Author Diane Burton wears three sub-genre hats and wears them very well: science fiction romance, romantic suspense, and mystery. Last week, she released the latest in her Outer Rim series of science fiction romance novels: The Protector. I invited Diane to visit and persuaded her to answer a few questions about herself and her work.
Thanks, Jolana. I’m happy to be here.
And here we go!
ME: Do you remember the first story you ever wrote and how old you were when you wrote it?
DIANE: In high school, my best friend and I wrote what’s now called fan fiction. We’d write episodes of our favorite TV shows where the hunk we had a crush on would fall in love with us. I was writing romantic fiction back then. Who knew?
ME: Knowing what you know now, if you could go back in time to visit your younger self, what advice would you give her?
DIANE: Start writing sooner. I wish I hadn’t quit writing in high school. Also wish I’d started writing those stories that rattled around in my mind for years before I started writing for real.
ME: In addition to action and romance, you have a lot of humor in your novels. What are some of the things that make you laugh? Is there a particular comic whose humor resonates with you?
DIANE: My grandchildren’s giggles, romantic comedy movies, Stephanie Plum. My favorite comic is Rita Rudner. Her standup comedy about marriage is dead on. Bea Arthur did deadpan so well. I also love Bette Midler, Cameron Diaz, Madelyn Kahn, and Betty White.
ME: The main characters in your novels are strong, capable women. Who is your favorite female superhero? Do you have a real-life personal heroine?
DIANE: Fav superhero: Natasha Romanov/Black Widow in The Avengers. In real life, the parents of children killed in school shootings and the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. I don’t know how they were able to move on. What strength.
ME: Both your Switched trilogy and your Outer Rim series are science fiction romance novels. What attracted you to science fiction and inspired you to write in the science fiction romance sub-genre?
DIANE: I was fascinated by the space race in the 1960s. I knew all the astronauts’ names, watched each launch, and stayed glued to the TV for the moon walk. I love Star Trek (all the original series plus the reboot). But I think the impetus for my writing sci-fi romance was Star Wars. Action, adventure, romance. It’s all there.
ME: This one is just for fun. If you were casting a movie based on The Protector, which actors would you chose to play the main protagonists Rissa and Dillan?
DIANE: LOL I just answered that question on Robyn Bachar’s blog yesterday. In case you missed it, I’d love Paula Patton from MI3: Ghost Protocol to play Rissa—if only she grew about three inches. LOL For Dillan, I’d choose Chris Pratt from Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s funny, self-effacing, seems like a goof-off but comes through when needed.
ME: Tell us about The Protector.
DIANE: The Protector is about healing and redemption through love. Rissa Dix lost her baby to traffickers. After searching for years, she never found her child. When she rescues two girls from a slave ship, she’s given a second chance to be a mother (though she’d never admit that). To make sure no mother goes through what she did, Rissa takes on a trafficking ring. Complicating matters is the return of Dillan Rusteran, the reckless, thrill-seeking kid who used to come to the Rim to play. Only he isn’t a kid anymore.
About the Book
After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from raiding the frontier colony. She’s met with apathy and disbelief. Because she lost her own baby to traffickers, she’s determined that no other mother will suffer the same heartache. Industrialist heir Dillan Rusteran aids her in rescuing more children. Little do they know they’re about to tangle with a trafficking ring that puts Rissa in danger. Dillan’s loved her for years despite her claim she’s too old for him. As they fight the traffickers, will she finally see him in a new light?
In this excerpt, Rissa and Dillan don’t recognize each other and not because it’s been six years since he left the Rim.
“What in Lexol’s Fire are you doing?”
Rissa turned at the strong male voice that came from the shadow at the rear of the fancy space yacht.
Sherd. We’re in trouble.
At the same time, Barlen lowered the ramp into the traffickers’ transport.
Rissa touched Fortuna’s arm and whispered, “Take it from here. I’ll deal with our audience.”
As if time wasn’t of the essence, she strolled toward the shadow where the male lurked. If the dock master saw her friends, they would be in a world of hurt. Languishing in Astron Lockup was not on her agenda.
The man in the shadow had spoken in Universal, his accent Bricaldian. Rissa knew better than to assume he was human. All species in the Central District spoke Universal. She expected him to step forward after announcing his presence. He didn’t.
She never had to look up to most men, other than Kiran. Her size used to bother her, but since she began running a tavern on the Frontier, she was grateful for her height and strength. Still, this man made her feel small. When she looked up, her hood and mask slipped so much she couldn’t see him very well. His overlong hair hung down to blend in with a heavy beard. His broad shoulders and chest made her think twice about taking him down. That and the blaster in his hand.
“Am I interrupting something?” he asked with fake casualness.
“Nah.” She tried to disguise her voice and waved her hand, equally casual. “Just a little surprise party for the pilot.”
“Stealing a man’s cargo is hardly worthy of a party.” His tone had gone from casual to harsh. “What the—”
Rissa looked over her shoulder. Pela, a child attached to both of her hands, led a parade of children to the back door of the spaceport. Kiran stood in the open doorway and waved them forward.
“Are there more?” he asked Pela who nodded.
“Is that a slave ship?” the man behind her said.
“Keep your voice down.”
After leaving the children with Kiran, Pela rushed to Rissa. “They’re really scared. The pilot told them slavers might try to take them away.” She ducked her head and went inside.
So that was why Fortuna was taking so long—convincing kids who thought their rescuers would be worse than their captors. Rissa hurried to the cargo ramp.
“What can I do to help?” The man from the Caravel must have followed her. At least, he’d had the good sense to hide his blaster. The kids were scared enough.
“Go back to your yacht and forget you saw this. Or us.”
About Diane Burton
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and The Case of the Bygone Brother, a PI mystery. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s Website!
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