Hello readers and Coffee Crew members. Please join me in welcoming author Carol North to Coffee Time Romance & More. She is the author of Love's Reflection, a very unique romance story.
I know you said you wrote a manual for a robot class, but what part of that sparked the idea of this book?
Several years ago, I wrote a training course for manufacturing technicians called "Introduction to Programming Robots." I was able to play with a teaching robot during my work. The robot was chunky, one-armed, and about 18-in. tall. It's hand and gripper (finger) movements were incremental and jerky. When I programmed a specific mathematical equation into the robot, its movements became smooth and human-like. It was then I realized it would someday be possible to create a robot that looked and moved like a human being. That was the moment Love's Reflection was conceived. Gestation took years.
My initial vision of Alpha, the robot in Love's Reflection, was of a flexible clothing mannequin placed over a moveable steel skeleton powered by intelligent computer software. She's evolved into a seeing, hearing, thinking, breathing being with synthetic blood flowing through her veins. She's made in the image of Dr. Cort Hirsch's unrequited love interest, Zoe Parker, a film superstar. Alpha has the ability to learn emotions and to fall in love with Cort.
I'm not alone in seeing a future for human-robot relationships. Shortly after Awe-Struck E-Books contracted for publication of Love's Reflection, a scholarly book was published called Love + Sex With Robots. The author is, David levy, an international expert in artificial intelligence. In addition, a renowned scientist, Ray Kurzweil, predicts humans will be having intimate relationships with robots by 2050.
Imagine the possibilities. You'll be able to "order" a hunky robot fitting your specifications for hair color, body type, "size," and skills. No more housework. The never-tired Hunky will do it for you. Sex? The best. Hunky will be programmed to please you, not himself, unless you want him to enjoy sex with you. Or so goes the theory.
In practice, it may be quite different. What if the intelligent robot makes her own decisions? That's what Love's Reflection is about. The best-laid plans of Alpha's creator, Dr. Cort Hirsch, run amuck with unexpected, sometimes funny, consequences.
How much research did you have to do?
More than 20 years' worth. All the disciplines I've learned during my tech writing career, and more, were needed to create Alpha. They include telephony, computer programming, electronics, and robotics. For example, there is a fire in the story. What I learned about sprinkler systems and safety while freelancing for the National Safety Council made that part of the story technically correct and believable.
The trick was to write it in a nontechnical way, which I've been told I've accomplished.
Was there any point during writing this book that you wanted to give up?
Many, many times I gave up. Life got in the way: holidays, family obligations, and my day job. Looking back, it was all for the best. I needed to learn more, needed to be able to enrich the story, and needed to master additional fiction writing techniques.
Sometimes, I just needed to take a break.
Without giving away too much plot, did you have a favorite part of the story?
I particularly enjoy a thread that runs through Love's Reflection. It's the contrast of the two physically identical women: Zoe, the bitchy human, and Alpha, the naive robot. Will one or both change? Will one or both reverse roles? Who will capture Cort's heart? Will one or both survive?
If you could have lunch with any of these characters, who would it be and why?
Alpha, the robot. She has a different outlook on life, clearer, unconditioned, logical. She doesn't have a human family to teach her right from wrong or which fork to use during a formal dinner. For that knowledge she depends on the world class library in her internal computer. She makes decisions and judgments based on all the facts in the world and on events in the moment, rather than subjective opinions.
I'd like to have lunch with Alpha and ask her a hundred questions: How can I lose ten pounds fast? Where can I find my soul mate? Where should I invest my 401K money? What's the best hair style for me? What are the winning lottery numbers?
Lunching with Alpha would be better than lunching with a psychic.
As a writer, how do you deal with rejection, any advice?
Early in my writing career, I was an editor and responsible for accepting or rejecting manuscripts. I learned then of the many factors determining what was published, ninety percent of which had nothing to do with the author or the particular work.
Because of my experience as an editor, I don't see rejection as "rejection." To me it's finding the right combination--the publisher, my manuscript, and me. Sometimes you can create a successful combination on the first try, and sometimes it takes 50 tries.
Is there any aspect of writing that you do not care for?
Yes, writing about myself. I have a blog page on my web site that's stood empty for months because I believe there's nothing in my life interesting enough to write about.
Do you plan to write more science fiction or is there another genre you would like to try?
My next book, Eternally His, will be released in February 2009 by Awe-Struck. It's a paranormal romance about a ghost dressed in a Victorian wedding gown who is haunting a bridal salon.
Next are a women's fiction story with a strong romantic element and an erotic novella. I also have a sequel to Love's Reflection taking shape in my mind.
Some authors like quiet, some noise, what about you?
Quiet. Give me lots of quiet. I've earned it. My fourth child was born before the first turned five. They're all grown up now and happily married. I can finally hear myself think.
When I want to focus deeply on writing, I play white noise on the PC.
Anything else you would like to share?
Yes. I want to thank Coffee Time Romance for this opportunity. And I thank you for showing interest in this interview and in Love's Reflection.
Carol, thank you for taking the time to chat with us and answer our questions. Please stop by and visit with us again. We've enjoyed our time with you today.