Book Tour Q&A: Moon Deeds by Palmer Pickering
Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for Moon Deeds by Palmer Pickering! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.
About the book
It’s 2090: the last outpost of freedom is the moon, the best defense against technology is magic, and the only hope for humankind rests in the hands of the Star Children.
Twins Cassidy and Torr must save Earth from a ruthless enemy at a time when the only force more powerful than alien technology is magic. Moon Deeds launches the siblings' journey across the galaxy, where they must learn their power as the Star Children, claim their shamanic heritage, and battle dark forces that threaten humankind.
The Star Children Saga follows Cassidy and Torr as they slowly awaken to their destiny as the twin Star Children, born every millennium to reconnect with the source of all life. They come to discover the sheer enormity of their task: to find our ancestors on a lost planet across the galaxy and save humanity from a spiraling descent into darkness. The powers they must wield to accomplish this task are truly frightening and put at risk everything they love.
Come along with twenty-year-old twins Cassidy and Torr, who inherited deeds to lunar land parcels and want to use them to escape a brutal dictatorship on Earth. But first they must unlock their shaman powers.
A rollicking yet poignant adventure in the not too distant future, when we have colonized the moon and nearly lost Earth to a military dictatorship. Only the shamans remain free, plus the lucky ones who escaped to the moon.
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–what are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?
At the moment I’m reading “Beyond Redemption” by Michael R. Fletcher. I’ve heard a lot about Fletcher and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So far, I think he’s kind of brilliant.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start writing?
I was an avid reader as a child and young adult, and always wanted to be part of the author community and contribute stories for others to enjoy. I’ve been writing since I was very young. Reading and writing have both been ways for me to escape to other realities, as well as constantly learn, explore, and research. Writing is also a way for me to productively channel my creative impulses and vivid imagination.
How do you spend your free time when you’re not reading or writing? Do you have any hobbies or interests that you can talk to us about?
Currently I’m pretty obsessed with writing and reading. Plus I have a day job and other responsibilities. But I also like to hike and travel. I play some video games when I can make time, such as FFXIV (still working my way through Endwalker and perpetually losing the housing lottery, but at least I don’t have carpal tunnel from clicking). I also spent a few years recently songwriting in Nashville (country music) and producing electronic dance music, which are both super fun.
Who are your favorite current writers and who are your greatest influences?
Biggest influences for my current writing projects include Robin Hobb, Robert Jordan, Frank Herbert, and Carlos Castaneda. I particularly like the character development, tropes, and magic systems of Hobb; the long story arc of the Wheel of Time and the various magic systems of Jordan, and yes, the exhaustive descriptions; the sci-fi-fantasy blend and magic systems of Herbert; the shamanism and realism of Castaneda. All of their books pulled me in, in a very immersive and addictive way, and that is the experience I strive to create for my readers.
If you could collaborate with any one author, who would it be and why?
I don’t think I could collaborate with another author. It’s a solo activity for me. Plus I’m a bit of a control freak.
What is one thing that you love about the current state of SFF and what is one thing that you wish you saw more of?
It is pretty striking to me how far the indie SFF community has grown since self-publishing became widely accessible. Ten years ago, self-publishing was looked down upon, the self-published books were assumed to be crap, traditional publishing was the only respectable vehicle for publishing a book, and there were very few communities or promotional options for self-published authors. Now, it’s completely changed. Half the SFF books sold are indie, and there are very large and supportive communities for indie authors, such as your book tour, SPFBO/SPSFC contests, and Discord communities.
Is this your first book? If so, what lessons have you learned from writing it? If not, what lessons did you learn from writing earlier books that you brought into this one?
I wrote one novel, a finished first draft, prior to the Star Children Saga. It’s about hockey players, one who was sent from Russia to play in the North America Junior Leagues and then the NHL (modeled after Alexander Mogilny and Pavel Bure), and the other was a female hockey player who was advocating for women’s hockey to be added as an Olympic sport (a historical event). The story had elements of political intrigue, the Russian mob, and romance. It was a fun book to write and led to many interesting real-life experiences, such as playing in a Canadian women’s hockey league (I played defense), and traveling to Moscow to live and practice with the Russian women’s Olympic hockey team. Fun and fascinating times. And I was in phenomenal physical condition. However, I never did the work to polish and publish that book. What I learned is that I really need to love the subject matter—or write the kind of books I like to read—in order to commit to the amount of work required to publish a book. So, I turned to speculative fiction, my favorite.
