Today, I'm interviewing the book The Tribulations of Tompa Lee by Edward Hoornaert.
Space Rep: Is he new?
Liza: New to us, but he's written many books. This is book 2 in The Trilogy of Tompa Lee.
Space Rep: What's the first book called?
Liza: The Trial of Tompa Lee.
Space Rep: What are they about?
Liza: I don't know for certain, but I'm thinking they might be about the trials and tribulations of Tompa Lee, whoever she/he/it is. But let's transport Tribulations over and find out.
Space Rep: On it.
Liza: What? No Microwaving today?
Space Rep: No, I discovered I could leave my cup of tea on the plasma drive core and it stays warm all the time.
Liza: The book will no doubt be relieved.
Space Rep: No it won't. It will have no idea it might have gotten wet and soggy.
Liza: Welcome, Trib...May I call you Trib?
Book: Whoa...I had this strong feeling I was going to drown. Where am I?
Space Rep: You're in Liza's junk heap and I have saved you from drowning.
Book: Thanks. Why exactly am I here?
Liza: So I can interview you. Now I've nicknamed you Trib, so please stop calling yourself Book, it will confuse my readers.
Space Rep: She can't spell words longer than four letters.
Trib: Trib it is—not as grand and wonderful as Tribulations, but it will do. What would you like to know?
Liza: Give me a one-liner about your book.
Trib: Goddess or Madwoman? Even she isn't sure.
Liza: Interesting, tell me more.
Trib: Well it involves a woman, a man, and a whole bunch of aliens. Some are friendly and some want to kill the man and the woman. Especially the woman.
Space Rep: * laughs* Thus giving you your she, he, and its.
Liza: Tell me about the woman.
Trib: Tompa Lee is a major underdog. She was a homeless orphan on the streets of Manhattan who clawed her way up to the lowest rungs of the Commerce Space Navy. Now she serves as ambassador to the Shons' planet and is hailed as their goddess.
As you can imagine, her background didn’t prepare her to be either an ambassador or a goddess. She kinda has a big ol’ chip on her shoulder.
Liza: Still, it sounds like a great life, being loved and worshiped. How do I get such a gig?
Trib: You might wish to hold off on applying for the position. Tompa got the job by surviving a trial by combat against 300 alien accusers. That’s what I’ve heard, at least; it’s in a previous book, I can’t speak from personal experience.
The goddess thing isn’t without drawbacks. For example, she has a dead man living in her head, and she’s afraid she’s going mad.
The ambassador gig has its problems, too. Although like Shons (the natives) she distrusts her fellow humans, and fears an imminent attack by Klicks, mankind's greatest enemy.
Liza: On second thought, I'll remain an author. Seems safer. What about the man?
Trib: Sergei Mengliev, the self-styled Ming the Merciless, is a flamboyant musician who traverses the known galaxy, performing for appreciative aliens. Aliens adore human music—but surely you know that. Tompa meets him when he is posing as a mere musician. Shortly thereafter, Klicks destroy the Terran embassy.
Liza: Why was he posing?
Trib: It’s just a job to him (at least at first): try to help her in the coming conflict with the Klicks. To do that, he has to win her trust. After he gets to know and admire her, he wants to win her heart, as well.
Liza: Since nothing is as nice as one would think in your book, I'm wondering WHY he wants to seduce her.
Trib: Well, males have this biological drive that turns them into slaves of their gonads when—
Oh, you already know about the birds and the bees?
Anyway, sex is only part of it for Ming. He’s extremely proud of his genes, being the descendant of Russian cosmonauts and rocket scientists, but Tompa is smarter and more athletic—and he’s self-confident enough to admire that. She’s the ideal woman, in his mind.
And she has a great tush. He likes that, too.
Space Rep: Since we are getting to the dangerous part of the interview, just a safety reminder: don't ask Liza a question she doesn't know the answer to. It gives her distemper.
Liza: I've told you before, distemper does not mean the person has a disagreeable temper. *turns to Trib* So who is Ming really?
Trib: A secret agent. Because he likes ancient Earth culture, he fancies himself not as Agent Oh-Oh-Seven, but Agent Oboe Seven.
Liza: *rolls eyes* Weird. Whose side is he on?
Tribe: How can you ask such a thing! It’s a secret—you know, as in ‘secret agent’.
In truth, though, I blush to say that I don’t know. My author has removed the information from my database so I cannot tell you.
Liza: Fair enough. Space Rep can't keep a secret to save his life.
Space Rep: That's not true. I never told you the bunny pooped in your tea.
Liza: Space Rep, go find me a recipe for rabbit soup, while I continue this interview. *turns to Trib* Sorry for the interruption. Now tell me about the alien.
Trib: There are a lot of them, including Tompa’s Shon friends who adore her as a goddess. But I assume you mean the evil Lord Keevie. He’s a Klick, a 7-foot tall lizard who resembles a tyrannosaurus. He wants to drive humans off Zee Shode but above all he wants to eviscerate Tompa in person, because killing a goddess will surely make him a god.
Liza: Makes my trouble with space bunny seem petty in comparison. Let me find Space Rep and tell him we aren't having bunny soup today. In the meantime, tell my readers more about the book.
