Guest Blog w/ Alanna Blackett
It’s a cyberpunk romance novella about two hackers. One of them got caught a couple of years ago, and now the corporation that caught him is forcing him to use his talents to hunt down his friends in their systems. So when he meets the heroine, he’s supposed to turn her in. But he doesn’t, and their story unfolds from there.
I love the cover for the book. How much input do you have in the art work for your stories?
A pretty good amount. I described both the characters and the general cyberpunk feel of the story, and the artist combined elements from all that. Originally I think there was one thing I asked to be changed, and the artist was willing to do that. My favourite parts are the green city/numbers in the background. That turned out exactly how I pictured it.
What future projects are you currently working on?
I’m a little over halfway through the first draft of a historical romance novel set in Gilded Age New York. I’ve also got a young adult SF novel in the works.
Which of your books was the easiest to write? And the hardest?
Well, this novella was pretty easy to write. It’s my first published book, but not my first book. I wrote three novels before this story, all of which are still kicking around on my hard drive. This is the first novella-length work I’ve tried, and I really enjoyed working at that length.
Which of your books is your favourite? And why?
I guess this one, so far! I’ve got this other draft about a ship thief named Claudia that I’m partial to as well.
Which of your characters is your favourite? And why?
The two characters in this story are pretty similar, but I think I would say CJ the hero because I like his sarcastic sense of humor.
What strengths do you like to give your hero and heroine?
Toughness and intelligence.
Just for fun:
Least favourite household chore?
All of them.
Best song to dance to?
Oh, I can’t decide. Some terrible 80s pop song probably.
Best song to sing along to?
Pearl Jam, Better Man. I always say this is the best singing in the car song ever made.
Best day out?
Hiking or sailing. Something outdoors-y.
Best evening out?
Sampling some amazing New Orleans food and then drinks in a courtyard somewhere.
Thank you for talking with me today, Alanna Blackett.
Riley is one of the best hackers around. She’s always kept her online identity separate from her real life… mostly because she doesn’t have much of a real life. But someone is stalking her through the network. Someone who knows about the big job she just pulled off and won’t stop till he finds out who she is.
Two years ago, CJ was a hacker at the top of his game, until he got caught. Now the prisoner of a ruthless corporation, he is forced to hunt down his former friends and colleagues. He finds himself irresistibly drawn to the woman he knows only by her alias, Samantha, as he traces her from virtual nightclubs to the dark streets of the Manhattan sprawl.
But when Riley and CJ’s relationship crosses over into real life, things get dangerous.
Riley pulled away, searching his face. His eyes were strange and distant. He paused, biting down on his lower lip as his hands gripped the bottom of her tank top. It was almost as if he was at war with himself over whether to yank it up and bury his face in her breasts, or….
And then she recognized the look on his face: longing. For what? Why? It didn’t make sense. She was right here; he could—
Words and numbers began to spill down the side of her vision. Riley’s awareness snapped back. Oh no…. No way. He was tracing her address. Her real-life location.
His gleaming black eyes fixed on hers, and his lip curled up. “Gotcha,” she heard his smug voice say as the room dissolved in a haze of tiny colored spots.
She was in her room, clutching the edge of the table, panting. “Shit!” She ripped the cord from her interface jack, her body trembling with adrenaline and confused arousal.
How much time did she have? Five minutes? Ten?
She pushed the floor-length window up with both hands and vaulted over the safety railing onto the ancient fire escape. It creaked under her feet, slanting alarmingly. She grabbed the central pole and hung on. For a long moment, it seemed like the world spun and tilted around her.
She was up. High up. She closed her eyes, her pulse fluttering in her temples. Her hands were clammy and drops of sweat pricked her neck. She sucked in a long breath. The cold air, a shock to her lungs, knocked her back into rational thought.
The fire escape, it seemed, had decided not to collapse under its own age and weight, after all. Riley opened her eyes.
She had no more than ten minutes, and only one way to go.
Alanna Blackett writes science fiction and fantasy with a side dish of romance. Growing up, it annoyed her that she always had to be Princess Leia when they played Star Wars, because there weren’t any other female characters. She would much rather have been Han Solo or Indiana Jones. She immediately set out to fix that through her writing. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and two cats, and has a weakness for video games, NBA basketball, and books about chicks who blow stuff up.