UFI welcomes Author Jacey Bedford. Thanks for Joining us!!
What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?
Hmmm… let me see… I used to sing in an a cappella folk trio called Artisan. (http://www.artisan-harmony.com) We made 14 CDs, a concert DVD, and toured all over the UK, to parts of Europe, once to Australia via Hong Kong, and extensively in the USA and Canada – 31 tours in an eleven year period – until we decided to give ourselves a rest from travelling. I don’t know how many miles we travelled or how many thousands of gigs we did. Now, for my day-job, I run my own music booking agency for folk musicians from all over the world, touring the UK. So I send out other artists to do the gigs while I drive a desk for a living. We have done a couple of Artisan reunion tours, though, so we never say never again.
What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
What is this ‘down-time’ of which you speak? I don’t recognise the concept. When I’m not at my desk booking gigs for musicians, I’m at my desk writing, often late into the night. I don’t even watch much TV. I try to take off one afternoon a week. I go into Wakefield with my ex-bandmate and good cinebuddy, Hilary, and we go and see every SF or fantasy movie that we can find. In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen the new Blade Runner and Thor Ragnarok.
What is your Favorite part of writing?
I know I’m weird, but I love editing. Don’t get me wrong, that slog of doing the first draft is pretty exhilarating, but the best bit for me is taking that first draft and trying to reshape it into something close to resembling a book. Most people’s first drafts are nowhere near like their finished book. Mine are – well, let’s just say they are a mishmash of good ideas not yet properly formed. I write in Scrivener. (If you’re a writer check it out – highly recommended, though it takes a couple of days fighting through a steep learning curve to get it to the stage where it’s useful to you.) Scrivener has a very useful drag and drop facility, so you can write and polish chapter by chapter and scene by scene, then by looking at the binder on the left hand side of the screen you can move scenes about to get a better structure. I love it when something very rough and ready gradually turns into a piece of writing you can be proud of.
Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
Not really, but I’m most comfortable working at home in my office. It’s cluttered, but it’s comfortable. I have an archaeological filing system. The longer I’ve had it, the lower down the strata it is. I treated myself to a 23” screen and a delightful Cherry ‘click’ keyboard when I got my first book deal, so I’m all set up. Sometimes the day-job phone hardly ever stops ringing, so I like to write late into the night. After ten or eleven o’clock the phone goes quiet and nobody wants a piece of me, so it’s my time and I can really get a move on.
What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Genres?
I really love Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books and the spin-offs about Anna and Charles. I’m also very fond of the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka (set in London). I’m pacing myself through Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books, so I haven’t read them all yet. Ditto Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books and Carrie Vaughan’s Kitty Norville books. I have more of them to look forward to. I also love Tanya Huff’s writing, fantasy or science fiction. I don’t normally read a lot of vampire books, but I make an exception for Tanya’s Vicki Nelson series. I also recently enjoyed CE Murphy’s ‘Heart of Stone’, the first in her Negotiator series, where the paranormal character is a gargoyle in New York City. One series that has that urban fantasy ‘voice’ though it’s set in a secondary world, is Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares series. Highly recommended. Urban fantasy readers will like it, I think, even though it’s not a contemporary real-world setting.
How would you pitch the Psi-Tech trilogy to someone who has not heard of it before?
It sets individuals against vast megacorporations that have become unwieldy and corrupt. There’s romance and peril, a diverse cast of characters with psionic skills… and it’s all happening five hundred years in the future, so the action spans star-systems. There are also some really creepy aliens that may or may not be real.
Can you tell us a little bit about the world that the Psi-Tech trilogy is set in?
Humankind has colonised space via a series of jump-gates that shortcut travel-time by taking ships through the Folds. But there’s a problem. Platinum is a catalyst in the jump process, but the tech is flawed and a significant amount of platinum is lost every time a ship jumps. Platinum isn’t rare. It’s found all over the galaxy, but only in very small amounts. To give you an example, all the platinum ever mined and refined on Earth to the present day would only just fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool to the depth of a foot. So platinum is now the most precious substance in the galaxy, and the megacorporations will fight dirty to get it. The megacorps are more powerful than planetary governments (even Earth) and they control most of the colony planets. Only telepaths with special skills as navigators can fly through foldspace, so the megacorps invest huge sums in them and therefore try to keep them on a short leash. My telepaths have gone rogue to win their own freedom. But there’s something in foldspace that they sometimes see, but that doesn’t exist – or does it?
Do you have a favorite scene in ‘Nimbus’?
‘Nimbus’ is the third book in my Psi-Tech trilogy that began with ‘Empire of Dust’ and continued with ‘Crossways’. It picks up the story in the aftermath of a huge space battle when my two main characters Reska (Ben) Benjamin and Cara Carlinni have been pulled in opposite directions. He’s helping to rebuild the giant space station, Crossways, and she’s slogging across a dust-caked planet in search of the mythical ‘Sanctuary’ – an organisation that used to help rogue psi-techs but was almost destroyed by the megacorps. I loved writing the scene where she finds what she’s looking for, but it turns out to be not what she thought it was going to be. I also enjoyed writing Ben’s return to foldspace to confront one of those real-not-real creatures, a void dragon. It’s the scene where everything starts to fall into place for my main characters and sets their course for the rest of the book. I also really enjoyed writing Ben’s final confrontation with his ex boss, Crowder, who started out a friend and became an enemy. We find out something about Crowder that’s been bubbling under for three books and finally reveals a twist that we could have seen coming, but didn’t.
