Guest Author Faberge Nostromo with L’Wren, Hawk and the Doves

Hi all,

Hope you’ve all had a good week. I have my parents coming up to visit today, which am really looking forward to 🙂 In the meantime though the weekend is off to a great start, with the fab Faberge Nostromo dropping by to visit. She’s chatting about her brand new sci-fi romance – L’Wren, Hawk and the Doves. If you’re looking for something a little different for your weekend reading, then look no further!

 

Thanks so much for being here, Faberge. So, let’s start with you telling us a bit about yourself.

Lost in space, yet still boldly going, I returned from the forbidden planet a long, long time ago to live a quiet life in a small town called London.

The minimal research I’d done lead me to the conclusion that my identity would best be protected if I masqueraded as a mild mannered IT consultant by day and a writer and musician by night and at weekends.

Available for musical soirees at the drop of a hat, I write steamy SF romances while waiting for a set of replacement dilythium crystals for the broken warp core on the ship.

Hey, well if the ship isn’t fixed by next week do feel free to come back with a few songs 😉 Was there a specific moment where you first knew that you wanted to be a writer?

Oh always. Just always. It’s who I am.

Do you have a particular writing routine, or any special rituals?

I’m usually on the move when I’m writing. I very rarely get to write at home as I have this day job thing and that usually has me away from home during the week. I might not be seeking out new life and new civilizations – well, except I am in my writing, I suppose – but my ongoing mission to be a writer continues irrespective of the planet I’m on.

OK, so I don’t actually travel to other planets, but when I’m on trains and buses and the London Underground I’m invariably still writing. Sometimes it’s hastily scribbled notes (using a rather nice Mont Blanc fountain pen in a rather nice Moleskine notebook) or typing one fingered into my Android smartphone or my iPad (Word docs saved to Dropbox) or, more luxuriously when time and space allow (usually a coffee shop in central London around the Trafalgar Square area), I sit with a latte and my Macbook Air and write properly – then it may well be in Scrivener which is a sort of digital corkboard and post-it notes sort of thing.

Not everyone likes Scrivener, it’s a kind of writing Marmite. It supports plotters rather than pantsters and being a dyed in the wool pantster it’s not my ideal thing but it has a number of very useful features. Try it, is my suggestion, there’s a free trial version…

But my main suggestion, giving that my writing space is virtual, on the move and a constant challenge is – write.

Just bloody write.

Where you can, however you can, whenever you can. Writers write. If you’re “going to write a book one day” you probably won’t.

Hmm, I must admit to being a complete pantser, which may explain why I’ve never really clicked with Scrivener. But yes, completely agree with the advice – write, write write! Speaking, of tell us about the genre you write in, and what drew you to it.

SF – well, SF romance. I started with a contemporary romance drifted into a paranormal short then realized I needed the freedom of creating brave new worlds, explore new civilizations and boldly going to be able to flesh out the plots in orbit around my head.

Hehe, I’m getting the slightest impression of a Trekkie coming through 🙂 Are there any particular authors or books that have really inspired you?

I honestly, genuinely, totally could never be anywhere without Winnie The Pooh.

I do love Winnie the Pooh – though never a big Pooh fan, always loved Tigger and Eeyore. What five things could you never do without?

Pen, paper (or laptop/tablet/phone), guitar, ukulele and another guitar. Or two.

Tell us a bit about your new release.

L’Wren came to me first just as a name, sadly triggered by the death of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend (or ‘squeeze’ as the tabloid press might have it).

I’d always had mixed feeling about the name, thinking it a bit affected or even totally made up but it seems to be a genuinely acceptable version of Lauren, the feminine of Lawrence, both of which derive from the Latin word for a bay tree. Ceasar wore a crown of laurel leaves, so it goes back a looong way.

Bay leaves are green, of course, so L’Wren had to be green too didn’t she?

There it was then, a blank page with the name of a green girl on it…

Hawk then swooped in – well, he would swoop wouldn’t he? At first there was a chance that Hawk would just be L’Wren’s surname but pretty quickly Hawk had ideas about being an entirely separate character all of his own. He was plainly in some sort of juxtaposition to L’Wren based just on his name alone – a wren being a tiny songbird, small, and brown whereas a hawk is a big fearsome, noble thing.

Opposites attract though, so I went with a bit of gender stereotyping. L’Wren stayed female while Hawk became very male.

And the most male thing a boy can do is… be a starship captain! Then he gained the first name Saker, which is an Arabic word meaning falcon.

You could argue that his name translates as Hawk Hawk? But I’d get upset if you did.

The Doves crept into the title in the same way as I like to imagine the wardrobe crept into C.S Lewis’ thoughts.

Maybe not.

Already having two very different birds flapping about in my head and plot I realised that there were some more to flock along. The conflict aspect that sprang to mind of having a hawk and a wren seemed to be calling out for a peaceful resolution… hence doves were required. However, I shifted the conflict to a different planet and decided that my doves would also be from another world. Their role then grew until they were interplanetary peace-keepers, flying in to resolve a conflict that had proved all but impossible to deal with.

I needed to hint at some ambiguity about them, they are mysterious and secretive, so their names were a long time in the research. In fact all the names in the book were researched in some depth. I wanted an otherworldly feel to names of both places and people, and to use language that reflected not only different cultures but also highlighted the gender aspects of the plot.

