Sunday, June 29, 2014

Realm Explorers Part III: Visit Caren with Lia London

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book.  


Author’s name:  
Lia London

Title of book and/or series:  
The Gypsy Pearl

Brief summary of the story:  
Caz has lived on an Interplanetary City Station all her life and is bored to the point of rebellion.  When a fight with a class bully gets her sent to a reformatory on "the Surface", she heads down to the planet Caren full of anticipation.  She hopes for adventure, and is more than rewarded with it when she meets an escaped delinquent, gypsies, and the alien creature that travels with them.  A bizarre encounter with the creature leaves Caz with a gypsy pearl inside of her arm, and the side-effects alter the course of her destiny.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:  
The planet Caren is somewhat Earth-like, though it spins a little faster, causing more violent fluctuations in the weather.  There is an ocean with golden beaches, and mountains with green forests.  The overall climate is approaching tropical.  There are only about a dozen colonies on the entire planet, all located on the land mass just north of the planet's equator.  The colonies are like small villages, each with some specific purpose that serves the Granbo Solar System (with its two other inhabited planets and the Interplanetary City Station system).  The Rik Peninsula is known for fishing, but it also hosts the juvenile Lamond Reformatory for delinquent youths.

If we were to visit Caren as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?  
Definitely spend some time scuba diving, as the water is not too deep, and is not teeming with predators.  Charter a fishing expedition on a hovercraft.

What dangers should we avoid in Caren?  
The mountain and forest regions have some dangerous animals, most notably the black vipers.  They are fat snake-like things whose venom can kill in less than a minute.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Caren?  
Most meals feature revos, which are a root vegetable akin to turnips or potatoes.  They can be prepared in a variety of ways.  Also duspies are like a purple cross between grapes (in clusters) and corn (on stalks).  These are primarily eaten raw as a fruit, but can also be made into juice.  The leaves of the Rik trees are also used by gypsies to make tea.  The leaves contain medicinal properties that aid the memory.  Rik Tea, however, is not sold in most public houses.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Caren?  
Laser rifles are used by guards at the Reformatory or security patrols, but in general, the colonies on Caren do not have much weaponry.  Crime is not rampant, and weapons would mostly only be used for defense against wild animals.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel on or to Caren?  
To get to Caren, one would have to have gone through Quarantine on an ICS (if traveling from another planet), and then be vaccinated against local diseases.  A Ferry (an egg-shaped shuttle with no windows) takes passengers into the atmosphere from the ICS and then uses parachutes for a water landing.  From there, a hovercraft water ferry comes to retrieve the passengers and takes them to the docks.  Magnetic planks attach to the docs, and from there people can travel by foot, by wheeled vehicles that have a driver's cabin and a passenger cab in the back, or by skimmer--which is a two-seater motorcycle/scooter type thing that can travel parallel to the ground regardless of the angle of the terrain.  There are also standard 4-seater type planes.

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Caren that we don’t see on earth?  
The aforementioned vipers are the largest animals indigenous to Caren, but faneps--humanoids about the size of a cat with larger eyes and razor sharp fishy teeth--can be found in swarms in the mountains and forests.  These animals (unbeknownst to almost everyone) are telepathic.  Sometimes they are "domesticated" and travel with gypsies as guard-dog type help, but generally they are considered repulsive and dirty.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Caren?  
The Gypsy Pearl itself (the one in Caz's arm) carries a supernatural power to make her much stronger physically, able to heal from wounds quickly, and able to defy gravity if in falling situations so that she can land safely.  She can also link herself mentally to work in unison with other faneps, again defying gravity in certain maneuvers.  There is more to come, but in this volume of the trilogy, that's all we get to see.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Caren?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.  
Comlinks are egg-shaped communicators that can link from the Surface to any ICS in range.  The communication display is a blue-ish cone of  holographic display.

Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Caren.  
Children often play with Turbo Chips, like playing cards except that each plastic piece has different shapes and purposes.  There is a digital end to it, too.  Holographic ids replace TV. 

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Caren as on earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?  
Earth holidays are not referenced, but the 7-day week has been artificially imposed regardless of what is actually happening.  The rotation of the planet makes for 20 hour days.

What is the political or government structure in Caren?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?  
Each of the colonies on the various planets has its own Governor, though as recently as 50 years ago, there was a Queen on Caren who managed to unify the colonies on her planet and several on the other two planets (Craggy and Type).  That was known as the Empire.  She was assassinated, and the colonies went back to autonomy loosely guided by the Granbo Charter, a series of laws put in place to keep relations between colonies efficient, mutually beneficial, but mostly isolated.  It's as if everyone only interacts as much as they absolutely have to.

Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Caren?  
Caren citizens and gypsies don't mix much.  Gypsies will be hired for migrant work, and often can make a living trading valuables like the gypsy pearls, but groups just don't mingle much.  

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?  
The whole trilogy will be looking at the balances of power, and whether or not uniformity for efficiency's sake is truly the most productive (or happy) way to live.

Author Autobiography:  
I was born in Oregon, but spent several years living in North Carolina, Scotland and Guatemala as well as traveling in Europe and South America.  Since my youth, I have loved to read and write, as well as sing.  Starting in grade school, I wrote skits for class presentations and school assemblies, and by my freshman year in college had written a musical comedy which was produced by Salem, Oregon's Children's Educational Theaters summer troupe.  I taught English, Geography, and Spanish in high schools and private language institutes until my first child was born, at which time I became a stay-home mom, tutoring for pay and writing scripts and narrations for non-profit organizations (choral, dramatic, educational and religious).  In 2011, I published my first full-length novel, The Circle of Law, and entered the world of indie publishing.  Since then, I have published four more books with a fifth due out this fall.  Last year, I created Clean Indie Reads, a blog and FB network promoting books free of explicit content.  We now have over 700 authors and a readership beyond my most ambitious aspirations.  I have returned to Oregon and live with my husband, two children, a dog, and a cat.  I'm also a black belt in Taekwondo.
Lia London as a "Wild Thing" when Performing a Dramatic Interpretation of
"Where the Wild Things Are" in a Church Talent Show




Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?  The Gypsy Pearl is available through Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback format.

Where can readers connect with you online?  Come see me at LiaLondonBooks.com or on Facebook or Twitter!








I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Caren.  Questions about the planet or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the planets and moons of our solar system a hundred fifty years in our future, in Realm Explorers Part IV!
-Annie Douglass Lima


Are you an author who would like your world to appear on Realm Explorers?  Click here to download the instructions and interview form, or email me at AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com for more information.

4 comments:

Peggy McAloon said...

I loved the tour to Caren. Lia London has created a universe that begs for more exploration. Definitely adding this to my "Must Read" list!

Anonymous said...

After reading Gypsy Pearl, Caren is a real place in my mind. I look forward to the sequel.

Onisha

Katy Huth Jones said...

This is so interesting and will make reading The Gypsy Pearl an even better experience! It's waiting in my Kindle... :) (And it's fun to learn more about the interesting author, too...I'm hoping to hear her sing sometime!)

Laura Lane said...

What an in depth article. Well done!