Tuesday, December 1, 2015

PUYB Virtual Book Club Chats with 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.

For More Information
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.

For More Information

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

Thanks for joining us at the book club, Roxanne!  Can we begin by having you tell us how you got started writing science fiction?

Roxanne: First of all, I’ve always loved science fiction, since I was a child. And that’s when I penned my first story. I was about ten or so. It was about a group of children who find a portal that led to Zoine, another planet. Now they have to find their way back to Earth. I don’t remember much else about it, except that when they lit a fire, the flames were black.  It won a city-wide story contest.

How did you come up with the title of your book, The Moreva of Astoreth?

Roxanne: The title refers to the book’s heroine, Tehi. She is a moreva, a priestess, of Astoreth who is the Goddess of Love. Since the book is all about Tehi and her adventures, The Moreva of Astoreth seemed like a fitting title.

Can you tell us about the setting and why you chose it?

Roxanne: Tehi is from the desert. Hot and dry. Uruk, the city where her Temple is located, is a dense, carefully planned, well-ordered urban area. Think New York City, Manhattan in particular. I wanted to drop her into an environment as alien to her as she would be to us so I chose a rustic—by comparison—place with lush forests and lots of wildlife, all of it close by and some of it quite dangerous, as she discovers. By the way, the Syren Perritory, the place of her exile, is based on my memories of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Beautiful area of the planet. If you ever have a chance to go there, by all means do so.

Tell us a little about Moreva Tehi?

Roxanne: She’s spoiled rotten, that’s for sure. But I suppose anyone might be, if they were the granddaughter and favorite of a goddess. But what’s important is that she’s a bigot, which stems from her own self-hatred. Her transformation into a loving member of her kind—finding her path to loving herself and those around her—is a big part of the story.

Can you tell us a little about your supporting characters?

Roxanne: Hyme, the Mjoran village healer, is a gentle, generous man, and the most worldly of the characters. He travels around the Syren Perritory a lot, so he’s exposed to many different people and different points of view. He’s more than willing to share his knowledge, but claims he’s being selfish because by doing so, he’s enriching himself. Many a time, his wisdom and experience broadens Tehi’s horizons, making her think beyond just what’s in front of her face.

Teger, Tehi’s love interest, is a man of many talents. He’s been a miner and a farmer. He knows how to survive in the forest. He’s more than capable as the village’s chief, an administrator who runs a tight ship. A very self-controlled individual. He knows what he wants and will go after it, but being a hunter, he knows how to wait patiently if that’s what the situation calls for. He can come off as cold and unfeeling, but he’s not afraid to show his vulnerabilities under the right circumstances. And he won’t take any guff from anybody, as Tehi quickly learns.

Kepten Yose, Tehi’s second-in-command of the garrison and her adversary, isn’t so much evil as he is overzealous. A proud military man, he’s been given an order and he will carry it out to the utmost, even if it means stepping over—or, in his case, way over—the line.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point when the reader just can’t put the book down.  What’s one of the pivotal points in The Moreva of Astoreth?

Roxanne: Well, I’d hope the reader won’t be able to put the book down from page one! But I think one of those points comes when Teger shows Tehi who—or rather, what—she really is.

What’s next for you, Roxanne?

Roxanne: I’m going back to my work-in-progress, tentatively titled Jahannan’s Children, the sequel to a book I wrote a couple of years ago called The Underground. I was about twenty chapters into Jahannan’s Children when The Moreva of Astoreth started knocking around inside my head, demanding to be written right now, to the point I couldn’t concentrate on what I was writing at the moment. And when that happens, there’s no point in fighting it. You just do what your brain—I like to think of it as my Muse—tells you.

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