Marcha Fox is a science fiction fan and author whose love of astronomy resulted in a bachelor’s of science degree in physics from Utah State University.(Read Marcha’s interview in the USU College of Science magazine) This was followed by a 21 year career at NASA, where she held a variety of positions including technical writer, engineer, and eventually manager. Her NASA experience was primarily at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, but included trips to Cape Canaveral in Florida; visiting other Centers in Mississippi, Alabama and Maryland; as well as visits to California and the European Space Agency in The Netherlands.
Her most memorable experience, however, was the sad task of helping to recover space shuttle debris in East Texas following the tragic Columbia accident in 2003.
As part of the 50th Anniversary for the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, she was an interviewee in a beautiful documentary, “Landing on Airwaves,” which you can listen to here. Her contributions are at 3:56 and 6:36 minutes from the beginning.
“NASA was a great career experience, but writing is what I’ve always wanted to do,” she explains. “My education and aerospace experience have given me the background I need to write science-based stories populated with convincing characters. To me there is nothing more exhilarating than bringing a fictitious person to life.”
Would the truth be known, her first love has always been writing. To that end, her primary motivation for going back to school at the age of 35 to obtain a physics degree was to produce more accurate science fiction. (You can read her essay about what her college experience was like here.) While working at NASA, she remembers going to see the movie Armageddon with a friend who was in the oil business. Afterwards, the two proceeded to rip the movie apart for its inaccurate representation of both industries.
“My daughter told us to lighten up, that it was only a movie, but I was upset because of all the people, especially teenagers, who would think what they were seeing onscreen was correct when it wasn’t. It doesn’t seem as if it would take that much more to get it right so that entertainment is also informative, not something that may have to be unlearned later.”
She’s made it a point to “do the math” regarding various elements in her books to assure accuracy, and hoping to instill an interest in science and engineering to her readers in an enjoyable and entertaining way. (For more on this story go to Marcha’s blog “A Roughneck and a Rocket Scientist Went to a Movie.”)
She admits that Cyraria’s figure-8 orbit around a binary star system is a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, it’s mathematically feasible, even though it would be unstable–life on such a planet would be beyond challenging with its seasonal extremes.
“It’s speculative but possible, which is exactly what makes it a good setting for the story,” she adds.
It’s difficult for her to identify her favorite character, but admits she leans toward Win Sendori, who first appears in Volume II. “He’s a gutsy, honest, action-oriented person who has no qualms pursuing the right thing to do, regardless of consequences. He just showed up as what I thought would be a minor character, then worked his way into the story and became an integral part of the plot.”
Born in Peekskill, New York, she has lived in California, Utah, and Texas in the course of raising her family. This included fifteen years as a stay-at-home mom before returning to college in her 30s to obtain her degree, a feat accomplished while she still had six children at home. All are now grown with children of their own, providing her with 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, so far. Never at a loss for something to do, besides writing she enjoys gardening, her two Bengal cats, and pursuing her study of the heavens in yet another realm, that of astrology.
“Just because scientists can’t explain how it works doesn’t mean it doesn’t,” she states. “What they fail to tell you in astronomy class is that Kepler, Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton were all astrologers on a quest to obtain more accurate data for their astrological readings and predictions. While I was in college, they had nothing good to say about it, whatsoever. I was writing a novel at the time with a physicist protagonist, so I thought it would be amusing to make his ex-wife obsessed with astrology. As a result, I had to research it, and discovered–much to my surprise–that it actually worked, and quite well at that! Most people think that it’s limited to the mass horoscopes found in newspapers and magazines, but it’s much more complex and rich with information than that.”
She sees no conflict with modern science, other than the fact that technology has not yet advanced far enough to determine its mechanism. Her astrology clients span the globe, accessing her through her website at www.valkyrieastrology.com as well as on Facebook. Her research into the astrological influences in effect at the time of the NASA accidents was published in the journal of the International Society for Astrological Research (ISAR) in 2006. She’s a graduate and former instructor of the International Academy of Astrology, conference speaker, as well as author of various ebooks on the subject you can view here or on Amazon.com.
While most religions shun astrology, she finds that ironic as well. “If God created the planets, then how can their message not be from Him?” she asks. “The Christian religion turned against it millennia ago because it compromised the power leaders had over the people. This hailed back to the Roman Empire, which had a history of limiting its practice to its leaders. This, ultimately, had a strong influence on the policies of the Christian church. Others have simply followed that precedent, rather than conduct the necessary research to determine the real reason.” A future work will address how astrology lost favor with Christianity and explain how the premise and practice of this ancient art and science is fully compatible with today’s Christian religions.
“First of all, the Old Testament prophet, Abraham, was an astrologer, so how evil could it be? Secondly, science, astrology, and religion were once an integrated whole. When the church’s pseudo-science was proven wrong by Galileo, the problems began. Then there was the question of free will, another major problem with both the Newtonian view of science and deterministic astrology, both of which have since been resolved. I hope to contribute to explaining that in sufficient detail, so astrology can be vindicated and find the place it deserves in today’s world, where it’s wisdom can help so many better understand their life’s mission.”
“Multiple interests and careers come in handy when you’re a writer,” she states. “For example, astrology works well for developing characters. Years ago I taught a creative writing class where I used the basic traits of the Sun Signs as part of the lesson on character development. It really helps round them out and determine how they’ll behave until they’re sufficiently fleshed out to essentially write their own script. If you give the character a birth date and run their natal chart, it gives you even more ideas that are often extremely surprising!”
You can follow Marcha through the following social media:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Marcha-Fox/e/B0074RV16O/
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor
Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/profile/MarchaF
Bublish Author Page: https://www.bublish.com/author/view/3111
Blog Page: http://marcha2014.wordpress.com/
Learn more about Marcha in the interviews below as well as several more on the Events page.
Nerdy Book Club Contributor
Marcha A. Fox’s books on Goodreads:
|Beyond the Hidden Sky
reviews: 28, ratings: 38 (avg rating 4.63)
|A Dark of Endless Days
reviews: 12, ratings: 19 (avg rating 4.84)
|A Psilent Place Below: Star Trails Tetralogy
reviews: 9, ratings: 14 (avg rating 4.93)
| Refractions of Frozen Time
reviews: 7, ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.64)
| Star Trails Tetralogy Box Set
reviews: 5, ratings: 15 (avg rating 4.27)
| The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51
reviews: 9, ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.75)
| The Sapphiran Agenda
reviews: 6, ratings: 10 (avg rating 5.00)