May 5, 2013

{Blog Tour} Character post for Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

Today on Seeing Night Reviews please welcome author Christian Schoon who gives us some insight on his lead character Zenn Scarlett in his upcoming novel. Stay tuned for my review tomorrow!

Hi and thanks to Kristen for signing on for Zenn’s blog tour and giving me the chance to stop by and talk a little about my heroine and her world.

Basically, as soon as Zenn Scarlett was old enough to understand the word “exoveterinarian,” she knew she’d become one someday. Her mother Mai was an exovet who did her training at the same Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic and school that Zenn has grown up in. So, from infancy, Zenn was surrounded by and on familiar, often friendly terms with a menagerie of exotic life forms brought to clinic from the dozen planets of the Local Systems Accord.

At 17, Zenn is already well along in her academic progression. In fact, as she starts her novice year of exovet training, she knows almost as much as a third-year exovet acolyte. This isn’t that surprising. Zenn’s uncle Otha Scarlett is the cloister’s director-abbot, and Zenn has accompanied both Otha and her mother Mai for many years as they made their daily round attending to the clinic’s patients. Lately, Otha has even allowed Zenn to assist him in surgeries and other treatment programs on some of the animals.

The cloister where Zenn spends all her time is situated in a two-mile-deep canyon on a colonized Mars, traces its roots back to ancient Earth’s medieval religious monasteries and other similar societal refuges from the “outside world.” And, while the Ciscan’s on Mars have evolved into a science-centered life style at the cloister, the compound is still organized along the old, Dark Age architectural lines. Within a thick, high mud-brick wall ringing the compound, are a scriptorium or library/study hall, a clerestory meeting hall, a refectory dining area and kitchen and so on. Added to this are the various infirmary and surgical theater buildings, huge open pens and enclosures and a string of nesting pools and treatment ponds for the various animal patients.

Currently, Zenn is neck-deep in her end-of-term tests. So, when she isn’t in her dorm room bent over v-films and holo-texts cramming for exams, she’s either trying to finish her endless list of chores around the cloister compound, or she’s running through the control panel layout of the in-soma pod, a streamlined, personal-sized medical vehicle that exovet’s use when doing internal exams or other work inside the largest patients. Yes, inside the patients. The exovet lies down in the pod, seals herself in, and then the huge animal is encouraged to swallow it. The exovet then travels through the creature’s interior to conduct whatever procedure is required. Most students would never even imagine doing an in-soma pod insertion until their fourth year. But, as I mentioned, Zenn is advanced well beyond her novice-second-order classification.

Another important fact about Zenn’s world: for the past two decades, Mars has been cut off from all contact with Earth, due to a total trade and communication embargo known as the Rift. Consequently, enrolment at the cloister school has dwindled until now, Zenn is the only remaining student. And, on top her being isolated physically, Zenn also finds herself separated from people outside the cloister in another way. Because of events in the distant past, most of the colonists on Mars, and on Earth for that matter, have a deep, profound suspicion of all alien life forms, both sentient and animal. So, the villagers in nearby Arsia City regard the animals housed at the clinic as “diseased, dangerous monsters.” By association, Zenn too is seen as a less-than-desirable life form that they’d just as soon ignore or avoid. And that makes it all the more baffling to Zenn when one of the towners, a boy named Liam Tucker, takes an interest in her. She really doesn’t quite know what to make of this. And besides, her logical, scientifically trained mind tells her she can’t afford to be distracted. Not when her all-important tests often place her and her animals in situations where a lack of focus can result in utter and irrevocable disaster.

So, that’s just the barest glimpse into Zenn’s world. And I didn’t even get why her mother and father are no longer in the picture. Or why her best friend is an eight-foot-tall, easy-going beetle-like insectoid named Hamish. Or how, lately, she’s become convinced that she’s periodically “sharing” the thoughts of some of her alien patients. And this, of course, cannot be. Zenn is a scientist. She knows there’s no evidence for ESP in humans or other sentient species. But something bizarre is happening to her. Or maybe all the stress of her novice year is just driving her a little crazy. Either way, it’s just one more thing she can’t allow to become a distraction.
If you’re curious to know more, I hope you’ll chose to come spend a little time on Mars with Zenn. We’ll leave the cloister gate unlocked for ya.

Christian Schoon Bio
Born in the American Midwest, Christian started his writing career in earnest as an in-house writer at the Walt Disney Company in Burbank, California. He then became a freelance writer working for various film, home video and animation studios in Los Angeles. After moving from LA to a farmstead in Iowa several years ago, he continues to freelance and also now helps re-hab wildlife and foster abused/neglected horses. He acquired his amateur-vet knowledge, and much of his inspiration for the Zenn Scarlett series of novels, as he learned about - and received an education from - these remarkable animals.

Pre-Order Zenn Scarlett on Amazon | Christian at Goodreads | Blog | Twitter Publisher’s website

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