Joining us on the popular FSFN interview couch today is author Eileen Schuh.
Eileen Schuh has published two adult Science Fiction novellas, SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT and her new release, DISPASSIONATE LIES. She also has authored three novels in her young adult BackTracker series, THE TRAZ, FATAL ERROR and FIREWALLS. THE TRAZ is also available in a School Edition. Schuh is both self- and traditionally published.
Her new near-future release, DISPASSIONATE LIES, explores female sexuality against a backdrop of high-tech science, governmental and pharmaceutical conspiracies, espionage, and perhaps even murder.
Schuh, born Eileen Fairbrother in Tofield, Alberta lives in Canada’s northern boreal forests and draws her inspiration from the wilderness, her grandchildren, family, and friends, and her adopted community of St. Paul, Alberta. She is both a self-published and traditionally published author.
Book title: DISPASSIONATE LIES
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Synopsis: The year is 2035 and the world’s emerging from a devastating economic collapse. Computer guru, Ladesque, finds her task of restoring the world’s internet capabilities, dull until...
She’s approached by Paul, an attractive FBI agent intent on recruiting her to an ultra-secret project. There’s only one problem—the asexuality she was born with thirty-five years ago, vanishes and she’s left struggling with the unfamiliar power of libido.
When everyone, from ungainly computer geek, Roach to handsome Paul, becomes appealing, Ladesque suspects the popular explanation for the female asexuality saddling her generation is a lie. Her suspicions increase when an encoded diary and whispered rumours link the affliction to conspiracy and murder. However, uncovering facts proves difficult in an age where hackers have corrupted all digital records.
Putting her quest on hold, she joins Paul’s project where her uncertainties are quickly overshadowed by the explosive technology and high-tech challenges of her job. Then, she receives her final assignment. She can either expose her mind to the potentially lethal quantum computer for the sake of the world or be forever a watched woman.
She, alone, must assess the risk—a risk that just might reveal the truth about her past.
Publish date: May 30, 2014
Publisher: WolfSinger Publications
“The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. The mystery which surrounds a thinking machine already surrounds a thinking man.”
~ B.F. Skinner
Late August 2035 ~ Boulder, Colorado
“Pssst, Ladesque!” Roach peered around his monitor as she entered the computer centre, his bright blue eyes sparkling. “I’ve made an amazing breakthrough.”
It ought to be me, not Roach, making amazing breakthroughs. Several feet shy of his desk, Ladesque stopped. “Tell someone who cares,” she grumbled. Immediately, a deep dimple appeared in Roach’s chubby chin, enhancing his boyish look.
She plodded past him, settled into her steno chair and flicked on her computer. It groaned and her monitor sizzled as if the entire system was upset she’d disturbed its slumber. Impatient with the decades-old technology that ought to by now have been instantaneous, she drummed out a rhythm on her desk. It was actually more than just a rhythm. She’d learned American Sign Language years ago from a deaf playmate and often used it to talk to herself. ‘I need a breakthrough,’ she signed. ‘A breakthrough.’
Her computer dinged, undoubtedly asking for her permission to do something. She ignored it. With a slight tweaking of programming even 2010 technology could be forced to look after itself. And she’d done that slight tweaking—a trivial success considering her much larger mandate.
‘Breakthrough, breakthrough, breakthrough.’ So far this morning, it was just her and Roach in the room. Even Porter, who was usually the first to arrive, hadn’t wandered in yet. Alongside her and in front of her, a dozen vacant workstations waited for their people. The open-office milieu, the bosses said, was designed to encourage team work, enhance cohesion and increase communication. However, in her opinion, putting techies in an office without walls did nothing but encourage immature behaviour.
Working against the motion of the chair rollers, she entwined her legs beneath her thighs in somewhat of a lotus position. She wasn’t as flexible as she ought to have been. She’d been rushed this morning and chose to sacrifice her daily yoga to charcoal mascara and champagne eye shadow.
Ladesque leaned forward, hoping to catch her reflection in the monitor. She’d been told often that she had her mother’s eyes. She shared her mother’s dark, thick, wavy hair too—or had her mom worn hers straight? She’s only been dead three years; I can’t believe I don’t remember.
Ladesque quickly checked the family photo on her desk. Her mother’s hair had indeed been dark and wavy—before the cancer treatments had stolen it from her. And her Dad’s, thin on the top and greying—just as she remembered. Not until both her parents’ smiles again felt familiar, did Ladesque look back at her monitor.
She caught the glint of Roach’s silver pendant and felt the tickle of his breath on her neck. “I’m serious about my amazing breakthrough,” he whispered. “Come see.” He gripped the back of her chair, spun it to face his desk and began racing with her across the room.
“Stop it!” she protested.
