Thursday, 7 June 2012

Welcome to Rebecca Cohen

I'd like to welcome lovely Rebecca Cohen to my blog. Her book, Servitude, was released on 4th June. Rebecca, that is an amazing cover.

Over to you, Rebecca.

When and why did you begin writing?
I wrote at school because I enjoyed it, but stopped when I went to Uni. I began again in my mid-late twenties as a bit of an escape mechanism, and I really believe writing helped me beat depression. Now I write as a stress relief to the day job, and because writing makes me happy (even the editing!)

What inspires you to write and why?
All sorts. I studied biology (and biochemical engineering), and love the fundamental concepts of science. A number of which have wormed themselves into many stories (there is molecular biology and stringy theory in Servitude – but they’re hidden, don’t worry!). I also love people and history… I guess what I’m really saying is I can be inspired by anything – I don’t really have a pattern.

What is the best piece of advice you received before you got published?
Keeping writing! Rejection is part of the game, but even on bad day write something – anything – and don’t give up on your dreams.

Do you have any rituals to start your writing day?
No. I’m no of those people who can write anytime, anyplace, anywhere. And quite often do. I carry emergency pencil and post it notes at all time (and have resulted to backs of receipts in emergencies.)

What are you currently writing?
I recently submitted a historical gay romance novel based in Elizabethan England (nail biting time as I wait to hear!), and I’m currently writing its sequel. I’m also working on a novella which is a contemporary fantasy… about a young man who as a superpower to manipulate plants. Its more about his connection to his home and his first love really, but the original short story didn’t make the cut for an anthology and the publisher asked me to consider extending it, so I am.

How do you find your names?
For Servitude they are Roman (as they original concept is that the Reagalos familiar are a bit Caesar like). If I’m writing in particularly era then I research the historical names of the period. Otherwise, I have a big book of baby names.

What is the most interesting piece of research you’ve done so far?
Oh this is a hard one, as I love to be accurate when I write. But if I have to narrow it to down to just one then it’s what I use for character development when I get a bit stuck – Jungian archetypes. I used them to build my complex characters if I’m trying to get a better insight.

Do you include your life experiences in your books?
Yes, sometimes. My studies of science feature in a number of stories – Servitude especially which the link of biology and his magic. But also for my honeymoon we travelled to a number of cities and these became the cities in Servitude. I salon adore London, lived there for many years, and I think that is pretty obvious from my Elizabeth romp.

Who is your favourite author and why?
I don’t have just one. I love Pratchett for his Discworld and everyday nature of his fantasy writing. P.G. Wodehouse for his sublime wit, and Stephen Fry for his Making History novel (science plus history, plus gay romance… what’s not to love?)
What do you do to relax?
I write. No, seriously, my day job is quite stressful and so I write out my stress. But I love to see friends, eat out and travel. We recently moved to Switzerland so I have a new country and way off life to explore!

Where can we find you on the web?
I’m working on a website but for now:

Author Bio:
Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Rebecca is currently published by Dreamspinner Press.

Link to Dreamspinner website to buy Servitude:
Blurb for Servitude:
Lornyc Reagalos, future High Lord of the city of Katraman, enjoys his life as a student, even if he has to keep his relationship with Methian Hadral, heir to the throne of Xenetra, a secret. Unfortunately, Lornyc isn’t just any royal student—he’s also the grandson of an infamous magic user named Romanus Reagalos, and his grandfather’s wild youth is about to catch up with him. Unknown to anyone else, Romanus saw fit to sign his grandson into the life of a valet. Specifically, Methian’s valet.

The contract—and the strain it puts on his relationship with Methian—is just the start of Lornyc’s troubles. Though the Reagalos family was once famous for its magic, Lornyc’s father never showed any aptitude, and Lornyc hasn’t either—though that doesn’t make the next contract, the one that says Lornyc must learn to use his latent powers, any less binding. When Lornyc learns of a plot to remove his father from power, he finds himself racing against time. If he can’t master his magic and identify the leader of the plot, he stands to lose everything he knows and loves: his parents, his rank, and Methian.

