Hey, we’re back, and this time we’ve got DSP Publications author Luchia Dertien here to tell us all about her new Mystery-Suspense novel Gnomon, hot off the presses and available right now. She’s brought us an excerpt for a little later, but right now, let’s have a look at what Gnomon is all about:
Emile Delaurier is a beautiful militant revolutionary, a living beacon of righteous justice for the world. For Renaire, an artist in a constant battle against the demons in the bottle, it was obsession at first sight. His devotion led to two years of homicidal partnership as Renaire followed Delaurier in his ruthless quest for equality through the death of the corrupt, like a murderous Robin Hood.
Then Delaurier breaks his pattern, leading Renaire into Russia to kill a reporter with no immoral background, and gives no explanation for his actions.
When Interpol contacts Renaire, he already has enough problems—keeping Delaurier alive, dealing with the shift in their relationship, and surviving the broken past that still haunts him. But when he learns what Interpol wants from him, Renaire must face the truth about Delaurier: that a noble man isn’t always a good one. He’s left with a choice no man should ever have to make—to follow his heart or his morals.
Carole: So let’s start with the obvious: tell us about your genre.
Luchia: The suspense/thriller genre is about creating a fast-paced blend of action and mystery, and the goal is to write the kind of book that you need to read in one sitting. That’s exactly the sort of novel I want to read. I love getting sucked into a story, and always want to write something that hooks me. If I get bored reading my own work, it needs more work, and after a while that accumulated into what is a suspense novel! If I’m not excited to get to the next page, I’m not doing it right.
Carole: That says some promising things for Gnomon! So give us a look at what it’s all about.
Luchia: The book is a classic tale of boy meets boy, boy kills for other boy, boys then go kill people together – it’s not a very nice story. Not at the beginning, at least. The main characters are extremely messed up, but they managed to have a mostly-functional partnership for two years, running around Europe and trying to force the world into being a better place by killing bad people. And then, something changes. Our fearless leader Emile Delaurier is suddenly acting wildly out of character, obviously hiding something, and things get more and more out of control. Questions of devotion and morality are raised, and there’s no avoiding that the characters (and the world) will never be the same.
Gnomon is a blend of action, tragedy, sex, humor, mystery, tension, and romance. It’s everything I want to read in a book, and I really hope everyone enjoys it!
Carole: It sounds like they won’t have a choice! Now, Gnomon is being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press’s imprint for nonromance genre novels. Tell us about the relationship in Gnomon and why it doesn’t fit the accepted definition of Romance in the M/M genre.
Luchia: Well, for one, the romance part isn’t really about romance so much as it’s about addiction. It really is about obsession, and it’s an extremely unhealthy relationship at the start. The relationship is intense and extremely unhinged. The entire book is, really! Gnomon is a lot more like Gone Girl than a Nicholas Sparks novel. It also includes things like mass murder, suicide, and terrorism, so marketing it as a romance does seem sort of inappropriate.
Originally I was shocked that it wasn’t considered a romance, since the relationship between the two main characters is an absolutely essential plot point, but I agree more and more with the suspense genre label as time goes on. It’s not your usual suspense novel, and it’s definitely not your usual romance novel, so Gnomon is probably much safer to put in the suspense/mystery section. I’d rather have someone step away from the book because of romance instead of someone step away from the book because of violence.
Carole: Tell us about the evolution of this story. What was its earliest incarnation as a concept and when did it begin to take the form of Gnomon?
Luchia: The central question that sparked the plot is where the line is drawn between rebellions, freedom-fighters, and terrorism? Is it all a matter of public opinion? Is it all just history being written by the victors? Do people even know when they’ve tipped over the line from revolutionary to terrorist? And what sort of mindset and worldview does someone need to have to even start an uprising? I wanted to try to understand what drives someone to organized violence. I saw someone willing to kill and die for their beliefs. They had to be almost obsessively devoted to their convictions, had to be passionate and a little bit terrifying and extremely charismatic if they were going to lead others into this with them.
The concept was fascinating. I had the major scenes crystal clear in my mind within hours, and wrote it in about six weeks. It changed on me while I wrote it (the original ending was not a happy one), but it changed for the better. I’m happy with it, and actually being satisfied with my writing is a very rare thing for me.
Carole: And why did you feel it needed to be told with the M/M dynamic?
Luchia: It needed to be told with the M/M dynamic because the two main characters are in a relationship, and they’re both men. There are details that require one character to be male if the book’s going to be historically accurate, and the other character just…doesn’t work as anything other than himself. It’s a boring answer, but it’s also the honest one.
