the Little Red Reviewer

Mars Girls #BlogTour, Interview with Mary Turzillo

Posted on: June 15, 2017

Coming this summer from Apex Books is MARS GIRLS, a YA adventure set on everyone’s favorite red planet.  Written by award winning author Mary Turzillo, Mars Girls follows the frantic and frenetic adventures of Nanoannie and Kapera.  Both girls understand the dangers of living on Mars, but still, life isn’t easy when you’re just a couple of Mars Girls!    Click here to preview the first chapter of the book.

What others are saying about Mars Girls:

“Mary Turzillo has crafted an extraordinary tale of teenaged adventure on a harsh planet. Heroines Nanoannie and Kapera use bravery and ingenuity to survive on a vividly imagined future Mars.”
—Brenda Cooper, author of Edge of Dark

“Mars Girls delivers real-feeling characters in a fast-moving, exciting space adventure.”
—Kij Johnson, author of The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe

“Great fun! A rollicking adventure across a uniquely imagined Martian landscape.”
—S Andrew Swann, author of Dragon Princess


And what would a blog tour be without a giveaway? Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to get entered in the give away for a free e-book of Mars Girls.   Mary Turzillo and Nanoannie and Kapera have been blog touring all over the blogosphere, head on over to these other posts to read reviews, interviews, and more!


Blue Book Balloon reviewed Mars Girls

Interview and give away at Dab of Darkness

The Journey to Mars Girls guest post at The Grimdark Files

Review at Rapture in Books

Review at Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews

Interview and give away at Books, Bones, and Buffy

10 Bad Habits reviewed Mars Girls

Unlikely Friends Driven Together by Disaster, a guest post and giveaway at Ardent Attachments

Would You Go To Mars? Guest post at I Smell Sheep

Religions on Mars, according to Mary Turzillo Guest post at Skiffy and Fanty Show

Women Write About Comics interviews Mary Turzillo, the original Mars Girl

Why I Wrote Mars Girls guest post at Frank Errington’s Blog

Frank Errington reviewed Mars Girls

Wow, that’s quite a trip around the blogosphere!

The tour ends here, at Little Red Reviewer, with an interview with Mary Turzillo.  This may be the end of the blog tour, but it’s just the beginning of Nanoannie and Kapera’s adventures out in the wild.  If this book looks like something you or someone you know would enjoy, head over to Apex Books or Amazon to order yourself a copy.

About Mary Turzillo:

Mary Turzillo’s 1999 Nebula-winner,”Mars Is no Place for Children” and her Analog novel, AN OLD-FASHIONED MARTIAN GIRL, are read on the International Space Station. Her poetry collection, LOVERS & KILLERS, won the 2013 Elgin Award. She has been a finalist on the British Science Fiction Association, Pushcart, Stoker, Dwarf Stars and Rhysling ballots. SWEET POISON, her Dark Renaissance collaboration with Marge Simon, was a Stoker finalist and won the 2015 Elgin Award. She’s working on a novel, A MARS CAT & HIS BOY, and another collaboration with Marge Simon, SATAN’S SWEETHEARTS. Her novel MARS GIRLS is forthcoming from Apex. She lives in Ohio, with her scientist-writer husband, Geoffrey Landis, both of whom fence internationally.


Let’s get to the interview!


Andrea Johnson: Who was your favorite character to develop and write in Mars Girls?

Mary Turzillo: It’s hard to choose. Nanoannie is a more complicated character than she at first seems, since her desires and enthusiasms are so conflicted. She wants adventure, but now that it’s happening, she’s rather it had more designer suit-liners and fantasy boyfriends, and fewer slightly burned hands, slimy kidnappers, and unwanted real-life lovers. She seems all surface, but despite her silliness, she has backbone.

But I’m also rather fond of Cayce. He’s such a player. In fact, I like him so much that I gave him a cousin by the same name in an upcoming novel, except the cousin is younger and a rather nice guy.

AJ:  Without giving any spoilers, can you tell us which scene was the most fun to write? Which scene was the most difficult to write?

MT: It’s hard to talk about scenes very farther into the novel with out giving out spoilers, but here goes. Out of context I’m not giving too much away.

I enjoyed writing everything in the novel. If I didn’t enjoy a particular scene, it meant I’d just have to ditch it, because if I didn’t like it, how could I expect the reader to enjoy it? But my favorite was, curiously, Kapera doing her EVA. I researched space-walks thoroughly, and I even have a mug from Kennedy Space Center of the cooling radiators on the International Space Station. I wanted to show her courage and ingenuity and the fact that she persisted.

The hardest passage to write was Marcus’s account of what really happened at Smythe Pharm, because the plot had gotten pretty complicated by that time. I also had to get inside Marcus’s mind. I’m writing about him in another novel, a prequel to this one, and he’s an interesting, tortured soul with a strange background. He’s been a criminal and also a devoted family man. This is all background, but it had to be subtext.

