I’m interviewing Sharon Lynn Fisher over at USA Today Happily Ever After, about her latest science fiction romance novel Echo 8.
Here’s the story (courtesy of Tor Books): Three lives. Two worlds. One chance to save them all.
As a parapsychologist working for Seattle Psi, Tess has devoted her life to studying psychic phenomena. But when doppelgangers begin appearing from a parallel world that’s been struck by an asteroid, nothing in her training will help her survive what’s to come.
After dislocating to Seattle Psi from the other Earth, Jake is confined by a special task force for study. But when he drains life energy from Tess, almost killing her, it causes a ripple effect across two worlds – and creates a bond neither of them expected.
Ross is an FBI agent ordered to protect Tess while she studies Jake. His assignment is not random – he and Tess have a history, and a connection the Bureau hopes to use to its own advantage. By the time Ross realizes his mission could be compromised, it’s already too late – he’ll have to choose between his love for Tess and his duty to protect the people of his own Earth.
Veronica: One of my favorite questions to ask in the USAT/HEA interviews is whether the author has a favorite quote or short scene from the book they’d like to share. The excerpt below was Sharon’s first choice, although we ultimately had to go with a different, shorter one for the column. But I thougt it’d be a shame not to share her first choice over here on my blog:
Sharon: As the author, my favorites are mostly super intense, and might not play well out of context. But I like this early scene because it helps to establish the dynamic among the three main characters.
“He’s been asking for you,” called Agent Perez when she saw Ross coming.
Ross moved to Jake’s door, glancing through the square window. He jumped back when Jake appeared behind the glass, inches away.
Ross punched the intercom button and reached for his sidearm. “Back off.”
“I want to know what’s going on,” demanded the fade. His eyes flitted nervously from Ross to Perez. “Where’s Tess?”
The last thing Ross wanted was to hear her name in the fade’s mouth. “Not your concern. You keep quiet in there and maybe no one shoots you.”
Jake’s features contorted in anguish. “Did I kill her? Please—I don’t understand—”
The fade’s head swiveled, like he’d heard something behind him. His body practically hummed with nervous energy, reminding Ross of his methaddict brother. Except there was nothing sunken or hollow about Jake—not anymore. The bastard was brighteyed and fully charged.
Jake’s gaze anchored on Ross again. “Am I some kind of—vampire? I felt like I was sucking the life out of her.”
“Is she dead?”
Ross took in Jake’s distress and allowed a pinprick of compassion. “She’s not dead. Not yet.”
Jake squeezed his eyes shut. “God . . . why didn’t you just shoot me? Why don’t you shoot me now?”
Ross studied the fade—darkblond curls, narrow forehead, brown eyes, short beard curling over chin and jaw. He was about Ross’s height but thinner, and closer to Tess’s age.
“You want me to shoot you,” Ross replied, dubious.
“Why did you let her get so close? You’re a Fed, right? You have to be, dressed like that. Were you supposed to be protecting her or what?”
Jesus. Ross felt like he’d been punched. He slipped his weapon back in the holster and turned to go.
“Hey!” called Jake. The intercom was still on.
Impatient to get back upstairs, Ross hesitated before turning. A part of him could empathize. What a position to suddenly find yourself in.
“What she told me,” said Jake, “—the alternate universe thing—is it true?”
“Probably. It’s a theory.”
“Based on what? I mean, how can you know something like that?”
“We can’t, not for sure. But they’ve questioned enough of you to piece it together.”
Jake chuckled darkly. “I thought she was nuts. Or I’d wound up in some purgatory for suicides.”
Ross lifted an eyebrow. “You killed yourself?”
Jake’s lips set, and he glared at Ross. “I’m finished talking to you. If she lives, I’ll talk to her. Shoot me if you want to. I don’t [expletive!] care.”
Veronica: I found it to be an exciting, unusual story and I hope you’ll hop over to the actual interview on USAT/HEA. Here’s a photo of Sharon inside the now-scrapped ferry Kalakala, which plays a part in the novel.