by Tabitha Lord
GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Caeli Crys isn’t living—she’s surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can’t help but risk discovery to save his life.
Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His co-pilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he’s only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.
As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek’s command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers—full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli’s unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.
She sat on the floor in a corner of the cell. The only contents of the frigid room were a cot with a threadbare blanket and a bucket, which she assumed was to be used if she needed to relieve herself. The blood spatter had dried to a crusty mess on her clothing and face, and was matted into her hair.
They’d left her alone and she had lost all sense of time, but she knew they would be coming for her. Marcus wanted the information in her head. She was a liability to the whole group now, not only for what she knew, but also for how she could be used. She understood that she would have a limit. She would protect the resistance with her life, but Marcus was creative. If he put his gun to the head of a child, what would she do? Her mind raced with unspeakable possibilities. She had to get away.
When she heard the door begin to open sometime later, she already had a plan. A single soldier entered the cell carrying water and food. She lay unmoving on the concrete floor and didn’t respond when he called to her. She heard him swear under his breath and put the tray down to approach her. When he knelt beside her and put his hand out, presumably to check her pulse, she grabbed his wrist. Startled, he tried to pull back, but she had already pushed her consciousness into his.
His eyes widened with surprise and then fear as she used her mind to constrict the blood vessels traveling to his brain until he was unconscious. She dragged him into one corner of the cell, took his weapon, and after checking the hallway, closed the cell door behind her. The corridor was dimly lit. It was quiet and empty as she quickly made her way to the lift. Her heart pounded in her chest as the machine rose steadily and finally came to a stop aboveground.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
The Voices In My Head…
Creating characters is such fun! Sometimes a character will appear in my mind, complete with a personality, career, and name, without having a story yet. When this happens, I’ll file them away and tell them to wait their turn!
With Horizon, before I began writing, I had two ideas swirling around. The first was a simple character sketch of Caeli, who became the female protagonist in the book. When I met her (in my head) she was alone and on the run, but I hadn’t quite worked out the where or why yet.
At the same time, I was playing with the idea of what would happen if one segment of an already small isolated population evolved differently (either naturally or by design) from the other. What if some had gifts that enabled them to imagine a different kind of future for themselves and their world? What if they were empathic and could sense each other’s emotions and thoughts? What if some of them could heal with their mind? How would the unchanged people feel about their neighbors?
When I merged Caeli into this plot, the outline for Horizon began to develop.
Then, of course, I needed a dashing male protagonist! Derek’s character was actually more fun to write. He’s a pilot, a spy, and a soldier (basically, an all around bad ass!), so he tended to have more of the action scenes which I really enjoy creating. But a few of my early readers didn’t like him at all, and I had to figure out what they were seeing in him that I wasn’t. I realized when I started the story, I imagined Derek about ten years younger. Once the plot got moving, he needed to make decisions and have a certain authority in his own world that required him to be older and have more experience. The character I had written was still too arrogant and immature to be the hero I needed him to be, and I think this is what my readers recognized. So I did a major edit of his scenes, attempting to keep the essence of his character, but giving him more depth and maturity.
Some of the supporting cast for Horizon emerged as the story developed. Once the plot demanded a new character, I spent time giving them a backstory and personality, even if they only had a small role. It’s important to have that kind of depth or these characters can feel hollow. If I were to pluck any of them out of the main plot and feature them in their own, I think they should be interesting enough to carry their own story. One of my favorite minor characters in Horizon is Andreas (readers meet him in the second half of the book). Although he only appears in two or three scenes, I think his personality and charisma shine through, and readers seem to like him.
Creating characters that people connect with is one of the pleasures of writing. I think it’s also what keeps readers invested in the story. I hope my readers care enough about Caeli and Derek to keep the pages turning!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where she grew up. She is married, has four great kids, a spoiled Ragdoll cat, and lovable black lab. The house is noisy and the dinner table full! She holds a degree in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at a small, independent Waldorf school. She also worked in the admissions office there before turning her attention to full-time writing.
You can visit her blog at www.tabithalordauthor.com where she posts author interviews, hosts guest bloggers, and discusses some favorite topics including parenting and her writing journey. Horizon is her first novel.
Tabitha Lord will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.