run-in with the law threatens to reveal her identity to the dangerous men of the Alliance.
Simultaneously, SRI Director Alexander Chun is traveling to the asteroid belt to bring a kilometer-long nickel-iron rock back to Earth orbit to mine for its valuable metals. Following him and his multi-national team is the Rock Killer. Without armaments, millions of miles from help, Chun must stop those who threaten him and the lives of his crew.
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S. EVAN TOWNSEND | bio & links
S. Evan Townsend is a writer living in central Washington State. After spending four years in the U.S. Army in the Military Intelligence branch, he returned to civilian life and college to earn a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington. In his spare time he enjoys reading, driving (sometimes on a racetrack), meeting people, and talking with friends. He is in a 12-step program for Starbucks addiction. Evan lives with his wife and two sons, aged 17 and 20, and has a 22-year old son attending the University of Washington in biology. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, history, politics, cars, and travel.