Friday, 5 November 2010

Guest Post: Science Fiction Romance Author Maria Zannini

Today I am thrilled to have author Maria Zannini as a guest on my blog. When I asked Maria if she could write about romance in science fiction, the subgenre she specialises in, she was more than happy to oblige. Please read on for an intriguing quiz and advice that applies to all novelists, not just those writing science fiction romance.

All that is left to say now is over to Maria for the rest of this post.

Are You Science Fiction Romance Author Material? Do you have what it takes to be a science fiction romance author? Take this quiz.

1. Do you dream of faster than light technology?
2. Did the Na'vi in Avatar get you hot?
3. Can your characters sizzle by a mere sweep of a glance?
4. Are people constantly falling in love in your stories?
5. Have you ever undressed Nathan Fillion with your eyes?
6. Are you a geek who loves love?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you are definitely a candidate for our exclusive membership.

Science fiction romance sometimes gets a bad rap. The hardcore sci-fi community get their panties in a wad if someone even mentions sex, and the romance community will complain that computers make their eyes bleed.

But there is a growing grassroots community who read and write science fiction romance.

They don't faint at the sight of satellites decloaking into super weapons, nor do they roll their eyes when the hero and heroine get horizontal.

And there's a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. The science has to make sense and the emotion has to be tangible. Fluffy is your neighbor's dog. It has no place in science fiction OR romance.

Science fiction romance readers want more than blasters and space wars. They want to read about life on different worlds, on spaceships, and within secret societies. They want characters they can care about, characters who make them fall in love.

I have four rules to guide me.

• Make the science readable. No ten dollar words or hand-waving to draw attention away from the fact that you didn't do your research.
• Never skimp on the details that bring a character or setting to life.
• Invest the reader in your characters. (That's nonnegotiable no matter what genre you write.)
• Don't write a novel. Tell a story.

The lines between genres are blurring all the time. SFR isn't your grandma's romance. It's sophisticated and sexy. My favorite combination!

So how did you do on the quiz? What subgenres have you tried?


Maria Zannini's latest release is a science fiction romance called TRUE BELIEVERS.

Mix one cynical immortal and one true believer and throw them into the biggest alien-hunt the world has never known. Rachel Cruz is a Nephilim masquerading as an archeologist and she's stuck with an alien who believes she can lead him to his ancestral gods. Black Ops wants to find these gods too. They want them dead.

Follow Maria here:


Contest time! Every time you leave a comment, tweet or mention "Maria Zannini" anywhere with a link to my blog, your name goes in the hat for a chance to win a Texas sized prize. Go here for more information.


Thank you for giving us an interesting and insightful blog post, Maria. It has certainly given me a lot to think about.


  1. Excellent guest post! I answered yes to 4.5.6 but I don't know anything about Scifi! I write fantasy.... maybe I need to think on this.

  2. Yes I have sci fi and romance leanings. LOL I'm planing a YA Sci Fi/Post apocalyptic type book.

  3. You have a new award on my blog :O)

  4. Melissa - I answered yes to 1, 4 and 6. I wanted to say yes to 3, but I'm not sure if they do or not. LOL.

    Madeleine - Ooo. . .I like the sound of your book. Sci-fi rocks! Another award?! Thank you. I'll be posting a thank you on Sunday.

    Maria - who is Nathan Fillion?

  5. Not entering to win, but just wanted to say that if I were undressing Fillion with my eyes, I'd be writing some weird romance stories!
    And Ellie, he's the star of Firefly and Serenity!

  6. Sounds like an exciting twist...the book is one I would choose.

    Good luck!

  7. Ellie, I've posted up an excerpt for you

  8. Hello guys! Glad to see you!

    Melissa: True Believers is what you call a mash-up because I tend to blend fantasy with SF. So if you write fantasy, there's no reason you can't throw in a little geeky stuff.

    Madeleine: Be still my beating heart. (I'm adding you to my reader, just so I can hear more.) I LOVE post apocalyptic fiction! My first book, Touch Of Fire is a post apocalyptic story set 1200 years in the future.

    Ellie: Nathan Fillion is from Serenity, Firefly and now on Castle. Google if you'd like to see "more" of him. Gerard Butler is more my type but he hasn't done SF--yet.

    Alex: Actually there is an entire subgenre of male/male romance with both men and women fans. PS...the contest is a month long event.

    Gail: I hope you try it, Gail, then let me know what you think.

  9. My current WIP has a sci fi element although the mystery and romance take precendence. But when it's finished, I'm planning to dust off an eighty percent complete sci fi (futuristic, off world) romance I started a few years back and see if it's time has come.

  10. Linda: I think that's the beauty of mash-ups. You can have threads of certain elements and still be true to the central core of the main genre.

    I won't get a royalty statement from Carina Press for a few months yet, but I'm hearing from readers so it must be selling. SFR is not the red-haired stepchild it used to be.

  11. Er I answered no to the questions but am all for romance in sci-fi world!! The best combination!!!! Nothing like a bit of love across the species/planets/asteroid belts/spaceships to enhance sci-fi!!! It's all good!!

