Out of Orbit

Thea Landen
Out of Orbit

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Publisher
Decadent Publishing
Release Date
July 2016
ISBN
9781683610717
Genre
Action/Adventure Romance, Erotic Romance, Romantic Science Fiction/Futuristic

SUMMARY
Following an explosive space battle, Captain Jasmine Hale's escape pod crash lands on an unknown planet. She communicates with some of the world's natives, but grows frustrated when she learns signaling to her crew for help is impossible. Though she acknowledges she is stranded on Ryk indefinitely, she dreams of the day when she can return to piloting a ship through the stars.

Aras, leader of the Rykians, hasn't had contact with a human in five hundred years. Due to his lengthy life span, little excites him in his day-to-day life, until he meets Jasmine. Captivated by the woman who was suddenly thrust into his world, he desires to ease her anguish while showing her the wonders of his kingdom.

Caught between two worlds, Jasmine struggles with a difficult dilemma--continue searching for a way home or accept her new life on Ryk. Choosing one means leaving the other behind forever. How will she decide?

BOOK INTERVIEW on August 2016
Interview by Laura

Hi Thea, welcome to The Romance Reviews, and let's talk about OUT OF ORBIT.

Q: Where did you get your inspiration for OUT OF ORBIT, a romantic science fiction?

My regular readers know by now that I'm a big fan of both video games and sci-fi. In the fourth installment of the Phantasy Star series (one of my all-time favorites!), it's revealed that there's another planet in the star system that only comes close to the others every one thousand years. Many, many years after first playing the game, that concept popped into my head and I started thinking about all the different scenarios and implications that could go along with it. Since I consider myself a romance writer first and foremost, the premise became the backdrop for a poignant love story. How would you choose if the home you know and the person you love are separated by an impossible distance?

Q: Your heroine, Captain Jasmine Hale, crash landed on the planet Ryk. What is the difference between humans and Rykians, if any?

Since this was my first time writing a human-alien romance, I didn't want to go too crazy when creating the Rykians. Physically, they're fairly similar, though the Rykians are taller, their heads are shaped differently, and they have hairless gray skin. The most significant difference is their lifespans are much longer than humans, which affects their perspective of the passage of time.

Q: Please tell us more about Jasmine. From the blurb, she sounds like a strong heroine.

Jasmine is a confident, capable woman who has excelled in her military career and risen through the ranks quickly to captain her own ship. While there's no doubting how competent she is, some might label her as being a bit stiff and lacking a sense of humor. At the time of the start of the book, you'd appreciate working for her, since you know she's fair and exactly what her expectations are. But she's not really the type where you'd want to go grab a drink with her afterwards.

At one point, I was toying with the idea of giving her some dramatic backstory that led to her success in her chosen profession, but then I decided there's nothing wrong with simply wanting to maintain law and order in the universe. She sums it up herself in the fourth chapter: "I like facts and figures and things explained by reason."

Q: Please tell us about your hero Aras, leader of the Rykians. What makes him a swoon-worthy hero?

Most of the people around Aras see him as powerful and domineering, the ruler they want and expect. When he knows what he wants, he isn't afraid to demand it. However, he also has a softer, more sensitive side, though he doesn't often reveal it. I think there's also something swoon-worthy about someone who has been alive as long as he has, someone who's seen and done so much, and can still appreciate the exhilaration of finding the right person and falling in love.

Q: What is their first meeting like?

Not quite love at first sight on Jasmine's part. Which is fair, considering she just survived a violent crash and was then imprisoned by the first Rykians she met. Still, the first seeds of attraction are there. Let's take a look!

***

The door at the top of the steps flew open with a bang. Unsure of how much time had passed since she'd sat down, Jasmine leapt up and strained to see past the bars of her cell. A looming shadow filled the doorway, letting little light filter through. The hulking figure descended the stairs with deliberation, each heavy footstep echoing in the subterranean chamber.

She squinted as her eyes adjusted to the growing brightness. Another of the world's natives had arrived, though he dressed differently from the men who had apprehended her. Leather straps crisscrossed over his broad chest to form a crude mesh. A flowing length of scarlet fabric attached to one shoulder floated behind him as he stalked down the stairs. Wide-legged pants in a darker shade of red added to the effect of his immense size. She stood motionless at the entrance to her cell, mesmerized by his commanding presence.

A second man scurried after him, speaking rapidly. Though she couldn't make out the exact words, his tone indicated an argument. The first one held up a hand to silence him and turned to face her. "My apologies. Those men you met were acting in fear, and they should not have brought you here once you surrendered."

Her jaw dropped. "You…you speak my language?"