Excerpt from Servitude
1)  Lornyc uses his magic to put a mind block on Methian.
“All I’m suggesting is that young Lornyc here put a block on you opening your big mouth. It won’t affect any of your memories. Just stop you saying something you shouldn’t to the wrong person at the wrong time.”
“Will it hurt?” asked Methian, looking uncomfortable.
“Nothing more than a slight burning sensation in your chest,” said Kat. “Lornyc, you need to get close enough to get good, straight-on eye contact. In the future you’ll probably be able to do this at a distance, but for now I suggest you sit astride his lap.”
“Don’t get any ideas, you,” Lornyc warned Methian as he took his place.
Methian looked at him with mock innocence. “Whatever do you mean by that?”
Kat cleared his throat. “If you’ve quite finished.”
Lornyc stared into Methian’s eyes. Kat continued. “Now, how I would do this would be to mutter a simple spell that would guide me through the memories, but….”
“It’s okay, Kat, I think I know what to do.” Lornyc smiled and winked at Methian. In return he felt a squeeze of encouragement.
Lornyc saw a ray of light enter Methian’s eye. The wave split into rainbow colors as if the act of him focusing on it had created a prism. Riding the spectrum, his powers moved forward through the iris, taking him with them. He was bathed in a reddish glow as he moved through the vitreous humor to the far wall of the eye and out via the optic nerve. The network of blood vessels and capillaries that surrounded him pulsed rhythmically, and he spiraled down the optic nerve and across the optic chasm in a heartbeat. Gliding across ganglia, Lornyc watched spellbound for a moment as the flashes of chemical bursts passed between the synapses.
Lornyc stopped, unsure what direction to take next, waiting to see where his powers would guide him. He was pulled toward a series of neurons and their internal protein complexes that danced and darted around the cortex, spinning and whirring as they processed information. He could hear them whir and click as they changed shape and interacted with each other.
The complex biology morphed into the more familiar form of a library, with filing cabinets full of memories stored under long or short term in alphabetical order. Lornyc’s powers snaked around the cabinets, weaving in and out until one drawer opened and a projection of the meeting about the mage appeared. His powers encased the memory, sealing it away; he retreated.
Lornyc returned to reality grinning, but a wave of exhaustion crashed over him, and he slumped into Methian’s arms.

Excerpt from Servitude … 2) Lornyc explains to Methian about the importance of the Orb and how the Reagalos live so long
“You are aware that we don’t use hydropower for the generation of electricity in Katraman?” Methian nodded, and Lornyc continued. “Instead, through a series of reaction chambers and generators, we use naturally occurring crystals that are found in the caverns under the city. Those are the orbs, but as you have already witnessed, they do more than power light bulbs.”
“The portals?”
“And much more besides. Everyone knows that Reagalos live for centuries. The orbs are the reason we can. They allow us to do something called time harvesting.
“Each individual Reagalos has their own harvesting orb, which they select before they start the procedure,” Lornyc explained. “Not all of us harvest, and there has to be a suitable orb available to do it. The orbs allow us to manipulate certain elements of multiple dimensions—for example, that’s how we travel using the portals. We use a dimensional shortcut; the orbs find a dimension next to where we want to go, and we just step through. But when they are tuned to an individual, the orbs can be used in a different way.”
Lornyc waited a moment to make sure he hadn’t confused Methian. “As you know, there are infinite dimensions. Basically, we harvest one day from each of our dimensional counterparts. As there are an infinite number of Lornycs I could, in theory, add an infinite number of days to my life.”
“Isn’t that a bit rough on whoever’s life you’re stealing? Surely they’d notice?”
“I am not about to offer any moral defense. We don’t take more than one day from each person, and in some cases it might only be a matter of hours,” said Lornyc. “As for them noticing, have you never thought it was Wednesday when really it was Thursday, or had an afternoon seem to go by so fast that one minute you’re having lunch and then the next moment it’s dinnertime?”
“Put like that, I suppose they wouldn’t miss it,” admitted Methian. “So have you started harvesting?”
“No, not yet. I’m not ready, and once you begin, it is a continuous process. It’s not something that can be switched on or off. You look the same age for however long you continue to harvest, and only once you stop do you begin to age gradually, as if you’d never started.”
“I must say, it would be a real treat when I’m a dirty old man to have a lithe twenty-something bouncing on my lap,” said Methian with a leer.
Lornyc half smiled. “Often Reagalos spouses are allowed to harvest,” he answered, well aware of the implications of his words. “As I said, there must be a suitable orb available, so not all of them get the opportunity. I suppose it’s the orbs’ way of vetting a marriage.”
“If a person ends up with one of you lot, they’d better make sure they’re truly compatible. Otherwise infinity with a pain in the ass would be a nightmare.”

1 comment:

  1. It really is a stunning cover, isn't it? *g* And it's also a great book! Congats, Rebecca!