Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Guest Author Mima and Bound Among the Stars
Congratulations on your book! Why don’t you tell us a little about it.
Bound Among the Stars began as an invite from another author. She wanted to do fairy tales in space. I am bonkers about fairy tales, so I signed up. I don’t remember why I chose Rumpelstiltskin. It’s always been interesting because of the wicked little gnome, but the miller’s daughter marrying the bully of a king never made any sense to me. This was my chance to fix that. The spinning of the gold became a sex drug, the gnome became a noble hottie, and the heroine knew better than to care anything at all about the king or his gold.
Where can your readers reach you? I just revamped my website actually!
Is there one particular thing that you find challenging about writing?
Words. A mental mind meld would be so much easier!
Do you have any tips for new writers? Nope. There’s too many ways to enjoy this roadtrip, to succeed at this business, and to grow as a writer.
What are you reading now?
At this moment I have four books on my nightstand, but the one I touched last is Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giant, a middle grade novel.
Are your characters a reflection on you or anyone you know?
Some of my heroes have chunks of my guy, and some of my heroines are much more like me, particularly Vivienne. But none of them are autobiographical. I just use real snippets to round them out.
Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?
It’s a huge compliment when reviewers note that such and such a plot must surely be autobiographical because I wrote so movingly about it. I have no experience with disability, motherhood, violence, or dependency. Nor large black marble dildos, psychic menages, or mermen, sadly.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
Wonder. The weird pride and fear and surprise of typing The End.
If you were a supernatural creature, what would you like to be and why?
A shapeshifter would be awesome. But I think it should be like Pullman’s world of daemons or Rowling’s patronus manifestation, where the beast is out of your control and a true reflection of your personality. I’d love to do more totem spirit work and try to discover that for myself.
Do you have a favorite character from one of you own books? Who and Why?
My most recent Bonded, Rogue Within, features a balls-to-the-wall bad boy. Donte’s totally messed up and not really conflicted about it. I’m so into him. Fictionally, of course.
Do you find love scenes difficult to write?
No. Not at all. That’s part of the escape package for me. I used to blush about the kink that showed up, but I’m pretty much accepting this is what I enjoy writing now. Well, sometimes I’m still a little perplexed by the dark stuff.
Do your characters talk to you?
Who controls the storyline, you or your characters?
It used to be a discovery. As time goes on, I’m becoming more of a plotter, in part because of my dedication to making sure I don’t write the same sort of book twice. I’m very conscious of using different plot types, so I step in and try to control it more. But the magic comes when I’m in a flow. When I have at least one character with this incredible conflict and the story is just rolling out of me in time with the typing, it’s so awesome. I’ll reread the scene and have no idea how I came up with those images.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?
Here’s one from my scifi fairytale short titled “Bitter Gold” appearing in the dual story anthology Bound Among the Stars with Jennifer Leeland.
Liese paced around the cream-colored mat that sat before the machine. There were robotics and grids against the wall, and then the pulsing web of light projected out from that in a circle. The mat was on the floor before it, but in between the mat and the circle sat three boxes. They were transparent, chair-height, and side by side so they almost formed a bench. Inside each was a fat pile of pale, straw-like sticks, poking every-which-way. Flax, waiting to be spun into gilt. Such innocent looking stuff that became such an intensely addictive substance.
More out of bored curiosity than anything, she jabbed at the mat with her toe. The machine hummed with a whir, green lights winking and flashing in different shades. Liese leaped back with a cry, stopping only when she was plastered against the cold gray wall. She stared at it hard, chest thrusting with the force of her horror at activating it.
The door slid open. She spun to face it with a squeak. Almost, she didn’t recognize him. He stood in the sumptuous hall, and the red light on his dark brown skin and mussed black hair made him look like he was painted in flames. Her schwarz had never looked more compelling. His eyes pinned her tight where she stood, hands flattened on the slick metal next to her hips.
He stepped into the room and the door zipped closed. His gaze went to the machine, then to the three boxes of flax. “I heard the cheer go up when they got the notice you’d approached the wheel.”
She swallowed. “You ... you knew I was here?”
“I was there when Miller gave you up last night, and Konig commanded Uther to bring you in.”
She blinked at him, her eyes fluttering from the sharp pinch of pain her breastbone. He’d known. He hadn’t stopped it, hadn’t ended this. “Can you get me out?”
The word was final. Clenching her jaw, she stared at the floor. This couldn’t be happening. “So this room is monitored?”
“The alfen have a no-monitoring policy. Generally, any pleasure they’d derive from recordings is less than the danger of their recordings being used against them.” He waved one hand at the wheel. “But they are watching the read-outs of this. They’ll know when you begin to use it and they’ll know when you’ve finished making the gilt.”
