Ren grew up listening to his mother tell stories about the Star Hosts – a mythical group of people possessed by the power of the stars. The stories were the most exciting part of Ren’s life, and he often dreamed about leaving his backwater planet and finding his place among the neighboring drifts. When Ren is captured by soldiers and taken from his home, he must remain inconspicuous while plotting his escape. It’s a challenge since the general of the Baron’s army is convinced Ren is something out of one of his mother’s stories.
He finds companionship in the occupant of the cell next to his, a drifter named Asher. A member of the Phoenix Corps, Asher is mysterious, charming, and exactly the person Ren needs to anchor him as his sudden technopathic ability threatens to consume him. Ren doesn’t mean to become attached, but after a daring escape, a trek across the planet, and an eventful ride on a merchant ship, Asher is the only thing that reminds Ren of home. Together, they must warn the drifts of the Baron’s plans, master Ren’s growing power, and try to save their friends while navigating the growing attraction between them.
~ Pride Promotions
“Reporting for work,” Ren said, his tone heavily laced with annoyance.
Janus popped up from a console she had been working under, goggles on her face, gray hair sticking up everywhere. “You!” she snapped. “I told you not to come back.”
Ren rolled his eyes. “It’s not my choice. I don’t want to be here anymore than you want me here.”
“Where are your guards? I told the dumb one not to bring you back, Abiathar’s orders be damned. I don’t want your kind working on these ships.”
She poked a finger hard into Ren’s chest and he staggered back, and rubbed his hand over the spot.
“What the stars do you mean by my kind?”
Her eyes grew comically large behind the goggles. “You don’t know?” She laughed, bordering on hysterical. “You’re more dangerous than I thought. You can’t try to control it if you don’t even know what you are.”
Ren frowned. His tolerance for the cryptic nonsense everyone had spouted since he arrived was gone. He took a step toward the hull and Janus stiffened.
“Don’t,” she barked.
“Don’t what? Touch it? What will happen, huh?”
Her face paled and her chest heaved with panicked breaths. “You don’t know what you’re capable of.”
Ren laughed. “I’m capable of nothing. I’m a duster, planet-born with very limited experience with tech. You have no reason to be frightened of me.”
He moved closer to the hull, hand outstretched, fingers splayed.
She whimpered. “Please, don’t.”
Ren slammed his hand against the hull, his fingertips leaving greasy marks on the shiny surface. As he predicted, nothing happened.
He turned back to Janus. “See? Nothing–”
His word tangled in his throat, cut off, because suddenly, Ren was consumed with power, rushing from his toes to his fingertips. A blue tint clouded his vision, and his body suffused with golden warmth. And then he was floating amongst the wires, connected to the ship, to the energy source, to everything. The lancer pulsed under his skin, tangling in his veins, its systems integrated with his senses.
It was freeing and frightening.
His consciousness raced along the circuits and he could fix it. He could fix everything. He found the tangle of wires in the artificial gravity system and bypassed it. He found the broken circuits in the air recyclers and with a pulse of power, refurbished them. He saw the static in the com system, a physical entity, and he cleared it away with a brush of his metaphysical hand.
The longer Ren floated through the ship, the less connected he was to his physical body. And if he thought about it, he didn’t need his body. Why would he need his body? He was free here. He moved around with ease, the wires and the systems his route, and the more he pushed, the more he felt the other ships too. They were nearby, on the edge of his perception, and he could go to those, he could jump to the other ones and repair them too.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it? ?
I’ve always been inspired by science-fiction and fantasy novels and media. I love sci-fi in all permutations but I also equally love fantasy. I wanted to blend the two into a “magic in space” novel. I also really wanted to give a bisexual protagonist an adventure. I think everyone deserves a little space adventure in their lives.
3. What was the source of inspiration for your protagonist? What about your antagonist? ?
I don’t have a specific inspiration for my protagonist, Ren. He’s a country boy who is thrust into an adventure by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s kind of like Arthur Dent in that way. But he’s also more than an ordinary human, even if he doesn’t know it. What I love about Ren is he is very much a dreamer when he has the luxury. But when his life changes and becomes harder than he thought it would, he’s realistic in the way he handles the situations that are presented to him. He has a goal, but he knows he’ll need a plan. He develops a mythical power, and his first thought isn’t “wow, this is great!” It’s “how can I use this to get out of this situation?”
I really wanted my antagonist to be complex and morally gray. But since this is written from Ren’s point of view, that might not come across right from the beginning. However, as the story progresses, I think the reader will begin to see that the good guys and the bad guys aren’t always as cut and dry as everyone perceives.
4. Your all time favorite book? ?
The More Than Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
5. What made you pick that one above all others? ?
I received my copy as a present from my brother for my twelfth birthday. It was the first book I had ever read that was full of bizarre humor and was for a more adult audience. I guess you could say that I felt like I had grown up and reached the next level of literature. I loved it and I’ve read it more times than any other book.
