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Interview with Zanne Raby, author of the space opera Chronicles of Deneb Series

cover of Flight of the Mayflower

The Chronicles of Deneb is a science-fiction/ space opera series set in the near future. The year is 2080 CE. The world is dying. Get ready to travel into the future to a time when nothing is certain.   Where the science behind climate change was ignored, leading to drought and famine plaguing an already overpopulated globe. Massive waves of refugees stream across the planet, seeking sanctuary. Where terrorist groups have joined forces with biohackers to develop a deadly bio-engineered disease that marches across the continents like a conquering army, leaving millions dead in its murderous swathe.

Meanwhile, some of the best and brightest minds on the planet are feverishly at work – constructing gigantic Space Arks to shuttle hundreds of thousands of people to a colony on Mars.  And it seems like there’s more good news: world leaders announce that a vaccine is ready. It’s all good; it’s all returning to normal.

But the truth is very different. In THE FLIGHT OF THE MAYFLOWER, the first novel in The Chronicles of Deneb, Dr. Daniel Radu – project manager for NASA’s Space Ark Mayflower – uncovers a global conspiracy of immense proportions. But Daniel cooks up a scheme of  his own.  Joined by a team of global experts, he and his colleagues brace themselves for a journey of a lifetime as they trek across the galaxy in a quest for survival.

cover of Descent into Darkness

Mayhem follows the Mayflower in the second book of The Chronicles of Deneb series, DESCENT INTO DARKNESS. Journey along with the crew of the Space Ark Mayflower as they adapt to their new home on the planet Deneb. But along with their struggle to integrate into an alien culture, a new battle sweeps across the planet with the arrival of the human-transmitted Chimera bactovirus, bringing war and fanning the flames of racial intolerance. With a bloody conflict now raging across the planet, the crew of the Mayflower is split between the two factions and embroiled in the chaos and destruction.

cover of Fires of Fury

FIRES OF FURY is the third installment in The Chronicles of Deneb. Will the survivors of the Space Ark Mayflower find their way when cultures clash and the fires of fury threaten to consume their lives? Now masquerading as citizens of the Collective, the Mayflower crew has a new reason to fear. With the end of the Second Denebian War, Wesselan’s General Pallav Kóbor and his astrophysicist wife, Dr. Tara Kóbor, have high hopes that life will return to normal on Deneb7. Yet nothing can be further from the truth.In a diabolical plot to erase the scars left by the Second Denebian War, warlord turned Wessel Head of State Gomalan unleashes a fiendish scheme to heal his nation’s wounds, while his top soldier, General Ravenna, falls under the spell of a seductive Fyjer agent intent on crushing their ambitions. Dragged into a brutal reality of terror and intrigue, can the Kóbors and warbird ace Fynn Vogel remain unscathed, or will the flames consume them and all that is evil on Deneb-7?

Excerpt from the Chronicles of Deneb

A willowy brunette with shining brown eyes burst from the shadows, almost scaring Daniel out of his skin. “Tara,” he gasped, trying to quiet his heart. “What the hell? The president’s due here any second.” Dr. Tara Kóbor, the Nobel-prize winning astrophysicist who had discovered the find of the century – an Earth-like planet cuddled up in the Goldilocks zone of its star – was wearing a grin as wide as the Grand Canyon.

“You heard the news, right? I mean, the broadcasts are on fire. They’ve developed a vaccine! And whoever’s on the first shuttle flight is top priority. That means…”

He could hear heavy footsteps pounding on the hangar floor: time to play show and tell. Taking her by the shoulder, Daniel shepherded his friend to the bulkhead door. “It means you gotta get outta here. We’ll celebrate later,” he promised.

Just then, a bevy of bodyguards swooped in, all earpieces and dark glasses, and Daniel stood back as they robotically carried out their duties. No need really, NASA’s Chief of Security had seen to that. Out of the corner of his eye, Daniel spotted Tara’s husband, Lt-Col Pallav Kóbor, dwarfing the president’s team as he walked them through the hangar. He could hear the click click click of the cameras as the president approached with his staff trailing behind like good little shadows.

Show time, he mumbled to himself, wiping the sweat from his palms on his cobalt-blue NASA tunic.

