Today author D.K. ffrench is here talking about his new release L’Wren, Hawk and The Doves.
Five facts about L’Wren, Hawk And The Doves….
So, one each and a spare (because there are two Doves)
1 – L’Wren came to me first just as a name, sadly triggered by the death of Mick Jagger’s girlfriend (or ‘squeeze’ as the tabloid press might have it).
I’d always had mixed feeling about the name, thinking it a bit affected or even totally made up but it seems to be a genuinely acceptable version of Lauren, the feminine of Lawrence, both of which derive from the Latin word for a bay tree. Ceasar wore a crown of laurel leaves, so it goes back a looong way.
Bay leaves are green, of course, so L’Wren had to be green too didn’t she?
There it was then, a blank page with the name of a green girl on it…
2 – Hawk then swooped in – well, he would swoop wouldn’t he? At first there was a chance that Hawk would just be L’Wren’s surname but pretty quickly Hawk had ideas about being an entirely separate character all of his own. He was plainly in some sort of juxtaposition to L’Wren based just on his name alone – a wren being a tiny songbird, small, and brown whereas a hawk is a big fearsome, noble thing.
Opposites attract though, so I went with a bit of gender stereotyping. L’Wren stayed female while Hawk became very male.
And the most male thing a boy can do is… be a starship captain! Then he gained the first name Saker, which is an Arabic word meaning falcon.
You could argue that his name translates as Hawk Hawk? But I’d get upset if you did.
3 and 4 – The Doves crept into the title in the same way as I like to imagine the wardrobe crept into C.S Lewis’ thoughts.
Already having two very different birds flapping about in my head and plot I realised that there were some more to flock along. The conflict aspect that sprang to mind of having a hawk and a wren seemed to be calling out for a peaceful resolution… hence doves were required. However, I shifted the conflict to a different planet and decided that my doves would also be from another world. Their role then grew until they were interplanetary peace-keepers, flying in to resolve a conflict that had proved all but impossible to deal with.
I needed to hint at some ambiguity about them, they are mysterious and secretive, so their names were a long time in the research. In fact all the names in the book were researched in some depth. I wanted an otherworldly feel to names of both places and people, and to use language that reflected not only different cultures but also highlighted the gender aspects of the plot.
So my doves became Anchises and Cytheria, names from classical Greek mythology linked to each other. The planet they came from had to reflect their status as peacekeepers, as doves, and it became Turacoena. Well, it had to…
So…. 5 – what’s it all bout? Well, it’s really just a standard boy meets girl who both meet boy and girl who might be girl and boy while boys and girls fight it out over boys being boys and girls being girls thing…. in space.
Well, maybe – I wanted to challenge preconceptions about a number of things. Science fiction itself, for starters. Captain Kirk trekked through the stars on his five year mission to seek out new life and new civilisations and boldly have romantic liaisons every week with aliens who, while some of them might be green, were always scantily clad and totally, totally unambiguously female and heterosexual. There was never any doubt about gender or sexual orientation.
Had he never read ‘The Left Hand Of Darkness’ by Ursula Le Guin? Well I have, and he should too.
It’s a bit of a daft idea that gender and sexuality are a social constant across the universe so my two worlds in L’Wren, Hawk and the Doves have totally different views on the subject. I’ll let you read the book to find out what the twist on the Dove’s home planet of Turacoena is (no spoilers here) but the war, on the planet Ourania, that the doves are seeking to bring an end to is all about gender.
Ourania is a planet divided by gender, with rigid social and geographical structures in place. Gender is everything yet sexuality, because of this, is flexible. Within their respective social and geographical confines homosexuality is the norm and outside heterosexuality is expected. It makes total sense on Ourania, trust me.
Into the mix comes the relationship between L’Wren and Hawk. They each have a past, and a future, and the Doves, with their innate empathy, bring challenges that neither of them expects.
And the Doves themselves have to confront the emotional feedback and physical demands of dealing not only with the heightened atmosphere around L’Wren and Hawk but with their own past and the secret they have to keep.
