After last week’s topic about whether or not we write the same types of books as when we started, my guest this month is the perfect example of someone who’s branched out – and then branched out again! Diane Burton has been a guest here at Four Foxes, One Hound, but each visit has been to share with us a different genre. She first shared with us her cozy mystery series in September, 2017. Then in June of 2016 we learned about the science fiction romances in her Outer Rim series, and last July she came with her romantic suspense, Numbers Never Lie.
This spring, Diane added yet another genre (and a new pen name) to her repertoire: middle grade fiction. Rescuing Mara’s Father by D. M. Burton was released in March, and I purchased it right away. Unfortunately, family and school responsibilities have kept me from finishing it, though I’m about halfway through. I’ll be sure to post my review during our free week at the end of this month. In the meantime, please welcome her back!
Thanks so much to Patricia Kiyono for inviting me here today to share my new release, Rescuing Mara’s Father, a science fiction adventure, suitable for ages 9 and up.
Trying something new keeps you young, or young-at-heart. Ever since I returned from my five-year hiatus from my writing career in the mid-2000s (family issues), I’ve been forced to learn new things. I wasn’t on Facebook, had no idea what Twitter was or how to write a tweet, what’s a blog, and how do I self-publish? Starting in 2011, I learned all kinds of things. Thanks to friends, like Patty, I got the hang of Facebook, started a blog, and began to write 140-character tweets. (Talk about writing tight!) I self-published my first book, the one I had the rights back after it went out of print.
I am convinced that I have to be open to new things. I can’t depend on someone else to learn for me. So, I designed my website (using GoDaddy’s templates) and my blogsite so I could make changes when I wanted to. I guess I’m a bit of a control freak. lol Somethings I can’t do—editing and cover design. I have to hire that out. But, since 2011, I’ve self-published 13 more books. The last one has significance for me.
I learned how to write juvenile fiction. Originally, I thought Rescuing Mara’s Father was a young adult story. My daughter, who holds a master’s degree in children’s literature, read it and said it was middle grade. Hmm. What did I know about middle grade fiction? More than I thought. I searched middle grade books on Amazon. Holy cow! Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson, et al. books are middle grade. So is Harry Potter. I’ve read those. I thought I’d have to start from scratch reading middle grade fiction. I read samples of several books in this category and recognized one thing. My daughter was right. I’d written a middle grade story.
Rescuing Mara’s Father began as a crazy idea that popped into my head while I was working on another story. The story of a teen girl on the frontier of space, the Outer Rim, whose father was abducted by an evil queen’s henchmen. And her quest to rescue him. I wrote the book for my older grandkids (ages 9 and 12). Finally, a book of mine they could read.
I accomplished something new. I tried a new genre. I’m happy I did.
3 friends, a hidden starship, a quest
Her father is gone! Taken by the Queen of Compara’s agents. Mara has to rescue him before the Queen tortures and kills him.
Instead of the kind, loving father she’s always known, he’s become demanding, critical, with impossible expectations—not just as Father but also as the only teacher in their frontier outpost. Mara would rather scoop zircan poop than listen to another boring lecture about governments on Central Planets. Give her a starship engine to take apart or, better yet, fly, and she’s happy. Now, he’s gone.
Never mind, they’ve had a rocky road lately.
Never mind, Father promised she could go off planet to Tech Institute next month when she turns fifteen, where she’ll learn to fly starships.
Never mind, she ran away because she’s furious with him because he reneged on that promise. Father is her only parent. She has to save him.
Along with her best friend, eleven-year-old Jako, and his brother 15-year-old Lukus, Mara sets off to find her father. Her mentor, old spaceport mechanic, seems to know why the Queen captured Father. In fact, he seems to know her father well. But, does he tell her everything? Of course not. He dribbles out info like a mush-eating baby. Worse, he indicates he’ll be leaving them soon. And Lukus can’t wait to get off their planet. Mara’s afraid they will all leave, and she’ll be on her own. Despite her fears, Mara has to rescue her father.
“Sit, Mara.” Basco’s quiet order stops me. His tone has such force I do as he says. “Jako gave you good advice that you should heed. You need a plan.”
“But we’re wasting time sitting here. What if the ship takes off? Call Dockmaster and—and tell him to delay the ship.”
He glances away from me. “The ship is gone.”
“No.” Despair crashes down on me. I slump against the wall. “We’ll never find him. We don’t know where they’re taking him. They’re Coalition. They could take him anywhere.”
“We are not going after your father,” Basco says.
“What?” I cry.
“He gave me explicit instructions to get you to safety if this situation ever arose.”
“Why would he do that? How could he even know the Coalition would come after him?”
Basco sighs. “His actions from long ago have caught up with him. Now, the forces of a powerful person have found him.”
I’m still anxious to get going, to do something, to find Father. “What did he do? Who’s after him?”
“That’s not important now.”
“Yes, it is,” I persist. “How can I know what we’re up against if I don’t have all the facts?” That’s what Father always told me. Get all the facts. “Who is after him?”
“Queen Bormella of Compara.”
“What?” Jako and I whisper-shout in unison.
“The Queen wants Father? Why?”
Basco eyes me as if trying to make up his mind what to say. I can almost see him come to a conclusion. “Taking Grendarus is a means to an end. The person she really wants is you.”
I gasp. “Me? Why me?”
“She has her reasons. That is why I have to take you to a safe place.”
“Forget going to some safe place. I’m going after Father.”
Basco gives me a long look. “Do you realize that if you try to rescue Grendarus, the Queen could take you?”
“Mara.” Lukus finally speaks. “Didn’t you pay attention to anything Teacher said about Compara? About what Bormella does to prisoners?”
I hate that he reminds me. Of course, I remember the lectures on corrupt governments among the Central Planets, especially Compara. But that was just lectures. Words about places as far away and as removed from us as storybook tales.
Now it’s real. Father is Queen Bormella’s enemy. Hang on, how would she even know him? We live out on the Frontier. How could he be her enemy? Stars and asteroids, she tortures and executes her enemies. If she wants me, I must be her enemy, too. Fear for Father, fear for myself overwhelm me. I slide down the wall and struggle to breathe.
“Don’t you get it, Mara?” Jako says. “She’ll torture you . . . or worse.”
About the Author:
The first time D.M. Burton saw Star Wars IV: A New Hope, she was hooked on science fiction and space travel. The Star Trek movies made her want to travel to other planets. Alas, she is still Earth-bound. D.M. and her husband live in Michigan, close to their two children and five grandchildren.
She writes adult fiction as Diane Burton, where she combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com
Connect with Diane Burton online.
Goodreads: Diane Burton Author
Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf