Today, I'd like to welcome J.D. Lakey, author of “Black Bead” to The Thursday Interview. Before we get started, a quick intro!
J.D. Lakey is at heart a sci-fi geek, comic book fan, and occasional mystic. Her love of science fiction stemmed from growing up on a cattle ranch and farm under the endless star-filled Montana skies as far from civilization as anyone in the twentieth century could get. There she explored the finer nuances of silence and the endless possibilities of the imagination. The shifting of fortunes finally granted her the time to gather all the stories and give them flesh. She currently lives in San Diego, California where she divides her time between her writing, commuting on the I-5 to get to one of her gigs, and spending time with her delightful grandchildren.
OK - HERE WE GO !!
No.1 Would you break the law to save a loved one? .. why?
Yes. Without a second thought. Laws are merely guidelines to help us all get along. They are training wheels for baby humans, something to use until you evolve and become aware of your place in the universe. Eventually, you get to the point where you just do what is right, regardless of any civil or religious mandate. If you stand idly by while a loved one gets hurt or dies, then you are less than human. All you have, in the end, is the people you love who love you back.
No.2 What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Let's define life. Is it a heartbeat and a breath and some indication of brain activity? Sleeping people have that. Unconscious people have that. People who have never tried to become self-aware have that. But that is all they have. They are like zombies roaming the streets, wanting to eat your brains because they can't figure out why you are not a zombie too. People who are awake, really awake, should be reinventing themselves. They say that you totally replace every cell in your body every seven years. Your living cycle should imitate that. Everyday you should wake up and wonder who you are becoming. That is what it means to be truly living.
No.3 What motivates you to write?
That is a very complicated question. I could say that I have a muse and she demands my attention because she has something to say. Or I could say that I thirst for answers and writing is how I process the vast amount of data stored in my subconscious. I am always surprised when I sit down before an empty screen and write without knowing what will fall out of my mind. The answers to my questions can be quite unexpected.
No.4 Why do humans want children?
Want? I do not think want is the best word. Hormones are a crazy thing. They produce this strange psychosis that drives us to pair bond with this insane creature called the opposite sex. This is how babies are made. Watch a cow give birth for the first time. She drops the calf and then turns around and stares at this strange thing that has come out of her body. "Did you see that?" she seems to be thinking. "It just slid out. Now what? Ooh. It is small and helpless and it smells intoxicating. Maybe I will keep it. Maybe I will keep it safe. Maybe I will kill anything that tries to take it from me." Then the babies start developing, growing, becoming, and you just want to sit all day and watch them because the whole process is the most magical thing any of us will ever witness. Then you realize that you were once just like that, magical and small and full of simple wisdom from beyond the Veil. Do we want kids? No, but we love them because they change us and make us better than what we were before and there is never any regret once they are born.
No.5 What was the biggest challenge in creating your book “Black Bead” ?
Besides finding the time to write? World building. I have written myself into a wall and couldn't go on more than once. Then I realized I needed to world-build; that the character has no way to interact because the her world is incomplete. I write scene after scene that never makes it into the book just so I can give her world a history and a reason for people to do what they do.
No.6 What is the most important thing you have learned in life so far?
Everybody, everything has a story. An interesting story. A story full of joy and heartache and struggle. You don't have to be a sleuth to find out what that story is. All you have to do is sit, be quiet, and listen with all your being and with infinite patience. People tell you the most amazing things if you listen without judgement.
No.7 How did you come up with the title “Black Bead” ?
My titles tend to have multiple meanings. Black Bead is a stone and a curse and a doorway into unknown magic. Bhotta's Tears is not only the poisonous secretions of a lizard, but also the precious stones they produce while also being the grief of a planet at the loss of something irreplaceable. Spider Wars could be the actual space war between Spider and human, or it could be a game of strategy Cheobawn plays pitting the humans against the aliens of her world or it could be her own struggle to come to terms with her growing power. Trade Fair is all about bartering what Cheobawn has in order gain what she wants but it is also about the looming threat of people from the other domes judging her. What is a fair trade for gaining your heart's desire?
No.8 How do you handle personal criticism?
Personal? Like you are ugly? I am usually amused. Well-intentioned constructive criticism about what I do? I listen. Consider it. Use it if it is valid. Ignore it if it is not. Negative critiques of my work? I just read "All The Light We Cannot See." It won the Pulitzer Prize for good reason. When I heard someone say they hated the writing, my jaw dropped. But then I realized they like historical romance. Ok. Fine. No, it was not a romance. Nobody got ravished or kissed. So I understand my reader's dissatisfaction but am I going to change what I have written when I know it is good? No.
No.9 Why should people read your books?
They are fun, they are fast-paced, and maybe along the way you might learn something or change your perception of the world just a little bit. What you see, as the reader, is what Cheobawn sees. Everything passes through her cognitive and emotional filters so you come away with an understanding of her very defined sense of good and bad, right and wrong, order and chaos.
No.10 Why is there something rather than nothing?
Why hasn't the world ground itself into nothing under the weight of its own entropy? Because we make the world as we walk through it. Each and every one of us are avatars in our own virtual world, and just by wishing something into being, we help make it become. Perhaps the stars still go spinning through the sky simply because we want them to.
Thank you J.D. :)
For taking the time to answer my questions
& the best of luck with your new book!
Check out “Black Bead” on
On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life.
Under the direction of the ruling witch coven, each child of the Windfall Dome is tested at a young age to asses their abilities - a test which can plot the course for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, Cheobawn - the daughter of the ruling First Mother to the dome - is marked with the Black Bead on her Choosing Day, a symbol of bad luck and shame.
Cheobawn is chosen to join a pack to act as the psychic Ear on a foraging mission outside the dome. She knows this is her chance to prove herself. But something sinister stalks them and each member of the pack must draw on their unique strengths and a lifetime of training if they want to survive to see another day.