Jodi Bowersox has been an actress, seamstress, designer, business owner, home school teacher, kids’ choir director, and artist.
Her romance novels span genres from faith fiction to suspense to time travel to sci-fi with small town and big city settings. In addition, she has children’s picture books to her credit, a book of stage productions, and a non-fiction Bible commentary. As an award winning watercolor artist, Jodi specializes in pet portraits, and as a seamstress, she creates women’s vests out of men’s ties.
She lives in the heart of Colorado Springs with her husband and too many cats.
The following is an interview with the author.
Each week, The Colorado Sun and Colorado Humanities & Center For The Book feature an excerpt from a Colorado book and an interview with the author. Explore the SunLit archives at coloradosun.com/sunlit.
What inspired you to write this book?
My Tripping on Mars series was completely inspired by one of my characters in my Rocky Mountain series who was an author. I attributed the titles “Mars Madness” and “Beware the Eyes of Mars” to her, and later, I thought it would be fun to write her books. The closest I’d come to writing sci fi was a time-travel series, so heading off to Mars was brand new territory. I’ve since written a third, “The Mars Heir.”
Place this excerpt in context. How does it fit into the book as a whole and why did you select it?
It’s a scene fairly close to the beginning and sets the stage for both the main characters, Clarinda Hawkins and a Mars security android named Vincent.
The prototype for the “Vincent 4.0 series,” Vincent is the most advanced android ever created and almost indistinguishable from humans. And he has a little thing for Clarinda, a sassy African American woman who came to Mars as a friend of the Mars Madness lottery winner. It will take some persuasion and a paradigm shift for her to see Vincent as anything other than a high-tech robot. This section is the beginning, though, where a simple conversation begins to change her mind.
The other character in this excerpt is Roman Ricci, who is the main antagonist. His need to keep Clarinda from testifying in an assault case is the driving force in the story.
Tell us about creating this book: any research and travel you might have done, any other influences on which you drew?
Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately) I didn’t travel to Mars for up close and personal details, so I had to rely on internet research. Weather, atmospheric conditions, and the Mars terrain were some of the facts I needed. Also, the make-up of the soil itself was important to the story. And because the book’s premise is that there are huge domes on Mars, I looked into the conjecture on how humans might go about colonizing the red planet.
The great thing about sci fi, though, is you get to imagine and create what doesn’t yet exist. Like massive domes set up like a resort. Like genetically modified horses that can survive outside those domes. Like programmable android eyes that could be switched out, turning an ordinary droid into one with a whole new purpose.
What were the biggest challenges you faced, or surprises you encountered in completing this book?
Well, it’s always interesting to start writing from a title. “Beware the Eyes of Mars” has certain things built in. “Beware” suggests there’s a danger of some kind.
Holy cow, what do I do with that! Would it be more about being watched, people’s expectations and judgments, or actual eyes? It turned out to be all three.
Another challenge was the love story. I had already set up Vincent’s attraction to Clarinda in “Mars Madness” — they were the obvious choice for the story –but an android/human relationship is fraught with all kinds of “issues.”
What would it take for a human to fall in love with an android? What were the consequences for doing so? Would it be accepted by other humans? What were the philosophical implications? Once an android is so advanced that it is sentient, has emotions, and can fall in love, is it not human? Can the company who created them continue to tell them what to do? Can they switch them off whenever they want to?
Can an author possibly deal with all of that in one book? Yes. I did. All in the midst of a suspenseful story of the Mars underground Mob.
Walk us through your writing process: Where and when do you write? What time of day? Do you listen to music, need quiet?
Except when I’m in between books, I usually write every day — sometimes morning, sometimes afternoon, sometimes evening. Sometimes all day. I write at my desk. I’m not a laptop person — they make me crazy — although sometimes in the summer, I’d like to move my writing outside.
For me, absolute quiet is best, although I usually have one or more cats on my desk, sometimes swatting at my hands while I type or knocking things off. A kitten just stuck her head in the mug sitting on my desk and finished my tea for me…
I started writing novels in 2011, and it quickly became an obsession. Better than sewing, better than art, it moved into the number one thing I love to do. I’m working on my 15th novel right now, and I have 19 books published in total that include two children’s books under the name J.B. Stockings.
What’s your next project?
I’m currently working on “The Diamond Diva Vendetta,” a Romantic Suspense set in Brazil. A case of mistaken identity turns Rita Miller’s vacation into a nightmare and a race for her life. It is the second book in my Anonymous series and follows “Cinnamon Girl Explains It All.” You can read an excerpt at www.jodibowersox.com.