Hello world! Today I have something new and exciting for you on my blog. My first ever feature on a blog tour, featuring a giveaway for an eArc of the book!
Today you will get to read a guest post by the author herself, Mary Turzillo.
Nanoannie is bored. She wants to go to clubs, wear the latest Earth fashions, and dance with nuke guys. But her life is not exciting. She lives on her family’s Pharm with her parents, little sister, and a holo-cat named Fuzzbutt. The closest she gets to clubs are on the Marsnet. And her parents are pressuring her to sign her contract over to Utopia Limited Corp before she’s even had a chance to live a litte. When Kapera—a friend from online school—shows up at her Pharm asking for help, Nanoannie is quick to jump in the roer and take off. Finally an adventure!
What Nanoannie and Kapera find at the Smythe’s Pharm is more than the girls bargained for. The hab has been trashed and there are dead bodies buried in the backyard! If that wasn’t bad enough, the girls crash the rover and Kapera gets kidnapped by Facers who claim her parents are murderers! Between Renegade Nuns, Facers, and corp geeks, Nanoannie and Kapera don’t know who to trust or where to go. Kapera only wants to find her parents so they can get to Earth Orbitals and she can be treated for her leukemia. Nanoannie wants to help her friend and experience a little bit of Mars before selling her contract to the first corp that offers to buy it.
Life isn’t easy when you’re just a couple of Mars Girls.
Mary Turzillo – Mars Girls: Unlikely Friends, Driven together by Disaster
From childhood, I’ve been riveted with interest in space travel. And I was lucky
enough to marry a NASA guy, Dr. Geoffrey Landis, who is not only handsome and witty but also a Mars scientist. Geoff and I go to the Mars Society conventions frequently, and I’m fascinated with accounts of how Mars might someday be colonized. This prodded my imagination to wonder what it would be like not just for the first colonists, but for their children.
Thus Nanoannie Centime and her friend Kapera Smythe were born.
I sleuthed out books and articles and listened to a lot of presentations on why people would go to Mars and how they’d live there: Mars greenhouses for food,
underground habitats, solar power even though less sunlight reaches Mars, etc.
Mars colonization in my world would be spearheaded by corporations eager to do
research a) with Martian extemeophiles and b) illegal on Earth. These corps indenture promising scientist families by paying for their education—my future world runs on college debt—and set them up on isolated pharms where the corps can control their access to Earth. My Mars girls would, obviously, be isolated. So I studied memoirs about Australian ranchers’ children and how they coped with pioneer loneliness.
Nanoannie Centime’s parents are entrepreneurs, so devoted to the idea of creating wealth with their pharm that they have changed their names and those of their children to terms for various currency: Krona, Escudo, etc. Nanoannie seems on first blush to be an empty-headed, shallow teen, immature for her age. Of course she hasn’t had much chance to mature socially. As a result of her creative personality, she is supremely unfitted for life in an austere outpost of civilization. Her forté is the pursuit of beauty and charm. On Earth, she would thrive as a fashion model, dancer, or actress. In other cultures, she would have been a courtesan, a geisha, or hetaira. In our day, she might have been the twin of Rachel Baum in Gwen Cooper’s Diary of a South Beach Party Girl.
We high-minded intellectuals look down on such colorful flowers, but believe me, they can have some grit — especially when they grow up. This very imaginative, hyper-feminine adolescent is stuck on a farm with only virtual access to outside her family, except for her only friend in the flesh: Kapera Smythe, who is two mears (four Earth years) younger than she is. Total mismatch of personality and interests, as you will see.
Nanoannie has read of romance and marriage, but her only models are her own
parents, a grim pair devoted to keeping themselves and their family safe — and making the lucky strike in research that will make them wealthy.
Nanoannie wants to meet a real man (i.e. boy), and she wants to have fun. Does
this make her shallow? Let’s remember our own adolescent days! The two great tasks of adolescence are finding a life partner and learning an occupation. Nanoannie knows of real boys only as products of fiction and her imagination: holographic images that come to her from the Marsnet. As to occupation, she has seen enough of her parents’ lives that she knows she wants no part of their grinding, boring work.