He smiled. "You are not the first of your people to land on Ryk. I am sure you have many questions." He nodded to the ring of keys his associate held. "But we should have this conversation somewhere more comfortable."

The door squeaked open. More heated words were exchanged between the man and his subordinate. He pointed up the stairs and issued a stern order. "Come," he said, his voice gentler when he addressed her. "I will take you to my home, where I hope you will find your accommodations more suitable."

Jasmine waited for the other man to leave before answering. "I keep hearing the same word repeated over and over around me." She tried to mimic the pronunciation, though it felt unfamiliar on her tongue. "'Ketajah'? What does it mean?"

He didn't seem bothered by the question. "Put simply, it means stranger, or outsider."

"Oh. I thought so." She pressed her lips into a straight line.

His smile returned. "However, the word has various meanings. It can also refer to something uncommon, like a rare flower or a precious gemstone."

The tension in her mouth lessened. "That's what my name means. Jasmine. It's a flower."

"Then perhaps it is not such a bad term for you after all."

Q: What for you is a romantic moment between them?

For me, I love when a couple first starts to fall in love. Taking chances, the anticipation, the thrill…what's more exciting than that? I like this scene where Aras has invited Jasmine to attend a public performance as his guest, despite what some of his advisers think about them appearing together.

***

Overhead, the three moons filled the night sky, shining their light onto the land below. Lanterns of various sizes dotted the stage, further illuminating the faces of the performers as they took their positions. Stringed instruments played the first strains of music. Jasmine settled back in her chair to watch and listen.

Although she didn't understand all the words, she followed the story's plot, thanks in part to Aras's earlier synopsis. The melodies sounded strange to her ears at first, but she soon grew to appreciate their haunting beauty. Talent and passion brought the tragic tale to life, mesmerizing her.

The hero's song for his lost love at the climax sent a chill rippling down her spine. Such anguish bled through in his voice, she swore every person in the theater felt his crushing pain. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Aras shift in his seat, and she glanced at him.

He sat in his chair with his back rigid, palms flat against the armrests. His lips pressed into a straight line, his chiseled features projecting his usual calm, unflappable air. As he watched the singer on the stage, a single tear rolled down his cheek.

Jasmine quickly looked back at the performers, feeling as if she'd intruded on something private. Her heart raced with the desire to share the experience with him, to let him know she was just as moved by the tale he loved so much. The whirlwind of the prior days' conflicting thoughts jumbled in her mind. Without taking her eyes off the singers, she reached over and rested her hand on top of his.

He rotated his wrist and wrapped his fingers around hers. His skin was soft and warm, his grip firm, yet gentle. She inhaled and exhaled, savoring his touch as the music swelled to a final crescendo. Everything around her blurred into a surreal haze, and for one moment, they were the only two people in the universe.

Q: Which character is the hardest to write? Why?

Aras created some challenges due to the fact that he is not human (and therefore doesn't have the same experiences as us) and English is not his first language. While he has encountered humans before, to me, certain phrases and idioms wouldn't make sense in his dialogue. There were a couple times where I'd write a few lines, think, "Wait, he wouldn't say that," and have to go back and edit.

Q: What kind of research did you have to do to write this book? Please share an interesting fact or unique behind the scenes experience.

Before I started writing, I wanted to be sure the premise of my idea—a planet only accessible to humans at certain times—was plausible. Somehow, the basic astronomy class I took in high school *coughmumble* years ago didn't cover that, but I'm lucky to have friends with a wide variety of interests that I could call on for help. The next step was to take all the scientific jargon and pare it down to basic concepts that could be understood by all readers. A lot did get dumped as it wasn't completely necessary to the story I wanted to tell. "Irregular orbit" became my simple buzz-phrase (and inspiration for the title!), but I did throw in a couple lines about fuel supplies and entering atmospheres to help make the scenario believable.

Q: What's up next for you?

Currently, I'm going in a completely different direction and working on a contemporary romantic mystery/suspense/thriller/whatever you want to call it. It's my first time attempting that particular sub-genre, but thanks to having a super-detailed outline (for once), I'm feeling pretty good about it. For this moment, anyway. I think most writers will admit to waffling between thinking their stories are amazing and doubting every word they put on the page!

Sounds exciting! Thank you, Thea, for taking out time from your busy schedule for this interview! Looking forward to reading more of your books.


Bio of author Thea Landen:


Thea Landen lives in New York with her husband and two children. A former educator, she strives to encourage creativity and passion in all those around her, and uses writing to help inspire. Though she reads and writes in nearly all genres, she has a special fondness for science fiction, fantasy, and adventure, and anything that pushes the imagination beyond its usual limits. When she's not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games.

Website/Blog: http://www.thealanden.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thealanden
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheaLanden



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