AJ: You’ve written a ton of fiction about Mars. Why Mars? Why not the Moon, or Jupiter, or a made up planet in another solar system?

MT: That’s an easy question. First, Mars is relatively easy to colonize. It has a solid surface, it has minerals and other elements (oxygen can be harvested from the thin carbon dioxide of the atmosphere) that humans need, and it’s almost as easy to reach as the moon. (If you can call any space mission “easy.”) But the other reason is that I’m married to Dr. Geoffrey Landis, who had a very elegantly simple experiment on the Sojourner rover and who also is a part of the science team for Mars Exploration Rovers. I’ve tagged along with him to many conferences and read books and articles that are part of his research. His novel Mars Crossing won several awards. It’s set in a different time period than my novel, but he wanted to portray Mars accurately, and I’ve tried to do the same.

BTW, we have a big wall map of Mars which I taped to the staircase wall outside my office and consulted frequently. All those place names in my novel are real, except of course that Borealopolis is a city that does not yet exist.

AJ: You also write a lot of poetry. When you get an idea in your mind, how do you know if it’s going to be a poem or a short story?

Sometimes I write a poem and then the idea extends into a story. But mainly, if the idea has people in it, real characters, it has to be fiction. Poetry is mostly (although not always) about images. Stories are about people.

AJ: Congratulations on your recent fencing accomplishments! How did you get into fencing? What do you most enjoy about that sport?

MT: I’m a geek girl! How could I not love swords? I always wanted to learn to fence, and Geoff and I saw this announcement that our local rec center was teaching a beginning fencing course. So we took it. The instructor, a guy named Tom Nagy, is a brilliant teacher, otherwise I could never have managed to learn the first thing about it.

I like the people I meet fencing. They are all energetic and imaginative. Many fencers are also writers: Linda Dunn and Delia Turner both represented the US on the Women’s Veteran sabre team, and both are widely published SF/F writers. And then there’s me.

The best part is actually doing a real bout and getting touches — or not. It’s very aerobic, interval training without any of the boredom of running on a treadmill or stationary biking. You have a sword (we call them weapons) in your hand! Somebody is trying to stab you! You are trying to stab them! But nobody actually gets hurt. It’s lovely.

AJ: What’s something about being a writer that you wish more people knew?

MT: Writers are not all rich. In fact, most writers depend on a day job to pay the rent.

Another thing is that writing is very time-consuming. Many writers have serious conflicts with their family over the amount of time they spend banging away at a keyboard. Geoff and I understand that constraint. But marriages have broken up because one spouse didn’t appreciate the long hours the other spouse spent staring at a computer screen.

AJ: I enjoyed seeing the photos on your facebook page from the Nebula Awards. Any funny stories from that weekend? Are awards events and science fiction conventions something you enjoy?

MT: Well, not really funny, but David Levine, who won the Andre Norton award for his novel Arabella of Mars, came dressed in period — meaning Regency. It was quite striking.

We also loved the quirky centerpiece robot sculptures by Don L. Jones, made of repurposed metal parts. They were for sale ridiculously cheap, and many of us snapped up one or two. I’m not sure what TSA thought about them as people flew home with them.

Also delightful was the toastmaster speech and other presentations by astronaut Kjell Lindgren. He is known for playing the bagpipes on the International Space Station, surely a first, and maybe an accomplishment not to be repeated in the near future. Or ever.

AJ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Why is their work important to you?

MT: Of the classical period, Roger Zelazny, Octavia Butler, Anne McCaffrey (a BIG influence), Ursula LeGuin, Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Iain Banks. Of living authors, my husband of course, Richard Chwedyk, Nnedi Okorafor, Marissa Meyer, Robert Sawyer, Michael Bishop, S. Andrew Swann, Lois McMaster Bujold, Cory Doctorow, Scott Edelman, Nancy Kress, Ann Leckie — but now I’ve listed so many that somebody is going to be hurt that they aren’t mentioned —

Suffice it to say that I love the genre and have from age thirteen (or earlier, if you count Edgar Allan Poe as a science fiction writer, which he is).

And why? Because they always, in each and every story or novel or even poem, bring me something new and significant: a collision of technology or science with human beings. And because we are human beings whose lives are impacted by the science and technology of our day, science fiction is the most vital literature in the world.

AJ: Thanks Mary!


Interested in winning an ebook of Mars Girls? (of course you are!)

Click here

to be taken to the rafflecopter give away

2 Responses to "Mars Girls #BlogTour, Interview with Mary Turzillo"

[…] Little Red Reviewer interview with Mary Turzillo […]


join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow me on Twitter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,626 other followers

Follow the Little Red Reviewer on



FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
%d bloggers like this: