PBA would like to thank author Aleksandr Voinov for joining us today to talk about his latest release Lying With Scorpions (Memory of Scorpions #2). You can see Lirtle’s 4.5* review of book 1, Scorpion, here. and her 5* review of Lying With Scorpions here.
Hi, thanks for hosting me! I’m Aleksandr Voinov and I’m here to talk about my newest release, Lying with Scorpions, which is the sequel to Scorpion and is part of the Memory of Scorpions gay military fantasy trilogy. I’ll be checking in to answer any questions you might have, so feel free to ask questions in the comments. At the end of the post, you’ll find more information and details for a backlist giveaway. Good luck!
Lying with Scorpions: How Scorpion happened
I’ve told the story of how Scorpion happened a few times, but it’s a great example of how authors are not in control. We just like to think we are, but our work very often ends up showing us who’s boss.
So, it’s 2010, I’d just left my job as a financial journalist to become an editor at a well-known (in its space) global magazine, and we were off to Turkey in June for a change of scenery and a well-deserved holiday. Through a friend of a friend, we rented a holiday apartment pretty close to the coast, and we ended up mostly resting, sleeping, eating, and generally enjoying ourselves.
Me, I don’t do heat very well, which severely limited my ability to leave the apartment and stay outside. I only went out in the evening and at night and in the early morning, and when we ran out of food. So I spent most of the day indoors, reading some m/m books I was planning to review, and otherwise desperately hugging the air-conditioning unit.
The plan had been to finish the historical novel I’d started (while I write this, 3.5 years later, it’s still unfinished), but even though I did some outlining and plotting and planning on it, after about a day or so being exposed to Turkey, looking out to the mountains on one side of the apartment and with the ocean just fifteen minutes or so away, a very particular mood set in, one that wasn’t compatible with the German winter in the Second World War, or post-War Britain. Instead, Turkey started talking to me; the dust, the heat, the beauty, the two thousand and more years of history. There’s a paragraph in Scorpion that reads:
The shade melted away as the sun climbed into its zenith. All colors were now covered in stone dust. The only vigorous activity came from the bushes, where cicada songs pulsed like alien hearts.
That’s the bit I rushed home to write—I’d been on my way from the hotel nearby, which was the only place to get internet. Whenever I read those lines, I get catapulted back to the place, the stones and dust, the vegetation, the vastness of the landscape, and that particular noise. I remember thinking, “Crap, that’s good stuff! Must note it down!” despite being sweaty and heat-dazed and exhausted just from being outside.
Meanwhile, I had that voice—Kendras, apparently, a mercenary who’d fallen on hard times, and he demanded in his quiet but insistent way I tell his story and that of his fallen comrades.
I wrote Scorpion without planning, and got a good 25-28,000 words in during that week, racking up a decent word count as I spent the week typing and thinking and listening to Kendras in my head. The historical novel? Ehhh. Well. Scorpion happened because it demanded to be written, and when a project does that, sleep and distraction and heat and all that just stop being important.
When I got back home, I knew the text so far was pretty strong. I certainly liked it, but I’d hit a wall roughly at that point, and the original romance (Kendras and Steel) didn’t work out, so it took me a while (and nagging/suggestions from a friend) to get the book back on track.
Meanwhile, my job had turned out to be high-stress, soul-sucking and very, very busy, killing most of my writing time as I ended up working even on the weekends. I still somehow managed to finish the book once I’d solved the plot problem, but it was tough work and I was ready to give up more than once.
Scorpion overcame a great many issues and difficulties. Like Kendras itself, it was very hard to kill, despite my own best efforts and those of my employer. I guess “Never Stop Fighting” is true for characters as well as writers.
If you lie with scorpions, you’d better have a taste for poison.
Now that Kendras’s lover Adrastes has claimed the throne of Dalman, Kendras is tangled deeper than ever in politics and intrigue. As the new leader of the Scorpions and Adrastes’s one true friend, he and his men stand between Adrastes and those who wish him dead.
And many do. Adrastes openly challenges the ocean priesthood for power while establishing himself at court and brokering with the realm’s various factions. He means for the Scorpions to become a fearsome legion again, but Kendras must first learn how to be a good officer and recruit to replace the fallen. His choices will determine the future of a group steeped in hundreds of years of history and tradition.
As both Kendras and Adrastes settle old scores, a new enemy arises in Commander Graukar, a war hero loyal to the old order. In his formidable mountain fortress, Graukar may hold the balance of power. But while Adrastes aims to either rule or destroy Graukar, Kendras finds himself doubting Adrastes for the first time, and sharing more with Graukar than he ever thought possible.
Aleksandr has been published for twenty years, both in print and ebook. He has ten years’ experience as a writing coach, book doctor, and writing teacher, and he works as a financial editor in London.
After co-authoring the M/M military cult classic Special Forces, Aleksandr embarked on a quest to write edgy, dark, sometimes literary M/M and gay fiction (much of which is romance/erotica)—the only way he can use his American Literature degree these days.
He’s been published with Heyne/Random House, Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, and others.
Connect with Aleks:
To win an ebook from my backlist (not Lying with Scorpions), email me at email@example.com before the end of the month with the answer to the following questions (and your preferred file format):
Name the Scorpions that join Kendras’s unit in this book
What is Runner’s secret?
Who was the first officer of the Scorpions, and what happened to him?
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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