Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Story of the Stars by Yvonne Anderson - Character Interview

GATEWAY TO GANNAH #1

The inhabitants of the planet Gannah are known as bloodthirsty savages who once tried to conquer the galaxy. Now a plague has ravaged the planet and only one survivor remains, a young woman named Dassa.

Pik, the doctor from the League of Planets assigned to her case, hates everything Gannahan and wishes every last one of its people had died. Bereft of everything she’s ever known, Dassa clings to her God and the story he has written in the stars. He has given her an assignment: to return to Gannah and replenish it with a new race of people.

But she must first overcome the prejudice of the entire galaxy and recruit her de facto enemy, Pik, to help her.


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GIVEAWAY
Enter for a chance to win a Print copy of The Story of the Stars. (US/CAN Shipping only). Follow Yvonne on Twitter for a bonus entry.  Comment on this post for a second bonus entry. Giveaway ends Feb 25th 11:59 PM Central Time..







EXCERPT

In his office aboard the hospital ship LSS Barton,
Pik studied an image on the computer. Was it an actual woman of strange and wonderful breeding, or a computer-generated compilation?
Was it pornography? Perhaps. But he was conducting an anatomical study. To settle an argument.
His eyes followed the gyrating image on the screen. She was a remarkable specimen. Clinically speaking, of course. The breasts were Glenmarrian, no doubt about that. His focus lingered there to confirm his first impression. Definitely Glenmarrian. And definitely delicious. His gaze moved south. Ah, the umbilicus sprang from a different gene pool. Unlike the one undulating before him, the Glenmarrian navel is—
"Dr. Pik…"
Pik's heart jumped and he closed the screen, feigning deep interest in the medical page that came up in its place—a treatise on toenail fungus in elderly Eutarians.
Though Broward’s thinning brown hair and stubby frame made him a less-than-imposing figure, hi
s position commanded respect. Probably the only man in the galaxy with both a medical degree and a ship captain's credentials, his resume was impressive indeed. Besides that, Pik liked the man. Considered him one of his few Earthish friends.
Nevertheless, he felt superior to the captain, in height, looks, intelligence, and especially fashion sense. Pik didn't lift his gaze. "Yes, Captain?"
Broward got right to the point. "You have a new project."
"Already? We haven't completed our assignment here yet."
"No, but a distress signal takes precedence."
Pik looked up. "Distress signal?"
"From Gannah. They're dying from the plague and require immediate assistance."
Pik blinked, not sure he heard right. "A plague where?"
"Gannah."
Something clumped in Pik's gut like a not-quite-done Cephargian blood pudding. "What sort of plague?"
"The message calls it the Karkar plague."
The pudding rolled over. "I had no idea it still existed."
"Nor did I.” Broward paused..“Gannah's never asked for help before. Ever. For anything."
Pik said nothing. He couldn’t fathom the proud Gannahans being brought so low.
The shorter man looked at Pik with accusation in his brown eyes. "What do you know about this plague?"
Pik returned his glare with a Karkar impassivity no Terrestrial could match. "That was centuries ago. I'm not that old."
"But you are head of my Infectious Disease Unit, and the plague originated on your planet. How do we stop it?"
"I have no idea." Neither did he have any idea why one would want to.
"But you can research it."
Pik’s ears swiveled in a Karkar shrug. He felt confident the captain, being a Terrestrial, would be unable to interpret the subtle gesture of casual disrespect, even if he noticed it.
But Broward frowned, perhaps picking up on Pik's attitude through his hesitation. "Well? You Karkar might not have the musculature to make faces, but I know there’s something going on behind that expressionless mask of yours."
The Karkar sighed. "Research the plague?" He paused again. "I suppose I could…"
"And you will. Quickly. We should be there in two standard-weeks. A great many more Gannahans will likely have died by then. Your plague just about wiped them out last time, did it not?"
"It's a shame it didn't."
Broward’s brows rose. "You're a doctor. How can you say that?"
Pik pulled himself up to his full, proud height, putting him eye to eye with the standing captain. "I don't see that Gannah has made any contribution to the galaxy, save to provide a template for pure evil."
If Broward was impressed with Pik's superior size, he didn't let on. "It's good you're a cool, dispassionate professional, then, because as an agency of the League of Planets, it's our job to save them." He let that sink in a moment then went on. "What do you know of Gannahan physiology?"
"Very little. Only that it's markedly different from yours or mine."
