Beyond the Rain is the story of two people caught behind enemy lines of a dangerous war. She’s a warrior nun with a death sentence lingering over her head. He’s a tortured slave who had his blood leeched to make sexual narcotics for the shadow trade. As they travel from planet to planet, bringing them closer to their homes, they discover the power of freedom, of choices, and the terrible price that must be paid for both.
Beyond the Rain is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
I wish I could take credit for that one, but alas, I can’t. I’m terrible at naming books. I’ve got no ear for it at all. For the longest time, this book was called Futuristic #1. I wish I were kidding. When I started entering it in writing contests, I settled on The Halls of Honor, then punched it up to Chains of Honor. When the book sold, they wanted a title that reflected the deep emotions of the story, and felt those titles were a little cold. So the marketing team at Berkley settled on Beyond the Rain, and I’m so glad they did.
What made you decide to write in this genre?
I love the genre. As a kid I used to watch Star Wars, and Star Trek, Transformers, Voltron, you name it. If it was high flying space adventure, I was on board. Heck, I even went to Space Camp as a kid.
I discovered that dark and sexy space adventures suited my narrative style, I loved world building, and I had so much fun using alien cultures to create extreme character conflict.
Where did you get your idea for this particular book?
The idea for this book came from a challenge to create two characters with such a huge personal conflict, people wonder how that is ever going to work out.
It still makes me laugh when I tell people that the book is about a warrior nun who gets stuck with a hormonally addictive sex-slave.
What are your favorite science fiction research books, and why?
I don’t know if there are too many science fiction research books out there. I get some of my best ideas from exploring the world around me, then investigating things I find interesting first hand. I watch a lot of science documentaries, on anything and everything from extreme engineering to how the early chemical composition of the Earth’s atmosphere affected the climate and weather patterns, and consequently the size of the animals living at that time. I think part of writing science fiction is having a healthy thirst for all sorts of random knowledge.
Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?
Vicca, hands down. Okay that makes me laugh, but Vicca is my heroine’s alien fox who is trained as her war scout. She’s probably the smartest and funniest character in the book, and she borrowed a lot of her personality from my Siamese cat, Suki. I think a lot of people will fall for Vicca. She’s adorable.
Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and world affect your character development?
My characters always start with a problem. After that, I give them a name. Then I have a group of friends pepper me with random questions so I can discover what makes them tick. Once I start to understand them, I can sink into their heads and the story unfolds. I don’t do anything as formal as character sheets. This is one area I tend to be more loosey-goosey. I like to let my characters tell me who they are without forcing them into a pattern or a personality I’ve decided on ahead of time.
How do you go about building your world? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?
For my world building, I have to answer a constant string of “Why?” I go through everything from land composition, gravity, suns, moons, biome makeup of the highly populated areas, number of mass cultures residing on planet, natural resources, intergalactic trade economy, cultural politics, planetary politics, then galactic politics.
After that I dig into the culture. What do people look like? How are the classes separated? Who holds power? Why? How? What are the taboos? Why? What are their spiritual beliefs? Why? It’s endless, and always evolving. Each new book brings new details and more questions. I love it though, it’s like a game to me.
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
I really love Susan Grant’s work. She has strong romances in her stories, but all of the stories I’ve read have had some connection to Earth. I wanted to get some distance from our planet and explore strange new worlds.
Surprisingly, I’ve also been influenced by Christine Feehan. I always liked the intensity of the romance with Feehan’s work. I tried to capture some of that intensity through creating very high stakes for my characters as well.
What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
I’m very proud of my website and blog. I want them to become fun places on the web for fans of my books to hang out, interact with me, and explore my worlds in more detail. I’ve also got an interactive adventure going on my blog every other Wednesday. The Many Adventures of Ethel the Space Pirate is available as a free read on my website, but you have to help decide what happens next by voting on my blog. The Ethel readers have gotten her into some interesting situations so far. It’s a lot of fun.
What do we have to look forward next?
Beyond the Shadows is the sequel to Beyond the Rain, and should be released next spring. While both books firmly stand alone as strong individual romances, the characters of the second book will be familiar to readers of the first book. It is fun, it is super sexy, and I just can’t wait. The hero gives me chills.
You’re welcome! Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure, and very therapeutic.
To celebrate her book release, Jess is offering a free signed copy of Beyond the Rain to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (make sure to check the blog Monday night to see who won) She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...
Jess Granger grew up in California where she spent her childhood obsessed with animals and books. After years of tormenting her two brothers, she went off to college to earn a degree in literature from The University of California at Davis.
Now she enjoys spending time with her family and caring for her butterfly garden.
Check out author’s website at http:www.jessgranger.com