Trib: To the best of my knowledge I am unique, in that most of my action is set in the alien equivalent of a national park. Tompa’s Shon friends are cuddly, but they have a bloodthirsty streak. Hence the park is filled with hungry carnivores.
When Tompa and a few others escape the Klick attack on the embassy, Keevie’s army chases them into Palla Pelly Park. Tompa and Ming have to save the refugees not only from the Klicks, but from the beasts, too.
My author has deleted the ending from my database, but I greatly fear that there’s no way out for Tompa and Ming. None that I can see, at least—but I’m sure you are more intelligent than I, a mere book.
Liza: I'm back. You didn't ask any questions while I was away did you?
Trib: *pages flutter* I do have a question. Would you like to peek beneath my covers?
Liza: Yes, I would. This story sounds most interesting.
Tompa wrapped the blankets more tightly around her aches and pains. “You don’t scare me.”
Liar, Dante said from inside her head.
“Who are you?” she called to the Klick, remembering the old advice, know thine enemy.
The huge creature rose, bowed, and then sat back on his tail. “My name is Keevie, but you may call me Death.”
“The Klick leader?” she said.
“Do you never soar above the obvious?”
“Nope.” To her own surprise, Tompa laughed. Chatting in the dead of night to a bloodthirsty, seven-foot tall dragontail who wanted to kill her felt bizarre. Everything that had happened to her on Zee Shode was either terrifying or absurd.
No, not true. Some of Zee Shode was glorious. Finding a friend like Awmit who accepted her. Finding a place where she actually belonged.
And sleeping with Ming? Hadn’t that been glorious, too?
“What can you expect from an uneducated street meat?” she taunted. “I’m the shortest, skinniest, dumbest, lowest class human you're ever going to find. And yet, a few months ago I beat the tail spikes off you bullies. Drove you right off this planet.”
That’s telling him, girl. Dante spoke with more passion than usual, making Tompa feel less stupid for goading a creature who could kill her with one swipe of his tail.
“How I shall enjoy eviscerating you, Tompa Lee,” the Klick growled.
Space Rep: This books sounds fabulous. Can I buy it?
Space Rep: But why? I didn't know what the bunny planned to do. If I had any idea, I wouldn't have put your cup on the floor.
Liza: Well the book has released early. However, upon discovering where my cup resided, I'm not inclined to let you buy the book.
Space Rep: Trib, tell her the punishment is too severe for the crime.
Trib: Not to sound vain, but the book is very fine. If you don't believe me, read the reviews of book 1, The Trial of Tompa Lee:
"The humor that comes from mistranslations and cultural differences contributes to Hoornaert's delightful voice, even as he explores the complex themes of justice, sacrifice, and the individual's place in society. Few authors can craft a novel that holds all of that together so satisfyingly"
"Read this in one sitting. Strong characters. Rich descriptions. Excellent world building. Going to bed to dream about heroic humans and courageous, pear-shaped people"
"An action-packed thriller with plenty of twists to keep the reader happy"
Space Rep: Oh, we need to read book one, too. Please forgive me. Please, please, please!
Liza: All right. Go find me link for book one and two
Book 1: The TRIAL of Tompa Lee
The Midas Rush
Liza: Trib, it's been a pleasure having you over.
Trib: I enjoyed it as well.
Liza: Good, because I'm keeping you for three days.
Trib: What? No! I'm coming out tomorrow. I have things to do.
Liza: Nonsense. If you aren't around, Amazon will create more of you. That's what it does. Clones things over and over.
Tribe: But I want to help my author with promotions. He's a fabulous person.
Liza: Tell me about him.
Trib: Edward Hoornaert is not only a science fiction and romance writer, he's also a certifiable Harlequin Hero, having inspired multi-published author Vicki Lewis Thompson to write Mr. Valentine, which was dedicated to him.
Liza: That's interesting. Tell me more.
Trib: These days, he mostly writes science fiction—either sf romances, or sf with strong elements of romance. I can’t imagine where he ever dreamed up an oboe-playing secret agent, though--unless it’s because he is a symphonic oboist himself. But surely he isn’t so conceited as to fashion the hero after himself!
Liza: Still interesting, continue...
Tribe: After living at 26 different addresses in his first 27 years, the rolling stone slowed in the Canadian Rockies and came to rest in Tucson , Arizona . He married his high school sweetheart a week after graduation and is still madly in love … which is probably why he writes romances.
Liza: I've never met a real human still madly in love. Most unusual.
Space Rep: Her ex husband tried to kill her 3 times. It took her awhile to notice.
Liza: Thank you Space Rep. Instead of sharing my life, why don't you explain why Trib has to stay 3 days.
Space: Because Liza is a starving author and bought the cheapest transportation package. They only guarantee 100% delivery every three days. If I send you back before 3 days, you could end up missing half the story, and this book sounds way too good to miss a word of it.
Trib: 3 days it is! I am delighted to stay with you—although I must say I’m glad books don’t have mouths. I don’t trust the tea around here.
Is there some way to help my author sell books from your Junk heap?
Space Rep: Sure, you can hijack Liza's twitter account and tell peeps about the book under her name. Be strange and no one will notice the difference.