With Sojourn in Captivity set to go live April 1, I wanted to just to take a few moments to talk about why I’m so proud of it. As I thought about it, I realized I was essentially identifying reasons I think people should give the book a try. That’s where the name came from.
- An alien main character: It’s always struck me as odd that there are so many scifi stories out there, but the main characters are always inevitably human. This made sense fifty years ago, when fiction still had a number of barriers to break, but I don’t see it now. In a generation where everyone is screaming for diversity, why aren’t there stories featuring truly alien characters. Yes, Elele has many human characteristics, but she’s obviously not human. This gave me so much to play with. It let me look at characters and events in a new way.
- The anti-female lead: I’ve never hidden the fact that I’m not actually a fan of YA. With Repressed, I tried a few different plot paths, but the story was perfect Kaitlyn because she’s so much of a “YA” girl. Strong. Sassy. Intelligent. So with Sojourn, I was really attracted to the idea because I knew where Elele was, and (more awesomely) I know where she is in Images of Truth. Her development is what interested me. But this story doesn’t start with some plucky, sassy, whit-mouthed character. Don’t get me wrong; those characters are fun, and they, like all characters, have an audience. But that’s not Elele. Elele is the spoiled, Daddy’s-Little-Girl genius of her planet. She’s never had to work hard for a thing in her life, and she’s completely unprepared for the adventure that awaits her (especially in Images of Truth). That growth, that development of character really interested me. I wanted readers to see just how she started. This makes watching her grow into the character she becomes in Images all the more powerful in my opinion.
- The world building: I’ve been working on this for a long time now, and I felt like it was time to start playing in this universe. It’s huge. This planet and how the aliens interact with it are really cool. If someone threw Avatar at me, I don’t know that I’d have a leg to stand on in a observational sense, but the themes and plot are unique. Did the movie influence me? Perhaps in a subconscious way, but I didn’t sit down determined to take those concepts. That said, yes, this is an alien race of beings who live in enormous trees. But that’s where, in my opinion, the similarity end. The culture and religion of the cast is every bit as interesting to work with as the magic system/biological mutation.
- The first chapter: I’ve (arrogantly) always thought I’m a man who starts the story off in a fun way, but the chapters always sort of feel like stepping into water without being sure how deep it is. In this book, I chuck the reader into the deep end, and the result is an intense ride that I still enjoy even after umpteen drafts and proof readings. Now I’m just not smart enough to know my legal rights with KDP and other services, but I’m pretty sure a few-hundred words are authorized. On my Facebook page, I dared my friends to try the book and read the first chapter. I truly feel if that doesn’t hook you, then I probably need to reevaluate how effective I am at evaluating stories. I’m almost positive a whole chapter would get someone shouting at me, so I wanted to end this post with the first 300 words of the story. Like I do at any convention, I let a potential reader open and start reading. My heart is convinced that this is true: If I can get someone to read the first few pages, that person is going to end up reading the whole thing. With that said, I present to you the first few pages of Sojourn in Captivity.
The Monster Born of My Father
Fear causes me to tighten my grip on my father so much I’m not sure how he’s breathing. We’re one hour from Wieder, and I’m a hundred times more frightened than I was when we stepped aboard our transport flight north.
The rumbling engine and dim lights only add to my worries.
Why isn’t Father afraid? Why isn’t he terrified?
Achca’s faline, the ultraviolet pattern on his torso, flickers with nervousness. He clenches his fists, causing the dark skin of his knuckles to grow pale. He’s trying to be brave for our father.
I don’t want to be brave. I want to be comforted, and I want my brother to have comfort, too. I untangle an arm from Father so I can reach across the one-meter-wide aisle that separates my leather seat from Achca’s and grab my brother’s hand. After a moment, I’m not sure who’s gripping whom more tightly.
“All will be well,” Father says.
“I know, Father.” Achca pulls his hand away from mine, showing his nerves by fluttering his wings.
“How do you know?” I ask.
“You always want an explanation,” Achca says, impatiently.
“What good is my intelligence if I don’t use it to understand the universe?” Is he really going to argue with me now?
“I know,” Father says, interrupting what might have been my last argument with my brother before we both become monsters, “because I have faith in Adhol.”
And therein lies my problem. I wouldn’t be sitting here terrified if Adhol, our god, hadn’t summoned us for ascension. My father is the most faithful man on our home planet of Orlon. Anyone would be a distant second to him, but my desire to match his faith is overmatched by the fact that I don’t want to become a Var’lechen.
Thanks for reading,