Today, author Fiona Lehn is guesting. She’s here to talk about her current release Lift-Off, a science fiction romance. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Fiona on which of her books she can you imagine made into a film:
This novella, Lift-Off!
Fiona on her cast of characters for the film:
I originally wrote this story as a screenplay, with the intention of getting it made into a film. But I kept tinkering with it, adding more detail and fleshing characters out, and it eventually became a novella instead.
- Tatiana Maslany as Captain Roche
- Lana Condor as Kandy
- Willem Dafoe as Saph Diamond
- Nichelle Nichols as Gma
- Joe Keery as Starski
- Christine Adams as the Methane Maven
- Eris Baker as Nell the genius
- Manny Jacinto as Zoom
- Natalia Coronado and Sonny Bustamante as The Twins
Fiona on coming up with the names of the characters:
I usually do research into the meanings of names and select something that is relevant to the character’s journey and/or themes. For example, Zoom is so named because he is a photographer. Zig Powie is a mash-up of Iggy Pop and David Bowie. Nell Bondar, the young genius scientist, is named after Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first woman astronaut. Bondar also is a Ukrainian name meaning “one who makes barrels”, and that fits with Nell’s barrel-shaped “Keg Colony” invention as well. Carla’s name means free woman, and her character reflects that meaning. And Starski and Estelle were given names that mean, or play on the word “star”, simply because those characters tend to be starry-eyed, (and this is a space story, after all :).
Fiona on coming up with the book’s title:
Originally I wanted to call the novella All Aboard! because the story is about all these people trying to get what they want, and several of them want to get on the spaceliner before it launches. But then I realized that everything revolves around the spaceliner launch, the entire book counts down to that one moment when the spaceliner lifts off from Earth, so Lift-Off was the natural title all along.
Fiona on what inspired her to write Lift-Off:
A lot of things inspired and shaped this story. The very first glimmer came to me in the late 1970s, when I saw a movie called Thank God It’s Friday, in which multiple storylines were linked, or interwoven, around a central event, and each storyline was told from a different character’s point of view. I loved that episodic, multiple-perspective format and always had it in the back of my mind to write a story like that someday. As I grew older, I saw this format more and more–in books like Game of Thrones, and in rom-coms, like Love, Actually–and at that time–this was probably 2008 or so–I was following the work of SpaceX and Branson’s Virgin Galactic dreams, listening to Train’s song, “Drops of Jupiter”, a lot of Muse’s work, and Brian May’s song “ ’39 ”. I was inspired by these works and thinking how our human curiosity about space could unite people around the globe, or could cause division. It all was percolating in my mind, until I was ready to accept the challenge.
I set out to write a near-future, space adventure tale–a tale that was romantic, heart-warming, and inspirational. A tale that encouraged people to dream big and work towards their dreams. The main premise–a spaceliner launch with free tickets that everyone is madly searching for–came out of all that (and a fond childhood memory of people frantically ripping open chocolate bars caused me to pay an homage to Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as well).
Such was the inception of Lift-Off! And I’m so glad it’s out in the world to inspire and entertain people. We all need stories that will remind and dare us to dream.
Author: Fiona Lehn
Genre: Romantic Science Fiction
Blurb: The world’s first tourist space cruise launches from the International Spaceport in White Rock, British Columbia, on New Year’s Eve. One hundred free cruise tickets are hidden all over North America. You have three days left to find one. Would you…
Break and enter? Risk a billion-dollar inheritance? Betray the love of your life?
It’s a random universe. While millions around the globe celebrate the Quicksilver spaceliner’s impending launch, a handful of our heroes struggle to achieve their stellar dreams.
One of them is a methane heiress desperate for a free ticket. Another is a newscaster digging for a killer scoop. And another is a veteran astronaut who’s never been in space.
There are more. Tween twins attempt a secret mission, a star is almost born, and everyone is trying to get to the launch before the Quicksilver—you know—launches.
A lot can happen in a random universe. Do-gooders become saboteurs, cowards muster courage, and loners find love. Who will crash and who will soar? The clock is counting down to one moment that will change everything: Lift-Off!
**Special Sale! Get Lift-Off for 35% off Dec 1st – 31st at DevineDestinies !!**
“Dammit!” Zoom leafed through the tech modules hanging from his belt and cranked up the compression ratio on Kembly’s handheld. “Kembly.” Zoom spoke into the microphone that connected to her earcomm, “Kembly, if Mercury eats any more of that mic, the audio will distort and Station Manager will reassign us to Cartoon Hour. Back him off!”
Up on the News10 location stage, several yards from where Zoom stood with camera rolling, Kembly inched her handheld away from Mercury. “Subtle,” Zoom said. “Nice work.”
Unfortunately, Mercury’s mouth followed. “Others maintain that space is a pipe dream, future music, abandonment of the home world, or a financial black hole.”
Zoom cursed and re-adjusted the compressor settings. Though lacking in mic technique, the guy sure knew how to work a crowd. Kandy Kembly, a veteran newscaster who could command the undivided attention of a two-year-old for hours, had dwindled to mere eye candy in this interview, while Mercury posed, poised like a superhero on the News10 stage—hands on hips, chin raised, gaze sweeping the sky above Semiahmoo Bay. His shoulder muscles rippled under the thin fabric of his t-shirt—who wore a t-shirt in December in Canada? And it was at least two sizes too small, probably on purpose. “All this guy needs is a cape,” Zoom muttered. “I’ll be wiping blobs of charisma off Kembly’s handheld for days after this.”
“Cut to aerial,” the station crew chief’s voice crackled in Zoom’s earcomm, “in three, two, one.” The station crew cut from Zoom’s live feed to the News10 drone-cam hovering above him, bird’s-eyeing the audience and the stage at the north end of the pier, or what used to be a pier. Widened, reinforced, and extended, the hundred-year-old promenade now served as the primary thoroughfare from the mainland to the International Spaceport nearly three miles offshore.
The drone skittered fifteen-hundred feet south along the old structure to the point where the pier extension jutted southwest and the no-fly zone began. It then veered to the western rim of the bay and lingered there, buffeted by the wind coming off the Georgia Straight, vying for a clear distance shot of the spaceport’s bulbous domes and flat launch pads, which never failed to remind Zoom of a giant water hyacinth.
“Some see romance in the stars,” Mercury said, as voice-over. “Some see a welcome release.”
When the station crew cut back to Zoom’s live feed, he was capturing Mercury’s chiseled cheekbones and sun-burnished visage in a tight close-up. Slowly, Zoom widened the frame until it again included Kembly and a background of cerulean sky.
“I say venturing into space is the greatest manifestation of the human spirit yet, and I can prove it.” Mercury stamped his foot dramatically, and the portable stage shuddered. “I will prove it—in three days, at midnight UTC, on New Year’s Eve!”
“We’re about out of time,” said Kembly, regaining control of the handheld. “Could you briefly tell us why you decided to launch that day?”
“Love to.” Mercury smiled. “The New Year has long symbolized rebirth, a chance to start again, to live a better life. My space cruise leads us into a new, enriched era of unification, here on Earth and in our entire universe.”
Fans cheered and pressed against the temporary fencing at the foot of the stage.
“Thank you for your time today, Mr. Mercury,” Kembly said. “You must be incredibly busy, preparing for the imminent launch of the Quicksilver.”
“Yes, I’m universally occupied, you could say, ha ha!”
“Aces. Wrap it up.” Zoom directed via her earcomm. “I’m panning away in ten.”
When Kembly reached out to shake, Mercury tugged her glove off, bowed, and brushed a kiss across the back of her hand, all in one fluid movement. He was some smooth operator.
“My, you’re gracious,” Kembly said. “It’s been a pleasure. Let’s hear it for Mr. Herm Mercury, everyone—CEO and founder of Mercury Spaceliner corp, and the genius behind what is going to be the first tourist space cruise in history! Mercury Spaceliner corp—stellar tours of the future, today.”
Little is known about reclusive writer Fiona Lehn, but legends abound. Some claim she emerged from her mother’s womb singing “We Are the Champions,” a half-written story clenched in her angry fists. Many believe she is serving life without parole for leading an Ottawa sit-in demanding that cloudberries be made one of the four food groups. Others tell that Lehn daily frolics with Sasquatch in glacier-fed slipstreams. Still more assert that Lehn will only answer to “Hermit FiFi” and wields a bedazzled staff like a weapon, fending off house-size mosquitoes and meteorites with a single blow.
All we really know is this: Lehn lives in Canada, has ME/CFS, and lovingly serves a Feline in perpetuity. Her songs have earned the praise of Billboard magazine, and she is a Writers of the Future winner. Visit fb.me/FiFiHermitage.
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