Ana: Eileen, an excerpt from your novel “Don't Feed the Fairies” was submitted in the ABNA 2010 contest. You introduced us to Cytolene, a perfectly delightful alien who has been picked for an important assignment: scouting the planet Earth with an eye towards harvesting humans for food! Unfortunately, when she ends up stranded on Earth with no exit strategy, she has to figure out how to survive - sure, she can drain the occasional passerby for nourishment, but she has a standard of living to maintain, not to mention the trickiness of staying hidden on a world where she is quite literally an illegal alien. Can you tell us more about your novel and where it goes from the end of the excerpt? What sorts of themes do you explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience?
Eileen: Cytolene discovers that she's not the only alien from Eris stranded on Earth. She finds a baby Erisian and has to protect her, particularly from the journalist who lost his job when he admitted he had been abducted by aliens. There are adventures and chases and hot guys, then the baby's mother comes looking for her.
Now Cytolene is forced to protect the humans who had had given her such a hard time, even from the baby's sexy big brother. Things get worse when they finally arrive back on Eris, and her mother is not exactly pleased to see her.
And when you have a species that mates three males to one female, romance gets very complicated.
I didn't set out to explore a theme, just to tell a rip-roaring story, but I did find that the theme of motherhood kept popping up.
Ana: What was your inspiration when writing your novel? Were you influenced by a specific author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre?
Eileen: This novel started by accident. As a joke, I wrote a short story for my writing class about how Sarah Palin was a space vampire. My teacher, Patricia O'Reilly, said "That's good, now make a book out of it." So I did. But I got rid of Sarah Palin as my heroine. That would be too weird even for me.
Ana: Haha, now we'll all have to wonder "what could have been". When I first read the excerpt for “Don't Feed the Fairies”, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and how the delightful Ford Prefect was absolutely aghast at being stranded on the phenomenally boring and backward planet Earth for 15 years! If you could compare your novel to any other existing work, which one would it be and why?
Eileen: This is difficult, because by pure luck, I've written a book that isn't like anything else in print at the moment. My children think it's most like "Avatar", my husband reckons it has echoes of "The Long Kiss Goodnight" where Geena Davis is the spy coming in from the cold, but I tend to to think of it as "Pride and Prejudice" in outer space.
Ana: Is this your first or only finished work, or have you written other novels? If you have written other novels, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more novels planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different novel or genre?
Eileen: It's turning into a series. I've written a second book, where Cytolene comes back to earth, develops an eating disorder and discovers that there are other, very nasty, aliens threatening Earth.
In the third book, the baby alien has grown up into a grumpy hormonal teenager who starts a civil war, then has to save the planet while Cytolene is busy looking after babies.
And I've just started a fourth book, which I hope will be a whodunnit in outer space. With more hot guys and a heroine who is out to kill Cytolene.
Ana: I was first introduced to your novel through the Amazon Breakthrough Award contest of 2010. What prompted you to enter the contest, and what were your overall feelings towards the contest in general?
Eileen: I think this is a fabulous contest. It's international, free to enter, and gives you a great chance to pit your book against some of the best new writers in the world. I've entered it again this year, and I'm at the Quarter final stage, and hoping to get further.
Ana: Are you currently published or self-published? Where can readers obtain a copy of your novel for them to enjoy? If you’re not currently published, how can readers “sign up” to be notified when your novel does become available?
Eileen: An excerpt of my novel is available as free Kindle download from Amazon.com. Or you can go to my website at www.eileengormley.com.
Ana: Eileen, thank you so very much for being willing to participate in this guest blog interview. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Eileen: Thank you for wanting to interview me! All I can say is, if you have a story to tell, start writing.