Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Once an Alien Lover, Always an Alien Lover

Of all the questions I’m ever asked now that I write alien romance, probably the most common one is how or why I came to the genre. So I thought it would be fun to talk about my longstanding ties with sci-fi romance, and how I finally decided to put all my crazy ideas on paper.

For me, it all started that summer back in the 1980’s when the original Star Trek aired in reruns every afternoon at four p.m. I mean, before that I’d certainly loved Star Wars, had read a little Arthur C. Clarke, but Trek was a new dimension. It tapped into my imagination, to those parts of me that loved King Arthur lore and believed in other realms—and probably into my sixteen-year-old hormones. I mean, come on! Who can’t love a brilliant, emotionally rigid alien who goes wild during his mating cycle, right? Ah, Spock and his Pon Far mating needs. When you’re sixteen, that’s heady stuff. Super intelligent, geek reaction? Maybe not, but I ate it up.

Of course, it was far more than that too. Spock mentally bonding with the horta? Realizing she was just a mother protecting her young? My brain was in overdrive. Aliens, with their supernatural abilities and natures, were capable of things I’d never imagined. Forget PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, forget WUTHERING HEIGHTS (my earliest romance roots, plus approved summer reading!) I had TREK! That fall when school reconvened, I was amazed to discover that a whole cadre of my fellow geeks had also discovered these reruns. Next thing I knew three of us had formed a power triumvirate, trading black and white headshots and debating whether Spock or Kirk was the hottest one. Interestingly enough, of the three of us, I now write sci-fi romance and another went on to write for Buffy.

Something started for me then, a new place in my writerly development. I’d always made up stories, passing the time as a lonely child of divorced parents by living in the make-believe realm of my imagination. But that summer of Star Trek, the stories inside my mind shifted, became other-worldly oriented. It just took fourteen years for me to translate the crazy ideas inside my head to paper. I wrote and wrote in the interim, but somehow—for reasons I can’t understand looking back—it never occurred to me that I could write what I loved and thought about the most. Maybe I needed permission? Maybe we all do with our creative selves.

I give all the credit to a little known, compulsively watchable show of alien romance, Roswell. From the first episode I saw in 2000, it was as if every idea I’d ever had floating in my head coalesced. Romance, aliens, sci-fi… it could all come together. This was a massive sea change for me. Within months I began writing fanfic (no, don’t run and don’t hide!) It’s amazing how many of my fellow sci-fi romance writers began just the same way. I think fanfic is a fabulous way for new writers to push their boundaries, to realize what they can get away with. It taught me to take crazy chances and not worry who went with me—even my fanfic readers. And trust me, there were times when, with my unconventional romance pairings, very few followed me. I guess I’m saying that fanfic toughened me up. And it gave me confidence to trust in my writer’s heart.

In 2004 I’d finished my first novel. Big clue to self: It had absolutely no elements of the paranormal. It was a deeply felt, emotional women’s fiction novel, and although it was well-received by many editors, was simply too edgy to sell. Twenty-two rejections later I decided that maybe—just maybe—some killer clue lay in my sci-fi writings. After all, that was what I’d spent four years writing in the fanfic world. It was what first stirred my imagination with Trek. Even though it seemed odd after trying my hand at a literary novel, I poured all my energy into the proposal for the Midnight Warriors series. And guess what? Being true to yourself pays off: The series sold very fast.

Lesson learned? Go with what you love. Trust your fantasies and the passions that drive you. No matter how off the wall, or unconventional, I think being real and writing what you love will—in the end—bring you success. If you’ve read my books, you’ll see shades of Spock and Pon Far still shining through. Because once an alien lover, always an alien lover… and I’m proud to carry that ID badge.

Deidre Knight

author of:
Parallel Heat
Parallel Attraction
Parallel Seduction


  1. Oh, I loved the original Star Trek too, but I was more of a fan of Next Gen. I always thought it bizarre Captain Kirk getting lucky all the time without knocking anyone up. On the Enterprise-D, people got lucky, but some of them also got married, and there were children, school, a daycare. It made life in space believable to me.

  2. So true. I've always loved books with paranormal elements and comedy and that's where I found my strongest voice.

    I love the older Star Trek. Especially the episode where they tried to put the woman back together but didn't know exactly how to do it, then gave her a fantasy world to live in.

  3. Star Trek was great to watch at 4 in the afternoon!!! WOOHOO!!! I can't wait for Deidre's Midnight Warrior series books to grow in number. :)

    Thanks for sharing how your paranormal writing came about, Deidre!!!

  4. Spock. Those ears. That disdainfully arched brow. Hubba. Bubba. Baby!

    Thanks, Deidre, you've given me carte blance to continue with my secret penchant for penning mermaid erotica. :D

    Don't know how well it will mix with the YA stories though LOL.

    word verification word was bul zool...thinking of Sigourney Weaver when she opened the fridge in Ghostbusters....ZOOL!

    That creature sort of DID resemble a bull...

    End of that tangent...Great Blog. Great BOOKS. Thank you!