I am delighted to interview a character from the sci-fi novel, Rings of Fire and Ice: Karen Faizah Westerhof ...
Bio of Karen Faizah Westerhof:
Ms. Westerhof prefers going by her middle name, Faizah, Swahili for “she who is victorious.” She spent her early years in South Africa until her mid-teens when the family moved to her father’s homeland, England. After attending university, she apparently entered government work, though in what capacity is unclear. She later left the government job for a position with InterCorporate Resources, a firm specializing in corporate intelligence. One of her clients was 4th Orbit Enterprises. She eventually travelled to Mars aboard the interplanetary tug Cydonia Zach. That was was when she first met the tug’s pilot, Ed Ferald, nephew of 4th Orbit’s founder. Life hasn’t been the same for either of them since. Faizahy currently works solely under contract as a “business consutlant” for 4th Orbit.
What do you think of Tom Chmielewski?
He strikes me as the kind of romantic who thinks he was born 30 years too late or 40 years too early. He’s done well as a journalist writing about his own time, but reveals a different passion when he’s peering far ahead in his writing, or looking back. Not more passionate, just different. He’s more eager and wistful with his fiction. Tom’s non-fiction has a wide range of curiosity, and depending on the topic, determination or even anger.
What did you want to be when you grew up–and what did you end up becoming?
Anything but my parents. My mother was a member of South Africa’s Parliament. My father is a British lord and diplomat. They both were in the pubic spotlight in Africa, and that light followed them to England when we moved. It was too bright for me. I wanted no part of it. So I ended up in corporate intelligence where I do most of my work in the shadows. At least I did until I ended up on Mars. Mars is much too small a world to hide in the shadows for long.
Are you a leader or a follower?
People in my line of work, we’re not fond of being followed. It usually ends up in a bad way for the follower. You already know how I feel about being in the spotlight. I find it more interesting finding a place somewhere between leader and follower. Because of what I can find out outside of normal sources, I can slip little known info into a leader’s ear with significant consequences. Yet I also trigger a follower’s fear should one of them get dangerously close.
What music do you listen to?
For that, I have to give some credit to our author. Tom claims that at a classical music festival in the 1990s he had the opportunity to ask Yo Yo Ma what his favorite top-down driving music was. Ma told him it was Led Zeppelin and Beethoven. Just give that a thought for a moment. Beethoven’s Fifth and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.’ It’s a brilliant mix, in a weird sort of way. I still find both stirring and invigorating, even in the early years of the 22nd century.
What do you think happens after we die?
If it happens anytime soon, I know what I hope happens after I die, that the coppers nail the s.o.b who did me in.
CHECK OUT Rings of Fire and Ice by Tom Chmielewski!!
Ed Ferald prepares to fly the Cydonia Zach on the fastest trip ever from Mars to Saturn, revolutionizing interplanetary travel time from months and weeks into days. So why are so many corporate execs, lawyers, politicians and thugs determined to stop the Zach from getting there?
Even if the Zach reaches Saturn Science Station safely, Ed doesn’t expect the Titan staff to welcome him and his crew with open arms. Open rebellion seems more likely, for the mission of Zach's is to evict the staff and close the station.
But what haunts the captain most are his own memories of what occurred at Saturn. Worse is his fear of repercussions should a reporter on board finally unravel the 15-year mystery behind the wreck of a legendary ship, a mystery buried among the dark reaches of Saturn’s frigid moons.
There are some secrets that best stay buried.
The story is set in a plausible science fiction setting of the early 22nd century, yet the plot doesn’t delve into the nuts, bolts, and protons of the technology involved. The author, after all, is an English major, not a physicist. Instead, the story focuses on the people who live and work on Mars and elsewhere off Earth, interjected with humor, and sharpened by the dangers they face. Ed and his uncle’s “business consultant,” Faizah, an expert in corporate intelligence and who knows what else, struggle to keep one step ahead of forces trying to stop them. They face the threat through wit and guile, and a few sparks between them, along with help from unexpected sources.
Rings of Fire and Ice is a complete story in itself, yet continues the arc that began with Lunar Dust, Martian Sands, and will continue in a third novel.
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