Carole: Hey, the honest ones always work best. ;) So, tell us about your own reading habits. What authors have influenced you?
Luchia: My reading habits when it comes to suspense and mystery genre novels are…unconventional. I’m a fantasy and sci-fi person overall when it comes to preferred reading, and my bookshelves are overflowing with fantasy novels, two books deep with even more shoved in on top of those. But, I have one corner for the mystery/suspense books. I don’t usually read them, but when I do, I get very, very into it.
The first time I read a suspense novel was during high school. I volunteered in the library, and someone returned Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, the first of the Hannibal Lecter books. It was a slow day, so I started reading, and I couldn’t stop. I rushed out to the bookstore (and ‘borrowed’ the car to get there – sorry, parents!) to buy every single Thomas Harris book, and read through one per day. This was also right when the actual Hannibal book came out, and I remember being extremely frustrated with the sudden retcon in Lecter’s cannibalistic motivations and entire character and – well, I could go on about that for a long time. But back to the actual topic, which is that my sudden Harris marathon was the start of a ravenous trend that’s switched on and off over the years. I read some fantasy novels, I read some sci-fi novels, and then I completely devour a few suspense novels in a single week before going back to my usual material. It’s a strange way of doing things, but it’s also extremely satisfying to binge-read books you just can’t put down and then go back to dragons and spaceships.
Carole: Well, it’s only strange to people who don’t get the appeal of genre. Everyone else is totally with you. ;)
Thanks for being with us today, Luchia, and thanks to all the Awesome Readers who’ve come along for the ride. Buy links are at the end of the post, but first, please enjoy the following excerpt from Luchia Dertien’s Mystery-Suspense novel Gnomon:
Gnomon: Delaurier wakes up four hours later, snapping upright and grabbing onto his armrests so tight that the plastic squeaks and bone’s visible beneath his knuckles. He takes a shuddering breath, blinks a few times, and exhales while staring straight at Renaire. He looks awkward. It’s unsettling. “Get some sleep,” Delaurier says.
Renaire is unimpressed. “That’s it?”
Delaurier frowns. “What do you mean?”
“No thank you? No asking where we’re headed? No explanation?” Renaire asks. “An explanation would be really good right now. If I get to pick something, it’s that.”
“You don’t get an explanation because you don’t need one,” Delaurier states.
Renaire isn’t letting this go. “You’re the one who says I can’t reason my way out of a paper bag, so why wouldn’t I need you to explain things for me?”
“You just proved you can reason,” Delaurier points out irritably. “Right there. You beat your own argument by making it.”
“Which only an idiot would do, proving—again—that I’m a reasonless fool who needs an explanation,” Renaire says. “So stop trying to deflect and tell me what the fuck is going on.”
“There was a threat. I removed it.”
Renaire feels like tearing his hair out, watching the stubborn set of the other man’s jaw, the unyielding stare right back into Renaire’s eyes. He shook after killing a reporter, but there’s not a thread of regret in Delaurier. They’ve killed screaming politicians and begging CEOs and maybe five times as many people in collateral damage, not to mention what the rest of the organization has done. This may have shaken him, but Renaire has plenty of nightmares about seeing soul-deep regret on Delaurier’s face, and this is a thousand shades away from that.
“Is that all I’m going to get?” Renaire asks, because he is a creature of eternal (pathetic, useless) hope when it comes to Delaurier.
“Go to sleep,” Delaurier says. “I’ll need you alert when we get to Moscow.”
Renaire doesn’t ask what’s in Moscow. Their working relationship comes down to Delaurier deciding everything and Renaire choosing whether or not to go along with whatever it is. Renaire can remember saying no probably twice. Maybe three times. It’s not like Renaire has anything else to do.
He leans back and closes his eyes, and he’s gone.
About the Author: Luchia Dertien is a recovered agoraphobic who climbed a 14,400 foot mountain to prove it. She does not enjoy mountain climbing. Luchia received a B.A. in English from the University of Denver and started writing when she was three years old, dictating a modern classic called Castle Castle, which is a close examination of the societal impact of overpopulation and also fighting dragons. She is an advocate for mental health treatment and the encouragement of young writers. Luchia currently lives in Denver, Colorado.
You can follow Luchia via Twitter
Thanks for being with us today, everyone! Join us next time on Genre Talk when Andrew Q. Gordon will be by to talk to us about his upcoming Paranormal release Purpose and might just have a surprise or two up his sleeve. ;)