Take an exclusive peek behind the pages of Vivien Jackson’s cyberpunk romance Perfect Gravity #Interview #giveaway
If you haven’t read the first book in Vivien Jackson’s cyberpunk romance, Wanted & Wired, you’re missing out. Especially if you’re a sci-fi and fantasy geek. Ms. Jackson’s Tether universe is teeming with possibilities—scientific, romantic, fantastical, moral—and it flirts with the dilemma that science fiction has so long courted: just what defines “life”. Perfect Gravity pushes that discussion even further, and projects what our society could become, what lengths we could go to for entertainment and out of laziness. I was so enthralled with the tech and characters and concept of this world that I pestered Ms. Jackson for an interview, and she graciously agreed. (She also joined me on a recent podcast about women in gaming that you might enjoy.) Read to the end of this interview for a link to the podcast and the GraveTells review of Perfect Gravity.
Please help me welcome author Vivien Jackson!
GraveTells Romance (GT): Perfect Gravity is the second book in the Tether series and wraps up some story threads introduced in Wanted & Wired. How far into the series have your planned the story arc? Will we see any of the elements in Perfect Gravity revisited in book three?
Vivien Jackson (VJ): The third book, which tells the story of Chloe and Garrett, is the last official one in the series, so yes, it will wrap up all the major story arcs. It’s kind of a wild ride getting to that series conclusion, though.
GT: This series channels some serious tech—the hasn’t-been-developed kind that seems to be based in real science. How much of the science talk in Perfect Gravity is story world lore, and how much is legit? Or, from a different angle, are you a supergenius in disguise? (Please say yes!)
VJ: Ha! Tragically, I am very much not a supergenius, but that doesn’t prevent me from reading and pretending I comprehend what the real supergeniuses posit. One of my favorite scientists who writes books for non-scientists is Michio Kaku, and a lot of the emotion-casting technology like Angela’s psych-emitter and the full-sensory porno rigs mentioned in Perfect Gravity are based on concepts described in Kaku’s book The Future of the Mind.
GT: Still on the tech, because I find it fascinating. Are there any movies, shows, books that inspire your creations?
VJ: Guh, so many! My interest in writing a cyberpunk romance of course sprang from William Gibson’s Neuromancer world and later Neal Stephenson’s post-cyberpunk work–the neo-Victorian clothing is a nod to The Diamond Age, which is sometimes my favorite book ever. In terms of the mech-clones and the most adorable nanorobotic swarm ever (er, Chloe), yeah, there were Cylon, Borg, and SG-1/Replicators influences. Also I’m sure I stole bits of David from Prometheus and Data from STNG and Roy Batty from Blade Runner, because even though we’re talking about tech, what we are really talking about are metaphors for the human condition.
GT: From Perfect Gravity: “you know what, we— I mean the UNAN, not you and I personally— lack good laws governing the personhood of zombies and we probably should spin some up,”
Woah woah woah, wait a minute! Zombies?! Will we see any zombies in the series?
VJ: Um, that material exists, but I had to keep focus on three books only. Someday I might let other folks see some of the tangential scenes that didn’t make into the final narratives. But oh yes, zombies. Or at least reanimated bodies.
Even though we’re talking about tech, what we are really talking about are metaphors for the human condition.
GT: In our recent podcast, you said that Perfect Gravity was your favorite thing that you’ve ever written. What did you enjoy most about creating this story? What makes it so special?
VJ: Ah. Well, that’s actually more about me than about the story. I do think it’s a tight story, and I love it to bits, but a couple of things happened during the writing of Perfect Gravity that made it super special for me. One is that I fell in love with the characters. Like, literally, it hurt me to hurt them, and I needed them to find their happy ending. The other thing was that my husband read this book and said it was good. I’ve been writing all my life, and he and I have been hitched for twenty-four years–significantly more than half of that life–and finally, finally I wrote something he liked. No stranger’s review can ever tarnish that validation.
GT: In this story universe, Texas is its own government, and one not in the friendliest terms with the continental government. When I lived in Texas, I always joked that if you pissed us off, we might just secede again. Where did your inspiration for the series history come from?
VJ: Two things. I went to the University of Texas at Austin, and when I was a student, we always had these burly, bearded, crazy-eyed dudes hanging out on Guadalupe (“the drag”) passing out pamphlets about the Republic of old and how Texas needed to be her own beastie. Guess you could say they got to me, so I looked into how exactly we’d go about seceding. Turns out it’s complicated, but it’s also alluring in a thousand unexpected ways. For instance, did you know that Texas can separate itself from the national power grid and take control of its own electricity? Kind of makes you think about logistics of rebellion, dunnit?
I fell in love with the characters. Like, literally, it hurt me to hurt them, and I needed them to find their happy ending.
GT: Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Vivien! Any readers who haven’t listened to our Gamer Girls in Romance podcast, should zip over to the podcast page and check it out. Any final thoughts to share before we sign off today?
VJ: Nah, other than so, so many thanks for letting me come by and hang out here. GraveTells is my happy place.
GT: Aww!! *hugs*!
Read an excerpt from Perfect Gravity
Copyright © 2017 Vivien Jackson
Angela pressed the emergency stop, and their carriage paused. It was glass on the rear, but this far up, there wasn’t anything to see other than a painted elevator shaft. They were alone.
