Author Interview: Roxanne Bland, author of 'The Moreva of Astoreth'

Roxanne Bland grew up in Washington, D.C., where she discovered strange and wonderful new worlds through her local public library and bookstores. These and other life experiences have convinced her that reality is highly overrated. Ms. Bland lives in Rosedale, Maryland with her Great Dane, Daisy Mae.
Her latest book is the science fiction novel, The Moreva of Astoreth.
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About the Book:

Author: Roxanne Bland
Publisher: Blackrose Press
Pages: 607
Genre: Science Fiction

Moreva Tehi, scientist, healer, priestess of the Goddess of Love and three-quarters god, is a bigot. She hates the hakoi who are the Temple’s slaves. When she misses an important ritual because the enslaved hakoi are participants, her grandmother, the Goddess Astoreth, punishes her by exiling her for a year from her beloved southern desert home to the far north village of Mjor in the Syren Perritory, (where the hakoi are free) to steward Astoreth’s landing beacon. But Astoreth forbids her from taking with her scientific research on red fever, a devastating scourge that afflicts the hakoi. She does so, anyway.

The first Mjoran she meets is Laerd Teger, the hakoi chief of the village, who appears to hate her. She also meets Hyme, the hakoi village healer, and much to Moreva Tehi’s surprise, they form a fast friendship. This friendship forces her to set upon a spiritual journey to confront her bigotry. While doing so, she falls in love with Laerd Teger, who returns her love. She eventually has a revelation about the meaning of love, and rids herself of her bigotry. And she develops a cure for red fever, and is the first healer to do so.

But there is a price for her love for Laerd Teger, and that is her certain execution by the Goddess Astoreth upon her return home because she has broken her sacred vows. But then, through Laerd Teger, she learns a terrible secret about her gods, that they are not gods at all, but aliens, and rather than being part god, she is part alien. Her world destroyed, she turns on Laerd Teger for showing her the truth. They eventually reconcile. But there is still the problem about her love for Laerd Teger. Astoreth will know what she has done and will execute her. She formulates a plan, involving the erasure of her memory, in which she will bargain for her life by giving Astoreth the formula for red fever. Astoreth agrees. For breaking her vows and disobeying a direct order not to take her red fever research to Mjor, Astoreth strips her of her morevic status and exiles her again to Mjor. Back in Mjor, she recovers her memory and sends the red fever formula to Astoreth. Now freed from the constraints of being a Moreva, Tehi and Teger embark on a new life together.

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  • The Moreva of Astoreth is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

The genesis of The Moreva of Astoreth stems from my college days. For something to do after a night of studying, a friend and I collaborated on a story. We were just having fun, not meaning to go anywhere with it. But the story’s basic outline—the details are long forgotten—stuck with me all these years. Then I read Zecharia Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles series, wherein he posits that ancient astronauts came to Earth, created humans to serve as workers, and founded the Sumerian civilization. Whether you believe his theories or not, it’s a great tale, full of intrigue and betrayal. So one day I was reminiscing about my friend and the story we crafted, and then I started thinking about Sitchin’s work. That’s when the idea to meld the two hit me. And so I wrote The Moreva of Astoreth.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing The Moreva of Astoreth really wasn’t hard. It was hard work—like writing any novel—but it wasn’t all that difficult. Perhaps it was because I already had in mind where I wanted to go and what I wanted to say. But I’ll say this: watch your descriptions of the action. I tend to over describe, a blow by blow of the character’s movements—even of someone just walking across the room—and it gets tedious to readers. Sometimes I don’t always catch myself. Thank goodness for editors!

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I’m an independent author—indie for short. I started my own publishing house, Blackrose Press, and publish all my books through it. It wasn’t because of the rejections I received—and there were plenty—but because of the process. The do’s and don’ts of querying agents, for example, depends on who you ask. So confusing. And the time it took for agents to respond—if they responded at all—sometimes ran into months. Between querying and waiting, it was taking years. Being the somewhat impatient sort, I began researching possible alternatives to traditional publishing. I liked the idea of owning my house, so I went indie. It’s hard work, having to do everything yourself, but rewarding. I’m quite satisfied with my decision. 

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Yes. That it actually happened. My first book was The Underground, and to hold it in my hands was an absolute high. It took me days to come down.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

Right now, I’ve got a work-in-progress about a vampire, a werewolf and a mage who have lost their paranormal powers but must get over their distrust of one another to team up with a rogue alien to stop an invasion of Earth. Yes, I know. I’m weird like that. My goal is to have it published in 2017.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Goodreads, definitely. It’s so multifaceted. You can find books to read, either by your favorite authors or by new ones. There are even games to play when you want to take a break. The website sponsors giveaways, so an author might find new readers. There’s help for indie authors, such as how to use Facebook ads, and author tools like Scrivener. All genres are represented, so no matter what you like to read or write, it’s there. I could go on and on, but space is limited. Suffice it to say I think it’s one of the best sites for authors and readers on the web.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

It’s quite simple. After my ablutions, I go into my bedroom and push my sleeping dog out of my space on the bed (no mean feat since she’s a Great Dane). Then we curl up under the covers, and I read for a bit until I’m sleepy. I don’t think about my work-in-progress so to give my brain a rest. Then it’s off to dreamland.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Bigotry. I’ve always thought that sometimes, what we hate in another person or people is but a reflection of what we hate in ourselves. The problem is that our hate can destroy us. If we can identify the source of that hate, we can work hard by practicing self-love, by being mindful of our thoughts and actions, and turn our hate into love.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

To all you aspiring authors: read, read and read some more. Read outside your genre. Note the words used, and the way the sentences flow. If you like something, file it away for future reference. Write, write and write some more. Don’t keep it a secret, though. Join a critique group, either in-person or online. Cultivate a writing buddy. Don’t worry if what you’re putting out is garbage. Learn from your mistakes. Writing is like learning a musical instrument. Unless you’re a natural (and there are very few of those) you must practice and practice your craft until you have mastered it. But don’t think that’s the end of the road. Even piano masters continue to practice their art. So should you. And when it comes to publication, remember that there are so many options to get published these days other than the traditional route—like small press and indie. But above all else—go for it!

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