So my doves became Anchises and Cytheria, names from classical Greek mythology linked to each other. The planet they came from had to reflect their status as peacekeepers, as doves, and it became Turacoena. Well, it had to…

Sounds interesting, and I do love the thought process behind it. Where did your inspiration for it come from?

Well, it’s really just a standard boy meets girl who both meet boy and girl who might be girl and boy while boys and girls fight it out over boys being boys and girls being girls thing…. in space.

Simple.

Well, maybe – I wanted to challenge preconceptions about a number of things. Science fiction itself, for starters. Captain Kirk trekked through the stars on his five year mission to seek out new life and new civilisations and boldly have romantic liaisons every week with aliens who, while some of them might be green, were always scantily clad and totally, totally unambiguously female and heterosexual. There was never any doubt about gender or sexual orientation.

Had he never read ‘The Left Hand Of Darkness’ by Ursula Le Guin? Well I have, and he should too.

It’s a bit of a daft idea that gender and sexuality are a social constant across the universe so my two worlds in L’Wren, Hawk and the Doves have totally different views on the subject. I’ll let you read the book to find out what the twist on the Dove’s home planet of Turacoena is (no spoilers here) but the war, on the planet Ourania, that the doves are seeking to bring an end to is all about gender.

Ourania is a planet divided by gender, with rigid social and geographical structures in place. Gender is everything yet sexuality, because of this, is flexible. Within their respective social and geographical confines homosexuality is the norm and outside heterosexuality is expected. It makes total sense on Ourania, trust me.

Into the mix comes the relationship between L’Wren and Hawk. They each have a past, and a future, and the Doves, with their innate empathy, bring challenges that neither of them expects.

And the Doves themselves have to confront the emotional feedback and physical demands of dealing not only with the heightened atmosphere around L’Wren and Hawk but with their own past and the secret they have to keep.

What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?

The way it took me by surprise. Suddenly I had not only characters doing things I never saw coming, I found I had a starship that was redesigning itself as my character wandered its corridors, rooms and shuttle craft hangars.

What was the hardest part about writing it?

Tying up the ending! I realized I had various things happening that needed to come to a conclusion – or at least point the way to… a sequel.

Ooh, we do like a sequel! Who’s your favourite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)

Oh the Doves. I shall say no more to avoid spoilers. I hope you like them!

Why should we run out and buy it right now?

Because it might make you think again who you are, or at least what gender means and what, really, is sexuality.

If you want to see more, the book details are here:

Well, maybe – I wanted to challenge preconceptions about a number of things. Science fiction itself, for starters. Captain Kirk trekked through the stars on his five year mission to seek out new life and new civilisations and boldly have romantic liaisons every week with aliens who, while some of them might be green, were always scantily clad and totally, totally unambiguously female and heterosexual. There was never any doubt about gender or sexual orientation.

Had he never read ‘The Left Hand Of Darkness’ by Ursula Le Guin? Well I have, and he should too.

It’s a bit of a daft idea that gender and sexuality are a social constant across the universe so my two worlds in L’Wren, Hawk and the Doves have totally different views on the subject. I’ll let you read the book to find out what the twist on the Dove’s home planet of Turacoena is (no spoilers here) but the war, on the planet Ourania, that the doves are seeking to bring an end to is all about gender.

Ourania is a planet divided by gender, with rigid social and geographical structures in place. Gender is everything yet sexuality, because of this, is flexible. Within their respective social and geographical confines homosexuality is the norm and outside heterosexuality is expected. It makes total sense on Ourania, trust me.

Into the mix comes the relationship between L’Wren and Hawk. They each have a past, and a future, and the Doves, with their innate empathy, bring challenges that neither of them expects.

And the Doves themselves have to confront the emotional feedback and physical demands of dealing not only with the heightened atmosphere around L’Wren and Hawk but with their own past and the secret they have to keep.

What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?

The way it took me by surprise. Suddenly I had not only characters doing things I never saw coming, I found I had a starship that was redesigning itself as my character wandered its corridors, rooms and shuttle craft hangars.

What was the hardest part about writing it?

Tying up the ending! I realized I had various things happening that needed to come to a conclusion – or at least point the way to… a sequel.

Who’s your favourite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)

Oh the Doves. I shall say no more to avoid spoilers. I hope you like them!

Why should we run out and buy it right now?

Because it might make you think again who you are, or at least what gender means and what, really, is sexuality.

If you want to find out more the book details are here:

510kGE0aKiL.jpgBlurb

A world torn apart by gender, a dangerous peace mission, a starship in peril… Can anybody’s sexuality be certain under pressure?

If your emotions could be felt by another, if the desires you kept hidden were revealed and reflected back on you, would you—could you—deny and control those needs?

And if sexuality and gender aren’t what they seem, does it change who you are?

The mission of the starship Sulaco, its captain Saker Hawkings and first mate L’Wren James, is to deliver the mysterious alien empaths Anchises and Cytheria to the planet Ourania, a world at war with itself.

Where sex is power and gender decides everything, the Dove peace negotiators must interact strictly male to male and female to female with the warring factions to broker a lasting peace.

But can they keep hidden the secret loss that drives them and still control their own empathic responses to the desires and needs of others—the desires that they themselves feed?

And while Hawk and L’Wren struggle to save their ship and face up to the challenges of duty, passion and their own sexuality, with one Dove dangerously injured and the other missing in action, only the truth about Anchises the man and Cytheria the woman can save one of them—but which is which?

And you can get your hands on a copy here:

Pride Publishing – https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/lwren-hawk-and-the-doves

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Have a great weekend 🙂