Exclusive Interview: “Barbarian’s Prize” Author Ruby Dixon


While Ruby Dixon is not the first person who’s wanted a more romantic version of Star Wars, she might be the first who thinks her take on it should be made into something that resembles the unholy spawn of Archer and Bridgerton. At least that’s what she says in the following email interview about the new version of her 2016 romantic sci-fi novel Barbarian’s Prize (paperback), the fifth book in her Ice Planet Barbarians series.

Ruby Dixon Barbarian's Prize Ice Planet Barbarians

For people who haven’t read any of them, what is the Ice Planet Barbarians series about, and when and where are these stories set?

It’s a series about modern human women that get kidnapped from Earth and end up stranded on an icy planet where the natives are at a hunter-gatherer technology level. There’s also the khui, the symbiont that lives inside the host, which everyone has to have in order to survive on the planet, and which selects who you should make children with. Romantic, right? But I like to think that it works.

And then for people who have read them, and can ignore me writing SPOILER ALERT, what is Barbarian’s Prize about, and how does it connect, both narratively and chronologically, to the previous book in the series, Barbarian Mine?

It takes place directly after Barbarian Mine. Chronologically, it’s been a year and a half since the human women landed on our ice planet, and a lot of them have been matched up with their resonance mates and are starting to have children.

When in relation to writing Barbarian’s Mine and the other books, did you come up with the idea for Barbarian’s Prize, and what inspired this specific story?

I knew Tiffany’s backstory (all the trigger warnings) and how it would affect her. That was the seed for this story — because at heart, all of the stories are about people falling in love — and how she’s trying to overcome her fears in order to find peace with herself (and love happens along the way).

The previous Ice Planet Barbarians series were all sci-fi romances. Is it safe to assume Barbarian’s Prize is as well?

It’s definitely sci-fi romance. There’s always a hint of survivalism and adventure, of course, but the core is romance.

And just how romantic do these stories get? Like, are they super mushy, or are they the kind of things that might be enjoyed by, say, someone who’s dead inside?

I go by the level of what feels right for the characters. Some are steamier than others, and some are more tender. This particular story is a little bit more tender but still spicy, if that makes sense. And I like to think all of my stories can be enjoyed by someone that is dead inside.

Moving on to the always enjoyed questions about influences, are there any writers who had a particularly big influence on Barbarian’s Prize? And I don’t mean someone who’s an influence on everything you do, but someone who had a specifically strong influence on Barbarian’s Prize.

You know, growing up, I absolutely loved Jude Deveraux and Anne McCaffrey. Jude Deveraux had some really great, outlandish plots for her romances but they always managed to be sweet and tender. And Anne McCaffrey was the original sci-fi influence for girls growing up in the ’70s and ’80s. So perhaps those two?

What about such non-literary influences as movies, TV shows, or games?

Growing up, we had basic cable, and it played the same movies over and over again: Conan, Red Sonja, Excalibur, etc. If it was ’80s shlock, we watched it. I’m sure that influenced me to a certain level.

Oh god, and Star Wars! I’ve always wanted a more ultra-romance spin on Star Wars, so maybe this is my way of working through these feelings.

And what about your geriatric cats? What influence did they have on Barbarian’s Prize?

I should probably update my bio as we are down to one geriatric cat. Squeaky, my beloved fat asthmatic orange ball of nonsense, passed away last year at the age of 17.

I’m sorry to hear that.

My other cat, Spooky, is 19.5 and still hating everyone and everything around her. We now have a kitten as well. Her name is Zoey (though she probably thinks it is NoZoey), who is a bit of a jerk.

Spooky, Zoey


I have always been an animal person. I adore my cats and would have twenty (my husband says no), and when we could afford it, we moved out into the countryside because I wanted to see deer and squirrels and such outside my window. I’m positive my daydreams of wanting to love and hug and squish all the wildlife played into Tiffany’s pet in the book.

Now, as we’ve been discussing, Barbarian’s Prize is the fifth book in your Ice Planet Barbarians series, of which there are currently twenty-one installments. But is this series an ongoing thing, or is Barbarian’s Prize the fifth book in a sub-series of five, or the middle book in a second trilogy…what?

It’s very much an ongoing thing. If you follow the storyline from book 1 to book 5, you’ll see characters that have already received their happy ever after, and glimpses into their lives. There’s events that happen throughout the stories that affect the world around them.

That said, each story focuses on one particular couple, so if you don’t mind the reference of the occasional event or two in the background, you can pick and choose in any order. Tiffany’s story will make sense by itself, but it’s much richer when you read the series in order.

If you do decide to pick up and start with Tiffany’s book, I include a brief prologue on what went on in the earlier books so you can jump right in.

Earlier I asked if Barbarian’s Prize had been influenced by any movies, TV shows, or games. But to flip things around, do you think Barbarian’s Prize — and, of course, the rest of the Ice Planet Barbarians series — could work as a series of movies, a show, or a game?

Well, I just played Potion Permit and I think Ice Planet Barbarians would be a lot of fun as a video game where you run around collecting survival stuff and hunting and also romancing a bunch of people in the tribe. But maybe that’s the nerd in me.

As for a TV show or a movie, I personally would love a mutant baby that is a cross between the cartoon Archer and maybe the TV show Bridgerton.

So, is there anything else you think people need to know about Barbarian’s Prize?

The story discusses the healing aftermath in an abused heroine, so heads up.

Finally, if someone enjoys Barbarian’s Prize, they’ll probably go back and read the other Ice Planet Barbarians books, if they haven’t already. But once they’ve done that, which of your other novels or series would you suggest they read next?

I would say if you want to branch out from Ice Planet Barbarians, maybe try Corsairs next? It’s basically space pirates and a lot of fun, and set in the same universe that’s already been established. It’s practically kissing cousins to Ice Planet Barbarians.



One reply on “Exclusive Interview: “Barbarian’s Prize” Author Ruby Dixon”

I started off with Barbarian’s Prize… I love the book! It is my favorite of all books in the series.Tiffany is it!

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