Welcome to Author's Spotlight
with Stacy Eaton
Today we have Allysha Marten who stars in The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy written by Greta van der Rol.
We are excited to have her here today, so pick up that coffee cup you have, sit back, relax
and enjoy the interview.
(To make things easier, I have highlighted my comments in blue.)
Allysha, thank you so much for joining us today. Give us a brief idea of what the book is about that you star in.
I have one of those good looking, good for nothing husbands. You know the type.
hahaha... actually I do quite well! What's his name?
His name is Sean. I stuck with him until I caught him cheating on me. Then he came begging me for help—says the local gangsters are going to kill him if he doesn’t do one last job for them. I agreed to go with him to a planet called Tisyphor and help him out of his jam — but I demanded a quick divorce in return.
Why did he want you to go?
I'm an information systems engineer, you see, and they needed someone who could work with both human and ptorix systems. Not many people can do that, but I can.
The ptorix are aliens who populate a huge part of the Galaxy. Compared to them we're the new kids on the block. I guess that makes US the aliens, doesn’t it? The planet I come from has a mixed human – ptorix population. I was brought up with the ptorix, so I understand their language and systems. We usually all get along pretty well but things have been getting tense, the last few months. I hate all that divisive, 'us versus them' racial stuff.
Well, we deal with that alot here on earth.
Tisyphor was a strange place. The ptorix had mined it, but 30 years ago, they abandoned the planet rather suddenly. I went to live in the last ptorix mine manager's personal quarters – that way, I managed to keep away from Sean, who amused himself with the barmaids. Typical.
(I can't help but chuckle here at the way she rolls her eyes.)
Anyway, I found the mine manager's diary and discovered all the ptorix on the planet had been killed by a horrific virus. Then I met Brad, one of the security guards. He was so nice. Gentle, kind, good-looking.
Wow.. he sounds great!
I didn't really want to get involved with anyone, not while this mess with Sean was going on. But, well... I guess I couldn’t help myself. I fell for him - hard. Together, we found out the old mining operation was a cover: these creeps Sean was working for were smuggling weapons to terrorists, and what's more, these dreadful people were searching for that killer virus so they could use it against the ptorix.
That's not good.
That “tension” I’d been sensing on my home planet? It had blown into full-grown racial hatred; these human thugs literally wanted to wipe out the ptorix. And, um, I helped them find the virus.
You did not!
How was I to know? I was being lied to by everyone, Sean included. I found a musical instrument that had belonged to the ptorix mine manager and it held traces of saliva. One of the researcher’s I was working with said it needed to be sterilized, but he took a swab, first. How could anyone be so evil? They even tested the virus on some ptorix they captured. It was horrible, dissolving them from the inside. Thinking about it makes me ill.
Yeah - I'm not sure I want to think about that evil, sounds painful.
Something had to be done. So Brad and I stole a ship and escaped from Tisyphor. That's when I found out Brad Stone wasn’t “Brad Stone, security guard.”
Oh man, he was someone else?
He was none other than the famous Admiral Chaka Saahren, whose reputation was notorious across the galaxy. It changed everything for me – everything. He'd killed my father in an unprovoked attack.
I’d hated Chaka Saahren for a long time. I wanted to go home, forget about him. But I couldn't.
Three thousand ptorix had been massacred by the Confederacy Star Fleet and because of that, there was a real risk of war between the Human Confederacy and the Ptorix Khophirate (that's their word for Empire). Saahren had been sacked because the incident happened near the sector he commanded. He said he didn't order the action – but he would say that, wouldn't he? Anyway, he thought I might be able to find information to help establish who was really responsible. I guess I didn't have much choice. If I didn't help him, humans were going to end up in a war with the ptorix. I couldn’t have that on my conscience.
Then we found out that same killer virus was going to be released in my home town, where all my ptorix friends live.
Wow Allysha, there is a lot going on in your story!
Can you answer a few questions for you take fly back to your planet?
I know that we all want to be different, so what is the one thing you wish your creator had done differently with you?
I'm a trusting soul. Really. Sometimes it gets taken way too far, especially with Sean. I should never, never have trusted Jarrad Korns, that researcher who took the swab from the musical instrument. Or Brad Stone. I've always been like that, though. My father warned me about Sean. In fact, we fell out over it. We hadn't spoken for years and then he was killed far from home, collateral damage in an attack on a ptorix military base. He was there giving a lecture to ptorix officers, caught up in a war that had nothing to do with him. And I never got a chance to make things up with him. I'll never, ever, forgive myself for that.
I can see how you would want to change that, I'm sorry you can't do that now.
If you could have added something to the story, and your creator would have let you, what would that have been?
