In my day job, I come in contact with many personalities from different nations of the world. Why wouldn’t I take the opportunity to write about a geek who was Russian? Aquarian Stars started as a mere jotting on a post it note: ‘Go to the planetarium’. Most people go to movies or read in their down time, I go to planetariums and observatories when my life allows me to get away from it all. As I was watching the constellations, I remembered back to my 9th grade history class and the Russian and US space race and John F. Kennedy’s “We Choose the Moon” speech. He stated “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” (John F. Kennedy, Speech at Rice University, Houston, 12 September 1962)
And you thought this was just a blog about a book! I’m a nerd and will teach! Anyway, that speech in my head created the characters of Eloise and Nikolas. So yes, Nikolas wanted to be Russian, with an accent that would come to America despite the long troubled history with US and Russian space relations. The conflict with US and Russian astronauts spawned the conflict for my story. With every good romance, there has to be some conflict, even if the characters want each other bad enough they are willing to step outside of what is ‘good and proper’. Eloise came off as strong and independent, and a bit of a bad girl who landed on her feet. Nikolas was quiet, studious, but still the black sheep of his military family. It was bad enough they couldn’t be together because of the bad stigma of the boss bedding the secretary, but throw in the fact that Nikolas was from Russia and had every intention of going back to Russia, what more of an obstacle did they need? Eloise and Nikolas are the embodiment of what JFK said; we choose this not because they are easy, but because they are hard. If their relationship was easy, how would they know they are getting the best of each other? If it were easy, would it stand the test of time and all the challenges that we know relationships will face?
Creating characters that make you feel is the hard part. Creating a plot line that is driven by geekdom is even more difficult. When writing the manuscript, I had to delete many paragraphs as it felt like I was either giving a history lesson and lost the story or I was being too ‘nerdist’ and went all out factual. I’ve said it before, that I specialize in the short story format, and Aquarian Stars is no exception. However, I hoped to capture all of the angst and longing of both characters to make them come alive in a short amount of time. Yet, I couldn’t resist throwing actual fact in the story. Kostroma does house an actual planetarium in Russia that had been in long disrepair and the telescope lens is that old! Even writing in short story format, authors still must research and put out their best tale.
So there you have it, Aquarian Stars, a little bit of fact with your fiction. Happy reading!