QSFer Kayleigh Sky has a new MM Sci Fi book out:
Thirty years ago, an asteroid stuck the Earth. Now killer plants hunt the last surviving humans.
Ori Scott is a young junkie running from his mother’s prophecy that he’d one day save the world from the killer plants. Her preaching made him a laughingstock and now he hides in his drugs. But he can’t hide the change in his veins. They are turning green, and the prophecy is dragging him into a dark struggle between invisible forces. Set up on bogus drug charges, Ori is taken to a secret facility where he becomes a test subject in experiments to discover an antidote to the alien plant’s sting.
Jack Doll is a cop with a vendetta against the plants that killed his best friend. All he has in the world now is his old friend’s lover, Rive. Together they form an unbreakable bond—or so he thought. Jack has never liked Rive’s friend, Ori, but he believes in Ori’s innocence and doesn’t understand Rive’s strange indifference to Ori’s conviction. Struggling with his suspicions, Jack can’t help digging into a mystery that draws him closer to Ori than ever before—and closer to somebody who has secrets to hide.
Alone and scared, Ori is grateful for Jack Doll’s friendship, and his longtime crush soon blossoms into love. But Ori has no plans to accept his fate. He wants to escape, and he doesn’t care if he takes the cure with him.
Which of your own characters would you Kill? Fuck? Marry? And why?
I couldn’t kill any of my characters, which is probably a huge failing as a writer, but I always have to find some other form of punishment for them. I could come close to killing Bellamy Wallace from Pretty Human though. This guy was vicious beyond belief: a sociopath, not quite a psychopath. How anybody could be so cruel to somebody like Jem is beyond me. Jem was so vulnerable, so in need of love and care—and so deserving of it—yet Bell took soul-crushing advantage of him and delighted in it. So, yeah. If I were going to kill somebody—Bell.
Who would I fuck? Oh, my God. It would have to be a toss up between Bliss of Doll Baby and Alex of Trinkets, but I also love Brey from Backbone, so… It’s hard to decide, lol. Alex is a ginger, and I really love gingers. But Bliss… there’s just something so special about Bliss. And Ori from my recent release Jesus Kid?… Well—he’s fun and complicated and special too—but I feel comfortable giving him to Jack, so I’d probably take Bliss.
Marry? Hm… That would probably be Bliss. I love his self-deprecating, dry sense of humor. I love how he, in many ways, lives by completely different rules than the rest of us do. He’s also resilient and poetic in his way. So… Yeah. Bliss. Although, I think Todd might object. He’s pretty smitten with Bliss, too. J
What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
My first published work was literary fiction, a novel called You Hear Me? under the pen name Ainsley Finn. I’ve strayed a ways from that genre now, lol, but it did lead me where I needed to be. I pantsed that one, which is my preferred writing style, but less than efficient, so I do a lot of plotting now. I worked on You Hear Me? on and off for about ten years. Part of the reason it took me so long to write it to completion was due to one particular character.
For a long time, he was only a minor character, somebody to bring texture and realism to someone else. But he kind of haunted me, always teasing my consciousness. His name is Davidson, but he goes by Son. There was another character named Trevor that I liked too, but I couldn’t figure out how to give him more page time. Anyway, that story percolated in my imagination for a long time and went through several iterations. I had always suspected that Son was gay but did nothing with it.
It was mainstream lit fic, he wasn’t a major character, blah, blah, blah. But one day, about ten years into this endlessly developing book, I decided to just let him be who he was. I wasn’t sure the book would ever be finished, so I had nothing to lose by following Son on his journey. It was a decision that changed the book. It also led to the discovery that Trevor was his lover, dom (this was only alluded to, but they had a domestic discipline relationship), and future husband. Everything fell into place after that and the story just flew to completion.
It’s still a very traditional story in that most of the main characters are het, but Son and Trevor are major players. This was also the time that I “found” the M/M community, a community and a genre that spoke to me on a personal and artistic level. It was quite a relief to quit trying to cram myself into the really tiny box our mainstream culture allows.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
With fire, of course.
Do you write more on the romance side, or the speculative fiction side? Or both? And why?
I’m going to say—Neither! Ha, ha. I don’t plan my stories out in the sense that I think to myself that I want to write this kind of book or that kind of book. My imagination tends toward speculative fiction. Of the five books that I have out in the M/M genre, three fall into the speculative fiction category, and two of those I would call dystopian. But I don’t set out to do that. It just happens (see my answer to the question below). The romance element comes in after the fact.
Once I see that there is an idea worth becoming a story, I start to imagine how the arcs of the romantic characters can weave through and, in many cases, drive the plot. But they are two distinct paths for me. The characters might be defined by their romantic relationships but not always. I would say that the romantic element in Jesus Kid is very strong. Ori and Jack bring out strengths in each other that neither one knew they had.
Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?
It’s usually from an image that pops into my head. I saw Brey from Backbone in a really terrible position—chained naked over a metal bar in an abandoned gas station. The image was shocking and stayed with me. It got me to wondering if he wanted to be where he was. If he sought his situation out, and if so, why? So I asked him, and he told me that he didn’t want to be there. He was a prisoner and desperate to escape, which led me to wonder who was going to save him, and that’s when Hank, Brey’s love interest, came along. Jesus Kid sprang from an image, as well, and from that image, I developed a story situation, which surprisingly failed to figure into the final product.
I really like the situation/story idea though, and it’s proved to be prolific because it’s been the genesis for several more ideas. But for whatever reason, though I see this situation as the core framework for a story, it keeps dropping out of sight every time the story develops. I guess that’s okay, lol. It’s my story generator in case I run out of ideas. For my next planned release, Stumble, I saw another image in my head, this time of two men talking to each other while sitting on a retaining wall. This scene never appeared in the book, but it did evolve into a full-fledged story.
Kayleigh Sky is a m/m erotic romance writer.
Kayleigh’s stories are tales of struggle and pain, loss and despair. Love is won in the battle to rise out of the depths of darkness. Victory is in the sweet bliss of happily ever after.
Once upon a time Kayleigh hid out in a cold dark garage reading a book her parents forbid her to read. She was nine years old. The book? Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, a story of love between two men–well, actually the story was a little more complicated than that, but hey, she was nine.
In the dark of the garage, a light, a passion, a sheer joy for love in all its manifestations awoke.
And love between two men–Hot!
Kayleigh’s men are often broken, always brave, and always memorable.