Book Tour Q&A: Light Fighters by Palmer Pickering
Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for Light Fighters by Palmer Pickering! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.
About the book
In Light Fighters, Cassidy and Torr are trying to survive on the moon while facing threats from all sides. As their shamanic heritage surfaces and they hone their magical skills, they are hunted for their power, escalating into a tension-filled game of cat and mouse.
Ridge is stuck between the sadistic Balty and the desire to control his own life. His magical gifts become entangled with those around him, pulling him between opposing forces. When his path crosses that of the Star Children, he must decide whose side he is on.
Meanwhile, we learn that while the twin Star Children are hoping to find the Star People, the Star People of Turya are desperately seeking the Star Children as well. Their stories interweave as the mythology of the Star Children unfolds.
A compelling expansion of the Star Children Saga.
On to the interview...!
Thank you so much for joining us for this Q&A! We’ll start off with one of our standard podcast opening questions–tell us something great that’s happened recently.
Hi, so happy to be here. Two great things have happened recently.
One, I released my first Epic Fantasy book, “Heliotrope,” at the end of November. Woot woot!!
Secondly, I unexpectedly started writing a LitRPG book the same week I released “Heliotrope.” It’s unexpected because I didn’t really know much about that genre until Kris Marchesi from The Fictional Escapist started talking about it. After I did some research, I said to myself, “I can do that!” After all, being a Final Fantasy XIV and Witcher 3 addict, it seems natural. What really sparked it though, was reading “Legends and Lattes,” and discovering all the LitRPG books Travis Baldree narrated. L&L was such a delightful read, it inspired me to take a break from the intensity of the Star Children Saga in my writing life. I’m 27K words into it already—working title, “Dark Town”—so it’s coming right along. I’m targeting around 70-100K words for that one. Short. :-). Of course, it will be a series, because “Dark Town” will only cover “Level One,” lest anyone think I’ve abandoned my principles and started writing short books for a living, lol.
What are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?
I am currently reading “The Trials of Ashmount” by John Palladino. I’m trying to get to all the great Indie SFF that’s been floating around in the Discord and Booktube communities over the past few years, SPFBO, etc.. I know, that’s a long TBR list :-).
They say to never judge a book by its cover, but a cover is still a marketing tool that helps sell books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of your book?
The art on the covers of the Moon Deeds Trilogy is by Jake Caleb Clark. The style is kind of kitschy space opera-ish. This Trilogy is part of a longer series, the Star Children Saga. These three covers tell the evolving story of our protagonists:
“Moon Deeds” cover shows the twins Torr and Cassidy in fear and wonderment as they look to the moon as an escape from a dystopian Earth. There is an innocence about it.
“Light Fighters” features Cassidy, who is growing in her magical powers. Torr’s back is to us, still somewhat closed, distrustful, and dwelling in the dreamworld, and is learning about his powers as well.
For the “Anaximenes” cover, I told Jake: “Cassidy is angry, and she’s a badass.” He captured that well, don’t you think? Torr is hiding in the shadows again. After all, his power is strongest when he’s dreaming and when he accesses the subconscious. This cover also pictures the third POV character, Ridge.
If there’s one thing I kind of regret about the covers is that they look YA, however the content, particularly starting in Light Fighters, is very adult and somewhat disturbing/TW-ish.
How different is the final version of this book from the first draft? “Light Fighters” is totally different from the first draft, in that it did not exist at all!! The first draft of the series pretty much ended with a (very different) Moon Deeds storyline and went directly to the planet Muria (which will be Book Four). The thing was, as I was writing “Muria,” the unfinished business on the moon kept making me circle back to fill out plot holes, develop some of the secondary characters more, and to understand the villains better. I was going to have Cassidy and Torr return to the moon to wrap up those loose ends, but instead of doing that I just decided to resolve the moon plot in a linear fashion. So, I stopped writing Muria and its sequel, and went back to finish the moon story. That resulted in “Light Fighters” and “Anaximenes.”
Has your writing process changed since you wrote the previous book? If so, how?
