Liz Strange and I go back a long time. She’s one of those authors who displays the kind of tenacity and dedication to her craft that is second to none. She writes stories that often feature women who might be damaged in some way, but they’re strong – very strong – and are capable of pulling through where many would fail.
Today we celebrate the release of her novel, Erased, an action-packed SF thriller in a similar vein to Firefly and Blade Runner, and we’ve got her over here at the DCP blog for a little Q&A. Welcome, Liz!
Every novel has a story seed. What sparked Erased? What are some of the elements of the novel that you can share without giving spoilers.
The concept for Erased came to me as an image of this woman sitting alone in a skeevy bar, wondering how she’d gotten there. From there it spiralled into a story that on the surface is an action fuelled sci-fi thriller, yet underneath touches on concepts of humanity, personality, truth, perception and love.
You write a lead character who is an empowered woman. Tell us more about Grey Singer.
Grey Singer is the kind of character that I would love to read about more often in books, and see in films. She’s smart, strong and independent, yet still a woman. I find too many “tough” female characters are essentially stripped of everything that makes them feminine, as though being able to love and have attachments to other people (and God forbid to be motherly) cannot mesh with being a strong leader. I don’t buy it. People are complicated, and have many layers.
Grey has complex relationships with the men around her. Can you give us a little insight?
She does have complicated relationships! She has Cusco, a doctor of questionable morality who may be the only one to help with what’s been done to her, Idris, her former right-hand man, and Bloodstone who is the leader of faction she’d been working to eliminate. Then we have Jimmy, her kind, loyal and much younger boyfriend who gets dragged into her crazy, dangerous life. She is many things to these men—friend, leader, enemy, ally, lover.
Tell us a little about your setting.
Erased is set in the near future, during a time of intense space exploration and settlement of many planets throughout the known galaxy. The InterStellar collective is essentially the all-encompassing police and military force, controlling everything from local politics to medical research to transport and trade. Though things have advanced significantly in the technological fields, human kind are still struggling with the ideas of autonomy, leadership versus control, freedom and identity.
For those who’ve enjoyed Erased, and want to read some of your other stories, which do you suggest and why?
I have my Dark Kiss fantasy series, and my David Lloyd Investigations mystery series, as well as a number of stories that fall in the romance/erotica, horror and fantasy genres. I’m an eclectic writer, so there’s something for everyone.
Bloodstone opened his mouth to answer, averting his gaze from her face at the last second, as though something else had caught his attention. Singer scanned the room’s occupants, feeling time slow. The odd absence of sound dawned on her. Jimmy’s hand brushed hers and when she turned to him his lips began to move and his pained expression accentuated the vehemence of the message that didn’t reach her ears. The ground beneath her sock feet trembled.
The silence exploded into sound—screams, the engine of a large vehicle in motion, breaking glass. Singer and Jimmy hit the floor. The carpet burned along her right cheek, and when the warm rush of blood trickled over her lip, she knew the healing wound there had been reopened. The mahogany table holding the coffee pot and assorted cups burst into a shower of wood splinters, shards of porcelain and black rain. When she dared to rise to her knees to survey the damage and take stock of those around her, Bloodstone tossed a pistol in her direction and pointed to the front of the house. Behind her, the large window and rose-patterned curtains had been replaced with a gaping hole.
Janey had run screaming from the room and did not return. Lana and Keir appeared unharmed and had managed to scramble away from the path of their assailants. They stood in the adjacent hallway with weapons drawn and eyes wide. Hiram lay on the floor beneath the ruins of the front wall of the house with a large chunk of glass protruding from his back. He crawled along the floor, pulling himself with one arm, but the pool of blood soaking the carpet beneath him revealed the seriousness of his injury.