About Author

Roxanne Bland

Roxanne Bland
BIOGRAPHY

Award-winning author Roxanne Bland was born in the shadows of the rubber factory smokestacks in Akron, Ohio but grew up in Washington, D.C. As a child, she spent an inordinate amount of time prowling the museums of the Smithsonian Institution and also spent an inordinate amount of time reading whatever books she could get her hands on, including the dictionary. A self-described “fugitive from reality,” she has always colored outside the lines and in her early years of writing, saw no reason why a story couldn’t be written combining the genres she loved and did so despite being told it wasn’t possible. Today, she writes stories that are mashups of paranormal urban fantasy, romance, and science fiction. Enamored of Great Danes, she has been owned by several and lives in Maryland with her current owner, Daisy Mae.

Roxanne Bland's Books

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Book
$0.99 kindleeBook,
The Moreva of Astoreth (The Peris Archives Book 1)by Roxanne BlandPublish: Jan 05, 2021Romance Science Fiction
The Underground
(7) $1.99 kindleeBook,
The Undergroundby Roxanne BlandPublish: Oct 01, 2019Paranormal Romance Science Fiction Fantasy
Invasion
(7) $2.99 kindleeBook,
Invasionby Roxanne BlandPublish: Nov 02, 2017Paranormal Romance Science Fiction Fantasy

Roxanne Bland interview On 14, Feb 2020

"Author Roxanne Bland's dark and engaging novels pull the reader in right from the start. Her world-building is impressive, giving the reader the sense they are actually in the story. Roxanne Bland's Invasion has been called "the craziest and most entertaining mash-up" of paranormal urban fantasy, romance and science fiction."
Growing up in Washington, D.C, which is your favorite childhood memory?

There are so many! The standout, I think, is during the summer I’d sneak out of the house—about 2 or 3 in the morning—and settle on the couch on our side porch, and listen to the sounds of the night. It was so wonderfully quiet. I could hear the breeze soughing through the tree leaves, or the occasional yowl from a feral cat. Back then, D.C. wasn’t much more than a sleepy little town, and nothing operated or was open 24 hours, not even the 7-11 (they were open from 7 AM to 11 PM, hence, its name). I’d watch the sunrise, and then return to my room before my parents woke.

What attracted you the most about the museums of the Smithsonian Institution?

Everything. All of it. There’s so much to see. You know, if you really want to see all of the Smithsonian, plan on staying at least a month and go every day. It really is that huge. There are several new museums I haven’t visited, like the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, The National Holocaust Museum, and more. Your tax dollars work hard at the Smithsonian, and it’s worth every penny. What surprises most visitors, I think, is there’s no admission fee. And you get spoiled because of it. The first time I went to a museum in a different city and was charged admission, I was quite offended.

What was the reaction of your family when you decided to write a book? What was the acting force that pushed you to write?

I’ve written stories, off and on, since childhood. I didn’t think much of it—I had other interests—it was just something fun to do when I wasn’t doing anything else. So when I announced I’d written a novel, my family was pleased but it wasn’t a big deal. What started me writing was boredom. Sheer boredom. I’d fallen ill, and was unable to get out and around for about a month. You know when you’re really ill, and you reach that stage where you don’t sleep all the time but you’re still too sick to get up? That’s where I was. And even though I love to read, there’s only so much reading I can do—day in and day out. I’d gotten a new laptop and I thought maybe writing some stuff would help the time pass more quickly. I’d been reading a series, and the characters were really annoying me, so I decided to write a take-off on that. I showed it to a friend of mine who was my partner in crime when it came to reading, and she suggested I keep going with it. I didn’t, but started a different book, and the rest, as they say, is history.

What do you love the most about stories that are mashups of paranormal urban fantasy, romance, and science fiction?

I can do so much more with the story. Not being restricted to one genre opens up a much wider world. There’s a scene in Invasion where the characters are involved in a terrific space battle, and the ship takes a bad hit, crippling the shields. The mage character runs to the drive deck and gathers up all the wires to the blasted server, and chants a spell to get them back on line. Magick and science working together. And my mashups don’t always mix the three genres. One of my books only has two. As for future works I can throw other genres in the mix—horror, thriller, whatever—and see what comes out.

What was your major in college? How do you think it has contributed to your career as a writer?

My college major was Government, which is sort of like political science. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t contributed a thing. If any of my college courses have contributed to my writing, it would be all those theology classes.

What was your main source of inspiration for Invasion?

The preceding book, The Underground. I hadn’t really intended to write a sequel, but after thinking about it, I realized there were several threads in The Underground that hadn’t been resolved. Like, what about Kurt’s unrequited love for Parker? What about Melera? Does she just blast off into space, or does she stay on Earth? And Garrett—what are the consequences of her machinations to get Parker to join her and Kurt in a tryst? We know from The Underground the spell didn’t work completely. What effect did it have on the three of them? Those questions really needed to be answered, and frankly, I was curious to see how everything would fall out.

Who inspired the character of the powerful alpha male of the werewolf pack, Parker Berenson in "The Underground"?

