Today I am thrilled to introduce author Kellie Doherty, whose second novel, Losing Hold, came out last month! She’s been kind enough to share the inspiration behind the story, the challenges of writing a series, and representation in speculative fiction.
Please give her a warm welcome.
In the sequel to Finding Hekate, after escaping Donavin’s grasp, Mia Foley and her crew crash on a prison planet and need to deal with its inhabitants, beast and criminals alike. Mia hears Donavin in her mind once again and knows the transformation into one of his drones isn’t far off. Trapped in her own body, lashing against Donavin each chance she gets, and fearful that she’ll lose it all, Mia has to rely on her crew—on Cassidy—to save her. But she’s not the only one transforming in her little group, and things never go as smoothly as they could out in the black.
Can you tell us a bit about your novel, Losing Hold?
Losing Hold is mainly about the relationships among the Eclipse crew—Mia, Cassidy, Will, Jeff…and to some extent even Harrison and Skyler. Mia has been running away from the Acedians—something showcased extensively in the first book, Finding Hekate—and her past finally caught up with her. The Acedians still pose a threat in this book, but the focus is really the changes that happen within Mia herself. She’s turning into an Acedian, after all, which is a frightening ordeal. Cassidy is forever by Mia’s side, though, making sure she doesn’t go too far off the rails and pushing her down when she does. The relationship between Mia and Cassidy was a joy to write, how they’ve stopped the push/pull of the first book and how intense Cassidy is on helping Mia…in more ways than one. (Let’s just say Mia loses control in a good way, too.) I also really loved the dynamic between the brothers—Will and Jeff—because something kinda crazy happens with Jeff and Will has to deal with it. As for Harrison and Skyler, well, let’s just say help comes from unexpected places concerning those two. It was wonderful to tie up all the loose ends in the story.
What part of the story came to you first?
Way back in undergrad, this story started out as a short story for my writing group. I couldn’t figure out what to write about, though. After a few days of agonizing over it, these three lines drifted through my mind:
“We have come to collect you, Mia.” Her left hand twitched. “We have come.”
That’s it. Not the scifi aspect, plotline, or even Mia! But those lines made me ask questions. Who wanted her? What’s with her left hand? After that, the scar clicked into place, then the character, then the rest of the crew, then…well…everything else. But I always remembered those three little lines; they were my starting point and my anchor.
Losing Hold is the second book in a series. What was the biggest challenge of working within the framework of your existing series?
Yup, it’s the second book and the last book of the duology! The biggest challenge of working with a series is keeping everything consistent—the world, the ships, the characters, the imagery, the tone—but that’s why having a notes from the first book is vastly important. Even something as simple as a change in eye color can be distracting to the readers (and to me, quite frankly). I have heaps of old notebooks and too many files on my computer just for this one duology. So it’s a challenge, but it’s a fun challenge. Kinda like putting together a puzzle, you have to make sure everything fits. (But then you can also add new colors to make the story it’s own unique tale.)
What does a typical writing day look like for you?
I would love to say I have typical writing days! I don’t, unfortunately. I work from 8-5 (freelancing and job hunting for a full-time position at the moment), spend a little time reading or playing with my cats, and then I have dinner. I do try to set aside an hour per evening specifically for writing. (That hour usually turns into three or four as I dive into the project, though!) I also set aside an hour—broken up into smaller chunks throughout the day—for marketing, like social media stuff and pitches.
How would you like to see representation change in the next 5 years?
I would love to see more diversity in science fiction and fantasy, especially for women and the LGBTQIA sphere. The books I read when I first found SFF were mainly male-driven (and male-written) and there were very few queer characters for me to relate to. As a bisexual women, I’m trying to change that in my own work.
Who are your favourite #ownvoices authors right now?
Rae D. Magdon, Brian Parker, and Corinne Duyvis are on my top reading list currently, but there are so many others! It’s so important for #ownvoices authors to keep on pushing, keep on publishing, and keep on supporting one another.
What are you working on next?
I’m currently working on a five-book fantasy series tentatively called The Broken Chronicles, which features a different queer main character for the first four books and then brings them together in the fifth. I just finished the first draft of the first book, which features a Vagari Moon Knight named Misti who gets this mysterious Blood pendant attached to her skin and has to deal with the (sometimes fatal) consequences. It’s been really fun switching gears from science fiction into a fantasy—the magic, unique creatures, and new characters are a blast to write! This first book is in the early stages and I don’t have a publisher for it, yet, but it’s something I’m really excited to release into the world!
Kellie Doherty lives in Portland, Oregon, though she spent her childhood in Alaska. In June 2016, she graduated with a Master’s in Book Publishing from Portland State University. She is also a freelance editor, taking jobs whenever they come her way. Her work has been published by Desert Palm Press (Losing Hold, 2017; Finding Hekate, 2016), as well as in Flight (Mischief Corner Press), Mission 20 (Back of Beyond Press) Pathos, Alaska Women Speak, F Magazine, and The Chugiak-Eagle River Star, as well as the blogs of 49 Writers and Ooligan Press. She is currently working on a fantasy series.