Friday, May 4, 2012

Virtual Blog Tour - Leah Petersen's Fighting Gravity

Today, I want to welcome author Leah Petersen to my blog today. She's the author of Fighting Gravity, a m/m science fiction romance. Leah has agreed to answer some interview questions about her work and her knitting. Grin...

During her virtual blog tour, Lean will be giving away a prize pack containing these items hand knit by the author: a hat and a replica of the symbol of an important institution referenced in Fighting Gravity to TWO randomly drawn commenters during the tour.

1.      Which person in your life influenced you the most with your writing?

Honestly, it was probably all the authors of all the books I read as a child. I’ve learned tons along the way from fantastic people and great books, but what influenced me the most was when someone else put words to paper that could take my breath away or make me cry. I wanted to do that.

2.      What is your writing process? Are you a plotter or a “pantser”?

I’m definitely a pantser, which I’m discovering is HARD when you’re on a deadline. But typically I know the character I want to write, know either the most tragic part or how I want the story to end, and I just start writing to see what unfolds from there.

  3. How did you come up with the idea for your latest book?

FIGHTING GRAVITY started as a dream about a young boy—a physics prodigy—taken from his family to a special school because the government decided they wanted the benefit of his talents for themselves. He was just starting out there when I woke up. But the feelings attached to the dream had been very strong: loss, loneliness, fear, rejection, and it was the lingering pull of those emotions that made me need to know what happened to him.

4. How did you handle the worldbuilding for Fighting Gravity?

Pretty much the same way I write a plot. I knew what I wanted the world to look like, so I just reverse-engineered from there, to see how it got to be the way it was. Since it’s set in a future Earth, there was the necessity to figure out how we got from where we are now, to a society that’s really almost the opposite of some of the things we place the most importance on now, like democracy, personal freedoms, self-determination, etc.

  5. What inspired you to write a male/male romance?

It wasn’t something I planned. Jake fell in love with the emperor. Oops. Now what do I do? This goes back to that pantser thing. I’m not sorry it happened, though. It turned out to be the best part of the book.

  6. What’s coming up next for you in your writing?

I’m working on the sequel to Fighting Gravity, currently titled Impact Velocity.

  7. What do you enjoy reading for pleasure?

Sci-fi and fantasy. Lately I’ve developed a taste for m/m literature (research for Fighting Gravity, naturally.) But I almost always read sci-fi and fantasy, always have.

  8. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

M/m romance? Or maybe gaming? I try not to feel guilty about anything I enjoy. ;)

  9. What is your favorite quote and why?

I collect quotes so I have way too many to have one favorite. But one of the latest in my collection is:

What's the point of havin' a rapier wit if I can't use it to stab people?
-Jeph Jacques

I don’t think that requires any explanation.

 10. Why do you enjoy knitting and have you come up with story ideas while you knit?

I enjoy knitting because it’s peaceful (most of the time) to do with my hands and something useful comes out of it in the end. I don’t get many writing ideas while knitting. Unfortunately it seems to take up just enough of my concentration that I’m not free to let my mind wander the way I need to be really creative.

I knit a lot while reading and watching TV, though.

  11. Which knitting project have you done that is your favorite and why?

I think my favorite so far has been the fingerless gloves. I made them for myself but they’re very time consuming and take a lot of focused attention (not a book reading or TV watching project) so I only make them for very special people as gifts.


Fighting Gravity


When Jacob Dawes is Selected for the Imperial Intellectual Complex as a child, he’s catapulted from the poverty-stricken slums of his birth into a world where his status as an unclass is something no one can forget, or forgive. His growing scientific renown draws the attention of the emperor, a young man Jacob’s own age, and they find themselves drawn to each other in an unlikely, and ill-advised relationship. Jacob may have won the emperor’s heart, but it’s no protection when he’s accused of treason. And fighting his own execution would mean betraying the man he loves.


“Happy birthday, by the way,” I said one evening almost a week later as the emperor accompanied me from the dining hall to the lab.
“Thank you,” he replied. “To you as well.”
“How did you know it was my birthday?”
“Oh, there’s not much I don’t know if I choose to,” he said with a smile.
“OK, I should have known that. I suppose I mean, why do you know?”
“In my position, I’ve found curiosity to be an asset. I don’t believe there is such a thing as knowing too much.”
That wasn’t a comfortable thought. How much he could know. How much he knew.
“I’m older,” he added after a long silence. I raised my eyebrows. “Only about six hours, but it counts.”
I had to laugh. “You’re one of the most powerful men in the galaxy and it matters to you whether or not you’re older than me?”
He shrugged. “Wouldn’t it matter to you?”
“That’s not the same thing. There’s a huge power differential between us. At least age would be something I’d have over you.”
“I get the feeling that power doesn’t mean that much to you.”
“Unless you mean as a function of energy.” I grinned at him. “No. I have no need for it. It would get in the way of my work.”
“What did you do for your birthday?” he said after a pause.
“Radiation measurements.”
He laughed. “No party?”
“With whom?”
“Haven’t you made any friends aboard ship? I know it’s only been three weeks, but you don’t seem to be the kind of person who would have trouble making friends.”
“Maybe you don’t know me very well. In my experience, there aren’t many people who are interested in being friends with me.”
“Maybe it’s they who don’t know you very well.”
I frowned, puzzled. When I looked at him again he was watching me. “And what have you concluded?” he asked.
“About what?”
“You look like you’re trying to decide something. My guess is you’re trying to figure me out.”
I thought about that before I replied. “You’re confusing,” I conceded.
He grinned. Reaching into his pocket, he produced something and handed it to me. “Here. Happy birthday.”
He’d given me a small box. I looked at him, surprised, but when he said nothing further I opened it. Inside was a pair of platinum cuff links with a raised imperial crest on them. “I thought they might be less objectionable than a ring.”
I frowned. “I didn’t get you anything.”
“I assure you, I don’t need anything.”
“Neither do I. That’s not the point.”
He shrugged. “It’s the thought that counts. We’ll just say you gave me something.”
“I’m sure you can say whatever you want, but I never thought of giving you anything.”
He stared at me in shock and then started laughing so hard he had to stop walking. We stood in the middle of the hallway and I watched both directions as I waited for him to get control of himself. If someone came along and saw him like this, it wouldn’t go well for me. When he caught his breath he said, “You never thought of giving me anything.” He repeated it as if it was the punch line to a good joke. “Not even just now, when I gave you something?”
“No,” I said. “I can’t imagine what I would get you.”
“Well, whether you realize it or not, you’ve been giving me a gift for the last ten minutes,” he said.
I grimaced. “You’re not going to say something weird like ‘the gift of your company,’ are you?”
He doubled over with laughter again. “No,” he answered when he’d composed himself. “No, I was going to say that we’ve been talking for more than ten minutes and you haven’t called me ‘Excellence’ once.”
I startled. “I’m sorry.” It occurred to me that I should have said “Excellence” just then.
He was grinning. “Don’t be. Isn’t that what I just said? No one’s ever done that to me before. It’s very disrespectful. I like it.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.

FIGHTING GRAVITY is her first novel.