Guest Post: The worlds of The Stuff of Legend
The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl welcomes author Greta van der Rol as a guest blogger to talk about her latest book in the Ptorix Empire series, The Stuff of Legend
Take it away Greta!
The worlds of The Stuff of Legend by Greta van der Rol
Thanks for having me on your blog, Patty.
As you know, I’m almost as much of a Star Wars Fangirl as you are. However, today’s post is going to be a bit of geeky stuff about my latest book.
I’ve just published my latest book in the Ptorix Empire series, The Stuff of Legend. If you’ve read any of my books you’ll know I like to do some planet-hopping – in the best traditions of space opera. Many of my planets are, of necessity, habitable by humans, but for this book I wanted to get a little bit more exotic.
The book’s plot centers around an open star cluster called the Maidens. It’s not a particular open cluster in our night sky – after all, who knows which galaxy this story takes place in? But I like my astronomy to be realistic. I didn’t use a globular cluster, despite the attraction of a mass of stars huddled close together. Globular clusters are tightly packed (for stars) and gravitationally bound to each other. The stars are the oldest we know of, and because of that wouldn’t be likely to have the elements created in super novas upon which life as we know it is built. The stars in open clusters are younger. They form in the usual stellar nurseries like the mighty Orion Nebula. From there, they remain in a more ‘open’ gravitational relationship until they leave home on their own. Our sun was probably part of an open cluster when it was a teenager. You can find out more about open clusters here.
Probably the best known open cluster is the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters. But I didn’t want my cluster to look quite like that. Although there are gas clouds in the Pleiades, I wanted something a bit more like the roiling clouds of Orion. And it so happens that an open cluster that had been thought to be part of the Orion Nebula, was in fact a different entity, situated in front of the nebula. Here’s the story of NGC 1980. It was perfect. So my story takes place in a star cluster that has some similarities to NGC 1980.
There’s a legend, of course. My cluster, the Maidens, can be pictured (if you cross your eyes and stand on one leg) as three women in robes of stardust guarding a hoard of stars.
Next, planets. Not every planet has seasons. Not every planet has a temperate climate. Not every planet has a bright yellow star. So I created a few ‘different’ planets for my story.
• One planet is undergoing an ice age. Apart from being cold, the atmosphere is not breathable by humans. And since there is no axial tilt, the planet doesn’t have seasons. It’s not a place where you’d want to visit the poles.
• Another planet is much, much more massive than standard (think Earth).
• Yet another planet is a close binary system, rather like the Earth and its moon, but more equal in size. Perhaps a little more like Pluto and Charon.
Each planet my intrepid explorers visit has its own challenges to overcome. There’s adventure, mystery, and action, all mixed up and sweetened with a dollop of romance.
I enjoyed writing this book. I hope you enjoy reading it.
When history professor Olivia Jhutta receives a distress call from her parents, she sets out into space with their business partner, her grandmother, and injured Confederacy Admiral Jak Prentiss to find them. But she’s not the only one interested in the Jhutta’s whereabouts. The Helicronians believe Olivia’s parents have found an ancient weapon which they can use to wage war on the Confederacy.
Jak goes on the trip to fill in time while he’s on enforced leave, helping Olivia follow cryptic clues in what he considers an interplanetary wild goose chase in search of a fairy story. But as the journey progresses and legend begins to merge with unsettling fact, Olivia and Jak must resolve their differences and work together if they are to survive. The two are poles apart… but it’s said opposites attract. If they can manage to stay alive.
Greta van der Rol loves writing action-packed adventures with a side salad of romance. Most of her work is space opera, but she has written paranormal and historical fiction.
She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn’t bent over a hot computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavors. Find out more about Greta and her books at her website http://gretavanderrol.net/