I’m excited to join in the blog tour for Lauren H. Salisbury’s new book “Discernment”! Though I have yet to read the other books in this science fiction series, I already know that Lauren is a fantastic author. In fact, her story “” was one of the highlights of our “A Whitstead Christmastide” – hilarious and a little touching.
So, of course I jumped at the chance to interview her about the latest book in her series, “The Legacy Chronicles”.
Without further ado…
Me: What was the primary inspiration for this book? I know it’s inspired by biblical figures, but what drew you to them? And were there any other inspirations?
Lauren: As with all the women in the life of Moses, there’s little written in the Bible about Zipporah on which to build a story. But there are clues, and I like what they suggest about her character.
I like that she and her sisters forgot or were too caught up in the moment to invite Moses home, and that they had to go back for him. I like that she went with him when he returned to Egypt and that her quick action saved his life. I chose to write her as a feisty, confident person—probably because I spent much of my life being the opposite.
The rest of the story was inspired by my own experiences of figuring out who I want to be, and what I enjoy most about science fiction settings. I involved my nieces in the worldbuilding and was given some interesting challenges to work with, but I also included things I love and could adapt to an alien world—like pirates and dragons. 😉
Me: How does this book fit in with the others in the series?
Lauren: Discernment is the third instalment of The Legacy Chronicles. It takes Mahsan away from everything he knows and forces him to start again, to re-evaluate how he sees the Empire and his place in it. The circumstances of his birth are no longer an issue, and he must decide who he will be as an adult responsible for his own well-being and happiness.
Although the series follows the events in Mahsan’s life, each one tells his story through the lens of the main female character involved. In this case, that is Jiya.
She is a new character, part of a vastly different culture to anything I’ve written before. She has unique issues to deal with—a repressive society and the dynamics of a huge family—but there is a common thread tying her to the women in books 1 and 2. They each show bravery in their own way as they face their fears and overcome the obstacles in their path.
Me: Tell us a little about the worldbuilding. Alien cultures, history, technology, etc.
Lauren: Terabu is a combination of all the things I love—fresh Middle Eastern style food, a rich, vibrant culture built on the principles of hospitality and friendship, busy trade and bustling markets, a slow pace of life elsewhere, and many layers to explore.
The futuristic technology is used to make life easier rather than drown out what’s important. It has fixers and sliders, comm units and multi-tools, but the character relationships always take centre stage.
Terabu has a range of fun animals and plants. Creatures that look like chickens with tentacles and an aloe-like plant with intoxicating black sap came from my young nieces. The killer sloths (graxylan), wingless dragons (duntratha), and six-legged woolly cattle (burrons) are all on me.
I also included some secrets to uncover regarding the ten clans and their way of life. Ulundec in particular is not what off-worlders think it is.
Me: How do you hope this book leaves the reader? Inspired? Excited? In love?
Lauren: I hope this book will leave readers encouraged and satisfied, with their hearts warmed. For those struggling with the issues it raises, I want them to realise that they are not alone.
Me: Do you have a favorite scene, or just one that stands out for you?
Lauren: Um, no? I try to find something exciting or interesting about every scene before I write it. That one thing that will keep me going because I want to see it come alive on the page. So I don’t really have favourites.
I enjoyed writing about Mahsan and the graxyl, and the initial awkwardness between him and Jiya, and the banter between her and her sisters. I’ll stop there. 😉
Me: As an author, what is your favorite kind of thing to write? Conversations, descriptions, action scenes, comedy, romantic moments, etc.?
Lauren: I love finding ways to include bits of worldbuilding in my writing. I used to dump it all in at the start of a scene, but I integrate it more now, and I get a kick out of weaving details in naturally. That said, my husband swears I’m at my best when writing action scenes, so maybe deep down, I enjoy those more.
Me: Just for the fun of it: One of your characters is coming over for the afternoon. Who is it? What refreshments would you serve? What would you talk about?
Lauren: The doorbell rings and I jump up to answer it. There, standing before me on the doorstep is Zeb, one of the characters from my latest novel, Discernment. I usher him inside, jaw dangling as I struggle to comprehend how he is here.
“Would you like some…” I wrack my brain for what drinks we have in the house and settle on “tea?”
He stares at me, a little vee forming between his brows, and I realise he has no idea what tea is. “Um, it’s like chaa,” I add.
“Ah, thanks. Have you got anything to eat as well? I’m starving.”
He follows me into the living room and perches on the edge of the sofa while I dash to the kitchen and throw some scones into the oven. Thank goodness I felt like baking yesterday.
“What am I doing here?” he asks a short while later as he bites into a warm scone with jam and cream.
“I have no idea. You’re supposed to be fictional.”
He licks his fingers and mops up the crumbs on his plate, eyeing the remaining scones on the tray. I gesture for him to help himself to another and receive a grin as he does so. He pops the top half into his mouth whole and gazes around the room. “Maybe this is a dream, and I’ll wake up back on Terabu any minute now.”
“And I’ll wake up in the hospital,” I mutter under my breath. Then an idea strikes, and I look up, a smile pulling at one side of my mouth. “While you’re here, would you mind me asking a few questions?”
He shrugs. “Sure. Go ahead.”
I pick up my notepad and pen. “What happened after Jiya left?”
In Jiya’s world, the only choice a woman has is who she will marry. When she meets a mysterious off-worlder, she must decide how far she is willing to push the boundaries of Teraburan culture to gain her freedom, and whether that is truly what she wants.
Mahsan has never been accepted for who he is. The sole human raised on an Esarelian cruiser, his attempts to belong led only to disaster and him becoming a fugitive. When he is invited into the home of a Teraburan clan leader, he finds a place where he could finally put down roots. But his past haunts him, and he will need to make peace with it if he wants any kind of future in his new home.
Not everyone approves of Jiya and Mahsan’s friendship, and some will stop at nothing to keep them apart. As the unlikely pair discover their true calling, they will have to confront everything they thought they knew and learn to see themselves as they never have before.
Doesn’t that sound amazing?!
I can’t wait to read this series, and I think I’m most looking forward to meeting Jiya. How about you?
7. whatAre you here for the giveaway? Look no further! The number 7 and the word “what” are here
Discernment – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093WWJ5HY
Universal link – mybook.to/Discernment
Series page (US) – https://www.amazon.com/gp/kindle/series/B07QGK7TZY
Website – https://www.laurenhsalisbury.com