Which one character out of all your books was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
Ooh, that’s a really difficult question. Of course, I love writing about Cara and Ben. You can’t write a trilogy of long books without liking your main characters because, let’s face it, you spend a lot of time in their company. My favourite character is Cara. She’s conflicted and has the biggest arc of change throughout the trilogy. In the beginning she’s almost broken, but fights her way back to being whole and falls in love, but that’s not her ending, it’s her beginning, because she continues to grow as a person as she takes on more responsibilities of her own.
Ben was probably the most difficult to write because he’s a good man, and it’s oh-so-very difficult to write good characters without making them boring. He’s got flaws and blind-spots, of course, which is what makes him interesting. An incident in the second book almost breaks him. Something happens that he has to learn to live with.
Having said that, some of the characters who have less page-time were also fun to write. The psi-tech doctor, Ronan, is a character I’d like to revisit sometime. He’s gay, in a stable relationship, but he’s also a bit of an action hero when the need arises.
In the first book, Empire of Dust, I really enjoyed writing Vinnie Lorient, one of the three antagonists. He was a thorn in Ben and Cara’s side, always doing the wrong thing, but for the best of reasons. He was the hero of his own story, but the ideological differences between him and the psi-techs caused endless problems.
What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?
I’m currently writing ‘Rowankind’ the final book in the Rowankind trilogy. This one is historical fantasy and follows on from ‘Winterwood’ and ‘Silverwolf’ (both published by DAW). The setting is 1800 to 1802 in a Britain with magic. Mad King George is on the throne and Napoleon Bonaparte is knocking at Europe’s door. The Mysterium controls and licences magic on behalf of the government. Unlicensed witches are either ‘disappeared’ or hanged. Ross (Rossalinde) Tremayne is a cross-dressing privateer captain preying on French shipping, accompanied by her crew of barely reformed pirates and the jealous ghost of her late husband – and she’s an unlicensed witch. When she makes a deathbed visit to her long-estranged mother, she inherits a task she doesn’t want and a half-brother she didn’t know she had. She’s helped by the Lady of the Forest and acquires a watch-wolf, Corwen, a shapechanger whom she really doesn’t like, and neither does Will, her husband’s ghost. Ross and Corwen have to free the rowankind, a race of biddable, not-quite-human bondservants who turn out to be a lot more than they seem. Where did they come from, and why? And what will happen when they are freed and suddenly wake up to their position and discover their power? There’s a very powerful government agent, Walsingham, whose only mission is to prevent Ross from succeeding. If he has to fight Ross’ magic with darker magic, he will. That’s all in ‘Winterwood’. ‘Silverwolf’ deals with the effects that ripple outwards and have an impact on society and the Industrial Revolution as wild magic, that the Mysterium can’t control is released. In ‘Rowankind’ Ross and Corwen have to find a way to safeguard all magic users before the Fae step in with a drastic solution that may start with obliterating London just to make a point. That may mean enlisting the help of mad King George, who is mad for a magical reason. ‘Rowankind’ is due out from DAW in late 2018.
I have another project on the boil, too, another historical fantasy, this time set in an analogue of the Baltic States around 1650. The working title is ‘The Amber Crown’, and it’s a political fantasy with magic. I have three main viewpoint characters, Valdas, the King’s bodyguard who failed to prevent an assassination, Lind, the assassin who is very good at his job but severely messed up in almost every other way, and Mirza, the wise woman of a band of Atsingani Romany travellers who is able to walk the spirit world. That’s written and now at the editing stage, but it’s not likely to come out before ‘Rowankind.’
Find Jacey and her books
To combat manipulative megacorporations with telepathic technology, two heroes must rebel, overthrowing the enemy's oppressive influence in the third book in this exciting sci-fi adventure
In a galaxy where the super-powers are the megacorporations, and ambitious executives play fast and loose with ethics in order to secure resources, where can good people turn for help? The megacorps control the jump gates and trade routes. They use psi-techs, implant-enhanced operatives with psionic abilities, who are bound by unbreakable contracts.
Psi-tech Cara Carlinni once had her mind turned inside out by Alphacorp, but she escaped, found her place with the Free Company, and now it's payback time.
Ben Benjamin leads the Free Company, based on the rogue space station, Crossways. The megacorps have struck at Crossways once—and failed—so what are they planning now? Crossways can't stand alone, and neither can the independent colonies, though maybe together they all have a chance.
But something alien is stirring in the depths of foldspace. Something bigger than the squabbles between megacorporations and independents. Foldspace visions are supposed to be a figment of the imagination.
At least, that's what they teach in flight school. Ben Benjamin knows it's not true. Meeting a void dragon was bad enough, but now there's the Nimbus to contend with. Are the two connected? Why do some ships transit the Folds safely and others disappear without a trace?
Until now, humans have had a free hand in the Galaxy, settling colony after colony, but that might change because the Nimbus is coming.
Other books by Jacey Bedford
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