by Robin Martin
GENRE: Young adult, sci-fi romance
Mischief, mayhem, and magic hit East Valley High when Pandora, the rogue alien, turns up. This sassy alien has one agenda, to have as much fun as she can before her people realise she’s gone rogue and materialised on Earth in human form without their permission. Instantly popular, Pandora charms students and teachers alike as she parties her way through the term, but still aces her studies. Even Rion, is influenced by her as he begins to question whether he is still more alien than human. He and Zoe are finally together, but for how long? Zoe has worries too, especially about her mother’s health. Everything is changing in this final year of high school. Zoe and Rion are crazy about each other, but can their new relationship last not only the ups and downs of human problems, but alien ones too!
The music changed from an Ariana Grande pop song to the opening chords of a much older Deep Purple track my previous host, who had been around in the 60s, had listened to. I was surprised because I didn’t think many teens knew it today. Then I heard the thump of heels on wood, and I looked over to see Pandora on top of the coffee table, starting to dance and turn circles. Catching my eye, she stopped and lifted her glass. ‘This one’s for my favourite alien, Orion,—“Space Truckin’.” Woohoo!’
I sensed rather than saw heads swivel in my direction. I felt dozens of pairs of eyes on me. How could she do that? How could she blurt out the one secret I’d tried so hard to hide? I felt the blood drain from my face, and I dropped the can of cola I was holding as the opening lines of the rock song blared out. Pandora downed her drink, threw her glass into the crowd, and started to dance again.
Then I heard laughter and someone, I think it was Chad Everett, say, ‘Good one, Pandora. We always knew he was weird.’
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m originally from Newfoundland in Canada, which is an island province that definitely has a different vibe from the rest of Canada. It’s a windswept place that is often called ‘The Rock’. Growing up there definitely shaped my writing and it’s no coincidence that it’s a really creative place with a lot of writers, artists and musicians. Must be the long winters! I moved to the Uk in my twenties and lived in London, which I loved. I now live in Queensland, Australia — a total contrast, but a great place with some of the best beaches in the world! And that’s where Zoe first met Orion when she and her family spent a holiday at one of those sandy beaches that seem to stretch forever. What better place for an alien to land! I love writing, but my day job is pretty cool too. I teach English as a second language to refugees and immigrant students at a local high school. And the one thing I’ve learnt is that teens have the same hopes, dreams and desires, no matter what country they’re from!
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
The first book in this series started off as a short story. I left it for a while and then came back to it. I started to expand on the ideas, and before I knew it, I had written a book – My Alien. When I finished it, I realised I hadn’t finished the story and so I wrote Book 2, The Alien Within. I could have left it there, but I knew there were still a few issues I wanted to resolve, and that resulted in Book 3, Once an Alien. This is the book that I’ve put a lot of heart and soul into. I wanted to explore Rion’s feelings about becoming human, as well as deepen the relationship between him and Zoe. I knew that Zoe was close to her mum, and I wondered what would happen if that strong base of family was shaken by her mother’s illness. It caused Zoe to feel uncertain about the future and question a lot of things. But I also need a stimulus for some of those things to happen, and that stimulus came in the shape of Pandora, a rogue alien who liked to stir things up. Book 3 also gave me a chance to develop some of the secondary characters like Lou, Harry and Kerri.
How do you create your characters?
Pandora came to me fully formed. She was such a strong life force that she practically wrote herself. I really enjoyed exploring her journey on Earth. She starts off wanting to have fun and sees humans as little more than tools to help her achieve that. My other characters developed along with the series. Zoe is a typical teen who is exploring a lot of options as she discovers who she is and what she really wants. I created Rion as an alien, who didn’t really understand humans in the beginning, but learns how much he has underestimated them. I had a lot of fun in following him on his own journey of self discovery. I love creating minor characters, who may not take up a lot of space in the book, but still have some colour and substance. Lou’s journey goes from trying to impress a first boyfriend, to realising that if people don’t like her for who she is, then they aren’t worth bothering about. Kerri, studious and lacking in any social awareness at times, discovers that she has found the one person who she connects with — and she isn’t even human!
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
Being a writer was not a conscious decision.It was just something I always did and I never felt more myself than when I was writing. I wrote my first book when I was twelve, The Red Top Mountain Mystery. My Year Seven teacher kindly read it to the class, and I remember feeling so proud! I was lucky I had a lot of encouragement, and parents who believed that dreaming was an important part of growing up.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I have a small study which has two bookcases, two desks (one for school and one for writing) and, most importantly, a door that closes. The only things I need to write are my laptop and time. Writing time is a luxury — ask anyone who has a day job, a family, and still wants to write.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Wow, that’s a question a lot of people ask and it’s a really hard one to answer. I just think that the more you write, the more creative you become. It’s like positive energy that just grows the more you invest in doing what you love. Ideas come from writing as much as you can as often as you can.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Don’t worry about trends or what’s popular. Write what you love and it will come through in your writing. Also, just write. The more you do it, the better it will become. And finally, do it because you love it, because you can’t imagine doing anything else. Even if you don’t make it to the best seller lists, if you do it with passion, it will always give back.
Robin Matin is an author and teacher, who writes both adult and young adult romance. Originally from Canada, she now lives in Brisbane, Australia. Her YA sci fi romance series, The Alien Chronicles includes My Alien, The Alien Within, and Once an Alien.
Her adult books published under the name Robin Thomas, include High Stakes and Bonjour Cherie.
A member of the Romance Writers of Australia and Write-Links, for children’s and YA writers, Robin also connects with writers and readers on her author’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/robinmartinthomas or on her website www.robinmartinthomas.com
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Robin Martin will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.