Title: Sky's End (Cassiel Winters #1)
Author: Lesley Young
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Release Date: July 15, 2013
A secret she must never share. A secret that two warring species are determined to control. A universe’s future at stake.
Twenty-year-old Cassiel Winters joins Earth’s new space academy in hopes of finding her brother, one of Command’s top pilots and her only family, who’s been reported MIA. But she quickly realizes she may not be cut out for life in space, where female cadets are outnumbered, competition’s fierce, and she’s already failed her hand-to-hand combat test once.
Even the station’s most respected officer, Lt. Damian King, probably can’t help Cassiel pass the second time around – so why is he so interested in her progress? If only one of her freaky déjà vu visions would offer an answer instead of mysterious messages like hide.
When Cassiel’s manipulated into a perilous mission, she encounters a warrior species bred to protect the universe from an even greater threat. And she learns that her secret visions are at the heart of it all.
Now Cassiel must fight to control her own destiny and race to save her brother – even if it means pretending to be the pawn of Prime Or’ic, the cold-as-steel Thell’eon leader. Even if it means risking her life, facing hard truths, and making the ultimate sacrifice.
Interview with Lesley Young
Hi, Lesley! Thank you so much for agreeing to take some time from your busy schedule to answer some questions for us here at Bibliophilia, Please. Let’s break the ice a little before talking about Sky's End – what is something funny about you that only your friends know?
Oh how I wish this was a short list. If I had to name just one, let’s just say I make Bella’s clumsiness seem cute. In fact, I’ve tripped and fallen, mind you, in more than 11 cities around the world. I know this because it was a trivia question at my wedding. Also . . . hm, should I admit this? Oh why not — my brother’s nickname for me growing up was "Lurch". I am tall (5’10) so it’s gotta be a center of gravity thing.
Can you tell us a little bit about Cassiel Winters and how she evolved from initial thought to the character she becomes in Sky's End*?
I wish I could provide some detailed explanation of how Cassiel was created, but I literally sat down one cold January to write something, and her voice, pretty much as you hear it in the novel, came out. One thing that’s really surprised me is how naïve early reviewers are finding her. The thing is, it is a series. I needed her to start out at ‘base camp’ so she has somewhere to go over the next couple million or so words that are yet to come.
Since asking you to compare characters of Sky's End to actors would be a normal question (I try to avoid too many of those), which cartoon characters would you say looked or acted the most like them?
Hmm that’s hard because cartoon characters don’t really grow. They already have their moxie or superpowers. I guess I would say Cassiel starts out like Tinkerbell, someone who is tempestuous and magical but has her heart in the right place (most of the time).
For the men, I’d have to compare them to comic book superheroes. Lt. Damian King is definitely one of the masked superheroes. I can’t say more without giving something away. Prime Or’ic is so Batman. In Catwoman #1 of The New 52 by DC Comics, she does Batman over five pages of steamy costume-ripping lust... Let’s just say, it was hottest that ‘bubble thoughts’ have ever gotten me. I guess that was a bit of a tangent. Ahem. Moving on...
What do you think sets Cassiel and Sky's End apart from other science fiction characters and stories?
Cassiel is very flawed. In other words, she’s real. And because it is written in the first person present tense, you experience all her decisions and crazy actions as if they were your own, which can be quite the ride. In my opinion, most SFR main characters start out as hardasses and then grow soft, tamed by some hot alien. And don’t get me wrong, I read those and enjoy them! But I wanted to read genre novels with less predictability, so I guess I ended up writing one.
Are there any science fiction characters, stories, and/or authors that were particularly inspirational to you?
Well I love Karen Marie Moning’s Mac, not so much the character, but the way she grips hold of you and takes you on her journey. But really, my all time favorite book is True Grit by Charles Portis. I mean, the story of a 14-year-old girl going off on her own to seek revenge in the wild west? Please. Is there a better ‘high concept’?
But then Portis writes it simple, with edge, and humor. My God that book makes me laugh, makes me cry, and just plain thrills me every time I read it. It makes me want to be a better writer.
What is your favorite distraction that you indulge in whenever you are writing?
My problem is that I don’t have any distractions when writing. I am obsessive, writing 2,000 sometimes 4,000 words a day. And I still work full-time as a freelance journalist. I need a winch to help get me out of my desk chair.
Do you have any upcoming projects or events that we can look forward to?
I’m working furiously on the sequel Sky’s Surrender, which I hope to complete soon. I’d like to see the series do well enough in order to develop one of the character’s side story that’s playing out in my mind, called Kellan’s Revenge.
Thank you again for your time!
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About the Author
Lesley Young writes compulsive stories with unforgettable heroines who experience thrilling life- and love-altering journeys.
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*Just so you know, Lesley is awesome, and such a good sport. I was a dumbass and called the book Sky High in every freakin' interview question, and she didn't roll her eyes and move on. Or hit me. Now excuse me while I wander off and die of embarrassment.