Liese looked at the machine, the light-wheel, the clear boxes and the white mat. “I’m not going to.”
The silence in the room was thick, and for the first time, uncomfortable between them.
“Liese. You must.” The words seemed torn from him, gritty.
She shook her head. “No.”
“They sent you, didn’t they? To convince me.” She glared at him, standing all muscled and hairy in that shockingly lewd black webbing.
It was his turn to shake his head. “They don’t know I’m here.”
She raised one brow, angry at him. “How are you evading your programming?”
He rubbed at the gold disc emerging from the slab of muscle on his chest. “I’m allowed to seek women in the final hours of the night after they’ve all fed.”
Liese was surprised. “It’s after hours?” She wouldn’t touch the bit about the women. He was worse than Miller.
“It’s two hundred on the day after you were taken.”
Her face crumpled in dismay. She couldn’t control the way her chin wobbled. “There’s been no search? No missing person call?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I only go out on shopping day. Certainly, there’s been no search for you here, nor will there be. Konig has the station master well in hand. If there were any sympathetic witnesses, they’ll have been paid off and threatened by now.”
Liese slid down the wall, wrapping her arms tight over her chest. “I can’t believe this is happening.”
“It’s best if you get past that denial quickly. I can tell you that the sooner you start negotiating the situation to your benefit, the better off you’ll be.” He sounded tired.
She wouldn’t look at him. “I won’t do this thing. I’m not going to waste my life creating a drug, only to then be enslaved by it. It won’t be a good death, but--”
“But what? Death before dishonor? Don’t be an idiot. Are you saying you don’t respect me for surviving as a slave instead of killing myself outright?” He moved closer to her.
She closed her eyes. “You have a chance of escape, Stillskin. Gilt can’t infect you. But if they make me an addict, I’m already dead. It’s just a matter of time.”
He paced to the wall by the supplies they’d left. He turned and paced back to the wall she slumped against. Then he pivoted and went across the room again. She stole one quick look at the way the straps encircled his immense neck, crossed his muscled back, and skimmed his tight, flexing ass. Yup, it was just as lovely as she’d imagined beneath his nice suit. He punched the wall, a hard, dull thump.
She winced. “What are you doing here?”
He flung himself around and she dropped her gaze from his furious one, then blushed and averted her eyes from the way the webbing framed and lifted his genitals. “I’ve been a mess ever since I heard that puling sack Miller drop your name last night. Don’t you know I’ve done nothing but try to work out how to stop this, how to save you?”
She felt guilty. She should have known. Her gaze crept back to his sparking black depths. He was a good man in a horrible situation. She’d known it since she’d met him, and should have known it tonight. “There isn’t a way out?”
He thrust both hands into his hair. “No.” He held her gaze, his desolate and stunned. “No.”
She dropped her head back against the wall, her stomach churning, despite its empty state.
“Liese. Make the gilt. Maybe, somehow, I can rig some interruption, some delay in your tattooing. Until it’s done, there’s hope.”
She gave a sad smile. “But once we fail, and they’ve inked me with the stuff, you wouldn’t be able to kill me, would you? I’d be part of the addicts you’re bound to serve. And I’ll have lost the will to do it myself.”
“Don’t assume failure! Assume escape!” He came over to her, close enough she felt his warmth from a half meter away. Even his feet were interesting to her, toes, arches, bony ankles and all.
“It’s almost funny. How yesterday...”
“There’s nothing funny here.” He sounded frustrated. “Focus on the issue, Liese. You waste precious time and resources on denial.”
She shrugged, chafing her upper arms. “I’m not in denial, really. I think I’m still pretty shocked, but I made my decision. It’s just so strange, how yesterday I warned you about a strange delivery. And it was probably this flax stuff.”
“Flax is a fiber with properties of transference. Basically this spinning process makes a pleasure drug.”
Liese snorted. “A psychic plant. What if I kill myself on that mat? Will it transfer hate and rage from then on too?”
He knelt by her so fast, she gasped. “The wheel has been set to feed only on sexual release, but you should be thankful the process is so psychic. Otherwise, it would be a simple matter of drugging and raping you into release.”
She shivered, curling her toes tighter. She sat with her legs tucked to one side. Resting her head on the wall, it was surreal to study him here in the soft white light of the wheel. “To think they chose me because I stayed away from the shit.”
He swallowed. In a hushed, rusty voice he said, “Liese.”
She held her breath. “Stillskin.”
“You’re my friend. Don’t give up. What if you’re able to escape later, and find a cure for the addiction? Swallow your pride. Survive, as long as you can. Hope.”
Bitter warmth swelled her throat. She blinked fast and hard to hold back burning tears. “You’re so sweet.”
Anyone who leaves a comment on my blog http://mimawithin.blogspot.com by 2/1 gets registered to win a free book from my backlist.