An Interview with Zanne Raby

I’d like to thank Mary for inviting me to be a guest author on Kit’N Kabookle. Welcome to all readers who’ve come to join me today. I’m going to answer some questions that you may have about me and the space opera/ sci-fi series that I am working on.

-What inspired you to become a writer?

I began writing at a very young age. But the path that I took to become an author was, like the Beatles said, a “long and winding road”. Inspiration came while I was still in grade school. Back when I was in grade 4, my teacher asked her class to write a short story. I had two uncles who fought in WW2 in the Pacific Theatre. My one uncle was a tank driver and the other a Marine. So when the teacher asked me to write a story, I thought about my two uncles who used to talk about their adventures and I penned a short story about a PT boat in the Second World War. I was really proud about my work and I showed it to my mom and dad. Anyhow, I got the story back with an F and that my teacher wanted to talk to my parents! My mom told me that she said that I copied the story from Reader’s Digest. My mom set her straight and my mark was raised to an A. That started the writing bug crawling up my sleeve.

Then began my teen years, filled with the normal teenaged angst. So I wrote poetry. I hid it away but my mom sent it off to a magazine and several of my poems were published. And you know the funny part, instead of being proud, I was furious at my mother for having violated my privacy. Stupid kid, right?

When I was 15, I told my parents I wanted to be an author. My father, being the practical sort, said that no one makes a living writing. So for the moment, I pushed it aside. A few years  later, I was studying at the Royal Military College of Canada. Back when I was there, all of the students had to take English class in our first year. That’s where I came in handy. I couldn’t count the number of times I wrote or edited essays for some of the other students. In first year, we were given a creative writing assignment and I took 2 weeks to craft out a fantasy tale. One of my friends came to me the night before the assignment was due and asked for my help. I spent about four hours writing a story about how a young woman was harassed at the college. She got an A+, or should I say, I got her an A+. And my fantasy tale – a B. What can you do? Professors of English just didn’t fall for fantasy back then!

I graduated and pushed writing to the back of my mind. I was a junior officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force and there wasn’t much time to write. It wasn’t until I retired, many many years later, that I turned to writing. Writing had been my dream career, and finally I was able to pursue it.

But the initial inspiration came from my grade four teacher and my mother, who had given me the confidence that I could become a full-time writer. And now, decades later, I’m living the dream… what a long and winding road!

-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?

I’m working on a series that takes the reader to new worlds where humans and humanoid aliens mix. In the third book in the series, Fires of Fury, my female general, Ravenna, is being romanced by a charming enemy spy named Arwin in order to get a hold of a file containing the schematics for a new and dangerous weapon. He takes her to a gorgeous resort named the Golden Sands Palace along the shores of Lake Panni. I’d head there, but only for one day since I’m not the luxury resort type. It would be nice to be pampered after a hike in the nearby hills. If you don’t mind, here’s a little taste of what it was like when Arwin and Ravenna arrived.

“The glass doors to the resort swooshed open and Ravenna’s jaw dropped. The entire reception hall glowed like the snow-capped peak of Mount Dag Disi. She traced a finger along the intricately carved door frame and was filled with wonder. For although the stone wall was cool, it sang at her touch. Arwin repressed a smile at his victim’s reaction and taking her hand, he guided her down a luxurious red and ochre runner. A cyber-bot rushed forward in greeting and without delay, their overnight bags floated alongside, secure in the bot’s gravitational grip. Ravenna swiveled her head to marvel at the pale walls that were inlaid with golden sands formed into geometric shapes until a gentle gurgle caught her attention. A tug on Arwin’s hand and they halted in a domed octagonal room in which a crystal fountain took centre-stage. Ravenna spun slowly about, drinking in the ambience …”

-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)

We meet Dr. Daniel Radu in the first novel of the series, The Flight of the Mayflower. Daniel’s the man in charge of NASA’s Space Ark Program and he’s responsible for destroying a devious conspiracy plot by the world’s most powerful players. But Daniel has a secret to tell. He made a giant mistake that’s going to dog him forever: he played around with a dangerous and devious man’s wife. For a man with a PhD in astronautical engineering, Daniel sure was dumb. He fell in love with her. He asked her to leave her husband for him. He played with fire and he got burned. Sworn off women, the widowed father of two looks like he’s got everything under control, except his heart. If you caught Daniel at his most vulnerable at two am, he’d tell you that deep down, there’s nothing he would want more than to find the right lady to fill his life with laughter and light. But after that, he’d grab his tablet to show you the new rocket propulsion system he’s working on.

