I have always been an avid reader of romance and science fiction. I decided to merge my two reading passions together to create my own version of paranormal/science fiction romance. I love creating new worlds where there are endless possibilities for finding love. I grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania and am currently living in Indiana with my hopelessly romantic husband (who would never admit it under torture), the cutest and craziest toddler I’ve ever seen, and two mischievous dogs. While I haven’t sailed around the world I have been to Jamaica where I was married beside the ocean and in a previous career traveled to Germany and Switzerland.
Fiona Riplee: I would describe my writing strategy as layered. Usually, what happens is I just start out with an idea and that idea can go one of two ways: either it gets placed in my idea box and left there for a while or I’ll think about it overnight and the next morning I add more details to it. (It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can generate for ideas.) Then it will percolate. I’ve gotten better at this after getting so many ideas over the years. I used to just go and write, but now I tend to create a summary page (some might call it an outline, but I find that description laughable) of the highlights of the idea. I start to think of what the plot would be and who the characters are, but this is very high level. Then I go back and keep adding.
My latest WIP I developed from a flash fiction challenge where I had an idea (ironically one of my own) and the fiction had to contain certain elements and be written within a certain word count. Those are fun to do and, depressingly, tell me that I work well under pressure.
J.J. Devine: Do you fall in love with your hero as you create his story?
Fiona Riplee: Absolutely. I wouldn’t want to write about him if I didn’t. In fact, I fall in love with a lot of my characters, hero or not. When a work in progress is complete it’s sad to see them go. What happens is they tend to show up in other stories because I’ve been missing them.
J.J. Devine: You write romance, so give us the scoop, do you believe in love at first sight? What about kisses that make your heart stand still? And the real question, do you believe in soul mates?
Fiona Riplee: I do believe in love at first sight. I don’t think this only means what the other person looks like either, but the entire package that comes with them. It might not happen to everyone, but it’s possible and why I write romance. Sometimes love at first sight is there, but the people involved haven’t opened their eyes, yet. That’s always interesting to watch.
Kisses that make my heart stand still? Oh yes, hubby still give me those. :) And I know my hubby is my soul mate. We compliment each other in so many ways and are always looking out for each other. I think a soul mate is more than you are meant to be together, but are ready and willing to work though all of the messy and not so messy parts of life together as a team.
J.J. Devine: Tell us a little about yourself.
Fiona Riplee: I currently live in Indiana and I grew up in Pennsylvania. (You might see these locations in one or more of my stories.) I married a pretty cool guy twelve years ago by the water in Jamaica of all places, and we have a cute and crazy toddler. I love movies of all sorts, science fiction and romance are my favorites. Some might say that I’m obsessed with the show, The Walking Dead. Hey, what’s not to like about zombies? Other than being a bookworm, I love to knit and art journal.
J.J. Devine: Why do you write the genre you write?
Fiona Riplee: I love science fiction whether is it in the form of books or movies. I love romance novels of all types, my favorite is paranormal. I’ve been reading them forever. What I found was there weren’t a lot of science fiction romance books that I knew of. I wrote the type of story I wanted to read. What if aliens were real but not much difference in appearance than humans and what if there really was a secret conspiracy to hide them so society wouldn’t freak out? Also, I grew up with stories in my family (shhh) about some of my family members seeing a UFO. Was is true? I don’t know, but it sure has influenced my writing!
J.J. Devine: What from your past plays into your writing today?
Fiona Riplee: I like to use locations where I’ve lived in my stories and places I’ve traveled to. It makes it easier to get a setting fully developed quickly because I don’t have do a large amount of research. The experience of traveling to a place alone can be used for a future story. If I traveled by train, airplane or drove across the country, all of these experiences I pull from when creating my stories.
The stories I write that are somewhere I haven’t been take longer to write and, of course, I obviously haven’t been to another planet so in my more Sci fi heavy stories I have to think what would this world really look like. I take my vast past experience with reading and watching science fiction and also research what planets that have been studied through astronomy or space exploration. The fly by of Pluto this summer really had me on the edge of my seat. I’m nerdy.
