Guest Post: “Real Phony” by K.R. Richardson + International Giveaway of Blood Orbit!
***The giveaway is now over, thanks to everyone who entered!***
Today the BiblioSanctum is pleased to welcome K. R. Richardson who is the author of Blood Orbit, the first in a new science fiction police procedural series featuring a pair of savvy cops who use cybernetic implants and other cool tech to solve murder cases. We’re so thrilled to have the author join us today with a guest post giving some insight into the book’s fascinating characters, and we hope you’ll check it out! Blood Orbit is being published by Pyr Books and is now available wherever books are sold, so be sure to take a look. As well, we have an exciting giveaway for the novel, open internationally, so everyone can join the fun! Stick around for details at the end of this post!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Eric Matheson, an idealistic rookie cop trying to break from his powerful family, is plunged into the investigation of a brutal crime in his first weeks on the job in Angra Dastrelas, the corrupt capital city of the corporate-owned planet Gattis. A newcomer to the planet, Matheson is unaware of the danger he’s courting when he’s promoted in the field to assist the controversial Chief Investigating Forensic Officer, Inspector J. P. Dillal, the planet’s first cybernetically enhanced investigator. Coming from a despised ethnic underclass, the brilliant and secretive Dillal seems determined to unravel the crime regardless of the consequences. The deeper they dig, the more dangerous the investigation becomes. But in a system where the cops enforce corporate will, instead of the law, the solution could expose Gattis’s most shocking secrets and cost thousands of lives–including Matheson’s and Dillal’s.
by K.R. Richardson
“She’s a phony. But she’s a real phony. You know why? Because she honestly believes all this phony junk that she believes.” — Martin Balsam as “O.J. Berman” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Writers are liars: we make shit up and “sell” it to readers. But in making it up, we’re striving to make our stories feel as real as possible, sometimes to tell a truth by using a carefully constructed and believable lie—a real phony. It’s tricky, because real life is full of boring bits, coincidence, and things that make no damned sense at all, but if we write those, readers don’t buy in. Fiction has to adhere to a consistent internal logic, it has to move along at a nice clip, and it has to satisfy in ways real life just doesn’t. In making up worlds, creatures, characters, plots, and so on, we need to create those real phonies.
In the case of characters, they need, like Holly Golightly, to believe their improbabilities, to be solidly rooted in their internal inconsistencies as well as their internal and external conflicts. Rocket from The Guardians of the Galaxy wouldn’t work if he didn’t own the improbability of a three-foot-six-inch, upright-walking, talking raccoon with the insanity and inner fury to tote a bazooka around in his coat—you’d be pissed off too. His in-your-face attitude about it hides his confusion and misery, and allows him to be more than the trope of “cute talking animal.” He has logic (however whacked-out). He has conflict. He has drive. He is consistent in his inconsistency and he is believable because his actions persuade us that he is complete, and honestly believes every violent, crazy action he takes is utterly logical and necessary; even when he’s putting one over on someone, he feels it had to be done. Also, he talks to trees—mostly in four-letter words—because in the mind of an angry, uplifted raccoon, Groot makes perfect sense.
Frank Herbert persuaded readers that a dangerous desert planet had a resource even more precious than scarce water: Spice, a mysterious substance with strange powers that was guarded by vicious worms that had a strange relationship to the spice they guarded and the people who lived closest to it. Herbert’s world was internally logical and consistent even in its inconsistency (at least for the first book or two) and when readers discovered the real nature and origin of Spice, they may have been a bit disgusted, but they believed in the truth of it and the universe it fueled. The implied nature of people, their relationships to their world and to the numinous aspects of their societies was consistent, and presented with logic and belief tempered with conflict (inner and outer.) It wasn’t simply handed to the reader with the note that they must believe it; belief was built by character action and thought as well as the physical evidence of Dune’s universe. They believed, and so, we believed.
When the writer or the characters don’t really believe all the “phony junk” required to convince the reader that the author’s world and premise are possible, they go too far to convince. The world or the character doesn’t speak clearly and convincingly for itself, but explains too much, hedges too much, and hopes that a plethora of clever verbiage will distract from the underlying shabbiness.
I’m not saying, it’s all right to be sloppy about your characters or world building. But I am saying, “the perfect is the enemy of believability.” Embrace the flawed, the messy, the quirky, and, occasionally, the outright bizarre. Balance it, use it, let it color the facts of your story, characters, and world into believable truths, those real phonies that make the story deeper, more resonate, and more full of wonder.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
K.R. Richardson is the pseudonym of a bestselling Washington-based writer and editor of Science Fiction, Crime, Mystery, and Fantasy. A former journalist with publications on topics from technology, software, and security, to history, health, and precious metals, Richardson is also a lifelong fan of crime and mystery fiction, and films noir. When not writing or researching, the author may be found loafing about with dogs, riding motorcycles, shooting, or dabbling with paper automata.
Blood Orbit Giveaway
We hope this has piqued your interest in Blood Orbit by K.R. Richardson, and if so, you’re in luck! With thanks to awesome folks at Pyr Books, The BiblioSanctum is pleased to be hosting this amazing giveaway opportunity which is open internationally, so come one come all! To enter for a chance to win one of three print copies of the paperback up for grabs, all you have to do is send an email to email@example.com with your Name and valid Mailing Address using the subject line “BLOOD ORBIT” by 11:59pm Eastern time on Thursday, May 17, 2018 and we’ll take care of the rest.
Only one entry per household, please. The winners will be randomly selected when the giveaway ends and then be notified by email. All information will only be used for the purposes of contacting the winner and sending them their prize. Once the giveaway ends, all entry emails will be deleted.
So what are you waiting for? Enter to win! Good luck!