Friday, 20 September 2013

Friday Follies: Interview with author Thea Landen

Morning all! Today we're featuring sci-fi author Thea Landen, so be sure to give her a warm welcome!

Before we get started, tell us a bit about yourself. Anything about your non-writing life.
I work in the legal profession, and I see a LOT of crazy stuff. I sometimes joke that I don’t write a lot of contemporary fiction because it would never compare to the stories I hear at work. I’ll stick to sci-fi/fantasy and action/adventure, where the plots and characters are supposed to be outrageous!

Summer is just about to conclude here in the Western Hemisphere, so what is the craziest thing you’ve done all summer? Did you camp out in your backyard like I did, with severe weather warnings looming about?
I went on a (much needed) vacation to St. Lucia for a week in July. I didn’t get *too* crazy, but I did try paddleboarding, and I did dance on the roof of a boat during a sunset cruise! (There might have been some alcohol involved in the latter….)

Does your family have any summer tradition, or ritual to break in the season?
My husband is a teacher (I used to be one too, actually), and while I’d like to say we do something fun and exciting to kick off the summer, we really do nothing other than celebrate the ability to sleep late more often.

Here’s a scenario for you: Your family is just about to chillax while you’re about to dunk the turkey in the deep fryer. Moments after placing the lid on, you realize the propane tank runs empty, and you don’t have another to replace it with. Oh, and the propane store is closed because it’s a holiday, what do you do?
(This is assuming I’d be deep frying turkey in the first place!) My father is an engineer with a type-A personality who enjoys outdoor cooking. In this scenario, I’d know for a fact without even having to check that he’d have at least one extra propane tank on hand. Less than a 40-minute round trip and the problem would be solved! (That is, if he didn’t already bring one along in case of such an emergency.)

Your blog profile notes that you’re into RPG’s, which one’s in particular do you fancy? I lurve RPG’s, though lately the only ones the hubby and I play, are of the video game sort. ;-)

Phantasy Star is one of my all-time favorite series, and it’s easy to see the influence in my writings. I also love love LOVED Dragon Age II, and I have Origins on my to-do list. I just finished up Mass Effect 2 and I’ll be moving onto the third game in that series as soon as I proofread and submit my current manuscript!

Take us through your process when developing a new concept for a book.
Ideas come from all sorts of places. I try not to have too many projects going at the same time, but I’ll spend plenty of sleepless nights thinking about all the ideas that are next on the list. When it’s their turn to be written, sometimes I’ll sketch out a basic outline, but the key points are already pretty firmly in my head by that time. Recently, I started doing some chapter outlines, and I think those help me stay organized.

Minor details, though, I’ll just start writing and see what comes out!

I see you’re also a contributor to an anthology The Big Book of Orgasm. Tell us more if you can.
Oooh, that one was a challenge. The word count limit was 1200, and I’m sure everyone thinks, “Oh, 1200 words, that’s easy! Anyone can do that!” Sure, anyone can write 1200 words, but establishing plot and characters and not going over that limit? Thaaat’s a little harder. My first attempt failed (I couldn’t get it short enough and still tell the story!), and I finally trimmed down my second attempt into something I was happy with (the one that was accepted). It’s a bit of a departure from my other writings (contemporary setting, first person present tense POV), but I’m thrilled to have contributed to the book!

Okay, one last what if scenario. You’re at the beach, or on a cruise with that special someone in your life. You’re enjoying the peace of be child free for a few days, and are in the company of other adults. As you’re going down a water slide, you lose your bikini top, or have some kind of wardrobe malfunction along those lines. What do you do? (Try to have fun with this one. I’m the queen of wardrobe malfunctions, and could promise you there is no way Janet Jackson could have me beat. If you’d rather not answer this, I’m cool with that too.)
Eh, a fair number of people have already seen me topless and I’m no stranger to embarrassing moments. I’d like to think I wouldn’t worry too much, or do anything frantic that would involve slipping and whacking my head on the side of the pool, resulting in serious brain injury. If my towel wasn’t nearby, I’d “borrow” one from someone else, wrap it around my chest, and then go see if I could fetch my bikini top from the slide. And once it was back in my hands, I’d probably dip into a little curtsey for the crowd of onlookers that was sure to gather.