J.J. Devine: What is your latest novel? Where can we find it?
Fiona Riplee: I don’t have a novel out, yet. I’m currently working on a manuscript I have scheduled to be completed by early 2016. Circle of Lies is a Sci fi / paranormal romance about Sandra Robins (human) and Raz Donovan (Sixxer, a.k.a. alien). Here is a blurb:
As a former M83 soldier, Raz vows to never get involved in the fight against humans again. Once Raz realizes the extent of the Sixxer destruction he is forced into a battle that will include fighting his heart.
Sandra is drawn to the mysterious Raz. She’ll be thrown into a world where it’s hard to tell the truth from the lies. There is no turning back as her heart convinces her to fall in love again.
Also, enjoy my short story, Love’s Light, in the Hope Chest Anthology by Crossroads Romance Writers.
J.J. Devine: Where can we find you on the web?
Fiona Riplee: I have a website I update frequently, mostly on my blog. I am also available via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Goodreads and Tumblr.
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+FionaRiplee/posts
By Fiona Riplee
Genre: Alien Paranormal
Battle the light. Embrace its heat.
Senza Cavanaugh bit into the protein bar. Her phone buzzed. She typically didn’t skip lunch, but her project deadline loomed. Was her boss checking on her progress again? With an irritated sigh, she reached across her desk. A glimmer of azure light seeped from the tips of her fingers, hovered above the electronic device and an internal vibration ran up her arm. She snatched her hand back. The phone, which had been suspended an inch from the work surface, followed her movements and fell at her feet with a dull bounce. Every muscle in her body tensed.
Senza’s telekinesis hadn’t made an appearance in four years, and had always flared in the presence of Trevor Gate. The psychic power she had her entire life flickered along the back of her hand. There was no doubt in her mind he was the caller.
The fragrant chocolate block, disguised as food, went into her mouth. On her hands and knees, she rescued her smart phone from under the desk and turned it over. Trevor’s number illuminated the screen. She sank onto the floor crossing her legs Buddha style. The bar’s fake chocolate aroma slithered into her nostrils and her stomach churned. Her heart pounded and her lunch became dust on her tongue.
The phone pulsated again. Her breath shallowed. She spit the mouthful of food into the trashcan beside her. The airy glow from her fingers engulfed her entire palm, and curled around the phone in minute offshoots of white light. Four years apart hadn’t stopped the energy from erupting between them. The buzzing cell paused, and she relaxed. Waiting for the voice mail chime, Senza jumped as the phone rang again. Dread crept into her spine.
Senza lifted the small electronic to her ear. “Hello?”
“It’s good to hear your voice.”
Trevor’s deep baritone sent a delicious shiver down her spine. Frantic butterflies wiggled in her gut. Talking to him had always created a nervous energy inside her body.
What could she say? I’ve missed you.
The silence ticked by. A remembered vision of him appeared, brown hair, blue eyes. His sexy, but boyish grin always made her laugh. The psychic light surrounding her hand bloomed in her peripheral vision.
I thought the flare had disappeared for good. Does it only glare like a sun in my mind?
Senza ducked further under her desk, better safe than sorry. The musty air under her assigned workspace irritated her eyes and activated a tingling in her nasal cavity. She breathed through her mouth, pinched the end of her nose, and cut off the impending sneeze. No one would understand if they saw her. The fear of someone forcing her to explain, what she couldn’t explain herself, overwhelmed her. Aunt Violet constantly warned her to keep her psychic power to herself. Normal people couldn’t fathom a power that incited their panic. They would hurt her.
The last time the light exploded, Trevor’s brother, Wade, had died. Right now it’s a small bright light, not an explosion. I won’t lose control of it.
Trevor broke the silence. “Um… It’s been a long time.”
Senza hadn’t been conscious of the dead air between them. Thoughts bounced in her head. Thanks, Mr. Obvious. Four years without a word is an effing long time. Where have you been?
