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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

PAN Guest Blog - JL Wilson

Today we welcome J L Wilson as our FF&P PAN blogger.
I have two books out this month. One released on Sept. 3 and one released on Sept. 4. I didn't plan it that way, my two publishers did. I usually have four books release a year, and this year it’s five, with two of them back-to-back. So I'm going to be very busy in the upcoming months, talking about both books.
In an odd way, they couldn't be more different and yet they're both very much the same.

Temperance is my third History Patrol book in which two lovers are sent back through time to the place where they died. In this case, Theodora was killed because of something Will did. She's reincarnated as a shape-shifting cat and is paired with him as his Companion in the Patrol. They're returned to 1934 America around the time of the John Dillinger shootout in St. Paul. Will thinks they’re returning to rescue a stranded time traveler, but Theo knows the truth.

Human Touch is set on another planet, far in the future. Isbel Kensington is a researcher who discovers a terrible secret about the original settlers on that planet. What she’s found may topple the government, run by her father and her sister. Cyrus Durant is an undercover agent – and also a cloned human – who is sent to spy on her.

You can see how different they are? What do they have in common? Two things: love and telepathy (that sounds like a good name for a song or a cafĂ©, doesn’t it?) In the case of Temperance¸ Will and Theo are true lovers who are given a second chance at life. They have to decide if they have the courage to take that chance. The only way they can communicate is via telepathy since Theo is a cat and Will is a human. Of course, she’s not always a cat. Sometimes she’s a falcon, sometimes she’s a squirrel, and once she shifts to mouse-form in order to be carried in Will’s pocket. I would LOVE to be able to shape-shift, which is why I give the Companions in my books that possibility.
In Human Touch, Isbel has to decide how important the truth is – is it worth hurting her family? Does she dare share what she knows with the population? As she uncovers the truth, she also uncovers Cyrus’ humanity, the humanity he didn’t know he possessed. It’s when they start to form an intimate psychic bond that she realizes he’s becoming fully human, and she realizes that what truly means.
Both books required an incredible amount of research and world-building. I had to come up with rules for History Patrol, reincarnation, and Guardian Angels as well as figure out how to put my two characters in the path of John Dillinger at just the right time. For Human Touch, I created a planet, a culture, a political system, a vocabulary and a shocking secret that needed to be hidden for generations. These people are human but they’re the result of decades of psychic training and breeding. What would that do to our race?
There’s one other thing they have in common: both are part of a series, but each stands alone. Temperance is the third book and characters from the previous books are alluded to, but don’t appear (okay, they do, but briefly and in a way you really can’t expect). Human Touch is the start of a three-book series, which continues next year in Living Proof and concludes late in the year with Leap of Faith.
----------- Here’s a brief excerpt from Temperance, in which they discover why the time traveler they’re chasing, Marcos Darby, needs to stay in 1934.

Theo scrambled out of his way as Will lunged for the dresser. He pushed clothes impatiently aside and pulled out his foldable computer.
Did you charge it? Theo asked suspiciously. Will was notorious for forgetting to put the solar-cell in the sunlight.
“Of course.” He put the device on his desk and unfolded the flexible pad. Words sprang to life on the wall in front of the desk. “Let’s see…Darby…” He activated voice mode. “Family history, Marcos Darby.” He pulled out the desk chair and sat down, staring intently at the computer screen.
“Marcos Darby, born 2217 in…”
Will hastily turned down the volume as the voice droned on, “…New Florida. Father, Nobles Conner. Mother, Mathilde Darby.”
“Great-great grandparents and preceding ancestors,” Will interrupted. “Display family genealogy.”
Names began appearing on the wall in front of Will, superimposed on a tree-like structure.
Theo jumped lithely onto Will’s knee, barely pausing as she made another leap to the desk. What are we looking for? she asked, peering at the text.
“I’m not sure,” he murmured, eyes darting from one side to the other as the names spread further and further apart on the wall. “I think our tourist might have a reason for being here and—there.”
Will touched a name on the wall. The computer said, “Carter Baum. Born, 1904. Died, 1934 in…”
“That’s it.” Names continued scrolling down the wall. “Stop history,” Will said.
That’s what? Theo stretched, reaching up to tap a name on the wall. That?
“Carter Baum. Marcos Darby is related to Carter Baum. He’s the FBI agent who was killed by Dillinger.”
“Stop history,” the computer confirmed.
Will nodded. “Yes. He’s trying to stop history.”

----------- End excerpt ------------------------

------- And here’s an excerpt from Human Touch, in which Cyrus, undercover as a Paid Male companion, first meets Isbel, the woman he may have to kill.

Cyrus glanced at the woman next to him. She wasn’t what he expected. He’d seen vid of her sister, Dru, and he expected the same—a walking fashion plate with stylish hair, an angular figure and that air of disdain Dru Carter wore like a second skin. This woman was small with large breasts and wide hips. Her eyes were level with his chin and her face was oval, with high cheekbones and a wide, full mouth that looked red even without obvious cosmetics. Her long, uncolored hair was bundled into a bun on her head.
His Paid Male programming had prepared him for the technical part of his job but not for the nuances of how to act as a woman’s companion. Cyrus knew how Part A fit into Part B. But he’d never touched a woman, been close to one, or held one in his arms. Unless he counted the ones he’d killed. He was curious about the sex thing. It might be pleasurable. The idea was interesting.
Her assigned cottage was on the far edge of the island, perched on a tall bluff in a tiny cove. Cyrus had investigated the place earlier, checking the two small bedrooms, the bathing facility and the living and kitchen space. It was rustic, charming, and isolated. He’d be stuck with her for ten entire daes, not to mention the evenings. Cyrus flicked a glance at her, wondering what people did together with all that time. Surely they didn’t talk the entire time? Maybe she’d change her mind and go shopping.
He set the car on the landing pad at the base of the hill. The woman sprang out and hurried up the footpath, her pale brown skirt tangling around her legs. He could easily see the outline of her body as the ocean breeze pressed the fabric against her. She wasn’t under-dressed, as was the fashion, but she wasn’t hiding anything, either. Cyrus plucked out the bag she’d tossed in the back and followed her up the path.
He could hear her in the bedroom when he entered the living room. She came to the doorway and looked at him. “Do you want to sleep with me or in the spare room?” Her dark brown eyes examined him with a disquieting coolness.
Cyrus stopped, uncertain. “I’ve never slept with anyone before,” he said before thinking. “I don’t know if I would like it.”
“Really? You are inexperienced.” She went back into the bedroom. “The bed is big enough. If you’d like to sleep with me, it’s fine. I should tell you, though, that I won’t require sex.” Her voice drifted out to Cyrus.
Disappointment surged through him. He’d been looking forward to trying the sex thing.

----------- End excerpt ------------------------

For more information about the world-building, the releases, my juggling act (working full-time and releasing 5+ books a year), check my web site (jayellwilson.com). I’m also signed up for some chatting to help you PRO folks boot it up to the next level. Believe me, I remember my PRO days! They weren’t that long ago -- my first book released in June of 2007 and here I am, 13 books later. I’ve got 5 books slated for release next year and 5 for 2011 and I’ve learned a lot of tricks along the way that I’m happy to share with you.
I hope you can join me!

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