-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?

Definitely Fynn Vogel. Fynn was one of the best fighter pilots on the face of the Earth and now he’s a warbird ace, flying for an alien planet. In the second novel of the series, Descent into Darkness, we get a feel for just how good he is when he takes on a flock of enemy warbirds. Fynn’s s a fun-filled guy bursting with energy and optimism, although when it comes to drinking, he’s a total lightweight. His favourite drink is sweet iced tea! I’d love to sit back and listen to him talk about his airborne antics, but I’d probably have to duck to get out of the way of his swooping hand gestures. There’s no doubt about it, Fynn Vogel all the way for drinks and dinner.

-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?

This is a true story. It was Boxing Day and I had just come back from a tour with Joint Task Force Afghanistan (remember, I was in the military). I was heading off to visit some friends, but first I stopped to check out the bargains at Best Buy. I was looking for a new laptop. So there I am, leaving the parking lot and merging into traffic. It was busy. I zipped in front of this minivan, nothing major, nothing that would cause an accident, and continued driving. Then I saw the minivan accelerating like crazy and honking his horn. I had to stop at a stop light. The minivan pulled up beside me and the driver opened his window and shook his fist at me. I was incredulous. He wanted to fight me. He was a dwarf. My eyes opened wide in shock. And I drove away, not paying the dwarf any more attention. I’m not about to fight a dwarf, be they in a minivan or a tavern.

-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?

Horror stories. I could never write fictional horror stories. That is, unless they’re factual and then they’re no longer fiction. When I write, I need my work to bring me to another place and quench my thirst for adventure. Get the bad guys, foil conspiracies, save the planet type thing.  I could never do a horror story justice. Give me a light saber any day and a fast star ship and I’m off. So I’m going to be leaving that genre to other authors.

About Zanne Raby

author Zanne Raby

Since the days of the Napoleonic War, there has always been a member of Zanne’s family in uniform.  Choosing to follow in the footsteps of her ancestors, Zanne joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1980, and was selected to attend the Royal Military College of Canada – the first year that women were accepted into that prestigious academy of learning.  After graduation, she studied to become a Transportation and Movements Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

During a career spanning 38 years, some of the most memorable experiences involved command of 8 Mission Support Squadron as part of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, leading a study on support to the Canadian Arctic involving several trips to Northern Canada, including Canadian Forces Station Alert (the most northern settlement in the world), a three-year tour with NATO at Joint Force Command Brunssum, a deployment as the NATO Liaison Officer to United States Central Command, and finally a nomination as the Deputy Commander for the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group.

After hanging up the uniform and putting away the combat boots, Zanne bought a small acreage in Central Ontario and designed her own house.  With a cozy office overlooking the shores of Georgian Bay, she decided to pursue her life-long ambition:  to become an author.  Enough of the reports and returns that littered her desk over her career, now she could turn her attention to unleashing the creativity that had taken a back seat.  The time had come to shake the dust off begin a new career.  The winds of change had called.

Zanne is currently crafting The Chronicles of Deneb, a sci-fi space opera series that will take the reader from a dystopian earth on a voyage across the universe in search of a safe haven.  But trouble is in store for them when the planet they land on is anything but the sanctuary they sought.

When not behind the keyboard, Zanne enjoys travel, photography, hiking, and gardening.  And always, a good story to pass the time.


Zanne Raby will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 thoughts on “Interview+Giveaway: The Chronicles of Deneb Series by Zanne Raby

  1. Thank you Mary for hosting me on your blog. And I would also like to invite the readers to ask any question or comment. I’ll do my best to get back to you. Seasons Greetings!

  2. This series sounds like an epic read and I think that it would translate well to film. In your opinion what is the best sci-fi book to film adaptation?

    1. Well, I’m a great fan of HG Wells, the father of science-fiction. So it’s no surprise that I would choose War of the Worlds, highlighting a war between humanity and aliens. Spielberg’s adaptation of HG Wells’s novel, while modernizing it (the work was after all written at the end of the 19th century) brought the plot to life for me.

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