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Hi! Welcome to the blog tour to celebrate the release of Lisa Henry’s Darker Space. I’m visiting some of my favourite blogs around the place to talk a bit about writing Darker Space and sharing some of my influences, ideas, and even an excerpt or two! Don’t forget to leave a comment, for your chance to win a prize!
Each comment on this blog tour enters you for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card. Entries close October 21, 2015, and contest is not restricted to US residents. Remember to leave your email address in the comments so I know how to reach you!
Dark Space didn’t start off as Dark Space. It started off as a half written YA dystopian fic, until one day I thought, “You know what would make this better? Shower sex.” So I changed the characters’ names, upped their ages, set it in space with some creepy aliens, and the rest is history.
One thing that never really changed though, was Brady. Okay, so that wasn’t his name in YA story, but the character himself didn’t change. He was always a sarcastic smart ass, barely keeping himself together on the front line of a war he’d been conscripted into, with a bad haircut and a worse attitude.
When it came to writing Darker Space, I didn’t just look back at Dark Space to get back into Brady’s head space. I went straight to that weird, messy, slightly confused WIP, and rediscovered Brady’s origins there. So today, instead of sharing something from Darker Space, I’m sharing Brady’s origins instead.
The set up is almost the same. Brady (or, in this case, Danny!) has been pulled into the med bay because the scary mysterious enemy has just returned a prisoner of war who was supposed to be dead. Surprise! Oh, and those weird little ||| marks? Shorthand for when he’s looking at his watch. What the hell was I thinking, right? So, here it is, an excerpt from Lisa’s YA Dystopian Thing Where Brady Has Even More Issues Than in Dark Space:
I’m locked in a room with a madman.
All I can hear is the hiss of the cold air in the ducts and the rasp of my own breath. Not his. Maybe he’s dead.
I hope he’s dead.
Shit. That’s not the sort of thing a medic should think. Not that I’m a medic, not yet, but I’ll be one in three months, unless he’s not dead. Unless he wakes up and lunges at me and rips me limb from limb.
He’s lying on the cot. He looks dead. He hasn’t moved in ages, and I don’t want to get close enough to see if his pale chest is still rising and falling. He’s thin, thinner than he should be. Thinner than I remember.
I’ve never met him before, but he’s famous.
In thirty seconds I’ll try the door again. Maybe they locked it by mistake. Maybe they’ll come and get me with shaking heads and swear words and isn’t that typical.
Or maybe I’m just kidding myself. There’s no way out of this room.
They’ve left the cable ties on the chair beside the cot; the sort you have to cut off once you use them. I could reach them, I think, but what if he wakes up to find me fastening his thin wrists to the frame of the cot? Because that would freak anyone out, even if they weren’t already mad.
I hunch against the wall and crane my neck to see. His lips press together, turn white for a second, and then I don’t know if I imagined it or not.
He is either asleep or dead. His dark lashes lie against his cheeks. There is a tiny line at the top of his nose, between his eyebrows. It is a sort of a punctuation mark. It is a |. It says STOP. I think someone should reach out and smooth it away, to break the dam he’s built in his head, to make the STOP a GO, but what would happen then? Maybe his thoughts would spill out of him like torrents of black water and fill this locked room to the ceiling and drown us both.
I’m holding a stethoscope in my hand. The hell if I know why. I’ve never used one before. I only know how to hold a guy’s wrist — not with my thumb, never with my thumb — and count the beats of his pulse while the second hand on my watch makes a full rotation under the cracked glass.
My watch is second-hand, second hand and all. I won it in a card game. It wasn’t the one I wanted, not really, because it doesn’t even have numbers. Not 1 and 2, or even I and II and IV and X. My watch has tiny frowns on its face like his: | and | and |. I don’t know what the point of a watch is if you have to have a look at a proper clock to make sure you’re wearing it the right way up. Time is arbitrary, even when someone sitting on this spinning ball of dirt thought it up long ago. On my watch time is more arbitrary than anywhere.
On the back of my watch it says Happy 21st Mark. That’s not my name.
But I needed a watch.
Anyway, I’m not going to take his pulse, and I’m not going to use this stethoscope. I’m not going to touch him.
I don’t want to look at the window and see them all looking back at me. Because I know it’s not a mistake that I’m locked in a room with this madman, and I know that’s what their faces will tell me. If I just look at him instead, or at the stethoscope, or at the scuffed toes of my boots, then I can still pretend this doesn’t feel like a fucking death sentence.
Lucien Jones is back.
I was one of the first people to hear it, not that I should have been anywhere near an evac point, but Hendricks owed me a pack of cigarettes and it seemed like a good time to collect.
“Did you hear?” Hendricks asked me when I found him working on the blast doors.
I hate the blast doors. I don’t like knowing there’s only one single airlock between me and asphyxiation, as thin as tin foil. I only have to think about it and the air rushes out of me and my lungs burn and all I can feel is my heartbeat — thump thump thump thump thump thump — and my thoughts go grey at the edges and start to slip unless I hold them tight.
This, Boss Doc says, is called ANXIETY.
Most of me is found at the start of the index.
The thing about avoidance, Boss Doc said. The thing about avoidance
But Hendricks owed me cigarettes.
“Did you hear?”
Hendricks is a big guy with orange hair that sticks out in tufts. He is always getting in trouble for it, but Hendricks never can wear a regulation haircut for more than a few days before his hair goes mad again. He’s been at Eleven since he was thirteen, back when the government first started recruiting teenagers. Get ’em young, the government reckons, because they don’t go as stir crazy as adults. Which is bullshit, probably, because locking a bunch of teenage guys in a concrete tomb underground isn’t exactly relaxing. But we all get along
and if we don’t there’s always paintball and the wall to take our frustrations out. I like Hendricks, even though he is a bit crazy. He reckons the government puts drugs in our rations to keep our testosterone levels down, which is bullshit as well. The number of fights the officers have to break up, as well as the number of times you can hear guys jerking off in the showers, or the toilets, or anywhere they can find five minutes alone or
I frowned at the face of my watch and it frowned back at me.
Hendricks has been stuck at Eleven for eight years now, and he still has another two to go before he gets to take the road north. Ten years is a long time without any girls. The government says that girls can’t serve on the Wall. That only makes us hate the Carriers even more.
The bones of Dark Space and Darker Space are there. Brady is there. The stories definitely diverge after that. In the end, the WIP fizzled for a number of reasons: the fact the market’s sick of YA dystopian stories, the fact I couldn’t figure out where the story was going, and the fact that once the idea of shower sex came to me, I knew that this story had to be rewritten as m/m. Because shower sex always wins.
You can find out more about Darker Space at Loose Id.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
For the chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card, join the tour and leave a comment on any of the wonderful blogs below:
Boy Meets Boy Reviews – October 13
Rainbow Gold Reviews – October 14
Boys In Our Books – October 14
MM Does MM – October 15
J.A. Rock’s blog – October 16
Love Bytes Reviews – October 17
Joyfully Jay – October 17
And for a special extra, and a chance to win an ebook copy of Darker Space, visit Crystal’s Many Reviewers on October 21!