6. What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project? ?
Well, I’ve spent about two years working on this one novel I have in my works-in-progress folder. Somehow it’s become my go-to project for when I’m stuck while working on other things. It’s also my in-between deadlines project. I’ll finish it someday, but right now it’s a comfort to have something I can easily slip back into when I need a break or to keep up a writing habit.
7. Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind? ?
About 3/4ths of the way through I had a serious moment where I didn’t know if I was going to finish. The Star Host was written over the course of four months because I was trying to finish it before the open call Interlude Press held closed at the end of June 2015. And I wrote the first 55k of the novel in two months. The last 20k slogged by. It was excruciating and at one point I didn’t know if I was going to be able to finish by the deadline. I kept going because I had the support of my good friends and of my husband. I knew if I could get that last 20k written and the story wrapped up, that I would be proud of myself. So I did, and it was so worth it.
8. What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside writing? ?
I work a full time job during the week. I have three children. My oldest is special needs and my youngest just turned one. So I have two school-aged kids and a baby who I have to cater to as well. Basically, my free time is my writing time. But I do believe in being well rounded. When I’m not writing sci-fi/fantasy novels, I coach/play on an adult co-ed softball team. I also take Taekwondo classes. I’ve had to take a break from TKD because of having the baby, but I’m ready to get back to it and earn my black belt.
Fun facts: :
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for? ?
I would say lots of money – enough to live comfortably for the rest of my life and enough to leave for my children. I say this because if I have it, I can quit my day job and write full time. Also, I wouldn’t have to worry as much about my kids’ futures. It’s a constant worry for all moms but doubly so when you have a child who needs extra help.
2. Name your favorite fruit. ?
Apples. I love apples. In all their incarnations – apple pie, caramel apples, apple fritters, etc etc
3. Coffee or tea? ?
4. Favorite season? ?
Autumn. I love that the weather turns cooler and the beauty of the leaves changing. I live in the American south, so Fall marks the reprieve from the hot summers.
5. How about fav time of 24 hours? ?
I really like that time when it’s dark out and time to go to bed, but you’re not quite sleepy enough to fall asleep right away. So you can burrow down into the covers and maybe read a little on your phone, and get comfortable. That’s my favorite part of the day and for me that’s right about 11pm.
6. Favorite food for breakfast? ?
7. Do you collect things like stamps, or key chains, or shoes? ?
I collect action figures. Before we had our kids, my husband and I turned our entire basement into an action figure display/museum for a while. We also had all kinds of Legos that we built. I had built an entire replica of the Hogwarts castle plus the grounds, including the nearby village of Hogsmeade. I also had lightsabers and posters displayed on the walls. We had shelves and shelves of action figures from Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and G.I. Joe. We still have them all, but they are packed away and unfortunately my Hogwarts and his Gotham City had to be broken down. But we still have all the instruction manuals in case we are able to put it all back together again.
I also collect magnets for my refrigerator. Wherever we travel or if our friends/family go on vacations, we ask for a new magnet. It’s a fun family item to collect.
8. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us! ?
Blue! Which actually is a significant color in The Star Host.
9. Drama or comedy? ?
Comedy if it’s the vein of shows like Brooklyn Nine Nine or Community.
10. Have a fav quote or personal motto? ?
My favorite quote is from the poem The Old Astronomer to His Pupil by Sarah Williams
“Though my soul met set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light. I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
11. Cats or dogs? ?
Cats. I have three and I love them. Even if they chase each other around in the middle of the night when I’m trying to sleep.
12. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing? ?
Food wins out every time. Don’t get me wrong, I used to enjoy a night out clubbing when I was in college, but now, give me a great meal, preferably at home.
13. What song have you listened to most recently? ?
I have been living off the Hamilton soundtrack for months now. I highly recommend it.
14. What first came to mind after reading question no. 1 of the Fun Facts section? I mean that thing that you reconsidered after giving it more thought 😛 ?
Oh no, I stuck with my first thought. Money. I know it’s the gauche answer but my dream is to be able to write full time and be able to hang out with my kids and husband more. That would easily be achieved if I had a sudden windfall of cash. Which was why I was so sad when I didn’t win the Powerball. 😉
1. The one thing you’d do anything to avoid/get out of is… ?
Big meetings. The place I work for my day job is very fond of meetings and there are days I wish I could get away with working on my novels instead of paying attention.
About the Author & Links:
F.T. wrote her first short story when she was in third grade and her love of writing continued from there. After placing in the top five out of ten thousand entries in a writing contest, she knew it was time to dive in and try her hand at writing a novel.
A wife and mother of three, F.T. holds degrees in psychology and English literature, and is a long-time member of her college’s science-fiction club. F.T. has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and science-fiction novels—especially anything by Douglas Adams.