I think my craft has gotten stronger. People seem to like Light Fighters better than Moon Deeds. I intentionally made Moon Deeds atmospheric, immersive, moody, and cinematic, but I think all the descriptive world building in that book slowed the pace down too much for some people. Light Fighters is much harder-hitting and plot-driven. I also was more confident and took some risks with Light Fighters. In Moon Deeds, I took a lot of advice from well-meaning people, and rewrote it multiple times. I think the quality of Moon Deeds suffered from second-guessing myself too much. Light Fighters is more cohesive.
Are there any challenges specific to continuing a series vs starting it? Great question. For sure, there is the pressure to complete a series. Take George RR Martin, Robert Jordan, and Patrick Rothfuss as various examples of how hard that can be. I mean, Robert Jordan literally died before he completed his, which is one of my fears. I tell myself that I need to live long enough to complete the Star Children Saga, LOL. I have set myself up for a very long, complex series. Although I love it and chose to do so, it is a big challenge. There is also the pressure to keep up the momentum, hold people’s interest for the long-haul, and to make each book progressively better than the one before. Also, each book should be fulfilling in its own right. The challenge of starting a series is the enormous pressure to make the first book good enough that people will want to continue the series.
When you started the series, did you have a clear idea in mind for how you wanted to continue it in subsequent books? How, if at all, has that changed while writing this book? Yes, I had a pretty clear concept for each book in the series, and for the ending. It has not changed much, although as I mentioned, Light Fighters was a bit of a surprise. The completion of the lunar storyline was originally planned to take place towards the end of the series.
How do you manage character growth vs consistency over a multi-book arc? You ask great questions. Let’s use Cassidy as an example. I have read many review comments of people annoyed at how Cassidy is naive and innocent in Moon Deeds. They want her to be stronger. Aside from the unfortunate narration voice in the audiobook, which casts her as even more annoyingly innocent than I intended, I chose to make her wide-eyed and innocent on purpose. She is an open-hearted and optimistic person by nature, and was modeled after some people in my life in that respect. If you read Moon Deeds, you recall her clairvoyant powers as a child, and how her grandmother wanted to protect her. So Cassidy went from an all-knowing, all-seeing clairvoyant, to a somewhat innocent, sheltered soul. That innocence gave me a launching point to drive a transformation towards what she will be come as the series progresses. Her character is consistent in the sense that she is true to her surroundings and the events that befall her.
If you could sit down to dinner with one of your characters, which one would it be? Hmmm. I think it would be Great Aunt Sophie. I suspect she has some stories to tell.
Which location that appears on the page in the book would you like to visit? I think Peary Dome would be fun to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there!
In your opinion, what kind of reader would like this book? I find that lovers of adult fantasy fiction most appreciate this book. It really is Epic Fantasy disguised as Science-Fiction. Also, people who love long books will love this series. The books are all chonkers. They are all broken into distinct Parts, however, so people can take breaks between the Parts and consume them in smaller chunks if they like. I am actually considering releasing a Serial edition, with each Part bound in a separate book.
Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on? As I mentioned, I am working on “Dark Town,” a light-hearted LitRPG book. I’m also working on Book Three of the Moon Deeds Trilogy (Star Children Saga), “Anaximenes.” Most of the lunar plot threads get wrapped up in Anaximenes, so that the MC’s can continue the longer arc of the series, which is unlocking the portals in the search for our ancestors, the Star People, who reside on a lost planet across the galaxy.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?
Thank you for supporting the Indie SFF community. There is so much good indie fiction out there that goes unnoticed because we do not have the promotional reach or the chain-bookstore and mass media presence that the trad publishers have. So please read and talk about the Indie SFF authors you love. Please leave reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, as well as Bookbub or any other book retailer websites. Reviews on those public sites are one of the few tools we Indie authors have to reach a wide audience.
And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?
My website: https://mythologypress.com/
I’m most active on Twitter and somewhat on Instagram these days, and you can find me in some of the Booktuber Discord channels: