Jayne Lockwood has a new queer sci fi book out:
Six random questions for Euphoria author, Jayne Lockwood
Hi everyone, and very many thanks for featuring my book, Euphoria, on your blog. What follows are six questions, chosen at random, that I was asked to answer, with subjects including leading men, scaring children and having a tail. It’s a sort of interview roulette, as it were. So here goes.
If I were a Hollywood producer about to put your book on the big screen, who would you want me to cast as the leads? Why? And can we have pictures to drool over?
A Hollywood producer would fire me on the spot if I told him who I wanted to be in the film of Euphoria.
Vardam would probably be CGI, if I’m honest. They are nearly seven foot tall and iridescent, so I can’t see how that could translate. With the current demand for superheroes, all the guys seem to be beefed up and they’re just not like that. I can’t think of anyone around at the moment who would play them, but maybe someone else can.
For Kurt Lomax, that’s a lot easier. In my world anyway. There’s only one man suitable for the job and that’s Guy Henry (yes – he’s the guy that played Grand Moff Tarkin.) I know, not everyone’s idea of a pin-up, and certainly not Hollywood A List material, but I don’t write my books for that. To be honest, I didn’t write the character with him in mind. I just happened to discover him on a long-running BBC hospital drama (Holby City) and thought, “that’s Kurt.” So yeah. The Guy stays in the picture….
For Tom Soames, it would have to be Ben Wishaw, who has the right balance of grunge and sweetness. Again, not a conventional pretty boy, but who cares? The clue is in the word “character.” I’ve tried to make these real people, not fantasy figures. Tom is cute and vulnerable and more intelligent than he or anyone else thinks he is, and I know Ben would be able to nail the sloppy Buckinghamshire accent. I’ve given him a handsome doctor to fall in love with (Rashad) and a strong sense of loyalty. He’s a good foil for Kurt, who needs someone to tell him a few home truths.
How would you describe your writing style/genre?
Diverse. Under my name and my pseudonym I have variably written M/F erotic romance, MM erotic romance, fantasy, sci-fi, noir, dart erotica, trans romance, horror…. At my heart I love a romance with a good, old-fashioned happy ending, and I believe that everyone, no matter which gender, sexuality, race or religion, deserve to have their stories told.
Were you a voracious reader as a child?
Yes, annoyingly so, probably. My father used to buy me books of poetry and anthologies, all kinds of things to feed my reading habit. I still have some of those books now as they remind me of him. One of my favourites is thick tome of four Daphne due Maurier novels. Through them I gleaned my first ideas of love, lesbianism, lust and obsession, though I’m sure that wasn’t Dad’s intention. And another favourite book of mine when I was eight was Marianne Dreams, by Catherine Storr. Basically, it’s about a sick girl who draws pictures and then dreams about them, befriending a boy she creates in her daytime doodlings. When they fall out, she draws huge stones with eyes that surround his house and gradually move closer…
That’s really creepy now I think about it. I gave the book to my daughter when she was eighteen and it frightened the shit out of her. I think I must have been a weird kid. And a bad parent.
What fantasy realm would you choose to live in and why?
Pandora from Avatar! Because the Na’vi are stunningly beautiful and at one with a gloriously lush natural world. I want to be tall, slender and have a tail. Wouldn’t you like a tail? It would be long, flexible and have a mind of its own so I could use it as a fifth limb. I’d also have a close relationship with a dragon thing that would allow me to travel on its back (not ride it – an important distinction…)
I’d also use my tail for mischief, playing tricks, helping people get top things off shelves and smacking assholes upside the head if needed. I’d be a menace with a tail. No doubt we would fall out with each other at some point. In fact, I feel a story coming on with a character whose tail goes rogue…
What do you do when you get writer’s block?
I write something else. A stupid poem to put on my blog, or a scene between two totally unrelated characters. Or fan fiction! I’ve written some on Wattpad just for a bit of fun (I’m Lady Jaguar) and it’s surprising what can transpire.
And exercise always helps. It’s definitely a good idea to remove yourself from the plot knot or whatever you’re struggling with and put it to one side for a while to concentrate on something else. And for a decent amount of time, whether half a day, or a week if you’re able to. Just give it time and it will sort itself out eventually.
Do you reward yourself for writing, or punish yourself for failing to do so? How?
I believe strongly that writing is a passion, and yes, you can punish yourself if that’s how you roll, but I don’t because for me passion=pleasure, not tearing my hair out and getting stressed. I don’t rely on my writing to put food on the table, so possibly it would be different if I did, but no, I don’t punish myself if I have a crap day. Rewards are chocolate though. Yeah, I deserve a lot of rewards, and they all take the form of chocolate or lattes….
Thanks for reading this far. If you have any other questions for me, the more bizarre the better, shoot them my way!
It might take the arrival of an alien being to remind an isolated man what it means to be human.
With a stressful job, his boss breathing down his neck for profitable results, and an estranged wife and daughter, scientist Kurt Lomax doesn’t think life can get much harder. Until a nonbinary extraterrestrial with an otherworldly beauty, captivating elegance, and a wicked sense of humor inconveniently shows up at his apartment.
Vardam watched the destruction of their own world, and they don’t want to see the same thing happen on Earth. They are lonely, and feelings soon develop between them and the supposedly straight scientist—feelings Kurt reciprocates, much to his confusion.
The arrival of cheery interpreter Tom Soames—whose Goth appearance belies a gentle heart—is like a ray of sunshine in the somber lab. He acts as matchmaker for man and tentacled extraterrestrial, unwittingly instigating a national crisis when the news breaks out.
But will a misunderstanding ruin Kurt and Vardam’s chances for happiness together—along with the hope for peace between humanity and the Var?
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Three hours later, they were still none the wiser.
“Any joy with communications?”
Nic shook her head. “None. They don’t seem to respond to any spoken language. I’ve tried binary code, sonar, whale music, radio waves. Not a flicker. I’m not sure how well they can see or hear. They won’t let me near enough to do any examinations. They just keep staring at me like I’m the one who isn’t getting it. It’s really frustrating.”
When Kurt looked again, Vardam was there. With a graceful tilt of the head, they watched him as he approached the glass.
“What about the forensics on that note?”
“Just got them,” Troy said, looking up from his computer. “The note was written with an old-style Bic ballpoint pen by a human female….”
“Human? Are you sure?”
“I can’t argue with the evidence. There was a trace of fingerprint on the paper but nothing I can analyze. The paper looks like any A4 copy from a twentiethcentury printer or photocopier. The only thing is, I think it might have been written by someone in distress. The handwriting is very jerky, like they weren’t sure what to write and then just dashed it down. But….” Troy shrugged his wide shoulders. “That last bit’s a hunch. Could be totally wrong. Still waiting on the DNA.”
“Thanks, Troy. Let me know as soon as you get it.”
He turned back to where Vardam was standing, staring at him with those unnerving gemstone eyes.
“Who are you?”
Vardam raised their hand, running the back of it down the glass close to Kurt’s face. He jerked away. It was too close for comfort, even with three inches of glass between them. Vardam backed away as well, as if alarmed by his sudden movement. For reasons he didn’t understand, he was irritated beyond measure by their wounded expression.
“Talk to me, damn it! What do you want with me?” He smacked his hand against the glass. The sharp slap shocked Vardam into stepping back. They bared gold teeth at him and made a gesture that looked almost obscene. Then they dropped into a crouch. Immediately, a smooth iridescent shell closed over their hunched body, covering it completely.
Kurt and Nic exchanged glances, then looked back at the pod. It was completely smooth, devoid of any seams or openings. Every few seconds it quivered. Kurt could almost feel the waves of disapproval emanating from the gleamingsurface.
“Well, that’s new,” Nic said. “Get some rest. I’ll babysit until ten. Troy will take the graveyard shift.”
Kurt tore his angry gaze away from the strange pod. The way it hunched reproachfully in the corner didn’t improve his mood one bit. He knew he was more than tired. He felt emotionally and physically drained and couldn’t remember the last time he had eaten a proper meal. Not that he was hungry. He just wanted sleep.
