Written in the Tradition of Odysseus – and – Women Who Are More Than Pretty
Several years ago I sat down to explore an idea. At the time I had no intention of publishing the book. I wasn't sure I could even finish a novel. It was the idea that compelled me; the question of what it would be like to investigate a murder of someone who looks just like you. What would it be like if an investigator was the subject of a serial killer's obsession?
I explored the idea, and because I wasn't thinking about marketing or genre expectations I made the heroine mixed race. I gave her dark skin, an optimistic outlook, a trusting nature, and an aversion to guns.
When I finished the book I realized I'd written a marketing failure. Sci-fi, sci-fi romance, and urban fantasy all have a strong tradition of physically strong female characters. It's rare for any book in these genres to have a character in the tradition of Odysseus, let alone a female character. Women carry guns and swords. They go toe to toe with the big bad, rescue their own d*** selves, and don't need a man's help to save the day.
My heroine, Sam Rose, was after the tradition of Odysseus, a thinker and a strategist.
When the book opens she's a trusting young woman working to build a career at the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation after a serious family incident almost derailed everything. She's fighting to keep her dream alive, but she's doing it politely, efficiently, and poorly because she's fumbling along the best she can. She's a young, naïve, sweet girl.
And that's what made THE DAY BEFORE a nerve-wracking book to share.
The romance subplot was much more subtle than in my other books, and the heroine much quieter than the other women I've written. I worried that no one would see the strength her silence enveloped. That no one would understand that while a sword-wielding woman was fascinating, one who could sit in silence and gain control was equally worthy of attention. Sam doesn't have flash. She isn't a character with bells and whistles attached. No magic swords, fast ships, swanky genetic engineering, or prophecies attached.
In fact, Sam is frighteningly average. She's your neighbor, your co-worker, your girlfriend... she's the kind of person dismissed every single day because she does her job without complaint.
I sent the first query for Sam's story out the same day I started writing another series. This time the heroine had magic and a sword. This time I was going to write a "proper" SFR/UF heroine. Someone who I could build a career on because I was certain THE DAY BEFORE would never get published.
But Sam's story sold.
Against all odds, a mixed race POC woman is the lead character in a sci-fi thriller. Because there is more than one kind of strong.
I love women with guns who kick butt and take names. Undoubtedly I will write many more books with women like that. But for women to gain equality in the genres we have to let women be more than physically strong. We need nurturers, leaders, thinkers, cowards, bakers, and dog walkers. We need women in fiction who represent every woman who may ever read a book.
We need women who are more than pretty.
I am so excited that this week you finally get to meet Sam Rose. The girl next door who is so much more than she thinks she is.
A body is found in the Alabama wilderness. The question is:
Is it a human corpse … or is it just a piece of discarded property?
Agent Samantha Rose has been exiled to a backwater assignment for the Commonwealth Bureau of Investigation, a death knell for her career. But then Sam catches a break—a murder—that could give her the boost she needs to get her life back on track. There's a snag, though: the body is a clone, and technically that means it's not a homicide. And yet, something about the body raises questions, not only for her, but for coroner Linsey Mackenzie.
The more they dig, the more they realize nothing about this case is what it seems … and for Sam, nothing about Mac is what it seems, either.
This case might be the way out for her, but that way could be in a bodybag.
A thrilling new mystery from Liana Brooks, The Day Before will have you looking over your shoulder and questioning what it means to be human.
Liana Brooks once read the book GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and noted that both their biographies invited readers to send money (or banana daiquiris). That seems to have worked well for them. Liana prefers strawberry daiquiris (virgin!) and will never say no to large amounts of cash in unmarked bills.
Her books are sweet and humorous with just enough edge to keep you reading past your bedtime.
Liana was born in San Diego after bouncing around the country she's settled (temporarily) in the great wilderness of Alaska. She can be found on Twitter (@LianaBrooks), on FaceBook, and on the web at www.lianabrooks.com.
Coming April 28th, 2015
Available for Pre-Order