Why did you join the Pets in Space 2 anthology?
I loved all the stories in the first anthology, especially when I found out that 10% of the first month’s profits went to Hero-Dogs.org, a non-profit that pairs trained dogs with disabled U.S. veterans to help make them independent. I shamelessly groveled and begged the anthology organizers to do a second anthology and let me be a part of it. My bribes… uh, flattery must have worked, because they let me in. Life would be very much poorer without pets, so of course we’ll take them with us to the stars. My contribution is “Pet Trade,” about an injured veterinarian and a fugitive elite forces cyborg who save some pets…or is it the other way around?
If you could bring back one extinct animal, what would it be, and why?
From pure curiosity, I’d like to bring back one of the iconic herbivore dinosaurs, such as the triceratops or the stegosaurus, because I’d love to see what color they are, how the sound, and how they act. No velociraptors or T-rex for me, thanks—I’ve seen the movie, and know how THAT turns out. We don’t have any preserved stegosaurus DNA, however, so we’d just be guessing based on mathematical regression models of what living dinosaurs looked like. We’re a lot closer to the Ice Age fauna, and have partial DNA for creatures such as smilodon (sabre-tooth tigers) and wooly mammoths. In my novella, “Pet Trade,” for the Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2 anthology, the pet-trade genetic engineers have recreated miniature dinosaurs and dire wolves (among others) to be pets for the wealthy. Imagine having a large, smart, well-trained dire wolf as your personal guard dog.
If you could create/design an animal, what would it look like and what could it do?
I’d look to mythology and folklore, because there are some doozies — dragons (western or Chinese), wyverns, foo lions, thunderbirds, 5-tailed foxes, smart ravens… I’d miniaturize the bigger creatures because my urban property has neither a mountain cave nor vast herds of goats to feed a full-sized dragon. I suspect my neighbors would complain. In my novella, “Pet Trade,” for the Embrace the Romance: Pets In Space 2 anthology, pet-trade genetic engineers create designer animals for the wealthy. In the story, the current fad is to design creatures that look like they evolved on alien planets, but based on a mix of DNA from Earth-origin animals. Such animals are called “chimeras,” after the mythological creature that had lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. The chimera in my story has, among other fanciful features, six legs. He’s named Kivo, and he’s very sweet.
What do you love about writing science fiction romance?
To me, science fiction and romance are a double-dose of hopefulness — we make it to the stars, and past whatever travails and troubles we have now, and love flourishes. My muse’s home base is science fiction, because I love the what-ifs and the sense of wonder, and romance brings humanity and warmth to all that technology. Not to mention, I’m a sucker for a good love story, where people come together and deserve the love they find. So, I write what I love to read.
Visit Carol Van Natta’s website at http://author.carolvannatta.com/