What do you think characterizes your writing style?
I like to think that I write character-based stories, with detailed and immersive world-building, compelling plots, and unique magical systems. My goal is to entrance my readers. How well I achieved that is subject to your experience. It is a craft, after all, and I am striving to master it over time.
How much of yourself do you write into your stories?
A little bit, but not much. My work is definitely not autobiographical. I draw from experiences of other people in my life, or things I read about in the news, as well as history, religion, and mythology. I do a ton of research. I tend to write about things that trigger my imagination or intrigue me, such as the origin of humankind or colonizing the moon. I also write about things that really bother me. Writing is a way for me to explore and try to make sense of horrible things: human trafficking is an example of that.
How different is the final version of this book from the first draft?
Completely, vastly different. The first draft had 30 pages on Earth, and the rest of the (much shorter) book took place on the moon and ended with the twins on their way to Muria. Ridge did not exist. I completely rewrote a later draft from scratch to age up the twins, who were originally 13 and 15 (and not twins, obviously), because I wanted to deal with mature and disturbing themes and didn’t want to be pigeonholed as YA. In a later draft, I added the Ridge and Balty storyline, in order to give readers a direct view into the “dark” side of the story. The only chapter that remains relatively intact from those early days is the Gabira chapter at the end of Moon Deeds. I have been working on this series for ten years.
If you could choose one worldbuilding detail (a place, ability, or creature, for example) from your book to exist in the real world, what would it be and why?
Peary Dome. Despite some of the issues presented in the book, I think a big biosphere like that on the moon that anyone can travel to would be pretty cool.
In your opinion, what kind of reader would like this book?
Someone who’s open to genre mashups and something completely different. Typically, fantasy fans who like crossover genres are my biggest fans, because they tend to like long books and series that feature a lot of world-building.
What would you like readers to take away from this book?
Oppressive dictatorships are possible and very destructive and terrifying.
We are all descended from one people and should love one another.
Human trafficking, and the systematic oppression and exploitation of women and conquered populations (including men/soldiers on the losing side) are violent phenomena that seem to plague our species on a recurring basis.
People turn to spiritual beliefs, superstitions, prophesies, or the occult when things get really bad.
There is always hope, and the brave will be victorious.
Do you have a favorite quote from your book that you can share with us? What about this quote in particular makes it your favorite?
A line recently quoted by a reviewer as her favorite: “I believe I just made a hallucinogen.”
Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
I’m releasing “Heliotrope” at the end of November, which is a classic Sword and Sorcery tale with a lot of familiar tropes, such as a retired warrior called back into service, found family, political intrigue, assassins, etc. It is completely different from the Star Children Saga, and is pretty tame by comparison, although it does have a lot of blood and gore.
My current work-in-progress is “Anaximenes,” which is Book Three of the Moon Deeds Trilogy/Star Children Saga. That book will wrap up most of the lunar storylines. The larger story arc of the Star Children and their quest to find the Star People will continue with the following books.
Book Four is called “Muria,” to give you an idea of where this is going. Muria is a drastic departure from the Moon Deeds Trilogy, taking the story to a very different place. Muria is a jungle/cave/crystal planet with talking animals, sentient crystals, more wizards, etc.
Books Three, Four, and Five are partially written, and pivotal pieces of the conclusion of the entire series are in place. It will be somewhere between 6 and 12 volumes in total.
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?
I approached the Star Children Saga as a kind of experiment of melding several genres together. Or to look at it another way, I ignored genre boundaries and just wrote what I think is an interesting an unique story. The series is epic in scope and will span several volumes. I hope you come along for the ride and find it as fun to read as it has been for me to write.
And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?
I’m most active on Twitter, so you can find me there and DM me directly if you want to chat: https://twitter.com/PalmerPickerin1
I also have a website where you can keep track of current and upcoming books, as well as other contact information: https://mythologypress.com/
Where to buy the book:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Deeds-Star-Children-Saga/dp/1732568804/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Moon-Deeds-Star-Children-Saga/dp/1732568804/
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moon-deeds-palmer-pickering/1130813445