The Readers’ Writers: Authors Sandra Stixrude and Angel Martinez

DA Kentner, More Content Now

We’re introducing one author writing under two names in the genres of science fiction and paranormal. Sandra Stixrude pens stories that can be read by the entire family. Angel Martinez, well, let’s just say you might want to pull the blinds when you read one of her erotic tales.

The unbreakable link between the two names is a distinctive voice telling really good stories. And, when speaking of science fiction, I must add “carefully researched” stories. Sandra holds true to the traditions of science fiction adventure and refrains from slipping into fantasy versus science.

Sandra created the “Anchorage” series – seven books that take place on one planet. “Marya,” is the story of a woman assigned to guard the realm’s heir apparent against a prophecy of assassination. Next came the two-part “Romenel,” a tale of a mercenary commander who has become the hunted. Penilas’s stories of a young man fighting for his liege and memory followed, with Emily’s life and adventures bringing the series to closure. These are skillfully crafted stories of adventure on worlds Sandra creates as if she was born and raised on them.

Though Angel is marvelous at romantic science fiction, she also enjoys delving into the paranormal. Her latest release is “Semper Fae: Endangered Fae 3.” Zack thought being a Marine medic in a secret gov’t installation was odd, until he was assigned as the liaison to the fae. Whatever your reading preference, Sandra and Angel have an out of the ordinary story waiting for you.

Q) You’re a married mother with cats, university educated, and love to travel. Science fiction is held by some to be a “male” genre, regardless of the fact there are a number of bestselling female science fiction authors. So why choose science fiction as the backdrop for adventure and romance?

A) I fell in love with science fiction quite young. Between the cheesy old Cold War-era science fiction movies and serials on Saturday afternoon TV and a wonderful school librarian who recognized a kindred soul, I fell hard and fast. Andre Norton, who wrote science fiction for young people, was one of my early favorites, though I soon devoured Bradbury, Asimov and, yes, Keith Laumer.

Imagine my astonished delight when I discovered that Andre Norton was Mary Norton. She wrote under a male pseudonym since her publisher convinced her she had to. SF written by a woman would never sell, they said. The fact was that she wrote amazing stories. She drew me out of current reality into the possible, not what is but what could be.

In SF we begin with what is known and take that leap of imagination out into what might be next, what could develop. It is something quintessentially human, this reaching beyond ourselves, and one can’t draw gender boundaries on being human.

Q) “Boots” was Angel’s divergence into erotic fairy tales. Is that genre something you would explore again?

A) Folktales and myth are fertile fodder for any storyteller. It’s incredibly fun to find new ways to tell a familiar story. I have dipped into the folkloric and mythical pot several more times (and most likely will again). “Vassily the Beautiful” actually combines two of my passions as a re-engineered fairy tale (the Russian “Vasilisa the Beautiful”) worked into a science fiction setting. Angel’s next story, due out in May, is a tale about Hades, lord of the Underworld, trying to find a place for himself in the modern world.

Q) How do you stay true to science fiction and avoid the brink of fantasy?

A) I am an old school firm believer that SF and fantasy are two different streams that shouldn’t mix. While a subsistence culture may view advanced science as “magic,” the writer must be able, in his or her own mind, to separate the two. Science requires an explanation, even if you don’t give the reader the spec sheet. In Fantasy, magic simply is. Science requires ingenuity and the manipulation of the universe around us within the laws of physics and chemistry. Magic is the manipulation of the universe despite the laws of physics.

Q) Which leads into this question: What do you see as the difference between science fiction and outer world fantasy?

A) Not a big fan of outer world fantasy. If you’re going to write fantasy, what possible need is there for extra-solar planets? Why not create an entirely new universe for your magical system if it can’t take place on Earth?

It boils down to this: if you introduce actual magic (not telepathy, not advanced nano-tech, not some form of telekinesis, but magic) into your story, it’s no longer science fiction. Science fiction takes what we know about the universe and extrapolates on that knowledge, finds some new, possible solution using the laws of known science and forms plausible hypothetical leaps from these laws.

Q) Any parting comments for fans and potential readers?

A) Good science fiction doesn’t try to describe the universe; it tries to illuminate some slice of our place in it. At its best, SF is the most human of fiction genres and sometimes for the writer, the most intensely freeing.

DA Kentner is an award-winning author.