"How so? Are their livers in their armpits and their hearts in their backsides?"
Pik ignored the captain's Earthish humor. "The systems are comparably arranged, but their chemistry is different and their functions are enhanced. Muscle mass is greater, senses are sharper, organs more efficient and less subject to wear. Their immune systems are impervious to all known diseases…"
"Except this plague."
Pik turned to his computer and began a search, but answered according to his own knowledge. "That's caused by a musculophage engineered by Karkar biochemists to attack Gannahan muscle tissue. I believe it's the only illness they're susceptible to, and it's harmless to all other life forms."
Broward crossed his arms. "So those biochemists must have been familiar with how the Gannahans are put together. And they must have kept records."
"I'm sure they did." Pik scanned the various entries. Not much came up at first glance.
"And with their data, you can stop the plague."
Pik cocked his head to the left in acquiescence. "I shall try."
"And you'll succeed. Once you and your people figure it out, get a team working around the clock to manufacture as many doses of the cure as possible. If you need more help, I'll take personnel from other duty. This is our top priority."
"I’ll do my best, Captain."
"Your best is all I ask. But you've already shown me how good your best can be. If you fail me this time, I'll be demanding some answers."
If Pik could have scowled, his look would have been enough to get him demoted to records clerk. "I understand, sir."
"Very good." Broward nodded and started to go, then turned back. "But Dr. Pik…"
"Yes?"
"Those people who sent the distress signal are generations removed from the ones who ravaged Karkar. They've been living peaceably for hundreds of years, ever since your forefathers sent theirs running for home with their tails between their legs. You should have no axe to grind with them after all this time."
Pik swallowed a snort of derision. "I’m familiar with your overworked Earth adages, but our Karkar proverb says it better: 'Deep wounds heal, but the scar reminds, and the memory makes the wound bleed fresh.'"
"Your sayings are morbid. I like ours better."
"It sounds smoother in our own language."
"Your language sets my teeth on edge. Spare me."
Before Pik could decide whether to take offense, the captain had left the office.
He stared at the door as it swished closed. Ordinarily, Pik enjoyed his job. The assignments were challenging but satisfying, and when he pillowed his head at dimlights, he felt as content as a luglit with a bellyful of well-aged zikzak. But requiring him to come to the aid of the filthy Gannahans pressed his loyalty to the edge.
He should have listened to his mother. She'd told him to keep all twelve toes on Karkar where they belonged and not get mixed up in the Earthers' affairs. Just because our governments have joined in league, she said, doesn't mean we should forget who we are.
She was a fine one to talk. She, who married a Terrestrial. Fortunately, that mistake hadn't tainted her progeny. Pik's appearance was as striking as anyone's on his planet, and his mind was sharper than most. That was why he wanted to travel. There was too much to see, too much to learn to stay in one place his whole life. He'd come home when he was ready to settle down.
But he didn't expect that would be soon. In fact, he'd released his betrothed from her promise two years ago.
Deen would have made him a worthy wife; his mother had chosen her well. But it wasn't right to keep her bound to a man who might not claim her until her fertility was past.
It had been comforting, though, to picture her waiting. It pained him more than he cared to admit when she married Llllaarrr less than a year after he released her.
Now here he was, forever single, far from home, and required to rescue the people who would have annihilated his own had they not been stopped in their tracks by what some called a miracle.
As a scientist, Pik didn't believe in miracles. But he had to admit the way those ancient chemists stumbled upon the one thing that could bring down their ultrahuman opponents








Q. We’re speaking today with Dr. Pik of the planet Karkar, a man of considerable, um, stature. Tell me, Doctor. Is it common for the people of your planet to be seven feet tall?

A. I am not tall by Karkar standards. In both height and weight, I fall within the fifthieth percentile, so I’m only considered tall by your puny standards. However, my intelligence quotient is considerably above the average, and I’m told that, if physical attractiveness could be measured, my numbers would be astronomical. So I do, in fact, stand out from the common crowd.

Q. Obviously. Forgive me, but you understand that since our audience is primarily Earthish, the differences between the people of our planet and yours is a matter of some interest. And without dwelling on the obvious, you seem to have an extra finger on each hand.

