Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Duane Simolke for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Title: Sons of Taldra
Author: Duane Simolke
Publisher: *Not Listed
Cover Artist: https://www.fiverr.com/landofawes
Genre: Alternate Universe/Alternate World
Release Date: 08/27/2016
In an alternate reality, an Iroquois woman and her twin gay sons battle shapeshifting aliens. Telius simply wants to marry the man he loves. Argen struggles with the residual effects of a deadly drug addiction. Both twins help their mother face Valchondria’s greatest threats.
Taldra accepted the title of Leader for Valchondria’s one-world government. Maintainer Admiral Nil blames her for a series of tragedies and might pose an even greater threat than the changelings that want to feed on humanity.
Native American storytelling inspired this stand-alone sequel to Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure.
We are here today to talk about Sons of Taldra. What can you tell us about it?
It’s set on Valchondria, which is Earth in an alternate reality. Several of the characters are gay.
Please tell us more about our main characters.
Taldra recently became Leader of Valchondria. Her twin gay sons are Telius and Argen. Telius is a former time traveler who wants to marry his boyfriend, a former spy. Argen is a prodigy and a recovering drug addict; he meets a handsome young hero from another world.
What do you want to tell those who may be new to the Taldra series?
Valchondria provides an alternative view of life on Earth, with minority groups as the majority and gay relationships as nothing controversial.
There’s a one-world government, consisting of Leader (Taldra), the Supreme Science Council, and the Maintainers. Taldra’s relationship with that last group is tenuous.
The Valchondrians had tried to cure all disease with a miracle virus, but it turned deadly, and Taldra destroyed it. Some people think she shouldn’t have done that.
What about Sons of Taldra makes you the proudest?
The emphasis on diversity, including strong women, gay and lesbian characters, and people of color.
What is next for these characters? Is there more to this series? If so who will we hear from next?
I don’t have plans to continue beyond this second book, but I wouldn’t rule it out. That’s about the only hint I’ll give.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Write stories you would want to read, instead of trying to force your writing into the latest craze. Trends might not last, but audiences always love good storytelling.
What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?
It varies wildly, but I like to focus on the characters, no matter where it starts.
What was your inspiration for this story? I had always planned to write a sequel to my novel Degranon. This story comes from the loose threads that I had decided to leave for a future work. Native American stories helped me develop the aliens for this novel; that approach seemed natural, since Taldra is Iroquois.
Do you take a break from a first draft to get distance from it, or dive right into editing, or edit heavily as you write?
I try to distance myself from the draft, weeks or months, so I can come to it as a reader.
How do you choose names? If you decide to change a name, do you feel that it alters your perception of the character?
I like to literally make up names when I write science fiction or fantasy. When I write mainstream fiction, I just choose a name that seems to fit the character, but I don’t try to give them names that might reduce them to allegory or predictability. It’s ultimately just a name. But, yes, giving the character a new name will sometimes change my perception and help me bring more depth to that person. I’m not sure why; it just happens that way.
If you could be one of your characters who would you be and why?
Taldra’s son Telius. He’s heroic and romantic.
If you had to be a character in a Stephen King book – which one would you choose?
The character Wil Wheaton plays in Stand By Me, the movie version of King’s story The Body. I love Wil Wheaton, and that’s such a fun version of King himself. By the way, I love King, but my favorite book from here is actually his nonfiction work On Writing.
What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
I’m reading Y’all Need This Book by Jay B Sauceda; it’s Texas humor and trivia. I’ve lived in Texas a long time now and always set my mainstream fiction here. Next up is a science fiction novel, Spin by Robert Charles Wilson. As you can guess by my current novel, I’m a big scifi/fantasy geek. And just a geek in general.
Batman or Superman? Batman
Salt or Pepper? Pepper.
Hawaii or Colorado? Hawaii.
Underwear and socks: folded in the drawer or tossed? Folded.
Boxers or Briefs? Briefs.
Cinnamon or maple? Cinnamon.
Mr. Bean or Leslie Nielsen? Leslie Nielsen.
Peanuts or Cashews? Cashews.
Favorite Color? Purple.
Light saber or a Sonic screwdriver? Light saber.
What are you working on? What is next?
I’m just focused on social media and promoting Sons of Taldra for now. My next work will be something gay, short, and funny.
One free Kindle copy of Sons of Taldra will be awarded to someone who visits this stop on the blog tour, but an email address will be required.
About the Author
Pride in the Arts winner Duane Simolke wrote the books The Acorn Stories, Degranon, Sons of Taldra, Holding Me Together, and New Readings of Winesburg, Ohio. He co-wrote The Return of Innocence and The Acorn Gathering: Writers Uniting Against Cancer. He lives in Lubbock, Texas.
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