In his apartment, he lay naked in his wide bed. He was thinking about his continued feud with James Dyer. The issue dangled over his career like a sword of Damocles but all he could see was the beautiful creature. Those eyes, staring into his ragged soul. What did they want?
The telephone by his bed rang, waking him from an unnerving dream. Glancing at the clock, he saw it was 6:15. The last eight hours had passed frighteningly quickly.
“Hello?” His voice sounded faded.
“Sorry to wake you, Professor, but I’ve got the DNA results back. You need to see them.”
“I’ll be right down.”
He stumbled out of bed and into the shower. Twenty minutes later he was down in the lab, a fresh white coat over his shirt and tie.
In the isolation room, Vardam had emerged from their shell. The melon had been eaten, apart from the rinds, neatly scalloped with teeth marks.
“It was just as I thought it would be. There’s human DNA on that note. Female. I took the liberty of cross-checking it against the National DNA Database and found a match. Whoever wrote this note is related to you. Not just distantly, but directly of your bloodline.”
Kurt looked closer at the screen. It was policy to hold the medical details of everyone at the Bunker, including himself. Even so, he wondered why he wasn’t more surprised.
It was impossible but saying so would have been redundant. The evidence was right there in front of him. He walked over to the glass and beckoned to Vardam. They gave him a withering look and turned away, presenting a bony back to the window.
“I think we’re going to have to use the softly-softly approach,” Troy said. “They’re not going to tell us anything until they’re ready. And I’ve got another hunch. I think they’re using BSL.”
“British Sign Language?” Kurt was skeptical.
“I know it sounds weird, but there’s a guy who works at Tesco in Wycombe. He uses it with some of the customers. It looks the same. It’s worth a try, isn’t it?” Troy prodded buttons on his iPad. The official website came up with a finger-spelling option. “Not all words have signs, obviously, so each letter has a sign, right?”
“I know the principles of sign language,” Kurt said irritably. The alien was an inconvenience, however beautiful they were.
“You write in your name, and the finger shapes come up.” Troy typed rapidly. Kurt’s surname appeared on the screen in sign.
Troy gently tapped on the glass. “Hello?”
Vardam turned around, saw it was Troy, and ambled over. Troy showed them the diagrams on the iPad screen. The alien nodded, repeated the signs, and pointed at Kurt. Then it signed, “I am….”
“I can’t tell what they’re saying,” Troy said. “They’re too fast. Hang on.” He typed again. “I’ve found a YouTube video for learning phrases. Ah! This one is easy.” He put the iPad down and signed, making a sad face, swirling his fist on his stomach, then raising both hands over his head, shaking it at the same time.
“What are you doing?”
“Telling him I don’t understand. It’s ‘way over my head.’ Get it?”
Vardam seemed to. They signed “okay,” then turned to Kurt and made another gesture, flattening one hand and punching up into it with the other.
“My instincts are telling me that isn’t good,” Troy said. “Looks like we need to find ourselves a sign language expert.”
“We can’t bring anyone else in at the moment. Certainly not in a professional capacity. The government will be all over us before we know it.” As Kurt said it, the seed of an idea was forming in his mind. “Where did you say that BSL user worked again?”
Jayne Lockwood has always wanted to learn to fly. Spending free time honing her Peter Pan skills on an aerial hoop, she also creates flights of fancy in her books, mingling sex and romance with angst and a healthy dash of dark humor.
Since she was a small child, Jayne has always sympathized with the villain. It all began with Alice Cooper, even though she was banned from listening to his music by her mother. From wanting to sail away with Captain Hook or redeeming the Child Catcher, the antihero has been an enduring fascination ever since.
After a two-year sojourn in New Jersey and two decades of child-rearing, Jayne is an outwardly respectable member of an English village community. She also is one of the founder members of WROTE podcast, which is dedicated to showcasing LGBTQA authors and their work, and now writes book reviews as well as diverse fiction.
She is also in a sub/dom relationship with a cat called Keith.
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