Captain Saker Hawkings and First Mate L’Wren James agree to keep the mission and passion separate, but with two beautiful alien empaths onboard, it’s not only planetary peace negotiations that are in danger of breaking down.
L’Wren James and Saker Hawkings know that there’s no room on a starship for a captain and first mate to indulge their passion during a dangerous peace mission. The fragility of the cease-fire in the gender war on the divided planet Ourania threatens the stability of subspace shipping lanes, and the starship Sulaco‘s mission is to get the negotiating team there and deliver them safely back.
When they take onboard Anchises and Cytheria, mysterious empath negotiators from the secretive world of Turaceona, they find their commitment to duty and to each other a struggle to maintain in the sexually heightened and emotionally charged atmosphere.
But Anchises’s and Cytheria’s struggle to keep their secret and the loss they cannot speak of hidden leaves one dangerously injured and the other missing in action. Only the truth about the man he is and the woman she is can save them.
Can Hawk and L’Wren face up to the challenges of duty, passion, and sexuality and still save not only their relationship but the peace process itself?
The silence of the inner tent greeted her ears as her eyes grew accustomed to the subdued lighting, again from candles and lamps but in here even softer. The air was suffused with a heady mix of fragrances from discrete oil burners—jasmine, an undertone of a muskier, more sensual smell, akin to sandalwood, and a hint of being in a deep forest, of leaves and mosses.
“Cytheria of Turacoena, welcome. I am Sarkare Khanome.” From the shadows, a woman, not so tall as the guards but matching Cytheria in height, emerged. Her silver-white hair flowed free over her shoulders. Her eyes were a striking blue, as bright as a sunlit, clear summer sky. She was older than the guards, but her body was young and fit with lean, taut muscles. Only the lines around her eyes spoke of anything other than youth and power. Her long, softly flowing robe in a myriad shades of blue celebrated the same figures and scenes from the tunnel friezes and the outer tent. Her confidence hit Cytheria like a wave crashing on the shore but one that broke over her rather than crushing her. It was followed by a depth of compassion and caring that almost brought tears to Cytheria’s eyes. There was fear as well, but not borne of doubt. A fear that was aware of itself and knew its boundaries.
Then it hit her—the intense depth and power of sexual allure and hunger that all but defeated Cytheria’s self-control. Her pussy reacted suddenly, getting wet and even hotter. Her clit almost throbbed with an ache to be touched. Her breath was suddenly rapid and shallow. She’d learned that this might happen from the briefing on Halo Five and from her extensive reading of Ouranian culture. The Naranari bonded and shared sexually as a way of formalizing their status. She had to play this situation correctly or her credibility, and hence her bargaining position in the peace talks, would suffer, or worse, be blown out of the water altogether.
“I greet you, Sarkare Khanome, from my mother to your mother, sister to sister,” she managed to get out.
Sarkare Khanome smiled and nodded. She walked around Cytheria and looked her up and down. She came back to face Cytheria and stroked her hands over her hair then held her chin in her long, slim fingers. Cytheria knew, like a physical presence, that this woman was sexually in charge and was used to being in total control of those around her.
I am Cytheria.
“And you are here to help us, sister, to aid our struggle against those…animals.”
It wasn’t a question. Cytheria’s pussy was wet and clenching, her clit almost buzzing. If she could just touch it, she’d come in a second.
I am not you.
D.K. ffrench –
Lost in space, yet still boldly going, D.K. ffrench returned from the forbidden planet a long, long time ago to live a quiet life in a small town called London.
The minimal research he’d done lead him to the conclusion that his identity would best be protected if he masqueraded as a business analyst by day and a writer and musician by night and at weekends.
Available for musical soirees at the drop of a hat, he writes steamy SF romances on a MacBook Air and plays a Gibson Les Paul too loudly while he waits for a set of replacement dilythium crystals for the broken warp core on his ship.
Buy the book –