I’m Samantha and I come from another world – the original, old Silvery Earth, where people are immortal and never grow up. When I’m not switching bodies at will, I travel to other universes, especially books or movies. That’s how I met Rajveer the vampire, for example!
So, I’m taking over the interviews on this blog! And here I am, meeting people from other books/universes/whatever!
And we’re finally off that darn new Silvery Earth! It’s a brand new world! No, universe! No, wait… let’s hear it from these people here.
Hello, there! Tell me a little about yourself!
NAMTAR: I am Corporal Namtar, serving under Maharani Uma and Commander Kartikeya in their fight to secure freedom for the people of Yuanshi. The events chronicled in City Of Deceit took us somewhat out of our comfort zone, into a world where politics is played out by double agents and interstellar battleships. Naturally, I relied on my wits, charm and intelligence to survive. Unlike the man next to me.
INARI: I’m Private Inari and I work with him. I ain’t one for using wits but I am good at shooting things. I was a corporal once, for almost five whole minutes.
Wow, what a pair! Let’s play a game! Describe each other’s appearance in ten words or less!
NAMTAR: My colleague is a fat Greek slob from the gutter.
INARI: Namtar is a stuck-up lanky Russian who talks rubbish.
Tee-hee! You guys are weird! Anyhow, what is your role in the story?
NAMTAR: As you may know, author Ms Bennion is steadily chronicling the heady events of the last decades of the twenty-third century, where humanity has learned to cross the cosmos and reach the nearby stars.
I’m glad it’s someone else from that crazy Silvery Earth author and I hope she treats her characters well – unlike another author of a vampire series who likes to maim and kill off her characters! Tell me more about her books!
NAMTAR: In her latest book, City Of Deceit, followers of the late Maharaja are fighting for independence on the terraformed moon of Yuanshi in the Epsilon Eridani system: a battle against the security forces of the Que Qiao Corporation, which cares only for profits as it harvests Yuanshi’s wealth on behalf of governments on Earth. The story sees us accompanying the widowed Maharani Uma to Earth to take Yuanshi’s plea for independence to the United Nations. Nothing goes as planned, all the players are double-crossing everyone else and we end up fighting for our lives aboard one of the first ever space battleships. As you might expect, my role involves a lot of clever subterfuge and quick thinking to save the day.
INARI: I did stuff too. I liked the lightning-ball cannon. Being space pirates was cool.
Battleships and space pirates! Wow! So what is your relationship with the protagonist?
NAMTAR: The main protagonist of City Of Deceit is Raja Surya, Maharani Uma’s son and the young heir to the throne of Yuanshi. The story follows the trials and tribulations faced by the Maharani in London, as seen through the eyes of Surya and his friend Zotz Wak from the hollow moon. The young Raja is quite headstrong and more than capable of getting himself and others into trouble. The author’s first book, Hollow Moon, chronicled how we kidnapped Surya so he could stand with Commander Kartikeya at a peace conference, though I assure you our intentions were honourable. The safety of the Raja is paramount. We do what we can to serve.
INARI: The Raja wanted to go to Earth so I smuggled us both aboard the shuttle. The Maharani called me an idiot. Ravana’s friend Zotz came with us to the floating village in London.
I love those Indian-sounding names! Did you know I met an Indian vampire? I wanted to keep him, but he preferred to go back to Earth. *sigh* But I digress!! Where do you live, what is your world called, etc.?
NAMTAR: Our service to Maharani Uma and Commander Kartikeya demands that we operate from the rebel city of Lanka on Yuanshi. Before the war, the Maharani resided in the capital Ayodhya, which was much more to my tastes. Kubera Palace in Lanka has seen better days. Civil war does put a dampener on the finer things in life.
INARI: We get about a bit. I hate sleeping on spaceships.
What’s wrong with spaceships cabins and bunk beds? *mutters to herself* Will have to interview more spacefaring people! *grins at guests* Are you involved in a relationship? If so, with who and what is it about them that you find appealing?
INARI: I had a girlfriend once. Hujing, back at the mining village where I grew up on Taotie. Then Namtar arrived and spoiled everything. I ended up in jail.
Men! They only bring trouble, don’t they? *snorts*
NAMTAR: My fat friend here had just stolen a military Local Ambient Megastructure Projector, an interrogation device that projected hypnotic illusions. She would have not have fallen for a lazy lump of lard like him otherwise.
Mmm… yeah, whatever… What is the biggest challenge you face in the story?
NAMTAR: There were some hairy moments aboard the dreadnaught as I recall. Events were somewhat complicated by crazy cyberclones and giant alien spiders. Walking in Earth’s gravity was quite a challenge in itself after a lifetime on low-gravity worlds. Especially seeing as I had been wounded by an imbecile with a harpoon.
INARI: That was an accident, honest.
You guys are the best frenemies I ever met! *grin* Do you have a moral code?
NAMTAR: As a devotee to the Dhusarian Church of Yuanshi, I believe that true wisdom will be delivered by the galactic travellers known as the greys. All we can do is prepare the way so that humankind is ready to receive this gift.
INARI: Moral code? Big guns are good.
*burst out laughing* Careful with those guns! You might shoot yourself in the foot! Please give me an interesting and unusual fact about yourself.
NAMTAR: I played a role in a fairy tale somewhat reminiscent of Cinderella. Hanuman and Ganesa, the crew of the rebel freighter Sun Wukong, first met at the annual American Christmas Ball in Lanka. It was I who procured their invitations.
INARI: He ain’t been no fairy godfather to me.
Would you really want him to be your fairy godfather, though? Time’s almost up! What 2 or 3 questions do you wish I’d asked and what are your answers to them?
NAMTAR: Maybe a question on whether we will appear in future tales by the author? Our involvement in this saga of interstellar chicanery certainly does not end with the events chronicled in City Of Deceit. Of course, Ms Bennion may decide that publishing further exploits of Inari’s contagious stupidity is too much for discerning readers. While you’re at it, could you ask Inari to stop picking his nose?
INARI: I was going to ask about lunch. Do we get one with these interviews?
Mmm, lunch? Why not? I have this prolific hand that can produce anything… *waves her left hand* Do you need a menu to choose or do you already know what you want?
* * *
Raja Surya, young heir to the throne of the moon of Yuanshi, cannot stay out of trouble for long. Zotz Wak, intrepid boy inventor otherwise known as The Flying Fox, decides Earth is the place to become a man. Together they must battle the dystopian darkness of 23rd-century London: a city of deceit, under the thumb of corporations, its people barricaded behind flood walls, bewitched by the hypnotic holoverse and worse.
The United Nations is deciding the fate of Surya’s world. The Que Qiao Corporation is using the threat of alien monsters to call for war. Ravana O’Brien, the heroine of their previous adventures, is stricken with a mystery illness and her hollow moon home has problems of its own.
Surya never thought he would be in the captain’s chair aboard the first ever interstellar battleship. Zotz never expected to find himself accused of being a spy and terrorist at the centre of political skulduggery in London. The far-flung worlds of the five systems would never be the same again. Taranis, the dark priest of destiny, has returned.
Steph Bennion was born and bred in the Black Country, spent too many years in the big bad city that is London and now lives in Hastings, a very nice town by the seaside. Her books are written as a reaction to the dearth of alternative heroes amidst young adult bookshelves swamped by tales of the supernatural. For every aspiring vampire or wizard, she believes that the world needs an astrophysicist, an engineer, or at the very least someone who will one day work out how to make trains run on time.