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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Guest: Leah Petersen

Where Does a Sci-Fi Author Go When She Needs to Get Away?

Your hosts here at Wickedly Wanton proposed an interesting topic for a guest post: my favorite hideaway.

Is it just me, or is this more applicable to the sci-fi/fantasy author than most? Where to hideaway?

Well, anywhere! And airfare’s free, baby, because I can just use my imagination.
It’s why I’m a sci-fi author, I think. I’ve done it my whole life. Things not going well in real life? (Or just boring, or I’m 15 and melodramatic)? Just make up a new one.

There are fascinating places out there to discover (invent.) Anything’s possible. Want to be able to read someone’s mind? You can. (Watch out for that one, though. Can be messy.) Want to be a queen living in a palace by the sea where mermen come to worship you each year? Been there, done that. Want a dozen princes who would do anything just for the chance to kiss your feet?


Just make it happen!
I even like visiting the future I created in FIGHTING GRAVITY, though it’s got its drawbacks and scary places. Well, stay anywhere long enough and you’ll find that. Besides, without them, how would I torture my main characters?
But, when I just want to have fun, my perfect hideaway changes with the seasons, my mood, inspiration from the last book I read, or movie I saw, or just something completely random witnessed as I drove by. The nice thing about it is, it’s always the perfect one. If it isn’t, I change it.

Cheaper than a trip to Europe, too.

How about you? Where would you go?

Everywhere and evreywhen, Leah! I'm a fan of Stargate, Star Trek, Star Wars, Farscape, Eureka, and any cheesy scifi movie you can think of. Them? Seen it. The Thing? Only the original. Godzilla? Raised on it as a child with afternoon reruns while cleaning. If it had the slightest element of science fiction, no matter how cheesy, my mom watched it, hence it was on TV and we all watched it.


When Jacob Dawes is Selected for the Imperial Intellectual Complex as a child, he’s catapulted from the poverty-stricken slums of his birth into a world where his status as an unclass is something no one can forget, or forgive. His growing scientific renown draws the attention of the emperor, a young man Jacob’s own age, and they find themselves drawn to each other in an unlikely, and ill-advised relationship. Jacob may have won the emperor’s heart, but it’s no protection when he’s accused of treason. And fighting his own execution would mean betraying the man he loves.

After dinner, a servant summoned me to the emperor. This was now twice in as many nights. Was it about something I’d said the night before? That stupid ring?

I was led to where the emperor was talking with the ship’s captain in one of the hallways.

“Good evening, Mr. Dawes. I see you survived the lift-off.” He walked as he spoke, gesturing for me to accompany him.

“It was an incredible experience, Excellence. This is a nice ship you have.”

“Thank you. It’s not a new ship, there was no time for that. But many things were upgraded, the engines included. They’re the best of the best, I’m told. I thought about you during the lift-off. I wondered what you’d make of it.”

“You did?” I asked, stunned.

“Is there something wrong with that?” he asked, his mouth twisted in what looked like amusement but was probably something more dangerous to me.

“No, sir. I guess not…”

“Does it bother you?” He seemed to be teasing me again.

“Some,” I answered.

He stopped. “Why?”

“Because I’m afraid of you.”

He laughed, and started down the hallway again. But after a sideways glance at my face, he quieted. “You really mean that?”


“Oh.” His answer was soft, subdued, even. I got the distinct impression that I’d hurt his feelings.

“You must get that all the time.”

“I do,” he answered, but didn’t look at me. I was more and more sure that I’d offended him somehow.

“So why should it matter, then, Excellence?”

He thought for a moment. “I don’t know. I should be used to it. Of course, no one ever comes out and says it in so many words. It’s a bit of a shock to hear it confirmed like that.”

He stopped again, facing me, a slight furrow between his eyes that I would have called uncertainty, even vulnerability, if I hadn’t known who he was. “Why are you afraid of me?”

“Who wouldn’t be afraid? You can do anything you want with my life and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.”

The furrow deepened and he waited, as if I hadn’t explained myself at all.

“You uprooted my life a couple of weeks ago, who knows what you might do tomorrow?”

“You mean, you didn’t want this assignment?” he asked.

Apparently I wasn’t frightened enough to keep my mouth shut. “I want to be here,” I pointed to the ship around us, “but I didn’t want to be reassigned, no.”

“Mr. Dawes...” He hesitated. “I had no idea. I’m sorry.”

I shrugged but didn’t look at him.

“Would you like to be assigned back to the IIC?”

“Yes, Excellence.”

“Then you will be.” He started walking again, gesturing to me to accompany him. My stomach was jittery. I couldn’t believe what I’d just said. But he wasn’t reacting like an angry sovereign. He was acting like just another guy whose feelings were hurt.

“I’m sorry if I offended you,” I tried.

He turned to me. “Actually, you have no idea how much I appreciate your honesty.”

There was no reason for me to believe he was lying or just being diplomatic—and I couldn’t imagine why he would try to spare my feelings—but that didn’t make me feel much better. I was still on edge, certain I’d said far too much.

About the Author:

Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.
FIGHTING GRAVITY is her first novel.



The author will be giving away at least one (possibly more) hand-knitted by her replicas of the symbol of the IIC (an important institution in the book) to two randomly drawn commenters during the tour.


  1. OH...I LOVED Farscape! I got my hubby the Babylon 5 series for Christmas and we've been slowly watching it again. I may have to do Farscape next Christmas!
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  2. Babylon 5! Another great one...seasons 2-4 that is. :)