Unable to get her feet to the floor, she grabbed at Porter’s desk. Her fingers slid ineffectively along the smooth mahogany until she finally got a grip on the corner. The abrupt change in momentum wrenched her chair from Roach’s grip and sent her spinning. On the first revolution, her arm hit Porter’s desk organizer. A stapler and a dozen pens went flying. The second time around, her shoulder walloped his computer, stopping her chair dead and sending his monitor to the aging carpet with a thud and a tinkle.
Before she could so much as gasp, Roach had caught the back of her chair and again and was shoving her toward his work station. He halted in front of his computer, plopped into his chair and began typing.
Ladesque rubbed her shoulder and peered behind her. Porter’s monitor was strewn across the floor—sharp-edged chunks of metal and glass entwined in a labyrinth of cords and wires. A tiny spark crackled deep in its housing, followed by a puff of blue—like a last breath.
Roach slapped her arm. “Look!” He jabbed at his computer screen.
Ladesque untangled her feet and stood. “I just killed Porter’s monitor and it’s all your fault!”
“Never mind Porter’s monitor. He wanted a new one anyway.” Roach’s hands brushed the keyboard. “Watch me make history!”
Kasper: Hi Eileen. I've been dying to meet you since your books were hotly contested prizes at my book launch. They certainly look and sound great.
What’s the story behind your book title?
I crowd-sourced the title on facebook and twitter by presenting my fans, friends, and family with four optional titles. One of them was the working title of the manuscript, Skinner’s Box, which I thought went well with my first SciFi, Schrödinger’s Cat. I quickly found the general public was less thrilled than I was with my attempt at cleverness. For one thing, few knew who Skinner was, leaving many thinking the title reeked of horror. Watched Women was one of the other titles I offered up, along with The God Machine. I was happy with the crowd favourite.
Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?
Definitely! There is an entire back section in the back of the book that lists news headlines and links that I used in my research. From the insecure state of the internet and the global financial crisis to pharmaceutical pollution and medicinal side effects, to metamaterials and nanotechnology. What’s happening today inspired my novel about what will happen tomorrow.
Do you have another job outside of writing?
I work as the Office Administrator for our family business, a custom home building company, Genesis Homes Ltd.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on many projects but my next novella in the SciFi genre, is a novel exploring the science of death. I’m terrified of dying so I am hoping the muses will gift me some enlightenment and comfort during the process of writing.
What do you do when you have writers’ block?
When I get writers’ block, I force myself to read one of my works in progress, with the promise that I don’t have to write or edit—just read. About ten minutes in, guaranteed I’m back to writing. I guess reading inspires me to write.
How did you go about developing your striking cover artwork?
I was startled when I saw the DISPASSIONATE LIES cover for the first time. So caught up was I in the technology of the story, it never dawned on me that I’d end up with a beautiful lady on the cover.
Artist Lee Kuruganti who designed the 2008 Hugo base, created the DISPASSIONATE LIES cover. As this novella is traditionally-published, WolfSinger Publications was responsible for cover design. I was asked for input and here is part of what I submitted: This near-future tale might do well with a cover washed in an orange glow like one gets from sodium street lights. I’ve read research that shows this particular hue induces simultaneous feelings of mystery and arousal in people and both these feelings strongly relate to the plot. Additionally, this orange sodium lighting is one that I associate with futuristic moonscapes and other-world-scapes in cinema. This lighting is mentioned twice in the story.
“The street lights shining through her drapes gave the room an eerie, muted orange glow.”
“She turned. He was standing in the soft shadows of the summer evening, airbrushed by the faint orange of the flickering street light. He was chiselled and symmetric and positively gorgeous.”
Orange is also the colour of the textbook that holds the key to her mother’s encrypted diary.
As far as graphics, the following are suggestions: the textbook...
As you can see, many of my ideas were incorporated—with the added bonus of a gorgeous lady.
It must be so exciting to see your dreams coming to life through the artwork.
Do you have a blog?
I have an active online presence. In addition to the social networks, I have my own website (http://www.eileenschuh.com) & blog, Magic of the Muses (http://eileenschuh.blogspot.com ). I also belong to several group blogs, such as Criminal Minds at Work (crime writing), Famous Five Plus (international indie authors), and Uncommon YA (writers of gritty realistic teen fiction).
What do you write about in your blog?
I don’t have a formal itinerary or schedule for my blog; it is there for me when I need it. I’ve written about personal things (like my quit smoking diary), career things like writing tips. I’ve posted poems and tirades on social issues (like my anti-pot campaign). I share information about things touched on in my novels like Post Traumatic Stress, gangs, illicit drugs, technological developments and computer hackers. I’ve run contests and draws, and always post updates on my writing career. I like sharing my photos, too. Over the years, I’ve also hosted several authors.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
I enjoy the outdoors—hiking, hunting, camping, fishing. In the winter I cross country ski, curl, and go on tropical vacations. Much of my free time is spent with family. Making memories with my grandbabies is the best.
You sound as though you embrace life and enjoy everything you do. Thanks Eileen, for coming and sharing your inspiring thoughts with us today.
Eileen: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
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