Conversations & Guests

Hot sci-fi romance! A convo with author SE Gilchrist

Sci-fi romance – especially erotic sci-fi romance – is a big seller right now, and Aussie author SE Gilchrist is writing cool, sexy space opera romance with lashings of high adventure. And, y’know. HOT DUDES. As well as some scorching fantasy romance on the side. A multi-talented lady!

(P.S. There’s a giveaway at the end. Because I need to share these fab books. You want one. Trust me.)

Welcome, SE!

The Paranormal Unbound blog motto is: “breaking rules, redefining genre, stuffed full of awesome”. Which of these three best applies to you? Please explain!

ILegend-Beyond-The-Stars_Final-compressed-200x300t would be nice to think I’m under the re-defining genre section. My writing seems to be morphing more into action / adventure romance. I love writing action scenes full of either (hopefully) heart pounding tension and / or lots of blood and gore.

And, of course, stuffed full of awesome. Naturally. We don’t let just anyone hang around here, y’know.

What inspires you to write space-based science fiction romance?

I love the scope sci fi romance can give you – the ability to make up your own world, rules, culture. Here I can also explore some issues that are of personal importance to me, such as cloning, genetic modification, climate change, limited resources to name just a few.

SF romance is anecdotally a tough genre to break into. Tell us about your path to publication – did you encounter any obstacles particular to sf, as opposed to say, paranormal or fantasy, which you also write?

It took a re-write before I sold my first sci fi romance, Legend Beyond the Stars. This book came 3rd place in our RWA (that’s Romance Writers of Australia) Emerald Contest in 2011 and not knowing any better, I subbed to publishers and agents. It really needed more work. After refusals, I set it aside and worked on other stories. Then I wrote my erotic historical/fantasy series which I intended to indie publish. After the RWA conference in 2012 I re-wrote Legend, did another couple of edits and submitted to Escape Publishing (that’s the digital arm of Harlequin in Australia). I was lucky – I had a book in a genre that the editor Kate Cuthbert was keen to acquire. I believe achieving publication is more about having a good book in the right place at the right time.

Yes indeedy – and it’s awesome to see that sf romance is a ‘must-have’ genre right now. Onwards and upwards…

Some sad and strange people still think that ‘sf is for boys’, or that they don’t want to read ‘technical stuff’. How do you find your audience – do you think your work appeals more to romance readers, or to sci-fi addicts? Or both?

I think it appeals more to romance readers who love adventure rather than sci-fi addicts. The science in my stories is light, but in saying that I do try to introduce more science each time I write a new book. But there will be a limit to that; as trying to understand physics makes my brain want to implode.

Your latest release, Star Pirate’s Justice, seems a little lighter on the romance – more of an adventure story! – than your first novel, Legend Beyond The Stars, which is more of a hot/erotic romance. Was that a conscious authorial decision, or just the way the story turned out?

Star Pirates Justice for web pagesI was going to say, the way the story turned out but then I realised that as I was writing I wanted to write an action story. Re: the heat level, it just seemed to suit my characters more to have less ‘dalliance’. They were too busy running about doing other things. I’m currently writing the third single title in this series and I’m interested to see how this one turns out.

A common attack aimed at SF romance is that ‘it’s not REAL science fiction because it’s not about IDEAS, goddamit…’ How important is it to keep your sci-fi world-building fresh and new, to give readers something they’ve never seen before – or do your readers prefer a more generic but easy-to-visualise setting?

I watch documentaries such as Through the Wormhole and am really looking forward to the new COSMOS airing sometime this year overseas. It helps me visualise something that I’m using say a vortex. I agree it’s hard to come up with a fresh idea or setting. Since I primarily write for romance readers, I like to stay with something they can easily visualise. I was rather fond of my alien predator, the draptile, which made its appearance in Legend. Not a creature you want to meet while out walking the dog.

Definitely not 🙂 Whereas Tarak, your hero in LBTS, is a sexy alien warrior. Tell us your top three most important, er, features (ahem) for a smoking’ hot sci-fi romance hero.

Apart from a seriously built warrior type hero with gorgeous strong thighs? I’d have to say: protectiveness (willing to give all and do all for the one he loves), a strong sense of honour and the ability to admit when he is wrong. (See? Definitely more on the romance side)

the-portal-for-web-pages-200x300Good tips. I think we’d all agree the thighs are important.

Now for some silliness:
Star Wars or Star Trek? Oooh, not fair. I love both but I’m gonna pick Star Trek.
Daleks or the Borg? Daleks. Who can resist an upside down garbage can? I grew up with these blokes.
Light saber (an elegant weapon for a more civilized age) or raygun (blam! you’re dead)? I’m not going to stuff around with some light saber. I want a gun every time.
Would you rather be Doctor Who’s companion, or a crew member on Captain Mal’s Serenity? Until I watched Serenity and Firefly, I would have said Dr Who (it was my dream to have my own TARDIS). So I’m climbing on board Serenity. And this way I get that gun.
Ebooks or paperbacks? Paperbacks
Coffee or chocolate? Chocolate

Thanks for joining us, SE!

You can find SE Gilchrist on the web:
Website –
Twitter – @SEGilchrist1
Facebook –
Goodreads –

Now for the giveaway part. I love SE’s hot sci-fi stuff, so I’m feeling generous. One lucky commenter will win a nice shiny Kindle copy of Legend Beyond the Stars!

Just answer this question: what’s your dream space opera job? Crew member on Serenity? Doctor Who’s TARDIS mechanic? Jedi Knight, or a general in Darth Vader’s Empire (force-choking optional)? Janitor on Stargate: Universe? A Star Trek redshirt? The possibilities are endless…

Giveaway ends Monday, or sometime like that.

**EDIT: giveaway winner is Stephanie Fredrick! Yay!! I’ll drop you a msg… Thanks to everyone for playing.***

10 thoughts on “Hot sci-fi romance! A convo with author SE Gilchrist

  1. Enjoyed the interview very much. As for a job, I would love to be a doctor on a starship seeing new places and treating different species!

  2. Thanks Erica and SE for a really great interview! You def got my imagination working overtime and any book that has hot sexy dudes in a SF story…well, that is my cup of tea! I think my mind can just imagine quite a few dream space soap operas…..but the one I would really love is to be a kick ass female dragon shifting warrior scouring the stars aboard the Serenity. We are dreaming, right? 😉

  3. I would love to be Capt. Mal’s second on Serenity. Of course we would have to be romantically involved to make it more interesting. 🙂
    Great interview, love finding new great authors.

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