I have author Loren Rhoads here today talking about her latest release, No More Heroes.
Loren Rhoads is the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, all published by Night Shade Books this year. She is also the co-author with Brian Thomas of As Above, So Below and editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two.
Welcome, Loren. Please tell us about your current release.
No More Heroes is the third part of my In the Wake of the Templars trilogy, which began in July with The Dangerous Type and continued in September with Kill By Numbers. No More Heroes is a space opera/courtroom drama/time travel mash-up, because I think categories are too limiting. Don’t you?
No More Heroes begins with the media-pirate crew of the Veracity taking some well-deserved shore leave. They quickly learn that no good deed goes unpunished when the Veracity is impounded as a stolen vessel and Raena Zacari, the former Imperial assassin and the Veracity’s mastermind, is captured by bounty hunters.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was called for jury duty three times last year. No lie.
Raena is understandably paranoid after the life she’s led. She’s so worried about being on the run in her past that she overreacts when one of her good deeds makes the galactic news, but it turns out she’s right: there is a conspiracy against her. I wanted to play with the idea that a paranoid could be right – and even good deeds might be punishable in the right courts.
Excerpt from No More Heroes:
Raena paid for her new boots and waited for the humanoid shop girl to hand her a bag with her old boots in it. The clerk’s eyes widened suddenly.
Before Raena could react, a gun barrel jammed into the base of her skull. She raised her hands slowly. Whoever stood behind her eased the Stinger from the holster on her thigh.
“Raena Zacari,” an unfamiliar voice said, “I am arresting you for charges filed on…”
She didn’t wait for him to get the rest of the speech out. She kicked back hard with her new sharp silver heel, felt it connect in the most satisfying way. At the same time, she ducked sideways, toward the pistol he was stealing from her.
The stranger’s gun put a nice round hole in the artwork behind the register.
Raena turned, raising one hand to catch his gun arm before he could re-aim. She slammed her other elbow hard up into his wizened monkey face.
She snatched her own Stinger back, tossed it to Coni, and said, “Out.” The blue-furred girl didn’t argue. The two sales girls minced after her.
Raena got behind the bounty hunter, kicked him in the knee, then jumped onto his back to add her weight to his head as it struck the shoe counter. That took him out. She would have pounded his head down a second time, just to be certain, but the counter didn’t look very sturdy. No sense in getting arrested for vandalism.
She plucked his gun from his hand, ejected its charge pack and pocketed it. Then she snatched up her shopping bag with one hand and dragged the unconscious Saimiri bounty hunter out to the street. She dropped him beside the garbage incinerator on the curb. She banged the gun hard against the incinerator to disable it, then flung it down on his chest.
Coni handed Raena’s Stinger back. “Who is that?”
“Bounty hunter,” Raena said.
“But the charges were dropped on Capital City.”
“They never arrested me,” Raena pointed out, “only you, Mykah, and Vezali. This is something else.”
Raena scanned the street. Other than the people immediately nearby reacting to the unconscious bounty hunter, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
“What do we do?”
“I need to get back to the Veracity and get myself armed up. Then we need to figure out who put a bounty on me and if there’s a way to settle it. I should’ve let him tell me what I was charged with, but his gun was too jittery against my head. I thought he’d shoot me before he spit it out.”
“What can I do?” Coni asked.
“Comm everyone. Keep them off the ship. If anyone’s looking for me on Lautan, they’ll loiter around the Veracity. I want you all to be safe. Why don’t you set us a meeting somewhere for a late lunch, so we can discuss whether we’re getting out of here all together or if I’m finding my own way forward.”
Raena stuck out her arm so suddenly that Coni jumped. A taxi pulled up in front of them.
Coni followed her into the car. “I’m coming back to the ship with you,” she said. “I’d feel better if I got armed up, too.”
Raena considered arguing, but Coni was mature enough to understand what she was getting into. She relented. “If I tell you to run, don’t look back.”
“I trust you,” Coni said. Raena hoped that would keep the blue girl safe.
What exciting story are you working on next?
My editor wanted me to write some short stories set in Raena’s universe, so I’m working on one called “Drifter” with my good friend Martha Allard. In the story, Raena meets some of the characters who appear in the trilogy. She’s running from bounty hunters in this story, too.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Last night, when I discovered the second book of the trilogy for sale at Target.com. Seriously! I’ve been writing so long that it’s second nature now, just part of who I am and how I live. But I keep discovering milestones as an author that I never guessed would excite me. That was one.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I’ve written fulltime on and off for years. Lately, my workday begins at 5 when I roll out of bed and check my email. I read Facebook and Twitter to see what’s going on in the world, what everyone is excited about, and try to figure out what my focus for the day is going to be.
Then I get my husband and daughter up and off to work or school. After that, I find a café near school and get my own breakfast, then write for an hour. I like to write longhand in a spiral notebook, because it’s so portable.
When I’m done with that, I go home to answer email, find ways to promote my books, and type in the morning’s handwritten work. I try to get on the treadmill for half an hour so I can read without guilt.
I usually grab a little more time to write in the car before I pick my daughter up from school. Some afternoons I get to write during her afterschool classes. Then there’s dinner and bedtime and watching TV in the evenings. I’m still struggling to find something to fill the void left by Jon Stewart.
Since I spend so much time alone, I have to work to stay connected to what’s going on in the country and the world.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I love to research, so I think the internet is the best invention ever. I grew up in libraries. My mom was a librarian. I love physical books. But researching in a library used to be limited to whatever they had in their collection. Finding an answer sometimes meant slogging around from one library to another. Now I can answer nearly any question that occurs to me by typing it into my phone. How amazing is that? The trick is to not get bogged down in the research.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have wanted to be a writer since I can remember. I took every writing class my high school offered. I joined the Flint Area Writers at 16, their youngest member ever at that time. I took all the creative writing classes offered by the University of Michigan, then went to Clarion and James Gunn’s writing workshop at University of Kansas. For everything I’ve learned, I keep discovering how much more I need to know.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
One of the great things that’s happened with this series of books is that I have audiobooks for the first time. The Dangerous Type came out in September at Audible.
It was the first time I ever got to listen to someone reading one of my books to me. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the experience. The actress does a great job of individualizing all the voices, with injecting excitement into the action scenes. I haven’t heard Kill By Numbers yet, but the same woman is going to read it. I cannot wait.
The sales links:
Thanks for being here today, Loren. Happy writing!