I’m so happy to be able to welcome Sharon Lynn Fisher to the blog today. Sharon’s new book, Ghost Planet, just hit the shelves and not only was I able to get my hands on a copy but Sharon wrote a lovely guest post for us that just happens to mention a place I think a lot of us would love to travel to.
Kiss Me, I’m (Almost) Irish
What is it with Ireland and writers? Lots of them come from there. Many of the rest of us would like to immigrate. Is it the weather? Nothing to do but write? Maybe so, but I live in Seattle and can get that right here.
Sure it’s gorgeous — rolling green hills dotted with sheep, stone fences, streams and lakes the color of Guinness. There are rainbows EVERY DAY. But you don’t want to get too comfy.
Because Ireland is also bleak and atmospheric. Moody and poetic. Storms, big waves, salty air. Dizzyingly high cliffs where people have fallen to their deaths when the fog rolled in. I grew up in tornado alley and I’ve never seen a storm as violent as the one my first night on a solo trip to Connemara. I thought the roof would blow off. It was the first time I’d ever experienced absolute dark — I lay in bed, window blinds open, and still could not see even the outline of my hand in front of my face. Except when the lightning came.
But guess what? If a day out in the elements or at the keyboard leaves your spirits a little low, Ireland has the world’s best pubs — friendly people, welcoming fires, and traditional music. Have you ever smelled a peat fire? Earthy, herbal, smoky indulgence. Especially if you’re sitting in a pub like this one, chatting up a friendly bartender named Roy and drinking Bailey’s or hard cider.
That sense you get in Ireland — of nature happening all around you, in ways you are powerless to predict or escape –definitely worked its way into the worldbuilding for Ardagh 1, the setting for my debut novel, GHOST PLANET (Tor Books).
And the hero of GHOST PLANET, psychologist Grayson Murphy, is an Irishman from County Cork. His character was inspired by the physicist hero in the film SUNSHINE, played by Irish actor Cillian Murphy, also from Cork. (The film was directed by Danny Boyle, who is more than half Irish himself.)
I create playlists for all of my projects, and when I’m finished I post them on Spotify and iTunes. The GHOST PLANET playlist includes songs from Dublin-based singer/songwriter Adrian Crowley, whose music evokes the Irish countryside with all its beauty and mystery. I also drew a lot of inspiration from the music of Glen Hansard (of The Frames and Swell Season) and Snow Patrol (part Irish, part Scottish).
How about you? Is there any place on the globe (other than the place you grew up) to which you feel you have a special connection? Maybe the place you think about when you’re wishing you were anywhere but work?
Barbara: Hmm, aside from Eric Bana’s house in Melbourne (when his wife is gone, I’m not a total heathen!), I think Ireland would have to be it. Everyone else?
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
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.
So Halloween has passed and I thought I was done with stories that would raise the hair on my arms for another year. One chapter into Ghost Planet and I had goose pimples and until I closed the book, I felt like I was on a roller coaster of emotions – but I kept those goose pimples. This is a scary, smart, sexy story that occasionally had me doubting my own thoughts as I read.
Earth has become a polluted disaster and the need to find another planet to sustain life sent explorers out into space. John Ardagh found a planet similar to Earth that was full of vegetation and habitable and began a program to settle people there. They found a very disturbing effect once people arrived – a fully formed, solid replica of a person with some sort of relationship to them who’d died was “connected” to them on this new planet. Psychological problems developed when people engaged these so-called ghosts/aliens, so something called the Ghost Protocol was put into place, where Citizens were strongly encouraged not to speak to or acknowledge their ghosts.