Today I welcome Rebecca Langham to the blog to answer a few questions for Author Interview³.
1) Tell us 3 fun facts about your writing history
• When I was seven years old, I informed my teacher that I’d be a writer someday. It took another 23 years to make it happen but I got there eventually.
• As a teenager, I subjected my friends and teachers to some horrible soap opera-style narratives where the characters were named Star and Artemis. They were atrocious!
• In Year 12 I undertook English Ext 2 – a subject that required an 8,000-word short story. I wrote a historical fiction piece about Cleopatra.
2) Describe your writing style in 3 words
3) Name 3 of your literary influences
4) Share your 3 favourite books
Just three?! Here are three of my favourite books, though I don’t know if I could ever choose just three to top the list.
Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café by Fannie Flagg
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
5) What are your 3 essential writing tools?
6) Where are your 3 favourite places to write?
With two young children, most of the time I write in the living room whilst they climb all over me, but on occasion I get to write in the local library or one of my favourite cafes – a little place called DBL Ristretto in Springwood, Blue Mountains.
7) Name 3 items on your writing wish list
Historical fiction! I am desperate to write an Australian historical fiction (F/F), but I can’t dedicate the required research time.
As much as I love my current publisher, it would be great to print just one book with an Australian press one day. Pantera Press is definitely on my dream list.
8) What are your top 3 tips for aspiring writers?
Join a community! Scribophile was confronting at first, but I couldn’t have progressed without my new friends.
Give yourself space. It’s perfectly normal to have an emotionally challenging reaction to feedback. Take a day or two to process it and let yourself feel disappointment or frustration, then come back to it and get to work.
Start a note on your phone or carry a small notepad. I would have thoughts about tiny details at inconvenient times, keeping tracking of those was immensely useful.
9) Tell us 3 of your writing plans for the year ahead
With full time work and my children, 3 distinct goals are unlikely to be achieved! But here’s my wish list.
Finishing my second novel, Book II of the Outsider Project, by about September.
Write a plot overview for a sci-fi story that’s been floating around in the back of my mind. I’m not sure yet it would be a novella or a novel.
Develop a thick skin. I’m somewhat nervous about reviews and reactions to my first novel.
10) Tell us about your latest release
Beneath the Surface was described by author Sally Odgers as “part social study, part political thriller, part romance and part mystery”. She added that it’s “a fast-moving, well-written and interesting novel...” and I feel like her description of the book’s hybrid nature is a fitting one.
The story is set in a not-too-distant future. Earth no longer operates as a multitude of separate countries, but rather under a collective government, the United Earth Alliance, a government that prides itself on the ethical management of scientific advancement. Lydia Barrett is the daughter of a prominent UEA politician. When she starts a new job as a teacher in a colony designed to house alien refugees, she comes to realise that the UEA’s promises of a secure and safe future for humans and aliens alike is not everything they’ve led the world to believe. The story includes a F/F romantic subplot and a secondary M/M storyline, but this is not a romance novel. It is a ‘soft’ sci-fi that focuses on the complex nature of collective histories, personal and social identity, and what it means to be human.
Heat rating: Fade-to-black
Pairings: F/F, M/M, F/M
Main character orientations: Pansexual, lesbian
Recommended for readers 15+
When a change in collective conscious sends the Outsiders, a group of aliens, to the shadows below the city, humans reason that the demonization of their peers is simply more “humane.” There’s no question, nor doubt. Just acceptance.
Lydia had embraced that sense of “truth” for as long as she can remember. The daughter of a powerful governor, she has been able to live her life with more comforts than most. Comforts can be suffocating, though, and when the opportunity to teach Outsider children in their private, “humane” community becomes available, she takes it.
What she finds beneath the city is far from the truth she had grown to know. There she meets Alessia, an Outsider with the knowledge and will to shake the foundation of all those who walk above ground. The two find a new and unexpected connection despite a complete disconnect from the technological world. Or perhaps in spite of it.
Still, it takes a lot more than an immutable connection to change the world. Lydia, Alessia, and a small group of Outsiders must navigate a system of corruption, falsehoods, and twists none of them ever saw coming, all while holding on to the hope to come out alive in the end. But it’s a risk worth taking, and a future worth fighting for.
Rebecca Langham lives in the Blue Mountains (Australia) with her partner, three children, and menagerie of pets. A Xenite, a Whovian and all-round general nerd, she’s a lover of science fiction, comic books, and caffeine. When she isn’t teaching History to high schoolers or wrangling children, Rebecca enjoys playing broomball and reading.
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