Queen & Commander Blog Tour- Author Interview

The Author: Janine A Southard

Janine A. Southard writes and edits speculative fiction in between working on videogame projects. She's attended more than the average number of universities, which she claims is a FEATURE not a bug. ("Oxford educated, but Californian at heart;" she's also lived and traveled in Europe, the United States, and Japan.)
Currently, she lives in Seattle with a husband and a cat. The cat pretends to care about this.


I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I read. Therefore, I write. My first story that might have been remotely worth reading, I wrote in, oh, fifth grade. It was about elves.

As for writing narrative fiction professionally, I had my “validated as a real writer” moment when I got hired by a videogame company to write dialogue, lore, and short stories. (The game in question is Aion Online. I’ve worked on-and-off for them, as new expansions come out, for almost four years now.)

And once I was validated as a “real writer,” it was much easier to decide that I should pursue fiction full time. Admittedly, the recession made me decide faster—take the plunge as a fiction writer or find any job that would take me. I went for the thing that I love.

Queen & Commander (Hive Queen Saga #1)The Book: Queen & Commander

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On a world where high school test scores determine your future, six students rebel. They’ll outrun society as fast as their questionably obtained spaceship will take them.

Rhiannon doesn’t technically cheat the Test. She’s smarter than the computers that administer it, and she uses that to her advantage. She emerges from Test Day with the most prestigious future career possible: Hive Queen.

Gwyn & Victor are madly in love, but their Test results will tear them apart. Good thing Rhiannon is Gwyn’s best friend. Rhiannon can fix this. Queens can do anything.

Gavin is the wild card. Raised off-planet, he can’t wait to leave again… and he’s heard of an empty ship in orbit. The Ceridwen’s Cauldron.

Both Luciano and Alan fit in the system. They don’t need to leave. Only their devotion to Rhiannon spurs them to join the Cauldron’s crew.
Spaceships. Blackmail. Anywhere but here

Can you describe your protagonist Rhiannon in less than 140 characters?

Rhiannon is a clever teen who uses her analytical skills to outsmart the system, much to the benefit of her best friend.

(20 characters to spare!)

If you could encourage anyone to pick up Queen and Commander what would you say?

It’s a young adult space opera with an ensemble cast. You’ll love it! (If you like space opera or ensemble.)

Bookie Questions:

Favourite genre and why?

My favourite genre is space opera, that spaceship-filled sub-genre of science fiction. It’s so optimistic! No matter what horrible things might happen in the novels themselves (e.g., totalitarian governments, prolonged wars, unethical cloning), they presuppose that humanity has continued and prospered. Space opera assumes that our culture has made so much progress that of course we reached the stars!

Favourite YA author and why?

Most of my favourite YA authors are intended for the younger side. Gordon Korman, for instance, is always brilliant and usually comedic. Tamora Pierce has the most kick-ass teenage heroines. As for newer authors I’ve been reading recently: Ally Carter excels at cute and clever, and Maggie Stiefvater’s Ballad is a snarky modern fantasy steeped in music and faerie-lore.

Debut author/ upcoming author we should check out?

Maya Prasad. Her upcoming Sky Mahal is a YA cyberpunk adventure set in a near-future India. I’ve read bits and pieces (because we’re in the same writing critique group), and I’m so excited for when she gets a publishing date.

Visit her on the Web: http://www.mayaprasad.com/

A book series you love and why?

It’s not YA, but I love the Tour of the Merrimack series by R.M.Meluch. (First book The Myriad)


On the surface it’s purely a space war with space marines. (This, I admit, is already enough to pull me in. I try anything with space marines.) But I love how clever it is. For instance, “our heroes” are from the United States. They’re fighting against the mindless, hungry aliens. Right, nothing crazy there. But before they were fighting the aliens, they were also fighting Rome. Apparently, Rome-as-a-nation has been hiding since, oh, 500 A.D. Doctors, lawyers, scientists… they all still speak Latin even. So when humanity started forming space colonies, all the Romans-in-exile migrated to the same one and seceded.

Think about this for a second. Most of us from the Western world feel a kinship of cultural progression from ancient Rome. So, as an American reading The Myriad, I find myself torn. Do I identify with the Americans or the Romans? When they’re both fighting against the aliens, no problem. But when there’s American-Roman friction, whom should I root for?

I’m thrilled by that level of mind-twisting in what I thought was going to be a “space marines make the universe safer” kind of series.

Ebook available at most major online retailers. Paperback edition to be released in April 2013.

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