A. Quite the contrary. Your Terrestrial hands have too few.

Q. I suppose so. A sixth digit might come in handy sometimes. And I presume your feet…

A. Are similarly complete, yes. Might we get on with this? I thought you were going to interview me about The Story in the Stars.

Q. Right. Of course.  So if this book were a movie, would you say you’re the co-star?

A. That might be technically correct, but the fact is, I upstage the protagonist on every level. Everyone who’s read the book agrees, they like my character best.

Q. I believe I heard that readers like your character because they can relate to you so well. You reflect their own flaws and enable them to laugh at themselves.

A. Flaws? I reflect others’ flaws? Who said that?

Q. I believe it was the author…

A. I’m sure you misunderstood. What she no doubt meant was that compared to my superior qualities, the readers can see their imperfections more clearly. Did she mention my good disposition?

Q. She did say you add humor to the story. But I think… Well, let’s move on. What is this book about? What is the story in the stars?

A.  The title is based on a rather bizarre theory that some all-powerful being created everything in the universe—

Q. Oh, you mean God?

A. That’s the idea, yes. According to my co-star, Dassa, when this God created the universe, he illustrated a story in space through the creative interpretation of the stars’ arrangements.

Q. The constellations, in other words.

A. Yes. Although the stars’ locations vary depending upon one’s perspective—that is, the stars above my planet are completely different from those seen from Earth, or from Gannah, or from wherever. But in every culture on every planet, the constellations were said to portray the same objects and were given similar fanciful names. It’s quite perplexing, actually, but not so perplexing as her explanation for all this.

Q. What is her explanation?

A. It’s ridiculous, of course, and impossible. But she believes that the Creator God gave primitive man these pictures in order to illustrate a story that she calls the gospel message. According to her, this is a truth that’s applicable to everyone, everywhere, and that God wants people to know it.

Q. That’s interesting. I believe I’ve heard that myself. So that’s what The Story in the Stars is about?

A. Not really. The author just thought that was a catchy title. The novel itself tells of my heroic effort to rescue the planet Gannah from the plague. As it turned out, I arrived too late be of much help, as there was no one left alive but Dassa. But the cure I created was a success in that it did, in fact, bring her back to life, and my subsequent treatment brought her back to full health. That was quite the professional coupe, you might say. It launched my career with the speed of the Super-Fold Pyetroflex protocol.

Q. Um, I see. So you saved the last surviving Gannahan. Then you all lived happily ever after?

A. Oh, no, that’s just the beginning. After her recovery, the wild Gannahan created a near-riot on – well, perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but she did create a disturbance by her lack of political discretion. Because she was still under my care as her doctor, I had to accompany her when the League of Planets whisked her to Earth where she could be properly trained in the ways of civilization. But it seems wherever she goes, trouble finds her. And I’m talking about major troubles, like the time our ship was attacked by Cephargian pirates.

Q. That sounds exciting.

A. It certainly was. Most of the passengers flew into a panic, as did the crew. But fortunately for everyone, I kept my head and was able to help send those lawbreakers back into Cephargian space in disgrace. Then, when we arrived on Earth, I was made Chief of Pathology for the League of Planets Center for Disease Control. The youngest person to ever achieve that position, I’ll have you know.

Q. And what did Dassa do?

A. Hmm?

Q. Dassa. She’s the protagonist in this story, isn’t she?

A. If you want to split hairs, yes. But when we finally arrived safely on Earth, she went to school, as I said, to learn how to live among civilized people. But as soon as she had the chance, she talked me into going back to Gannah with her. I don’t know what I was thinking. But away we went, in the sorriest excuse for a space ship. It was homemade, can you believe it? And unlicensed, and flown by an unlicensed captain. We were crammed into that unsafe, illegal, smelly little tin like so many sardines, for months on end. It was quite unpleasant, as you can imagine.

Q. This is very interesting, but I’m afraid it doesn’t sound like the official write-up I’ve seen. May I share with you what I’ve read?

A. I suppose so…

Q. After you saved Dassa from the plague, this is what it says: “Once she regains her health, she tells a scornful Pik about the story in the stars. Though rejecting her message, he sticks with her while they battle vicious animals, suffer food poisoning and survive a plane crash in order to return to Pik's people the priceless treasure Dassa's ancestors stole centuries before. Throughout their adventures, Dassa learns about patience and unconditional love, while Pik discovers a treasure that can never be lost. “

What’s your response to that? Is that, in fact, what happens in this story?

A. No, not really… Well, yes. I suppose you could say that, more or less. Certainly there was an element of all that, but… Perhaps it’s best if people read the story for themselves. Let them form their own conclusions.

Q. Sounds like good advice. Where can readers find it?

A.  The Story in the Stars is available in both print and e-book formats online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through the publisher’s website at www.RisenFiction.com.

Q. Is this a stand-alone book, or is it part of a series?

A. It’s the first in a series called Gateway to Gannah. Anyone who wants to learn about the other books in the series can go to the “Gateway to Gannah” page on the author’s blogsite, www.YsWords.com.

Q. Can they communicate with the author?

A. I’m not sure anyone would want to, but sure, if they’d like. Her contact information can be found on her site, and she’s also on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1630081991) and Twitter (@YAnderson101).

Q. Thank you, Dr. Pik, for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us.

A. The pleasure’s all mine. I can always find time to talk about myself.
seemed supernatural. And their success at surreptitiously introducing it into the enemy starcrafts' ventilation systems certainly beat all odds. Every last fiend not only left the planet within days, but their bloody surge across the galaxy was halted once and for all. The Karkars' stroke of luck—or genius, Pik preferred to think—saved every civilization in the path of the ravening Gannahan onslaught. As far as Pik was concerned, his people were the saviors of the universe.







CHARACTER INTERVIEW

Q. We’re speaking today with Dr. Pik of the planet Karkar, a man of considerable, um, stature. Tell me, Doctor. Is it common for the people of your planet to be seven feet tall?

A. I am not tall by Karkar standards. In both height and weight, I fall within the fifthieth percentile, so I’m only considered tall by your puny standards. However, my intelligence quotient is considerably above the average, and I’m told that, if physical attractiveness could be measured, my numbers would be astronomical. So I do, in fact, stand out from the common crowd.

Q. Obviously. Forgive me, but you understand that since our audience is primarily Earthish, the differences between the people of our planet and yours is a matter of some interest. And without dwelling on the obvious, you seem to have an extra finger on each hand.

A. Quite the contrary. Your Terrestrial hands have too few.

Q. I suppose so. A sixth digit might come in handy sometimes. And I presume your feet…

A. Are similarly complete, yes. Might we get on with this? I thought you were going to interview me about The Story in the Stars.

Q. Right. Of course. So if this book were a movie, would you say you’re the co-star?

A. That might be technically correct, but the fact is, I upstage the protagonist on every level. Everyone who’s read the book agrees, they like my character best.

Q. I believe I heard that readers like your character because they can relate to you so well. You reflect their own flaws and enable them to laugh at themselves.

A. Flaws? I reflect others’ flaws? Who said that?

Q. I believe it was the author…

A. I’m sure you misunderstood. What she no doubt meant was that compared to my superior qualities, the readers can see their imperfections more clearly. Did she mention my good disposition?

Q. She did say you add humor to the story. But I think… Well, let’s move on. What is this book about? What is the story in the stars?

A. The title is based on a rather bizarre theory that some all-powerful being created everything in the universe—

Q. Oh, you mean God?

A. That’s the idea, yes. According to my co-star, Dassa, when this God created the universe, he illustrated a story in space through the creative interpretation of the stars’ arrangements.

Q. The constellations, in other words.

A. Yes. Although the stars’ locations vary depending upon one’s perspective—that is, the stars above my planet are completely different from those seen from Earth, or from Gannah, or from wherever. But in every culture on every planet, the constellations were said to portray the same objects and were given similar fanciful names. It’s quite perplexing, actually, but not so perplexing as her explanation for all this.

Q. What is her explanation?

A. It’s ridiculous, of course, and impossible. But she believes that the Creator God gave primitive man these pictures in order to illustrate a story that she calls the gospel message. According to her, this is a truth that’s applicable to everyone, everywhere, and that God wants people to know it.