The anger was still fresh. The hurt was still raw inside her. “Why are you calling?”
“I have bad news.” His voice cracked.
Senza’s racing heart jumped to her throat. “Are you okay?”
“My grandfather… Your Aunt Violet…” Trevor’s fragmented speech was difficult to follow. “Are gone.”
Sweat broke out along her skin. Her fingers went to her mouth and low waves of extrasensory vibration pulsed against her lips. When had she last called her aunt? Days? Weeks? Why would Trevor talk about Aunt Violet and Edward, his grandfather, as though they had been together? “They’re both missing?”
Trevor’s breathing hitched, and he stumbled over the words. “I’m so sorry…” Trevor caught his breath. “…at the beginning of Waverley’s Trail.”
“At the end of Waverley’s Trail was where you last kissed me.”
Sunlight glared from the window blind. She squinted as the memory of Make Out Cave flashed in her mind’s eye. Hidden off the side of Waverley's trail and before the decent into Razor's Edge, Make Out Cave had been the one place neither of them feared her light would hurt anyone. She remembered the dry desert heat and scent of cooling sage. The cocoon of Trevor’s aftershave surrounded her in citrus and fresh ocean breezes in contrast with the cool earthy notes of the cave. His head tilted. The brown curl fell across his forehead right before their lips met. The light filled the hollow with a soft haze. Senza blinked out of her rumination. Her light filled the undercarriage of her desk. A deep breath extinguished the energy in front of her, and the flames of her re-awakened desire.
Trevor cleared his throat several times. “A hiker found him.”
He wasn’t making any sense. She leaned back against the underside of the desk. “How is Edward missing if a hiker found him?”
“He didn’t make it.” Trevor choked back a sob. “My grandfather… Edward is dead.”
Senza clutched her aching chest. Her lungs burned. “My… Aunt Violet?”
“They found her at the bottom of Razor’s Edge, at first light.”
The room spun. Spots floated around her eyes, dimmed and turned black. The office lights flickered, and the vibration in her body became an audible hum. Trevor droned in her ear. Senza closed her eyes and put her forehead against the desk wall. It’s too much. I can’t hold the power back. Her filing cabinet drawer rumbled open. The chair jumped away from her. A mini earthquake shook her cubicle.
“Senza, baby. Stay with me. I need you.”
Those words brought her back. A cascade of color burst behind her eyelids. Had Trevor ever admitted he needed her? The sunlight in the room faded as a cloud passed overhead and darkened the entire office floor. The darkness had become her friend after he left and her safety net. Yet, Senza braved the light and would give anything in this moment to have his arms hold her tight. “Where are you?”
Trevor said, “I’m in Switzerland.”
What in the hell kind of exotic lifestyle is he living while I sat here and worried about him?
Senza crawled out from under her desk and pushed the drawers shut. “What are you doing there?” She stood. Chills ran along her spine.
“Getting answers. You’ll be in Arizona before me. When can you leave?” The gritty edge to his speech let her know he held back sobs for the father and grandfather Edward had been to Trevor and his older brother, Wade.
“What kind of answers? Were their deaths questionable?” Her voice was high and needy, but better than hearing her sobs.
“I’ll tell you when I get there. Can you leave right now?”
The office floor spread out like a ghost town, silent and eerie. The lack of burnt popcorn or leftover chili was unusual. Row after row of empty cubicles made an unobservable exit possible. She stepped two feet to the right and peered into the corner office. The boss wouldn’t be happy if she left. Although, Aunt Violet had raised her with the attitude of sometimes it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission. “I’ll get the next flight out of JFK.”
“If all goes well, I'll leave Zurich first thing in the morning.”
Anticipation gnawed at Senza’s heart. She would see him and touch him again, but panic clawed at her soul for the reasons he was coming home. Trevor was the only family she had left now. Did an ex-boyfriend count as family? He’d abandoned her four years ago… Would he do it again?