Today i'm welcoming Alanna Blackett with her new release, Unsecured Connection. If you'd like to leave a comment, Alanna is giving away a copy of the book during the blog tour. Be sure and leave an email address. Here is a Q&A for you to get to know Alanna. You can prpbably tell, i didn't make up the questions but i think you'll enjoy it.
Your new release is called Unsecured Connection. How long did it take you to research and write?
It’s cyberpunk set in far future New York, so I didn’t do much research. I wrote it in 3-4 weeks, which is fairly quick for me. I initially wrote it for an anthology, so there was a deadline.
Do you have a set idea of how your work will turn out before it’s completed?
I’m not an outliner, so I usually just have a vague idea. I knew there was a hacker who was a bounty hunter, stalking other people through virtual systems. Then I got the idea that he had a past, and was not happy about what he was doing. Then I knew it was a romance, and these two characters were not going to trust each other at first. It sort of went from there.
Can you tell us about your muse? Does he/she have a name? Can you always call upon them to help you?
Ha. I don’t have one. My muse is Sit Your Butt in the Chair and Stop Playing on the Internet, and it’s basically just me that has to tell myself that.
How did you come up with the title for the book?
Because unsecured wireless connections are, like, anyone with a laptop’s favourite thing. And my characters are hackers. It should actually be unsecured connection with a –ed. But I didn’t do it like that because it’s not what I and most people I know say in real life. It’s an on purpose grammatical error. When I was writing it, the computer would always try to correct it to Insecure.
If the heroine in Unsecure Connection was a cocktail, what would she be and why?
Something strong and blue. (She has blue highlights in her hair.)
Did you listen to music when you were working on the book?
I did. I always make a playlist for every project I do. This book feels kind of 90s-cyberpunk to me. So, a lot of ambient stuff with weird industrial noises. Like the X-Files soundtrack (X-Files reminds of me of paranoia, and my characters are both really paranoid) and some other similar music.
Who has the best line in the book and what is it?
Everyone who’s read it liked it when my male character CJ makes the joke about how he’s going to make an altar to the Gods of Sake. (He and Riley, my female character, have been drinking sake, and she’s just agreed to go home with him.) So I guess that one.
What is your desk area like?
Extremely neat. This is not because I’m a neat person—I’m the exact opposite. I know from my past experience that if I keep anything on my desk, it’ll turn into keeping everything on my desk. So two years ago I made the decision not to keep anything on my desk on purpose. My office is painted lime green. I love it.
What is your favourite alcoholic beverage?
What would you say is your one addiction?
The internet. It was love at first sight back in 1994 when I first used it in my dad’s office.
How many cities have you visited and which was your favourite?
I’ve been all over the US. I love New Orleans (obviously, because I decided to stay there), but other than that, New York. The South is just a little too slow and chatty for me sometimes, so I like to get to New York at least once a year and walk around loving how everyone walks super fast and completely ignores each other. I just love it.
Alanna Blackett writes science fiction and fantasy with a side dish of romance. Growing up, it annoyed her that she always had to be Princess Leia when they played Star Wars, because there weren’t any other female characters. She would much rather have been Han Solo or Indiana Jones. She immediately set out to fix that through her writing. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and two cats, and has a weakness for video games, NBA basketball, and books about chicks who blow stuff up.
Riley is one of the best hackers around. She’s always kept her online identity separate from her real life… mostly because she doesn’t have much of a real life. But someone is stalking her through the network. Someone who knows about the big job she just pulled off and won’t stop till he finds out who she is.
Two years ago, CJ was a hacker at the top of his game, until he got caught. Now the prisoner of a ruthless corporation, he is forced to hunt down his former friends and colleagues. He finds himself irresistibly drawn to the woman he knows only by her alias, Samantha, as he traces her from virtual nightclubs to the dark streets of the Manhattan sprawl.
But when Riley and CJ’s relationship crosses over into real life, things get dangerous.
And here's an excerpt from Unsecured Connection. Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy at the end of the Tour.
CJ grinned as she signed off. He still had the trace on her connection. She had disconnected from their chat and was logging into something that looked like...he didn’t know what, specifically. Some part of interspace. It was a server with a massive number of connections. He checked the numbers. 240,000 users were currently logged in. A city simulation? The server had a name he didn’t recognize, but that wasn’t surprising. There were so many of the things. Maybe, he thought with a sudden flash of heat, it was where she had her apartment in interspace. He wouldn’t say no to that, although it was no comparison with the real Samantha.
He followed her, connecting to the server. His vision went dark and three cycling blue lights appeared in the center. Then the area finished loading and the world sprung up around him.
Except he wasn’t in an apartment. Or a club. He didn’t know where the hell he was. Or he did, but only sort of. There was something definitely not right about it. He recognized the street signs illuminated in the pavement, and the dingy advertisements on the sides of the buildings. He recognized the damp chill in the air.
It was his street. And it had a giant robot on it.
The robot’s head whirred toward him as it identified him with a vague mechanical interest. It was at least twelve feet tall, a towering boxy thing with multiple arm cannons. Its eyes were old-fashioned LED screens that glowed yellow. It lifted one arm.
The impact slammed him across the sidewalk into the side of a building. “Get down!” someone shouted as the air exploded into rapid stuttering gunfire. He heard the sound of glass blowing out and pressed himself against the closest large object he saw. It was a set of stairs. He lifted his head, disoriented.
Wisps of blue hair stuck out from under Samantha’s bandana as she opened fire on the robot, half-crouched behind a nearby trash can. She wore some kind of dirty military pants and a grimy T-shirt with a logo he didn’t recognize on the shoulder. She’d just blown out the window of the building across the street from his. He gazed up from his hiding place against the side of a concrete stair railing and took in the detail of the street. Unbelievable. It was a near-perfect replica.
Except for the giant robot.
Samantha’s gun blasted one more time, and he heard the whine of failing electronics. There was a pop, and sparks flew out of the robot’s neck. Its yellow LED eyes flickered off, then came back on again. Samantha hit it again, this time right in the eyes. Headshot. The robot toppled to the street, its limbs screeching and creaking as they folded up on each other.
Samantha pointed her black automatic rifle into the air and surveyed the damage with a satisfied grin.
Thanks everyone. Don't forget to check out Beautiful Boys Books for all the upcoming fun with the release of Beach Balls on June 1st! Join my mail list if you are so inclined (see the top of the right column on this blog) and i love blog followers. Thanks so much for visiting.