No one. He’s not an amalgam of a bunch of different people, either. Really, he’s my dream man—a total sweetheart—protective but not jealous, kind and loving, has a fantastic and wicked sense of humor, a strong sense of decency and justice—the kind of guy you bring home to meet your mother and even your father likes him. He’s no pushover, though. He’ll kill you, but only if you deserve it.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing the book, "The Underground?" How much did you research for this book?

The only research involved was the locale. I’ve never been to Seattle, so I pored over several different maps, learning about the different neighborhoods and landmarks, reviewed weather and sunrise/sunset charts, things like that. I also talked to people who live or have spent a lot of time in the city, getting their take on its peculiar culture, nightlife and so on. One man I found particularly helpful is a policeman who recently retired from the force, who told me much about Seattle’s crime history and rate—the types of crimes, the most common crimes, and whatnot. I didn’t use actual street names, though.

As for the paranormals, I have my own ideas about who they are and how they survive. Most books I’ve read more or less gloss over the challenges a paranormal has to contend with to survive in a society where humans outnumber them by magnitudes, and who’d like nothing more to eradicate them. In “reality,” they do what they have to do to survive, and sometimes that means human notions of morality have to go out the window. I suppose that was the biggest challenge—I had to put my moralistic assumptions aside and put myself in their shoes. Imagine what it would be like to live in an active war zone and you’re fighting to survive. It doesn’t matter that you might be a neutral, you’re still getting shot at. What if you’re faced with a choice where the moral thing to do would mean your certain death, and a horrible death at that? Would you do the moral thing and die, or the immoral thing and live? Personally, I don’t know what I’d do. But The Underground’s paranormals are faced with that reality every day of their lives. That’s why the novel’s tagline is “There’s no room for morals when survival is at stake.”

What kind of books do you like to read in your spare time? Who is one of your favorite authors?

My tastes are wide-ranging. For fiction, I’m fond of horror, thrillers, and of course, science fiction and fantasy. These can either be novels or anthologies. The short story is a fantastic literary form. Literary fiction, sometimes—depends on the book. Snow Falling on Cedars and Memoir of a Geisha I really enjoyed. I love reading fairy tales. My non-fiction reading tends toward theoretical physics, cosmology, astrophysics, that kind of thing. I love reading history, all kinds and whatever time periods. My favorite author and poet is Edgar Allan Poe. In my humble opinion, nobody can touch him.

Which is the one character from your books you wish was real?

All of them. I love my children equally.

How do you decide if an idea is feasible or not?

Any idea is feasible. The question is whether it works in the context of the story. If I’m writing a hard science fiction novel, faster-than-light travel or instantaneous—that is, real time—communication can’t exist. If I’m writing science fantasy, they can. In two of my books, instantaneous communication between a transmission point in one galaxy and a receiving point in another galaxy happens through quantum entanglement. In the real world, if you believe what information theorists have to say, that can’t exist because entangled particles can’t carry information. If they did, it means the waves carrying that information are traveling faster than the speed of light, which Einsteinian physics forbids.

What is the one message you would like to give the youth of the world?

Learning will take you only so far, but imagination will take you everywhere.

Do you have any plans to write in some other genre than romance? If yes, which one would it be?

That question doesn’t really apply to me, because I don’t write romance as a single genre. Romance is a subplot of my stories, not THE story. At most, it is the vehicle for a character’s self- discovery. Having said that, I do want to try my hand at something completely different than mashup. I’ve ideas for two alternative histories, one involving Alan Turing and the other Nikola Tesla.

What are you currently working on? Which place in the world would you like to set your next story in?

At the moment, I have three projects going simultaneously. One, a novelette entitled The Final Victim, is set in The Underground’s alternate Seattle. The other two, The Moreva of Astoreth and its sequel, When Gods Die, are set on Peris, a planet in another galaxy. Of course, there are more in the queue. My next project, as yet untitled, is a dystopia set on a future Earth.

How has your experience at AllAuthor been?

I’m still exploring all the site has to offer, but so far, so good. I particularly like that I’m able to make banners and gifs for advertising elsewhere. They make a nice touch for newsletters and other advertising venues. In the future, I plan to put all of my books on AllAuthor.

