What do you do?
I’m thrilled to be visiting Amber today. As a writer and a reader, I love to lose myself in new worlds. Stories are a place for exploring who we could be, and what the world could look like if we changed something in it—whether it’s infusing it with magic, adding a moon, or even just a different kind of job. For that reason, I like to give my heroines unusual occupations. What we do is such an important part of our identity, our egos, our sense of success and how we engage in the world. Occupations may also develop their own cultures, which can help shape a protagonists’ point of view.
An unusual occupation can give a heroine her place and purpose in the story and provide interesting elements for plot development and character arc. Often, a heroine cannot refuse to use her skills to save a life or a world – no matter who is asking, when, where and under what conditions. Her capabilities may also define where she can go, what doors she can or cannot open, and who she knows. Let’s take a look at how this works with an example from my new release, the Scent of Memory, Green Rising Book 2, a science fiction romance.
Marisol Martinez, the heroine in the Scent of Memory, is a considered one of the best computer programmers in the known world. Twelve years ago, Marisol lost Aren, the love of her life in a mining accident that reeked of sabotage. Since his loss, she spends all her free time combing the intergalactic internet trying to figure out what happened. One night, a starship explodes and survivors land on her planet. Several are cyborgs, and a programmer is necessary to heal them and protect the planet from them since cyborgs are the intergalactic security force with a pretty nasty reputation. The cyborgs, they discover, are those who died in the mining accident, but they have no memories of their past lives. This sets Marisol into action to figure out how to reprogram back their memories. Her skills put her in the center of the action. Those skills also get in her way emotionally. Marisol resists seeing the man Aren has become. Instead, she obsesses on finding to return him to who he was. Her internal conflict is filtered through her occupation.
See how useful the heroine’s occupation can be in writing!
I use unusual occupations for my protagonists a lot in my work because people in today’s world often have to navigate their identities and their love through their careers. It makes sense to see it in our stories.
Thanks so much Amber for having me.
The Scent of Memory
Green Rising Book 2
Release date: December 16, 2020
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Erotic
Ebook Published with Evernight Publishing
Cover artist: Jay Aheer
Keywords: science fiction, romance, love, novella, cyborgs, hackers, aliens, amnesia, rebels.
Twelve years ago, Marisol lost Aren. Now he’s back – pointing a gun at her head and treating her like a stranger.
Rebel hacker, Marisol Martinez, never thought volunteering to keep the hospital safe from cyborgs would lead her back to the man sabotage ripped from her arms. The man she swore to avenge by any means possible.
For over a decade, Cap protected the cyborgs under his command from every danger. Until he meets an insurgent, whose scent wreaks havoc on his control. She calls him Aren and insists she knows him. But she’s wrong. He has no past, no present, no future – only orders he’s programmed to complete.
Forced together, Marisol and Cap can’t resist the passion that keeps building between them. With time running out, Marisol must use her computer skills to restore Aren’s memories or Cap will kill all subversives on the planet – starting with her.
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“I’ll take you there,” Marisol volunteered. “Follow me.” She rushed out of the room. He was by her side in seconds.
“Explain your interest in me.” He turned off his scent sensors to prevent himself from being sucked into the pungent turbulence of emotions spilling out in her aroma.
“We were to be married.” The gentle emotion vibrating in her voice stroked his remaining flesh like a caress. He shook it off. It was dangerous.
“Was it arranged?”
“No, we chose each other. We were living together when you were killed—abducted—after a mining accident.”
“We were intimate?” Heat roared through him. He shut it down reluctantly. He was starting to like the way he felt around her.
“You have no memories of me? Of us?” She blinked rapidly as though to force back tears threatening to spill.
He shook his head. “Cybercorp wipes our long-term memories. Periodically, a memory fragment may surface, but our systems are programmed to shut down if that occurs. If a cyborg suffers from too many of these recalls, he is decommissioned.”
“We’re brutal. You’d be wise to remember that.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hello, I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid to class, and save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by email.
At night, the other Shari emerges. With a glass of wine by side, I curl up on the couch with my computer nestled in my lap and let my imagination play until stories take shape. I also periodically check on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom. Once I’ve reassured myself she’s not plotting world domination, I pull out my alter ego, who definitely is. As my alter ego, I save cities in a cape and spangled tights, wander space and time on a surfboard, fly over the Himalayas on feathered wings, make six-toed footprints in indigo talc snow on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy or eavesdrop on Olympian gods while pretending to whip up a bowl of ambrosia.
In all these wondrous worlds, romance and passion blossom. I can’t resist a happy ending. And I am particularly prone to writing happy endings for those who have given up on ever getting one.
Goodreads: Shari Elder (Author of Race to Redemption) | Goodreads
Twitter @ShariElderBooks or https://twitter.com/sharielderbooks