Rebecca’s new book, A Paradox of Fates, Sci-Fi Romance, Dystopian Romance is out now. She stopped by to talk about the themes in the book.
I always knew I’d write a romance about a theoretical physicist female protagonist one day. Why? Because to me, a self-proclaimed science dork, there’s nothing sexier than science. It can explain in exact terms why certain parts of our bodies flush with desire when being held in the arms of a lover. It also leads to a shared understanding of the realities of life. No matter your religion or absence of belief, the sun will generate the same amount of radiation each day to each human on Earth and the moon will orbit the planet while its gravity creates the waves upon our shores. There’s something so connecting about something so constant.
I think I’ve also always associated science with romance because I experienced my first kiss at Space Camp in Huntsville, AL when I was fourteen. His name was Matt White and everyone in our class found out I’d never kissed a boy. Our counselor took pity on us (she was a very mature and hilarious nineteen-year-old!) and let us hang out in the space pods for a few extra minutes so we could get our groove on. After a lot of tongue and awkwardness, I was no longer a French kiss virgin, all thanks to science!
Fast forward a few decades and I’m now a full-time romance author. After a long stint in Corporate America, I knew it was time to save up my money and write down the love stories about the people who lived in my head. After publishing my first paranormal romance series last year, I wanted to stretch my legs and do something drastically different.
Cue Dr. Elaine “Lainey” Randolph, theoretical physicist and overall science badass. This woman’s grasp of science is vast and sexy as hell. Raised in a dystopian world where science isn’t taught to every schoolchild as it is today, she was educated by her father, a renowned physicist before the apocalypse. Science rolls off her tongue, familiar and rote. Carl Sagan, faraday cages, Tesla and EMPs—they’re as customary to her as breathing.
But her logical mind does have some drawbacks. Because she was raised to think in scientific terms, her mind has trouble computing emotion. To Lainey, romantic love is just a series of rapid-fire chemicals overriding her practical nature. She has no inclination for it—until Captain Hunter Rhodes appears at her scientific hub.
Captain Rhodes is viscerally sexy, raw and mysterious. Lainey is immediately drawn to him, although the attraction is unwanted. He’s a distraction to her goal and she’s determined to bury what she considers primitive feelings of arousal and yearning so she can maintain her purpose. Born to decipher time travel with her brilliant mind, she has no time for romantic love.
Whereas Lainey thinks in linear, practical terms, Hunter has a great proclivity for love. Their interactions, where they each push each other to think in capacities that are abnormal for their learned thought patterns are intense. Hunter impels Lainey to believe in fate, gut feelings, and human nature. Lainey urges him to recognize the beauty and consistency science creates in the world—and that humans take for granted. It’s an interesting dichotomy, compounded by their undeniable attraction to each other. Lainey is reluctant to act on it. Hunter won’t settle for anything less than her acceptance that their relationship is just as important as her mission to save the world. The all or nothing approach is terrifying to someone like Lainey, who has convinced herself she doesn’t have the ability to experience romantic love.
Another theme of A Paradox of Fates is the older protagonists. Lainey is thirty-eight and Hunter is forty-three. As a forty-two-year-old romance author, I want to read and write about people my age falling in love. Despite my epic Space Camp kiss at fourteen, I have never been married and haven’t been exceptionally lucky at romantic love. This has actually worked well for me, as it led to me building a life where I thrive solo and truly enjoy it. My independence spurred me to have a successful medical sales career that led to me purchasing my own home several years ago and taught me that self-love is the most important of all. But still, my romance novel reading heart does hold out hope that I’ll meet someone who will be just quirky, funny and awesome enough to get me—and I’ll get him back. Meeting your life partner after you’ve analyzed and accepted yourself (i.e., when you’re older!) is a dynamic that I don’t feel is explored enough in romance novels and my hope is that readers my age will see themselves in Lainey and Hunter. Their experiences are molded from decades on the planet and they’re confident in who they are. The dynamic that develops across the page is interesting because they must learn to clutch on to learned life lessons but also be open to growing with each other. For people in their forties, that ain’t easy, folks. Believe me, I know, as many of you probably do as well.
Lastly, as someone who’s always known she would be child-free, it was important for me to feature a child-free by choice protagonist. Thankfully, we now live in a time where child-free by choice is more accepted. I remember the 2000s when I would hold my truth inside because telling people always resulted in the same canned responses. You’ll change your mind. You just need to meet the right man. Isn’t that selfish? I could go on and on but, thankfully, I’ve left those days behind and the world has evolved if only a little. Today, I am confident in my knowledge that I just wasn’t put on this planet to have a biological child. I adore children and have many godchildren and my sweet little niece, but liking children and the calling to be a parent are two completely different things. I believe that child-free by choice women like Oprah, Dolly Parton, Betty White, and others have other callings that are just as important. I’m in awe of so many of my parent friends and think that whether you choose to procreate or not, it had better be something you want deep inside. Lainey has an extremely important purpose: to solve time travel and go back to 2035 and prevent the apocalypse. Hunter understands her child-free choice and there is something so damn sexy in that. Well, to me anyway. Hopefully, this romance novel will find other child-free romance readers and they’ll identify with Lainey.
In the end, the themes of this novel are vast but also simple. Time travel, dystopian worlds, older protagonists who are child-free—my goal was to just write something different. In this age of flooded book markets, there’s never really an “original” idea, but I hope A Paradox of Fates can take the reader on a twisty, exciting ride for a few hours where they get lost in Lainey and Hunter’s world. The chemistry is sizzling and the banter is hot so buckle up and enjoy!
About the Book
One woman bred to save the world… Dr. Elaine “Lainey” Randolph was born with one sole purpose: to prevent the past. With her brilliant mind and unwavering spirit, she works tirelessly to solve the equations that will finally unlock the mystery of time travel. Then, she will leave the post-apocalyptic future her grandfather created and travel back in time to prevent his calamitous actions.
When handsome military captain Hunter Rhodes appears at Lainey’s remote scientific hub, he offers her protection. But there are strings attached to the mysterious soldier’s proffer, and Lainey finds herself wary of the man who stokes unwelcome longing and desire in her unemotional heart. For Lainey is a scientist, obdurate and dispassionate toward the notion of romantic love.
As Lainey’s band of ragtag scientists and loyal soldiers endeavor to escape the dystopian future, the evil New Establishment threatens to destroy them all. In their unpredictable timeline, the nefarious regime has become all-powerful and will stop at nothing to ensure complete world domination…
This novel is brought to you by a self-proclaimed science dork and lover of romance, fantasy and sci-fi. The reader can expect time travel shenanigans, smokin’ hot chemistry between main characters in their late 30’s and 40’s and twists along the way. Enjoy the journey!
About the Author
Rebecca Hefner grew up in Western NC and now lives on the outskirts of NYC. When she’s not belting karaoke, searching for the next great red wine or watching the Carolina Tar Heels beat Duke, she’s writing sci-fi and paranormal romance with complex characters, surprise twists and HEAs.
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Welcome, Rebecca, and thanks for your thoughtful post. Best wishes for the success of A Paradox of Fates!