By Sharon Fisher Editions: ebook, paperback Published: October 30th 2012 by Tor Science Fiction Genre: Adult Romance / Sci-Fi / Dystopia Review: ƸӜƷ ƸӜƷ ƸӜƷ ƸӜƷ
Psychologist Elizabeth Cole prepared for the worst when she accepted a job on a newly discovered world—a world where every colonist is tethered to an alien who manifests in the form of a dead loved one. But she never expected she’d struggle with the requirement to shun these “ghosts.” She never expected to be so attracted to the charming Irishman assigned as her supervisor. And she certainly never expected to discover she died in a transport crash en route to the planet.
As a ghost, Elizabeth is symbiotically linked to her supervisor, Murphy—creator of the Ghost Protocol, which forbids him to acknowledge or interact with her. Confused and alone—oppressed by her ghost status and tormented by forbidden love—Elizabeth works to unlock the secrets of her own existence.
But her quest for answers lands her in a tug-of-war between powerful interests, and she soon finds herself a pawn in the struggle for control of the planet…a struggle that could separate her forever from the man that she loves.
Bomy’s Tip: Reviewed it here
1. I’d like to begin this interview by asking you what’s the portrait of Ghost Planet’s ideal reader?
Thanks so much for having me, Livia! And also for the wonderful review.
Cool question! I think anyone intrigued by the idea of other worlds, who also enjoys exploring relationship dynamics in unique settings. I’m finding the book is most popular with readers who love character-driven, romantic speculative fiction.
2. I found the concept of your novel utterly fascinating. Would you please tell readers who didn’t read it yet a few words about it?
GHOST PLANET is the story of a woman who travels to an Earth-like planet to work as a psychologist. Her first day there she discovers she died in a transport accident, has been reincarnated as an alien, and is symbiotically bound to the sexy Irishman who was to be her supervisor.
3. What inspired you to create the ‘ghost world’?
The title, actually! I came up with that first. Then I started noodling on what a world called “ghost planet” would be like. After that I got the idea for the first scene. I thought it would be interesting to explore what would happen if a woman relocated to the planet, only to discover that she had an alien attached to her. Then I thought no, SHE should be the alien. And that got everything going.
4. What would be the complete opposite of it?
Hmm, interesting question. Our own planet maybe? Okay, maybe not the complete opposite. But it does seem like modern people have developed this strange tendency to isolate. We’re independent, and we don’t like to ask for help from our friends, neighbors, or even our families. (I’m including myself.)
I think that’s too bad, because we are social animals, and our lives are enriched by interaction with others. Psychological studies have shown that people who have some kind of little community they interact with regularly are happier and live longer.
5. Could you please explain the notion of the ‘ghost protocol’ without spoiling too much of the read? 😀
The Ghost Protocol was created by Dr. Grayson Murphy, the novel’s hero. After people from Earth built the colonies on Ardagh 1 (the “ghost planet”), aliens began to manifest and follow the colonists around, each in the form of a colonist’s dead loved one. This wreaked havoc on the colonists’ psychological well-being, and threatened to shut down the Ecosystem Recovery Project, which was the whole point of colonization.
Murphy created the Ghost Protocol to help colonists adjust to the presence of the ghosts, and it had the added bonus of weakening them to the point they became docile and no longer attempted to interact.
6. Perhaps it could be interpreted as a defense mechanism of the rational being against emotion. Would you agree, did you have something to that effect in mind when writing?
Yes, I agree. The whole protocol really is a large-scale psychological coping mechanism endorsed by the leadership of Ardagh 1. “If I can’t see you, you can’t hurt me.” And it works great. But just like with defense mechanisms in individual psyches, though something is gained, something important can also be lost – such as the ability to feel, and to be truly human.
7. How would you describe the symbiotic connection between Elizabeth and Murphy?
It’s a connection that’s not of their choosing. But once they both learn not to fear it, or struggle against it, they discover there are benefits for both of them. The scientific term for that is mutualistic symbiosis. For me this was an exploration of what might happen if the bonds between people became literal – what if one of the pair physically suffers or even dies if the other walks away?
One blogger described the symbiotic bond between E & M as a new take on the idea of a soul mate. I quite like that. They are meant to be together, but they have to unlock some puzzles first. To do that they have to learn to trust each other and work together.
8. What would you like your readers to walk away with from reading your novel?
Most of all I hope they feel like they’ve been on a really fun and interesting ride! Beyond that, I hope it makes people think about our connections to others – what those connections mean to us, how they impact our lives and in many ways help to define us, and how they are symbiotic (what we give, and what we get in return).
9. Do you feel writing this book has changed you in some way? How?
Definitely. For one thing, all I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid was write fiction. Finally committing myself to that goal, and seeing it through, taught me to believe in myself.
Also, I was going through a tough time when I wrote the book, and didn’t feel like I was coping well. When I wrote Elizabeth, I wrote a heroine who grew stronger and more determined in the face of adversity, and I learned from her.
10. And, yes, you knew it was coming: give us something to look forward to. What are you working on now?
My second book for Tor, working title THE OPHELIA PROPHECY, post-apocalyptic bio-punk romance. A twisty tale with lots of color and texture, science, politics, adventure, and of course romance!
Hopefully a short or two in the interim — a story set in the earliest days of colonization on Ardagh 1, and this unrelated zombie romance thing I’ve had simmering.
I also have another RWA Golden Heart finalist manuscript (ECHO 8) that I’d like to polish up and submit in the near future. It’s a sci-fi/paranormal blend about an energy “vampire” from an alternate Earth, the FBI agent intent on destroying him, and the parapsychologist caught in between.
“ We trotted up half a dozen steps and were passing through the glass doors when Murphy said, “We’ll be scanned by security just inside. I hate them being here, raising people’s anxiety level in a place where we want them to feel safe. But all new arrivals pass through here, and someone decided it was a good idea.”
Thinking about the illicit-substance and weapons scans in all the airports and public buildings back home, I raised my eyebrows. “What’s it for?”
“To get a sort of fingerprint on everyone,” he explained, walking through the doorframe-shaped scanner. “Just to make sure we know who’s who. They can’t do it at the transport terminal because no one has ghosts when they first arrive.”
I followed him through the scanner, and a long beep sounded somewhere off to my left as I joined him inside. Murphy’s head jerked toward the sound. His eyes moved to the glass doors we’d just come through, and slowly back to me. He glanced at the security desk on our right.
“Where is it?” Murphy called to the guard, whose fingers were flying over his keyboard. The guard’s ghost leaned against the wall behind him, little more than a shadow.
The man stopped typing and looked up. “I’m sorry, Dr. Murphy?”
“I heard the alert go off, but I don’t see her. My ghost, Simon,” Murphy added, growing impatient. “Do you see her?”
The guard blinked at him a couple times. Then he cleared his throat. “She’s standing right next to you, Dr. Murphy.” “
Winners: Jessie & Na
About the Author & Links:
SHARON LYNN FISHER is the author of GHOST PLANET, coming from Tor Books on Oct. 30. The book — a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist — is a sci-fi/romance blend that offers a “fresh and fascinating take on the human-alien problem” (says author Linnea Sinclair).
She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is hard at work on her next novel and battles writerly angst with baked goods, Irish tea, and champagne. You can visit her online at SharonLynnFisher.com.