Ask Roxanne Bland a Question

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      • Roxanne Bland Roxanne Bland 10 months ago
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      • Edgar Allan Poe, for one. My favorite author. I'd love to hear him recite "The Raven." And then maybe "Annabelle Lee." Wouldn't you? For two, Dorothy Parker. I adore her. She was so witty--who else do you know, when challenged to use the word "horticulture" in a sentence, could come up with "you can lead a horticulture but you can't make her think?" I also love her snark. One of the best! For the third, Alexander King. A brilliant raconteur. In his book "May This House Be Safe From Tigers," he hilariously described living in his family's quarters one summer as "we festered in a house not far from the shore." I laughed out loud at that one! What a dinner party that would be! It's a shame they're all dead.
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      • Roxanne Bland Roxanne Bland 10 months ago
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      • Oh, I'm sure, though I can't give names and dates. It's only reasonable to presume that no matter the genre, a story, to some extent, reflects the writer's life experiences because a story is told through the lens of the author. I can't write a military science fiction story off the top of my head because I'm not a veteran. What I can do is interview veterans and turn their experiences into a story. They may not be MY experiences but I'm writing the story through my own lens, putting my spin on what happened to someone else.
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      • Roxanne Bland Roxanne Bland 10 months ago
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      • The only thing more important than a good cover and title is a good story. Say you walk into a party where you don't know anyone. If you were dressed like a slob, what do you think would be their first impression of you? Conversely, if you were dressed to the nines, what would they think? It's the same here. A book's cover and title is the reader's first introduction to you as an author, and you should make as good an impression as possible. The cover is the first thing the reader learns about you and your book. A book with a badly rendered cover is a turn-off. If a book has a terrible cover, what makes a reader think it's going to be a good book? The other thing to keep in mind is that a cover should give the reader an idea of what the book's about. If an author has written a book about elves, there shouldn't be aliens on the cover. The same applies to titles. A reader should find the title intriguing, to entice her to pick up the book to find out more. Finally, it's important that the title and the cover match the story the author has written. If an author has penned a sweet romance, she's not going to title it "Call of the Wild" and put a polar bear on the cover. That's an extreme example but it highlights the importance of hiring a cover designer who has a solid understanding of the genre. And speaking of designers, it's worth spending the money on a good one. This isn't to say an author should bankrupt herself but that an author should spend as much as she can afford. If the author doesn't have a lot of money, it's perfectly fine to work with stock photos but the same principles apply. Cover design is one of my biggest expenses when producing a book.
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      • Roxanne Bland Roxanne Bland 10 months ago
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      • Absolutely. Good reviews are more than just ego strokes. They tell the author what they're doing right in their storytelling. If an author has a book that's received a lot of high ratings, the author can be assured she's hit the right buttons, so to speak. More concretely, it shows that she understands her fiction genre and the elements of a story most likely to resonate with her readers. Bad reviews are disappointing but they can be helpful. Bad reviews sometimes offer an author good, constructive criticism which should not be ignored. This doesn't mean the author has to take the advice, it's just something to keep in mind. Reviews that basically say "you suck"--move on. The other thing about bad reviews I think a lot of authors don't understand is that a bad review is about your book--not you as a person. No matter how talented a writer you are, not everyone is going to like your writing. They might not like your story, your writing style, whatever. And that's okay. It doesn't mean you should turn off your computer, break your pencils, and go find something else to do. Look how many of the "classics" are getting bad reviews by today's readers--The Great Gatsby, for example. But we're talking about books that were written in a different time when writing styles were different, which might not resonate with today's readers. Can you imagine what today's readers would say about Charles Dickens?
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      • Roxanne Bland Roxanne Bland 10 months ago
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      • Yes! Good reviews are more than an ego stroke because they tell the author what she's doing right with her stories. Bad reviews are disappointing, true, but they can still be useful. If the review offers constructive criticism about the work, like maybe there's too much repetition of certain actions on the part of a character, this is great advice and the author should consider it. I received a review like that and on rereading my book, realized they were absolutely right! Other criticisms may not be as on the mark but they still offer something to keep in mind. Remember, if you write fiction (or even if you don't) the reader spent good money on your book and it's your job to make the reading worthwhile. Bad reviews that do nothing but bash--"this book should never have been published," or my favorite, "you suck!"--ignore them. Next! The most important thing though, especially for new authors, is that not everyone is going to like your book. They may not like your plot, your writing style, your characters, whatever. DO NOT take it personally. The reader doesn't like your book, not you. The reader doesn't even KNOW you. A bad review doesn't mean you have no writing talent and you should turn off your computer or break your pencils and find something else to do. Bad reviews have zero to do with your self-worth, so don't let one diminish you.
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      • Roxanne Bland Roxanne Bland 10 months ago
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      • Demanding money from authors to get published. A huge scam. Even if they claim they aren't, they're vanity publishers and that's that. Nothing wrong with being a vanity publisher but when they mislead an author, promising the moon and delivering nothing, well, that's just criminal. It also goes for publishers that, though they don't demand money up front, require authors to buy their own books. When I started out, I wrote to one asking for information, not knowing any better. They told me their process, then asked how many of my books was I willing to buy. That confused me but even back then I knew something didn't smell right. Another scam is when publishers charge authors for in-house services like editing, cover design, things like that. Agents charging for a read. I heard about one agent who charged authors for postage! A legit publisher--and an agent--never demands money from an author for anything. Publishers pay authors royalties, taking their cut out of the book's retail price. An agent gets a commission when she sells the book to a publisher. Period. I hear about authors spending thousands on these jerks and it makes me cringe. Lucky for the newbies, there are plenty of websites that target specifically the heroes and the villains in the industry. These sites are run by authors, so they know what they're talking about. My advice to anyone looking to be published, especially for the first time, is to check out these sites--Preditors and Editors and Writer Beware, for two. Another thing is these egregious publishing contracts. I read one contract that required the author to give up all rights to the work FOR LIFE. Unbelievable. But some authors, desperate to be published, sign these contracts, anyway. Makes me want to scream.
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