This again? “I don’t need his protection!” I yell.
Flint slams his fist on the table and stands up. “Dammit, Jax! Do you think I want to stay behind? You want to protect Jace and he wants to protect you.” He throws his arms up. “And I’m always the one caught in the middle. I’m sick of it!” He storms down the hallway and a door slams.
Jace closes his eyes and lets out a long breath before slowly rising and limping down the hall after Flint, the makeshift stabilizing boot on his lower leg thumping with each step. Thankfully, he inherited some of the E’rikon’s accelerated healing, otherwise he’d still be on crutches. The door opens and closes, more softly this time, and I can hear the quiet hum of their voices.
I hate fighting with my brother—Flint, too. But it seems like the three of us are constantly at each other’s throats. Flint’s right. We always put him in the middle and he doesn’t deserve that. But what am I supposed to do? I pinch the bridge of my nose between two fingers and collapse into the chair next to Peter.
“What do you think about all this?” I ask. The second the question leaves my mouth, I flinch. I should know better by now than to ask Peter such an open-ended question.
“This whole thing is beyond me,” Peter replies. “I know you had a bad experience with Lenny, and I don’t believe he’s a good guy, but I don’t know that he’s entirely bad. And Stu? He’s barely older than you. They’re all just trying to stay alive. That’s all everyone’s doing these days. But it’s not enough for one to simply survive. There needs to be hope… and love.” He shakes his head. “No one quite understands how very important love is nowadays. Love for both yourself and others. Without love… we’d all be savages. That goes for romantic love, too. Those boys, even with so much working against them, managed to find each other, and this whole survival business is tearing them both apart, but—”
“So you’re saying all their problems are my fault?”
“No, no, no, not at all, my dear. It’s just that everyone’s under so much stress and my cabin’s not that large. Though, back when I first built it, there was plenty of space for little old me. Did I ever tell you about how I built it?” He coughs. “But that’s not my point here. You and Jace arguing doesn’t help anything. And Flint, he’s like another brother to you, yes? Both of you—all three of you—are so wrapped up in protecting the others that not one of you has bothered to believe in each other, to trust in the love you have for each other. Isn’t that partly how this situation began? Jace trying to protect you, trying to do what he thought was best? That’s exactly what you’re trying to do for him now. Things are uncertain in this world—no one knows that better than you—but if you don’t have at least some faith, then you have nothing. So trust that Jace will protect himself and come back to you unharmed. You can’t possibly believe it’s his desire to die or be taken. And he should have a little faith in your ability to protect yourself and let that poor suffering boy go with us like he so obviously wants to. After all, you are capable of taking care of yourself, yes?”
I nod slowly.
“Then you should trust that Jace can do the same. I see no problem with the two young men and I going on a short trading trip, one that we will return from unharmed and with enough supplies to carry us through the winter.”
What 5 things should readers know about you?
1- I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was very young, but never had the nerve to actually try publishing anything until I got my first Kindle and started chatting with indie authors.
2- I’m much more comfortable talking about books than almost anything else, especially if the conversation is about books other than ones I wrote. I read almost every genre and I’m great at book recommendations.
3- I’m an introvert and pretty shy. Plus, I'm awful at making small talk with people I don't know, so if you ever meet me in person and I don’t say much, that’s why.
4- I’m a total geeky fangirl who uses words like “ship” and “OTP” in real life conversation. Once I’m introduced to a new fandom I binge watch/read everything I can get my hands on in that world.
5- I’m awful with visual creativity. I can’t draw or sculpt or even pick out paint colors for my house. Unless we’re talking stick figures, I can only make pretty pictures with words.
Earliest literary influence?
I think the first author I read who I think has an influence on my work now is Stephen King. I started reading his books when I was eleven. It probably explains why most of my work has darker elements to it and why, and, in my writing group, I’m known as the one who is meanest to her characters.
When and why did you begin writing?
It started out in second grade when we had to write a story. I ended up with a six-page story (wideruled notebook paper, front and back) and most of the others in my class had only a couple paragraphs.
How did you come up with the title for Fractured Suns ?
I wanted the titles within the series to go together well, so all the titles in the Broken Skies series reflect the progression of Jax’s perception of herself: Broken, fractured, and then shattered.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The Broken Skies series has strong themes of redemption, forgiveness, and believing in yourself. I think it’s important for the readers to grasp that, although Jax thinks she’s broken and almost everyone tends to treat her that way, she’s actually one of the strongest characters in the series because of how she has gradually begun to overcome her past and move forward despite the many setbacks she faces.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Fractured Suns ?
There’s one thing I’d like to change about Fractured Suns (and that other people would LOVE for me to change), but it’s not something that I actually would change. That particular event is a key turning point for Jax and it absolutely had to happen. I know. It sucks. I really am sorry for that chapter. If you’d like to chat with some people who suffered those same feels, you can join the Facebook discussion group .
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
For the Broken Skies series, the names are pretty important especially the E’rikon ones since their name have specific significance. The E’rikon are all named with the same prefix as their father and often go by nicknames that exclude that prefix (i.e. Stellan, Steliro “Lir”, and Stella). Rym’s full name is actually Virym since he is the son of Vitrad. This custom is one of the reasons Jastren is so insistent on calling Jax by her full name even though the prefix is from her mother. The prefixes are also important within the E’rikon hierarchy as the “higher ups” have personal guards who are designated as such by adding the prefix of the person they serve to the E’rikon word (loosely translated) for solider, askari . Members of Vitrad’s personal guard are called the Vi’askari.
(This is totally random “behind the scenes” author stuff that has no relevance to the plot, but if you pay really close attention in Fractured Suns, you’ll pick up on an interesting relationship based on the connection between two names)
That said, I used a random name generator to come up with Steliro. It wasn’t until Broken Skies was nearly complete that I came up with the E’rikon naming convention.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
This one’s a no brainer for me: The Rebel Writers . They’re not only my writing group, they’re some of my very best friends and I couldn’t have done any of this without them.
What does your writing process look like?
I'm a pantster, so I don't outline. I typically start out with an idea for a character and form the story around them. Before I start writing, I have a general idea of where the story will end up and a few of the steps along the way and I just go from there.
Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
Dialogue. Half of the time I want to tell my characters to be quiet and just do something. When I was writing the last scene in Fractured Suns, I was messaging with my crit partner and I said something along the lines of : I just want them to shut up and get on the ship and 400 words later... THEY’RE STILL TALKING!
What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
Marketing, no question about it. I’m an awful salesperson.
What advice can you give aspiring authors?
The one thing that really helped motivate me and get me writing was giving myself permission to write garbage. Basically that means putting away my expectations, telling my inner editor to hush, and just writing-- even if it's no good at the time. I think one of the things most writers need to keep in mind is that you can't edit what isn't written. Tell the story first and then worry about going back and fixing the holes. You'll be surprised at the things that will flow onto the page when you stop expecting perfection and just let yourself write.
Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it?
Utopia (formerly UtopYA). UtopYA 2014 was my very first writing conference and my first chance to meet some of the other Rebel Writers in person. In 2015, all the Rebels came along with some of our superfans and we’re really looking forward to attending next year as well.
Full-time writer or do you have a day job?
Day job. I’m a paralegal at a divorce firm. It can be quite interesting at times.
What’s your favorite dinosaur?
Velociraptor. Jurassic Park was one of my absolute favorite books as a kid. I probably read it at least twenty times.
If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, which would you choose?
British. I’m a bit of an anglophile thanks to BBC and Doctor Who . In fact, most of my works have some sort of Doctor Who easter egg.
Do you go out of your way to kill bugs? Are there any that make you screech and hide?
As long as the bug isn’t on me, they don’t really bother me. Case in point: I took this pic of an awesome looking spider hanging out on my mailbox. I might not check the mail for a while, but I’m not going to go out of my way to get rid of him.
Do you have any tattoos?
I have a blue butterfly on my shoulder that I got on my eighteenth birthday and a Broken Skies /book themed one on the back of my neck that I got this past summer (you can’t see it in the picture, but under the open book is the phrase “Not wind. Words” which is from a scene in Broken Skies ).
How can readers find you?
They can contact me through my website, www.theresakay.com , and I can also be found in the wilds of the internet on Facebook , Twitter , and Instagram.