Three months have passed since the events of The Star Host, and Ren is living aboard the Star Stream under the watchful eyes of the Phoenix Corps. Plagued by vivid nightmares that ravage the ship in his sleep, he struggles to prove he isn’t a threat and fears he has traded one captor for another. His relationship with Asher, whose efforts to balance his personal loyalty to Ren with his professional duties to the Corps are failing, fractures.
Adrift without an anchor, Ren must return to his home planet of Erden if he has any chance of reversing his dangerous descent into madness. There, he hopes search for his missing brother and salvage his relationship with Asher. What he nds is knowledge that puts everyone’s allegiance to the test.
Today we’re excited to welcome F.T. Lukens, author of Ghosts & Ashes on From Top to Bottom Reviews!
Hi FT, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hi! Thanks for having me. My current book, Ghosts & Ashes, is the second book in the Broken Moon series. This book continues the adventures of Ren and Asher and the rest of the Star Stream crew.
Describe your book to us.
Ghosts & Ashes is a sci-fi adventure story with a bisexual main character and a LGBTQ romance. There is a supporting cast of diverse characters. The story itself follows Ren, a technopath, who is experiencing a breakdown after the events in the first book and due to the fact that is power is uncontrolled. His relationship with Asher, which had given him stability in the first book, is a source for much of the turmoil. Between the two of them, and the supporting cast of characters, the book explores familial relationships and societal structures and the burdens of power.
Have you ever read something that made you think differently about your genre? Can you tell us what it was?
The awesome thing about speculative fiction and sci-fi is that each book has a unique vision of the world. Each work can change the perspective of what the genre looks like. Some of the works that have really stuck with me are actually two short stories. Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder made me look at time travel stories a different way. And it also influenced descriptions in my own works. LeGuin’s The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas messed me up to put it bluntly. If you want a devastating look at society and scapegoats, then read that one.
Tell us about your character’s family life?
Ren has an interesting family life to put it delicately. Ren has a mother, a stepfather, and a half-brother. Ren is protective of his half-brother and part of the reason he is on this adventure is because of his need to find him. Ren’s relationship with his mother is explored in this book because his family echoes a larger backstory of the planets and drifts.
Ren also has a found family in the crew of the Star Stream. He’s been with these individuals several months in the absence of his own family. He finds an older brother figure in Ollie and a sister in Rowan.
Compare yourself to your main character.
Ren and I have a few similar traits. But not many. I think the person who has the closest personality to mine is Rowan. She and I both are focused on our goals and protective of our families.
Describe your past week as a type of landscape or a weather forecast.
Well folks, we’ve seen some bizarre weather patterns this past week. On Monday, there was a consistent low layer of fog and a few wind gusts that led to dangerous conditions on the roads. Mid-week we saw stormy weather with occasional breaks in the clouds which led to spots of sunshine. Friday was absolutely gorgeous with moderate temperatures and sunshine that lasted past sunset.
“There you are!” Asher said, striding toward him, wrapping him in an embrace. “Stars, you’re freezing.” Asher rubbed Ren’s arms; his palms swept over the chilled skin. “Where have you been? You left and never came back. Jakob and I have been looking all over for you.”
Ren pitched forward, planted his face in Asher’s chest, and shook. The terror at being taken again mixed with the crushing truths from his parents overwhelmed him.
“Hey, hey, you’re okay.” Asher pulled Ren close. “What happened? Was it a dream? Sleepwalking?”
Ren stilled. Pressed close to Asher’s body, it would be easy to give into the urge to tell him everything, to spill the truth about what his parents had said about the Corps and the star hosts and the history his life was mired in. But his mother’s words lingered in the back of his mind, and Ren remembered how Asher had sided with VanMeerten so many times since the debacle on the drift. Asher was Phoenix Corps, through and through. His allegiance was split, torn between Ren and his duty as a soldier. And how much did he know? Was Asher aware that the first mission of the Corps was to hunt down the scattered remnants of the star hosts? Or did he only know what he had been told, like the rest of them?
(Click the graphic to enter)
Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Ghosts & Ashes // Five winners receive the mulit-format eBook
About the Author:
F.T. Lukens is an author of Young Adult ction who got her start by placing second out of ten thousand entries in a fan community writing contest. A sci- enthusiast, F.T. loves Star Trek and Fire y and is a longtime member of her college’s science- ction club. She holds degrees in Psychology and English Literature and has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and writing. F.T. lives in North Carolina with her husband, three kids, and three cats.
Her first novel in the Broken Moon series, The Star Host, was published by Duet Books in 2016.