And she stood right in front of him, burning a look upward. Holy fuck, that look.
She put two hands on his chest and pushed him against the elevator wall.
He was stunned for the first half second, surprised enough that she got the jump on him, but he couldn’t let her win. Not without giving a little of his own back.
She was a little thing—he had forgotten how slight—and when his arms went around her and he cradled her ass, it was the easiest thing to lift her. Her legs came up, wrapping around his waist. Something in her tidy wool skirt tore, and she oomphed a breath against his teeth when he turned their bodies, still locked together, and pushed her back up against the elevator wall.
Better. The angle. She slotted snug against him, mouth to mouth, heartbeat to wild heartbeat. Her hands clamped the back of his head, crushing him into her kiss. Oh yeah, this was the Angela he knew, the girl only he knew. And he had missed this—had missed her—so fucking much.
Her teeth skidded against his, sharp and bright. He nibbled, drawing salt from her lip, and she groaned into his mouth. That count for consent? He thought it might, or maybe the fact that she’d all but attacked him in an elevator. Still, the gentleman in him needed to be sure.
“We gonna do this right here, then?” he rasped.
“At least once,” she breathed against his jaw. “Please tell me those jeans aren’t held together with a goddamn button fly.”
“Press seam,” he said.
“Thank all the made-up gods.” Her magic fingers found the seam and undid it, but the movement stole some of her concentration. Angela, the great multitasker, apparently couldn’t undress a man and pour kisses down his throat at the same time.
Kellen reared his head back and watched her.
Wild thing, his gal. He remembered so many times they’d been at this business, and always, always, it had been the death of him. A thousand deaths, a million surrenders. He’d never minded. He’d have given her anything, willingly, as often as she wanted.
But the man she was taking down that road right now wasn’t her nineteen-year-old toy. And he didn’t have a hankering to play the role for her again. He’d fought to become his own person. And that person couldn’t do this.
“Think we might pause here for a second, princess?”
She’d made quick work of his pants, and she had him out, clasped in her hot little fist. He couldn’t even process what that felt like. Heaven was too small a word.
“Angela.” Didn’t sound like his own voice, but he had things that needed saying.
She looked up, neither moving nor removing her hand. His arms were holding her up against the wall, and he couldn’t very well shift weight without dropping her unceremoniously on the floor. There was no way to make space between them, not at this point. Heat roiled in the interstice between their bodies. She never had liked the feel of knickers on her nethers.
“What?” Confusion broke through the naked desire on her face.
“That emergency call button only pauses us for three minutes,” he said, trying so hard to be gentle about this.
Her grin got sly instead. “You clearly have no idea how ready I am.” She squeezed, and his throat compressed in synch. “Why are we wasting all this time chitchatting?”
“Maybe what we need, actually, is a bit more chitchat. And a bit less fucking.” He shifted his weight, lowering her slightly, like he was about to disconnect them. She flicked the pad of her thumb over the head of his cock, and he damn near came on her hand. Shitfuckgoddamn. But he inhaled, slammed his eyes shut, and worked the hell through it. Took a few seconds, but he got steady.
Disbelief froze her mouth into an O, then she snapped, “Impossible to do less of a thing you aren’t doing. Or not yet doing. Who are you, and what have you done with my Kellen?”
“That’s kind of what I’ve been telling you, sweetheart. I ain’t that guy.” You sent him away, or did you forget? “You want my dick in your drawers and my mouth on your sweet spot, princess, I will require some wooing.”
“I distinctly heard you tell all those people at the table—the people you call family—that you were taking me to bed.” She stroked. Jesus. “I believe this is what you would call lying like a rug.”
“I said I was takin’ you to your bedroom.” Temptation shaved pieces off his will.
“That’s exactly what you said, and your intentions could not have been clearer.”
“Well, but after that, Yoink and your husband decided to come along to watch. Gotta say that damped my want-to some.”
She huffed a breath against his throat. “Look. I kicked them out into the corridor. Pressed the emergency stop. Problem solved.”
“It ain’t that easy.”
“Yes, it is.”
“I ain’t that easy.”
She tested her tongue against her upper lip then drew it back inside. “Are you saying you don’t want me?”
No, you insufferable woman. I will want you as long as there’s breath in this body, blood in these veins. And then I will love you longer still. “I’m saying we need to slow this down.”
Series: Tether #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on November 7, 2017
Genres: SciFi romance, Cyberpunk
Add it to your To Read shelf: Goodreads
Also in this series: , Perfect Gravity
Also by this author: , Perfect Gravity
Find the Author: Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram
Second in a snarky, sexy sci-fi romance series with the perfect balance of humor, heart, and heat.
Kellen Hockley usually keeps quiet about his past, but once upon a time he loved a girl named Angela. He hasn't seen her in a decade, but now he has to break the news to her that his team of rogue treasure hunters accidentally killed her husband. He's had better days...
It's not the news that's delivered to Angela Neko that breaks her apart—it's the rumbly, Texas drawl delivering it. She can't believe she's hearing Kellen's voice again. But there's no time for distractions. When Angela's own life is threatened, yielding up all of her lies and secrets, she and Kellen must figure out how to reverse the geopolitical firestorm she lit to save the world, to save Kellen's cat...and just maybe to save each other.
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Read the reviews
Check out our reviews for Wanted & Wired and Perfect Gravity. Click the book covers below!
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