Lexy Wolfe’s new science fiction series features artificial intelligence, cyborgs and corporate greed set against the futuristic world of Evernight City, where the fight to survive is nearly as primal in its ruthlessness.
We talked with Lexy about the inspirations and characters in her new release, Ravenhawk, and how she creates her worlds using role playing and cyberpunk as her muse.
Fans of I, Robot by Issac Asimov, Necrotech by K.C. Alexander, and The Soldier by Neal Asher will enjoy this new science fiction cyberpunk series by Lexy Wolfe.
About the book: Why? The simple question asked by Ravenhawk, the creation of a corrupt corporation used to covertly infiltrate and steal data—or lives—at her creator’s orders resulted in the synth escaping their control. Unsure what her purpose for existence was, she nevertheless wielded her considerable combat abilities to cost those hunting her dearly.
Viktor Chernovich, in desperate need of a webrunner to keep his reputation as a fixer from utter destruction, reaches out to the infamous “murder-bot” to hire her. With embedded technology so ubiquitous that lacking it is considered treasonous, Ravenhawk is perplexed confronting her first pure human. Together, they discover something even more terrible than the insidious corruption of the world governments by corporations.
Where did the idea for Ravenhawk come from? The original concept for Ravenhawk was a being that was half silver dragon and half time/world traveler while I was still in high school. Not a Doctor Who type character, but I can’t rule out Number 4 didn’t influence me when I was a kid.
After I’d joined the Army, I was stationed out in Monterey to learn Russian and one of my classmates was an avid roleplay game master. He loved to try out all sorts of different systems and he had discovered one based on Cyberpunk. During one of our weekend gaming sessions, while he sat outside smoking during a break, I told him about a character concept I had, but not one that could have been rolled up during normal character creation due to the ‘humanity points’ limitation. The idea was the more body parts a person had replaced, the more of their humanity they lost until they reached a tipping point and went insane.
He was intrigued with the idea and let me create the character. My dice being the evil creatures that they are resulted in me always taking damage in the only soft points she had left. So the ‘fixer’ in our group decided to get me ‘body armored’ which resulted in a half of a humanity point to go with the half organic brain that remained. The novel-version has some significant changes from her original Cyberpunk gaming origins.
You are known as a fantasy author. What inspired you to begin a science fiction series? I admit, I have a love/hate relationship with science fiction. While I have loved sci-fi worlds like Buck Rogers (both the Buster Crabbe and Gil Gerard versions), Flash Gordon (both the Buster Crabbe and modern day movie), every monster and giant robot movie they aired on local channels in the 70s and 80s, Tron, Star Trek (all versions, TV series, novels, and all but the reboot movies), and Star Wars (I have feelings on the re-releases), I had terrible luck finding books I enjoyed. I like having happy endings, or at least things that aren’t downright depressing, and most of what was out there was…well, depressing. I began gravitating to fantasy series to read and when I met my future husband, I discovered someone who loved what I loved. Now and then, I’d write a Ravenhawk story, but never to publish, mostly to explore the character a little more.
My husband was my “instant gratification” for writing, as he would provide feedback in whatever I wrote, listened to my brainstorming, and helped me develop the fantasy worlds I’d created. When he passed away suddenly, it was very hard to even think about writing, and whenever I did, I ended up stuck in the second longest bout of writer’s block I ever had. (The longest was about 10 years from my first attempt to publish Doom and the Warrior until The Raging One was written and published.)
I decided to revisit my old character who had little ties to remind me of my husband and my muse took off like a bird being set free and made up for lost time. Within a little over one year, I had three Ravenhawk stories and a sequel to Doom and the Warrior finished.
If you could be any character in Ravenhawk, who would it be and why? Definitely Ravenhawk. Reasons? One, being a webrunner could be pretty awesome, being able to shape the world with your thoughts and doing things without being limited by physical frailties. Two, Ravenhawk doesn’t put up with anyone’s BS and I love her for it.
