Mikial's amber eyes closed for a moment. Do you have to keep calling him that? She relaxed her grip on the exercise rope and dropped to the hardwood floor. Her muscular six-hand frame easily absorbed the fall. Knees bent, Mikial pulled back an unruly swipe of cinnamon hair and glared at the Lead of her Surian Guard. “Ryan Donald is Earth's Ambassador... providing I can ever get him back to his home again. He's nobody's pet, Nenya, least of all mine.” She stood, wiping a rivulet of sweat from her light mocha cheeks. Nenya's irreverence bordered on contempt... as usual.
Nenya clasped her hands in hollow contrition. “Forgive me, my Suria. Your... Ambassador just escaped.”
And to think we came from the same background. Like Nenya, she had been born into the Datha combat sect as a rare female Dathia, and still had the claws to prove it. Neither of them were within a stone's throw of petite, most of their curves owed more to predatory physiques than shapely breasts and hips. They were both barely into their twenties, and unmarried, but that was where the similarities ended. Mikial envied Nenya's ebony skin, having lost much of her own pigmentation in an unasked for metamorphosis from which Surias emerged.
Grabbing a towel from its rack next to a series of kick bags, Mikial wiped her face and pressed on with the conversation. “So how did Ryan manage to escape? Kinset has nothing but water around it, and I don't think he is that good a swimmer.”
Nenya smiled. “He stole your airsail. If you hurry, you can see him flying overhead.”
Mikial stared at her, mouth sagging. “He... took my airsail?” She threw down the towel. “There isn't enough charge in those batteries to light a glow stone!” Not caring if her public image as her race’s supposed savior was tarnished by anyone seeing her running about in only brown exercise shorts and a brief top, Mikial made for the door.
Nenya, looking far more respectable in a two-piece black dress uniform with flowing side skirts, dashed after her. The three other members of her Surian Guard were quick to join them in the tower's foyer, speeding with her through double ironwood doors and down polished black basalt steps. Outside the southeast tower entrance, she had an excellent view of a coastline cast in the gold hues of an early morning.
“There!” Nenya shouted, pointing beyond the cliff edge upon which the Datha war college perched like a great red brick. “He's already over the strait.”
Squinting, Mikial caught the orange glint of a rising sun off twin props. She watched as the airsail flew unchallenged toward the distant shores of Kioranna. “He's not going to get much farther.” She launched herself across the intervening green between the college and a road winding along Kinset's three gorges, her goal a wide flagstone path adjacent to a scenic turnoff. The soft grass between her bare toes spurred her into a fresh burst of speed.
Nenya easily caught up with her. Together they vaulted over the decorative railing bordering the grounds. “Excuse me, Suria, but where are you going?”
“The sea!” she snapped. Then, mindful of the warning tone in the Dathia's contralto voice, panted as she ran, “I have to keep the only human ambassador we have from drowning!”
Nenya leapt forward and turned to block her halfway across the road. “You're not allowed to swim in the ocean! You know that!”
Mikial stopped with a threatening growl of her own. “Who mentioned anything about swimming? Didn't you say your family were fishers? You can still pilot a boat, can't you?”
Nenya bared her teeth only enough to remain on the edge of insubordination. “No tricks, my Suria.”
No tricks? You're actually going to go along with this?
You just read the beginning of:
Today, we’re here with published author, Mr. KM Tolan.
Tolan: For now I write science fiction – specifically “soft” SF otherwise known as “space opera”. My emphasis is more on characters than hardware, although I can and do bring my military background to bear when things need to go “boom”.
Kage: What happened to the first book you ever wrote?
Tolan: “Quan Song” actually landed me an agent, and little else. It was my first run at an SF novel and was quite lucky to interest an agent, but I still had a lot to learn about writing.
Kage:What’s your backlist and coming soon bookshelf look like?
Tolan: I am currently working on my “Dancer” series, which started with “Blade Dancer” and continued with “Rogue Dancer”. Both books were finalists in the EPIC E-Book Awards. Next in line is “Defiant Dancer” due out this month, which is the third in a four-part series. I am working the fourth and final novel “Battle Dancer” right now and hope for a 2011 December release. I also wrote “Waiting Weapon” which is a spinoff from the “Dancer” series. All are published through Champagne Books.
Kage: So, what story are we going to talk about today?
Tolan: I am promoting “Defiant Dancer" – book three in the “Dancer” series. It follows the young leader of an alien race who is trying to save her alien world from human interference while fending off efforts by her own people to suppress or control her. Her race may have created themselves a messiah, but they don’t like where she is taking them. The personal cost of being a beleaguered leader on friends and family, and ultimately her love life, gets a front seat in this story. The tag line says it all – “Rulers try to suppress her. Humans want her dead, and a powerful male intends to possess her no matter the cost. They should have known better.”
Book Three in the BLADE DANCER series.
Rulers try to suppress her. Humans want her dead, and a powerful male intends to possess her no matter the cost. They should have known better.
Mikial drags her reluctant people toward a tumultuous future where they can stand against human incursion as a united race. She learns that the true cost of leadership is paid in fraying friendships and strained alliances. It is the best time to discover love in another’s arms. It is the worst time for humans to return to her world.
Kage: What would the story be rated if it were a movie?
Tolan: Possibly PG-13 unless they did this...um...one scene. Then it would be “R”. My main character is alien, you see, and there is this bi-annual two-week cycle her people call “Passion”. Love is part of a person’s life, and I don’t shirk away from its demands..
Kage: If you HAD to fit this story into a cliché, which one would it be?
Tolan: This is a “save the world” kind of novel with some of that “forbidden love” tossed into the mix. Life is complicated, and I tend to reflect that.
Kage:Okay, now that we have a general idea which class to fit DIFIANT DANCER under, what makes this book so unique from every other book out there?
Tolan: My main character comes complete with friends and family – something most space heroines seem to leave behind (the few space heroines that are out there). I am also a combat veteran, and so the military portions of the novel are going to be believable. Add a rich mix of an alien culture, and you have things like a wedding scene for a best friend where the most meaningful gift my main character can extend is to never see them again. It is a promise soon betrayed.
Kage:What was the easiest part to write?
Tolan: I don’t know why, but the action scenes flow the quickest from my head. The deeper relationships and the moments they bring out are the toughest – especially when the scene is hurtful.
Kage:What do you like most about the main character(s) and what do you like least? Did you learn anything from them?
Tolan: I love my main character Mikial’s ability to endure while her life explodes around her. She is “every man” forced into an extraordinary life that has literally changed her – having gone through a metamorphic alteration into a “Great Suria”. She was born a “Dathia”, one of the rare female members of the specialized warrior species of her race. She still has a problem thinking from the end of a gun barrel, and tends to be aggressive and careless in her dealings. Mikial is very much in need of a stabilizing influence. Many rightly fear that the Great Suria raised among them may end up being a tyrant.
Kage:Mr. Tolan, Thank you so much for stopping by today and gracing us with your presence. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to say to wrap things up?
Tolan: I certainly thank you for giving me the chance to chat about my writing – it is always a pleasure to ramble on so. Those in the Texas area can drop by the Dallas SF convention (Con DFW) in February of 2011 and say “Hi!”.
Now that Mr. Tolan has totally made us want to buy his book, he was kind enough to provide us with a a buy link to Defiant Dancer: http://www.champagnebooks.com/
If you're still curious about KM, here are other places to find him on the web:
Blog: Alien Space