These are the keys to her personality. Don’t judge her as shallow until you fully conceptualize her prospects and options. As the book progresses, she survives through imagination, which is her trump card.
Kapera Smythe lives within rover-travelling distance of the Centime Pharm, so
she and Nanoannie have become friends. Kapera made her fictional debut in my
Nebula-award- winning “Mars Is No Place for Children” (SF Age, May 1999). She has leukaemia as a result of constant exposure to cosmic rays, which reach Mars because the Red Planet has no magnetic field.
I am lucky enough to know the oldest living survivor of childhood leukaemia, an
amazing man whose identity I won’t mention here for his own privacy. He also is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest recorded IQ. You can now probably intuit where I got some of Kapera’s personality from this. She’s very smart.
She’s also a survivor.
I did considerable other research on childhood leukaemia. One book that stood
out, in particular, was Only Spring, a memoir by Gordon Livingston of his son’s death. This is the saddest book I have ever read. Steven King’s Pet Sematary also caused me to weep unceasingly through the entire last half of the book, but it was fiction. If you ever suspect you are just too cheerful, read Only Spring and it will destroy you.
My personal experience was being the single mother of a child with a life-
threatening illness. My son Jack L. Brizzi Jr., was a brittle juvenile diabetic. Jack and I visited the emergency room about once a week through his childhood and adolescence. I draw on Jack’s feelings about being sick to some extent, although naturally, he was more complex than any fictional character. (He has an FB page under the name Jack Skull.)
So, a lot of my reading and experience goes into my depiction of Kapera Smythe.
Her mother, Zora, is a very straight-laced and idealistic microbiologist whose complex motives in immigrating to Mars include her own experiences nursing a chronically sick child. Kapera’s father Marcus is an ex-gangster turned scientist, and his ghetto slang informs Kapera’s picturesque dialogue. Her relationship with her parents is complicated, but I’ll leave you to see how that works in Mars Girls.
She’s a serious little girl, and her parents allow her to do small plant-growing
experiments of her own. She’s a blossoming scientist. She has not yet “discovered boys” (possibly her illness has retarded hormonal development, in addition to her youth) and she is somewhat scornful of Nanoannie’s fascination with the opposite sex.
If, in her relationship with Nanoannie, Kapera seems to be the brains of the gang, well, that’s about right.
These girls face problems that require the utmost ingenuity and courage. I loved
writing about them and felt thrills at every twist of their fate. Getting them out of their predicament was not easy. I was the author of their tribulations, but solving problems is often more difficult than creating them—most fiction writers will tell you that.
I hope you enjoy Nanoannie and Kapera’s journey, through kidnapping and
endangerment, to their ultimate triumph. I hope they can be role models for us twenty first century Earthlings.
Mars won’t be easy, but Mars beckons.
Mary Turzillo’s 1999 Nebula-winner,”Mars Is No Place for Children” and her Analog novel, AN OLD-FASHIONED MARTIAN GIRL, are read on the International Space Station. Her poetry collection, LOVERS & KILLERS, won the 2013 Elgin Award. She has been a finalist on the British Science Fiction Association, Pushcart, Stoker, Dwarf Stars and Rhysling ballots. SWEET POISON, her Dark Renaissance collaboration with Marge Simon, was a Stoker finalist and won the 2015 Elgin Award. She’s working on a novel, A MARS CAT & HIS BOY, and another collaboration with Marge Simon, SATAN’S SWEETHEARTS. Her novel MARS GIRLS is forthcoming from Apex. She lives in Ohio, with her scientist-writer husband, Geoffrey Landis, both of whom fence internationally.
Geoff and Mary ponder the question: what would it be like to fence in zero-G? and: What about if we were cats fencing in zero-G?
I just want to thank Mary Turzillo so so much for wanting to feature my blog, and for writing such an insightful post on the characters featured in her book!
You can find the link below to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below to win an eArc of Mars Girls!
A Rafflecopter Giveaway – click me!
You can also pre-order Mars Girls from Apex here!