    Thanks for a brilliant interview!! I love Maria Zannini's four rules that guide her writing - I thanks for sharing!!!! Good luck with True Believers!!!!! Yum!

    Thanks Ellie for hosting! Take care

  12. Thanks for stopping by, Old Kitty!

    I discovered by accident that people kept falling in love in my stories. I realized then that no matter what genre I wrote in, there was always going to be a romantic relationship somewhere along the way.

  13. hmmn I answered yes to #3 and 4 but i swear i don't have that special brain it takes.

  14. Joanna: The only thing SF requires is a curious mind. I am the most non-techy person you will ever meet, but I am curious about everything. That, and I have a husband that quizzes me constantly on the latest technology. Oy!

  15. The book sounds like fun and thanks for the tips.

    Nathan Fillion is hot.

  16. Alas, Maria, I have failed your quiz :(

    But I like the idea of blending genres. It seems bringing Romance into the mix is a way of breathing a new kind of life into SciFi. Because when I think of pure SciFi, I think of futuristic, tech type stories. The Romance humanizes the story, makes it a bit more real, no?

  17. Nessa:

    Ref: Nathan Fillion
    I loved how he can deliver his lines with a perpetual smirk.

  18. Joanne: In the early days of SF that was very true. I enjoyed it, but I always felt there was something missing.

    Anne McCaffrey brought romance and real warmth into SF.

  19. Fun post, Maria! Alas, I'm just #6: a geek who loves love. LOL

  20. Jennifer: That's okay. We'll keep you on the welcoming committee. Thanks for stopping by!

  21. Whoa, I said yes to a lot of these questions and I'm currently working on an outline for a sci fi piece with a lot of romance (YA though, so not toooo steamy).
    What a perfect post for me today!

  22. Lydia: YA SciFi? Fantastic! Glad you found the post helpful, Lydia.

  23. 1,4 and 6 for me are a yes... However am a reader forever and a writer never! I do not have the internal discipline or the desire to write but would rather escape into other people's imagination in their books! SFR has def come a long way from the stuff we had 20 years ago, funny thing is some of the books from 20 years ago are now becoming favored reading again!

    Maria your way of combining wonderful romance with the scientific parts of the story is priceless, and also very entertaining too!

    jackie ^_^

  24. Thanks, Jackie! I'm so glad you liked True Believers. I was pretty worried when I sent it off into the world.

    SciFi gets a bad rap but that's only from people who haven't read it recently. It's a whole new universe now. This time we get to see people nekkid. LOL.

  25. I am definitely a geek who loves love! Great post, I'm so glad SFR is finally getting some recognition :)

  26. Meghan: It's always surprised me that it took so long. It's not like it wasn't being done 30+ years ago, but there were so few and far between. I devoured everything that was SF or a mash-up of SFF with romance. It didn't matter if it was good or not.

    Digital is what finally turned the tide and we're seeing better written books and more variety.

  27. Alex - I can't believe I forgot who Fillion was! LOL. I can't picture Byron undressing him with his eyes either.

    Maria - I can't believe I forgot who Fillion was! Gerald Butler is alright. I'd like a cross between Morten Harket and Professer Brian Cox.

    Madeleine - I tried looking, but the image is missing. I think there's a problem with blogger at the moment. I'll try again tomorrow!

    Old Kitty - glad you liked it!

  28. That was a cute quiz and I said yes to two.

  29. Dru: Now you leave me with guessing which two. :grin:

  30. I don't write so I can't answer the rest of them but definitely yes on the Nathan Fillion question. But I do read and I am reading True Believers and am loving it! Great writing Maria. Plus, it's my first download-able book and it's so cool.

  31. I answered yes to most of these! Woo, I can write sci fi romance! I like a nice injection of romance into almost any narrative. In fact that's the title of my next (and first) sci fi romance, Love Injection. Heh.

  32. Stacy! I'm so tickled that you're reading True Believers. I hope you like it.

    Think of Taelen Jessit like a Nathan Fillion--but with a bigger ship. :grin:

  33. Barbara: Love Injection? Now you've got me wanting to learn more. Is this a book you're working on for NaNo?

    I hope you'll tell more on your blog. Thanks for popping in!

  34. That Maria Zannini novel sounds pretty cool

    I did ok on the quiz, except I'm not a geek. I have to agree that the technology has to be readable. I got my first taste of SF with Jack Chalkers MASKS OF THE MARTYR'S, and have had a love affair with the genre ever since. Except, when it gets too techy.

    I'll have to check out TRUE BELIEVERS.


  35. Donna - I'm reading True Believers now and it is quite a ride!

  36. Donna: Thanks for stopping by! Readable tech is a biggie for me. If I wanted a degree in neurochemistry--I'd get one. I don't want to get that degree in a novel.

    Ellie: I'm glad you're liking TB so far.

  37. Whew! Answered yes to a few of the questions, so maybe I'm good to go :) And an "OMG YES!" to #5. I love how Nathan can smirk and still look sincere. *sigh*

  38. Cathy: He DOES look sincere when he smirks, doesn't he? His expression is a mix between impending mischief and loaded innocence.


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