Q. That’s interesting. I believe I’ve heard that myself. So that’s what The Story in the Stars is about?

A. Not really. The author just thought that was a catchy title. The novel itself tells of my heroic effort to rescue the planet Gannah from the plague. As it turned out, I arrived too late be of much help, as there was no one left alive but Dassa. But the cure I created was a success in that it did, in fact, bring her back to life, and my subsequent treatment brought her back to full health. That was quite the professional coupe, you might say. It launched my career with the speed of the Super-Fold Pyetroflex protocol.

Q. Um, I see. So you saved the last surviving Gannahan. Then you all lived happily ever after?

A. Oh, no, that’s just the beginning. After her recovery, the wild Gannahan created a near-riot on – well, perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but she did create a disturbance by her lack of political discretion. Because she was still under my care as her doctor, I had to accompany her when the League of Planets whisked her to Earth where she could be properly trained in the ways of civilization. But it seems wherever she goes, trouble finds her. And I’m talking about major troubles, like the time our ship was attacked by Cephargian pirates.

Q. That sounds exciting.

A. It certainly was. Most of the passengers flew into a panic, as did the crew. But fortunately for everyone, I kept my head and was able to help send those lawbreakers back into Cephargian space in disgrace. Then, when we arrived on Earth, I was made Chief of Pathology for the League of Planets Center for Disease Control. The youngest person to ever achieve that position, I’ll have you know.

Q. And what did Dassa do?

A. Hmm?

Q. Dassa. She’s the protagonist in this story, isn’t she?

A. If you want to split hairs, yes. But when we finally arrived safely on Earth, she went to school, as I said, to learn how to live among civilized people. But as soon as she had the chance, she talked me into going back to Gannah with her. I don’t know what I was thinking. But away we went, in the sorriest excuse for a space ship. It was homemade, can you believe it? And unlicensed, and flown by an unlicensed captain. We were crammed into that unsafe, illegal, smelly little tin like so many sardines, for months on end. It was quite unpleasant, as you can imagine.

Q. This is very interesting, but I’m afraid it doesn’t sound like the official write-up I’ve seen. May I share with you what I’ve read?

A. I suppose so…

Q. After you saved Dassa from the plague, this is what it says: “Once she regains her health, she tells a scornful Pik about the story in the stars. Though rejecting her message, he sticks with her while they battle vicious animals, suffer food poisoning and survive a plane crash in order to return to Pik's people the priceless treasure Dassa's ancestors stole centuries before. Throughout their adventures, Dassa learns about patience and unconditional love, while Pik discovers a treasure that can never be lost. “ What’s your response to that? Is that, in fact, what happens in this story?

A. No, not really… Well, yes. I suppose you could say that, more or less. Certainly there was an element of all that, but… Perhaps it’s best if people read the story for themselves. Let them form their own conclusions.

Q. Sounds like good advice. Where can readers find it?

A. The Story in the Stars is available in both print and e-book formats online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through the publisher’s website.

Q. Is this a stand-alone book, or is it part of a series?

A. It’s the first in a series called Gateway to Gannah. Anyone who wants to learn about the other books in the series can go to the “Gateway to Gannah” page on the author’s blogsite.

Yvonne Anderson
Q. Can they communicate with the author?

A. I’m not sure anyone would want to, but sure, if they’d like. Her contact information can be found on her site, and she’s also on Facebook and Twitter (@YAnderson101).

Q. Thank you, Dr. Pik, for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us.

A. The pleasure’s all mine. I can always find time to talk about myself.



THANKS FOR LOOKING!

11 comments:

Debby said...

I love character interviews. Theyare so muchf un to read.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Lovey Dovey Books said...

Dr. Pik cracks me up; I can't wait to read Story of the Stars!
Thanks for the interview, excerpt, and giveaway :)

Candace @ Lovey Dovey Books
Twitter: @candyco01

The Zoo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Zoo said...

I love to read. Thanks for the giveaway!
swak50 at hotmail dot com

Goldenmane said...

An unusual premise. It sounds quite entertaining.

sparklejewelsp59@yahoo.com said...

love to win sounds like a great book 2 get lost in thanks 4 the giveaway

bn100 said...

I enjoyed reading the excerpt. The book sounds very interesting.

Leah said...

I like the way you have your blog set up and how you present excerpts from the book.

Laurie said...

Thanks so much Leah. :)

Maegan Morin said...

i dont normally read this kind of book but this one looks really good! thanks for the giveaway

Laurie said...

The giveaway winner is John T. :)