Monday, March 14, 2016

Realm Explorers Part XCI: Visit Mars Station with Sterling R. Walker

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 

Author’s name: Sterling R. Walker

Title of book and/or series:
The Orphan Ship Trilogy (contains three previously published books, The Orphan Ship, The Lost Sheep, The Last Orphan)

Brief summary of the story: This is hard to do without giving too much away, so this is the back cover blurb for book one, The Orphan Ship:
Stranded 225 million kilometers from home on Mars Station, cousins Jake O'Brien and Lorina Murphy are drawn into a fledgling effort to help the hundreds of abandoned street children who call the station home. Jake becomes a medical apprentice in an outreach clinic, while Lorina volunteers at a juvenile shelter. They soon discover that their efforts may be in vain because something much more serious than poverty plagues Mars Station.
Also stranded on Mars Station, ship's captain Danae Shepherd faces the difficult task of hiring replacement crew after an alien virus claims the lives of four in her employ, including her husband. She stumbles upon the same problem that has Jake and Lorina stumped: why are homeless children disappearing without a trace?

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Mars Station, a biosphere city home to two million inhabitants. My books are also set in some locations on Earth, including Lahaina, Maui; Bangkok, Thailand; and Guangzhou, China.

If we were to visit Mars Station as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
The economy is so bad that it’s not a place you’d want to visit. The central park would be attractive but it’s been taken over by the homeless.

What dangers should we avoid in Mars Station?
The corrupt Central Intelligence Police, commonly known as CIPs.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served?
It’s an international station so every type of food on Earth can be found on Mars. There are food vendors/kiosks everywhere. Meat is too expensive for all but the very rich, so most people exist on a vegan diet.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common?
Regular guns that use bullets, although they’re more advanced (tiny semi-automatic pistols).

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel?
The main character, Captain Danae Shepherd, owns a passenger starship, but there are also merchant ships, warships, and freighters. Ground transportation is solar-powered, including solar cycles and solar cars. There are also electric trams driven by androids for mass transport around the station.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Mars Station?
Anti-grav (to move heavy items, hands free) and an assortment of advanced medical devices, including scanners which can detect any internal illnesses or damage, Hemorrhage Freeze, probe androids for surgery, fusion lasers for mending broken bones, synthetic blood, bone, flesh for restoring any damaged body part, and a machine that can restore neural pathways in the brain, just to name a few.

Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment.
Holo-vids, which are just 3D movies.

Is there a particular religion practiced?
All Earth religions are practiced openly and harmoniously (even Islam).

What is the political or government structure?
Mayor and city council that are elected.

Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
The station police chief is the real leader. He controls the police, the courts, and the council like a mafia boss.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
I’ve been to Maui, Bangkok, and Guangzhou, so it was easy to create futuristic versions of these places. I’ve also adopted children from China and Thailand, have volunteered in foster care, and visited many orphanages, so I have a lot of insight when it comes to homeless children. I have a special love for Asian cultures and mention many details when my characters travel to Thailand and China.

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Human trafficking, especially as it relates to children.

Author Autobiography:
Author Sterling R. Walker has been writing since she was old enough to spell. She earned a BA in English from North Carolina State University, with an emphasis in Creative Writing. The Orphan Ship is her first published young adult science fiction novel. It was awarded a 2012 silver medal from Children's Literary Classics.
Walker lives in Holly Springs, North Carolina, with her husband and five of her six children, including two daughters adopted from China. Her oldest son is married, and she has one grandson.  

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?
My first three books are on Kindle, Nook, Apple, and Kobo, and in paperback. The trilogy is just on Kindle, for now. Click here to buy book one in paperback:
Click here to buy my new release on Kindle:

Where can readers connect with you online?

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Mars Station.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the fantasy world of Fiori, in Realm Explorers Part XCII!
-Annie Douglass Lima

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