What was your approach when creating the world for the series? I do a lot of “vicarious gaming,” which is watching others play through various games, such as the Halo and Fall Out series, in addition to playing some of my own. Two sci-fi games I’ve played most extensively are Warframe and Mass Effect. I used those settings to imagine what my characters see/the environment they live in. I also observe any futuristic setting in movies and elements that appear in those often flavor whatever appears in my own world. I’m rather dependent on visual elements for science fiction, so graphic media has been my lifeline. Once I see a thing, I usually have the concept and words to describe it in a non-pedantic manner.
Do you create an outline before beginning a new story concept or just start writing and see where the characters take you? Mostly, I just watch my characters and write the incident report of whatever they do. I suppose there is a sort of outlining done, but it’s all in the back of my head. I’ve discovered that when I reach the end of that thought process, I must stop writing and let my muse ponder more things. She sometimes shares with me, other times, I have to wait until I’m back to writing. Most of my writing inspiration has been due to me really wanting to visit my characters and their worlds and see what’s going on.
What authors have influenced you the most? Anne McCaffery, because it was her book Dragonsinger that I chose when my English teacher let us pick our own book for a book report. Steven Brust, because he actually gave me the best piece of writing advice that got me writing to the point of publishing. Shakespeare, because the Bard himself was just amazing and I like to make up my own words, too. Sun Tzu because in just a few words, he could impart so much to think about, and I try to emulate both the concise and heartfelt nature of his wisdom.
What is your favorite book of all time? Oh, goodness, just one? I would have to say Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffery simply because it was the pebble that started the avalanche of my love for reading and later writing.
What advice would you give to new authors just starting out? Write the stories you want to read. If you are inspired, it will show. Publishing is secondary to the story itself.
There are three types of writing rules—the ones that must be followed, the ones that should only be broken for good reason, and the ones that others made up to get in the way.
The rules that MUST be followed are generally basic grammar because if you stray too far, your readers won’t understand what you are trying to say.
The rules that should only be broken for good reason are more story pacing and structure oriented. Paraphrasing the words of Dr. Ian Malcom, don’t do things just because you can, think whether or not you should.
The rules that others made up to get in the way are the “how to write” rules, and were the root cause of 10 years of writer’s block. I let myself get hung up on “having” to write so many words a day (and when I’d fail, stopping altogether.) I got hung up on “having” to write an outline before writing the story (and thinking whatever I wrote sounded stupid and stopping altogether). I even got hung up on trying to figure out what the “right” number of words were for a chapter, for a book, for a paragraph…and worrying I would somehow get in trouble for “not writing right.” These are not rules, they are guidelines. Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines.
What is your current work-in-progress? My current work-in-progress is a story I did not expect. I had long had concepts for the continuing stories for Doom and the Warrior, but they were more titles and fuzzy thoughts. After finishing Chance Encounter, (second book for Doom and the Warrior), I discovered that I needed a book between it and the one I’d planned to begin.
Tell us about the next book in this series. Bishop to Queen reveals some of the background of Ravenhawk’s human friend Viktor and what made him be the man who could befriend a newly aware artificial intelligence and convince others to trust her. It also explores more of Ravenhawk’s inner conflicts with how to fit into the human world she must live in. She wants to be more than the mindless tool her creators had intended her to be, but humans are prone to lashing out at things they do not understand and fear would be a danger to their own survival.
Read an Extended Preview of Ravenhawk:
Praise for Ravenhawk:
“Wolfe has written a spell binding masterpiece. It’s a believable tale about a cyborg future we could easily go towards. I enjoyed the characters and the plot development. I look forward to the sequel.” — Anthony Philo, NetGalley Reviewer
Available Formats & Purchasing Information
Hardcover, 978-1-64397-023-3, $24.95
Trade Softcover, 978-1-64397-024-0, $14.95
Ebook, 978-1-64397-025-7, $7.99
Available at Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Books-A-Million, Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, and other fine retailers. Visit our website for more purchasing options, including ordering direct from our online store in hardcover or softcover.
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About the author:
Lexy Wolfe is a fantasy and science fiction author from Lebanon, PA. Her previously published works are Doom and the Warrior and the five-book series The Sundered Lands Saga. After many years focusing on fantasy worlds, a writing drought was relieved after delving into a futuristic, alternative Earth where Ravenhawk was spawned. She is currently working on the continuing story in the world of Ravenhawk.