Summer is one of the seasons where weather can impact everything whereas plans are concerned. What do you, or your family do when you’re rained out?
I prefer staying inside in the air conditioning anyway! This summer, I actually worked a ton, rain or shine. When I wasn’t slaving over work 24/7 (which, during the month of August, was practically never), I tried to write as much as I could, and I even had time to read a couple books on vacation!

(Something had to give, and that something was the video games. I’ll just have to catch up this fall!)

Tell us about your latest release. 

Sure thing! I never thought I’d write a sequel, but here it is. Sometimes I try to write deep and powerful stories. Other times, you need something a little fluffier to cleanse the palette, right? The Searching the Skies series is my “ménage in outer space” series, for no other reason than because it’s fun. And sometimes that’s all the reason you need.

Blurb: In addition to her distinguished career with the Terran military, Commander Geneva Greyson has finally achieved harmony in her personal life. Her renewed relationship with her mother has grown stronger and she’s settled into a comfortable arrangement with the two men she loves. Marcus confesses a dark fantasy to her while she’s on leave from duty—not only does he have feelings for her, he’s developing an attraction to Ash.  He begs Geneva not to reveal his secrets before Ash arrives to spend the weekend with them.
The officers return to their posts after a relaxing, decadent visit. They learn of a distressing event upon completing a week-long mission: A terrorist group has organized a strike and taken hostages in their efforts to attract attention to their cause. When Geneva discovers Marcus is listed among the missing, she disobeys her orders and sets out to join the reconnaissance team with Ash by her side. Will they find Marcus before it’s too late for him to affirm his desires?

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The smile faded from Geneva’s face. She slid closer to Marcus and rested her cheek on his shoulder. “Everything’s still...okay with all of us, right?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean with you, and me, and Ash.” She struggled to find suitable words. “The three of us together. You’re still fine with the current arrangement?”

“I am.”

“And you’d tell me if you weren’t?”

Marcus inched his head back to look at her. “Geneva, other than some natural disappointment over not being able to see you whenever I’d like, I have no complaints. I’m satisfied with the way things are working out. In fact....”

She waited for him to finish his sentence. No further words were spoken. “Yes?”

“Never mind.”

“What is it?”

“It’s nothing.”

She propped herself up on her elbow. “You were going to say something else. Come on, you can tell me.”

Marcus stared straight up at the ceiling, avoiding her inquisitive gaze. “I’m not sure how to phrase this.”

“You’re not delivering a proposal to your colleagues at your company. Just say it already.”

He blew out a stream of air, ruffling the floppy hairs that crossed his brow. “You know how grateful I am that we’ve rekindled our friendship, and even moved on to something more. And through you, I’ve grown to know Ash better and consider him one of my closer companions, for obvious reasons.”


“A lot has happened ever since you first came back here. And whenever you’re gone, I have time to really think about the relationship between all of us and what it means.” He glanced up at her. “All good things, I promise.”

“I would hope so!” Geneva ran the back of her fingers along his arm in a reassuring stroke. “So what’s got you so tongue-tied all of a sudden?”

Marcus let out a second sigh. “A year ago, if someone had told me I’d be sharing my bed with another man every now and then, I would have said they were crazy. And I know we were all a little skeptical at first, but I really did just want to make you happy because I was terrified of letting you slip away.”

“I’m still not seeing what the issue is.”

“I’m trying, I’m trying. Bear with me.” He rubbed his eyes and covered his face with his hands.

“I care about you, and I love how you make me feel, all the things you do to me. Then there’s Ash, who I’ve also developed some sort of intimate connection with, and he’s there with us in the heat of the moment, and....”


“We’ve always focused all our attention on you, and you on us individually, which is perfectly fine. As I said, I’d do just about anything for you. The look on your face when you’re with both of us is a substantial reward.” His eyes remained shielded from view. “That look is actually part of what’s been haunting me. I’ve watched the two of you together. When you’re clinging to me as he’s moving inside you, sheer bliss illuminating every part of your body...sometimes my mind just can’t help but wonder what....”

Realization set in as he trailed off. “You’re attracted to Ash.”

What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I just finished my first major F/F project. It was a challenge (OH GOD THE PRONOUNS) and I’m glad I did it, but I don’t think I’ll be doing another full F/F book for a loooong time. Next in the planned lineup, I have two novellas in a futuristic sci-fi setting, plus the next book in the Searching the Skies series.

Thanks for hanging with us today! I hope you had fun, and we’re glad to have had you over.

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