I think I'd like to have been able to tell you a little more about the ptorix, how they live, how I came to be such close friends with them. My father was a lecturer at Shernish University, teaching engineering to human and ptorix students. His best friend was Professor Xanthor, a ptorix who taught human-ptorix relationships. I spent lots of time at Xanthor's house, with his mate and their children. He even had chairs built just for Father and me to use when we visited. Ptorix don't use chairs – they have four legs. I learnt how to speak Ptorix as well as any human can and Father had my eyes changed when I was born so I can see the same light spectra as them – a far greater range than humans. My mother died when I was very small and I have no brothers and sisters. Xanthor and his family were my family. I loved them – still do.
There seems to be alot that could have been added to your story.
Tell us what do you love best about yourself? What do you like least?
What an interesting question. Love best? I guess my brains. I'm really, really smart and I can work with information systems without having to use InfoDroids. They're machines that build information systems for humans. Father said way back in the distant past humans programmed computers but these days they just tell the InfoDroids what they want and the machine does the rest. Not many people can work directly with computers, as I do. I just love the challenge of beating security and working out how to get round anything an InfoDroid has built.
Wow, that sounds pretty cool!
What do I like least? I am so bad at picking men. I mean just look at me. Sean – handsome, charming, a competent systems engineer so we had that in common. But he ended up a disaster. Oh, he's not bad, you understand, but he gets involved with the wrong people. Then there's Jarrad Korns, the researcher, who, along with Sean, used me to get at the virus. I didn't go to bed with him or anything, mind. But I thought he was nice, and sort of attractive. And then there was Chaka Saahren, who pretended to be nice and then ended up being the man who killed my father. I'm going to have to work on getting it right, next time. If there is a next time.
Oh I'm sure there will be a next time! Don't give up!
What part of the book was the hardest for you and your creator to work through?
How Sean fits into the story. I think some people don't understand why I'd stay married and loyal to such a (excuse me) bastard. But my creator doesn't see him like that, you see. He isn't bad, just gets involved with the wrong crowd and then he gets in too deep. Sure, he has a drinking problem and he's taken to gambling and sometimes I get very angry with him. And yeah, he cheated on me, and he lied. For a long time, while I didn’t know what he was doing behind my back, we made a good team and he was good in bed. We talked, my creator and I. Would a woman really put up with Sean's antics and duplicity and still want to protect him? In the end I realized I was much stronger than Sean. He's needy. I feel I have to look after him and that's something my creator and I had to come to terms with.
That seems like a big deal. Needy people usually are.
Is there a sequel for this book? If so, what do you want to accomplish in the next book.
Yes, there is a sequel. Chaka Saahren is not a man who takes no for an answer. He's made it abundantly clear what he wants and – not to put too fine a point on it – he wants me. I can't go home straight away because it isn't safe, so I've agreed to work for the Fleet for a little while. After all, he'll be away in space most of the time so I won't have to talk to him.
So you think... lol....
What do I want to accomplish? First and foremost a divorce. I don't believe that Sean means me any harm but I sure don't want to stay married to him. I want to tie up the loose ends, go home and start again. As for Saahren. Look, don't tell him, but I really have to work at not being in love with him. Well, I can't love him, can I?
That is a very hard question - what do you think?
Unless I can be convinced that he didn't kill Father. I've made so many mistakes with men I don't want to make another one. Besides, he's an important man who hob-nobs with presidents and kings, and commands thousands and thousands of troops and I'm just a little techo from Shernish. How would that work?
You might be surprised.
Does you have anything else they would like to talk about?
I think perhaps I should describe the ptorix to you. They certainly don't look anything like humans, although they do tend to live on the same sorts of planets we do – similar sun, atmosphere, gravity and such. That environment must be particularly good for developing life. The ptorix are essentially conical in shape, something they exaggerate with their clothing. They have no neck and the head ends in a dome. The body is covered in short blue fur. Their four arms end in a number of tentacles, which can be deployed in a variety of ways. Think of a sea anemone and you've about got it right. They have four short legs but these are usually hidden beneath their robes, and three eyes, which change color according to mood. These are located almost equidistant around the top of the head, enabling a ptorix to see almost the whole way around its body without moving. They have two 'mouths', one – resembling a proboscis – for eating, the other for breathing and speaking. So from a human viewpoint, they're pretty weird. But they're smart, sensitive creatures with a history and culture every bit as developed as our own, more so really, since they’ve been around so much longer. I wish we could all live in peace and learn from each other.
Ummm... yeah they do sound pretty strange. Blue fur, three eyes and two mouths? Okay..... I am going to take your word for it that they are smart and sensitive!
Allysha, I am so glad that you stopped by today to share with us! It has been a pleasure and I look forward to checking out your story!
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