Well, Shoot the Messenger technically released sooner than expected (Amazon was Speedy McSpeedster this time), but today is when paperbacks will go out and the author will officially announce it on her website. Here is the glorious cover:
That is Kesh Lasota on the cover, the series’ new protagonist. It’s a slow-burn sci-fi reverse harem fantasy! We were lucky enough to score another Q&A with Pippa DaCosta.
Q: What made you decide to dabble in the reverse harem genre?
A: Way back in 2013, when I was writing The Veil Series, I deliberately set out to challenge genre tropes, and one of those tropes in urban fantasy is the girl who must pick “her guy”. I’ll be honest, it annoyed me that the main character had to pick. I wanted her to have both, but I felt the readership wouldn’t react well to the heroine not choosing. I had already broken the rules of what was and wasn’t acceptable by having her sleep with (gasp) two men in the first book! I still get stick for that. Muse (the main character) is often seen by some as “sluttish” (Let’s not get into the double-standards of when a guy is fast and loose with his partners, it’s perfectly acceptable). I made the right call back then, but it’s always bugged me. Why should a strong female heroine have to choose one man?
Fast forward to 2017. I have an idea bubbling away in the background. I know I want to dive deeper into using “fae” mythology, but this time (I have another fae series set in London) I’m going to switch things up by setting this new series in the distant future. I’m going to surround fae beings (who we would normally associate with an organic setting) with technology. But c’mon, this is me, I’m known for doing things a little different, so I’m not going to stop there. I’m going to mash two genres together. Sci-fi and fantasy. And hell, lets go further. THIS time the girl gets to have her cake and eat it. She can have ALL THE CAKE. Kesh, the main character in Messenger, will not be choosing one guy. F*ck that. She’s strong, confident, as kick-ass as they come, and if she wants to entertain emotional and physical relations with more than two guys at once, she sure as hell is going to. And if there are more than three guys who think they can handle her and the harem dynamics, good for them.
I’m still not following tropes. The first book only features two guys—and without spoiling some MAJOR plot twists—let’s just say, Kesh isn’t the “normal” romantic heroine. She’s no damsel, and she’s definitely not in distress.
I’ve found reverse harem to be freeing and empowering. This new slant on romance takes everything we love about our kick-ass heroines, and makes them even more powerful. I love it.
Q: Who is your favorite character in the new series?
A: Kesh built herself a companion drone called Sota. He’s part tactical war drone and part personal assistant and all artificial intelligence. He also has a filthy sense of humor. Unfortunately, he gets stolen early on in the book, but his scenes bring a much-needed lighthearted element to Kesh’s story. Already fans are demanding more Sota. I’m working on it 😉
Q: How many books are planned for the Messenger Chronicles?
A: I’m planning at least five full-length novels and a short prequel. The Messenger world is vast and could easily be expanded into more works, but it really depends on how the first few books sell.
Q: Have you read any books lately you would recommend?
A: I loved the Unlikable Demon Hunter series by Deborah Wilde so much that I reached out to her and told her she’s awesome. There’s nothing better than authors fangirling over other authors. I have the new book in that series to read once the Messenger new release frenzy is over. I also enjoyed Jex Lane’s male/male Beautiful Monsters series so much that I read each book one after another and couldn’t stop. A proper binge. It was wonderful. I struggle to really fall into books (the curse of being an author with no off button for my internal editor) so when I do find a series that grabs me, I got nuts for it and fangirl all over the place. I have no shame.
Q: What inspires you the most these days?
A: Anything and everything. I’m a sponge. I soak up everything around me and turn it into stories. It might be something simple, like a bird landing on a branch and suddenly my imagination runs with it, turning that image into a uninhabited, barren, frozen landscape where that one bird is a sign of life. Or, I might be watching TV and think, holy shit, that’s how my main character gets out of the plot hole she’s fallen into. It’s a constant process that I can’t turn off. But I also can’t force it. If the ideas don’t want to come, I can’t make them. I’ve tried to force myself to write books that I think will work but after countless restarts, if the words don’t flow, it ain’t happening.
Inspiration also comes from the characters themselves. Once a world is established and the characters have populated it, I often just go with whatever crazy idea the characters have next. By the end of The Veil Series the characters practically wrote those books themselves, and likewise with The 1000 Revolution. It sometimes feels like I’m the conduit and I’ve no idea where the stories come from – they just do come. I’m a very organic writer. I have an idea, I have a rough outline, I have a beginning and an end, and that’s it. The rest just happens.
Q: How do you design your covers and who does them?
A: I’m a cover design nerd. I love book covers, the shinier the better. But good covers and good designers can be tough to find. I have several that I’ve worked with regularly over the years. Ravven and Rebecca Frank are my go-to professional designers. But I also go the risky route and check out designers on Artstation and DeviantArt. It’s not for the the feint-hearted. I’ve had designers be amazing and then disappear off the face of the planet. There’s a massive amount of risk and trust involved when hiring someone half the world away. But the results can be EPIC.
I found the Shoot the Messenger designer by accident on Pinterest. I was searching for pins to capture the Messenger world and stumbled across an amazing piece of art that kept drawing me back to it. I reached out to the artist, thinking there’s no way he’s going to be interested in working with lil’ ol’ me. Not only did he get back to me, but he completely understood my vision. Anytime someone starts referring to Final Fantasy CGI as a comparable, I’m totally on-board.
He’s now hard at work on Book 2 and producing some post-card sized character art that I’m hoping to give away at Boston Fantasy Festival. (If you haven’t seen the Boston Fantasy Festival details, check it out, Rebecca Frank will be there, along with a selected bunch of awesome authors, and me!).
Thank you for having me on the MacHalos blog today and I hope you enjoy Shoot the Messenger.
Pippa is also hosting a Messenger competition that includes a signed paperback, a bookmark, a $25 Amazon giftcard, and a poster! Enter HERE!
We are sooo excited about this new series and ANYTHING Pippa writes! Get your copy of Shoot the Messenger at Amazon. It’s only $0.99 and is also on Kindle Unlimited!
Pippa DaCosta’s Amazon page.
Q & A with Author Pippa DaCosta! (Our first Q&A with Pippa!)