Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Aleksandr Voinov - Incursion

Thanks for joining me on the Incursion virtual book tour! Feeling lucky? I’m giving away three prizes to commenters on any of the blog tour stops. Comment on this post (feel free to ask questions!) and you might win! The first winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate and a swag bag with assorted magnets, wrist-bands and other goodies. Two more lucky winners will receive swag bags as well. I ship internationally and will draw the winners from all commenters after the tour is over. Deadline for entry is 7/15/12. Please include your email address in your comment so that I can contact you.  Enjoy!
How I came to write Incursion

Ideas are like free radicals – they ping around and you’re never quite sure what they’ll get up to. Unlike free radicals, they usually are not bad for your health (unless too much caffeine and too little sleep count).

Anyway. “Incursion” came from several sources. One was a reader’s request to write a book with a disabled character. I mulled the idea for a while, then handed the concept to my Muse, and Kyle was what he came up with. Another source was actually visual. Reese Dante did my cover for my fantasy novel “Scorpion”, which is about a brotherhood of mercenaries in a medieval fantasy world, and apart from the cover that eventually became the official cover for Scorpion, she sent me a piece of concept art that was a greyish, scruffed and metal-looking background with a black scorpion stencilled onto it.

I loved the look and feel of that, but it was a lot more science-fiction than fantasy. Regardless, though, it pinged an idea in my head that was “oh wow, I could write Scorpions in Space!” Hence “Incursion” features  another mercenary band, and I’ve named their ship Scorpion as a kind of in-joke for myself.

The last major input was a discussion we’ve had a few months ago in the m/m genre – a big blogger who styles herself as a supporter of the gay community defined “gay men” as only men who are born with a penis – thus excluding transmen and other variations. Almost needless to say, this was extremely upsetting to trans writers and transreaders and supporters. Somebody went out there and defined what it means to be a man, and it was just about a “penis attached from birth”.

This triggered in me the question “what makes us men?” and, because the Muse is ever-restless, “what makes us human?” Who defines us as monsters? Who defines our “true natures”?

Personally, dealing with these questions was a battle, and I’m grateful that the matter was brought up. It not only made me stronger while I went back to the drawing board and pondered these issues, it made me more thoughtful and then, having conquered my own issues, I could walk away without hatred or bitterness. Shapeshifters cannot be defined, and, quite frankly, those categories are alien to me, and some people simply can’t (or refuse to) see the full picture.

All of this went into “Incursion”. When I encounter an issue that touches me so deeply, I very often work it out on the page. Of course not to preachy or convert. At the end of the day, “Incursion” is a space opera, it’s a love story, it’s even a little spooky, and I hope it presents some ideas and images that are simply cool and entertain. I think it works perfectly well as-is, without a message. But for those who are looking for a message—it’s there.

Fighting with your back to the wall is all well and good—as long as you’ve chosen the right wall.
When the local authorities ask Kyle Juenger to hunt a shape-shifting Glyrinny spy, he can’t refuse. After all, he can use the reward to replace his paralyzed legs with cyberware, and maybe even to return to his home planet. Besides, he hates the morphs—those invasive, brain-eating monstrosities whose weapons cost him his legs.
Kyle’s best lead is the Scorpion, a mercenary ship armed to the teeth. Grimm, the Scorpion’s pilot and captain, fascinates Kyle. He’s everything Kyle lost with his legs, and he’s from the same home world. He’s also of the warrior caste—half priest, half savior. But Grimm’s been twisted by life as a merc, and Kyle’s stuck undercover as a criminal on the run.

That doesn’t stop Grimm from coming on to Kyle, or from insisting he’s more than the sum of his past and his useless legs. But Kyle has other concerns—like tracking a dangerous morph who could be wearing anyone’s face. And as if things weren’t complicated enough, Kyle can’t tell if Grimm is part of the solution . . . or part of the problem.


Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London, where he makes his living editing dodgy business English so it makes sense (and doesn’t melt anybody’s brain). He published five novels and many short stories in his native language, then switched to English and hasn’t looked back. His genres range from horror, science fiction, cyberpunk, and fantasy to contemporary, thriller, and historical erotic gay novels.

In his spare time, he goes weightlifting, explores historical sites, and meets other writers. He singlehandedly sustains three London bookstores with his ever-changing research projects and interests. His current interests include World War II, espionage, medieval tournaments, and prisoners of war. He loves traveling, action movies, and spy novels.

Visit Aleksandr’s website at http://www.aleksandrvoinov.com, his blog at http://www.aleksandrvoinov.blogspot.com, and follow him on Twitter, where he tweets as @aleksandrvoinov.