Today, I have author D’Arcy Arden in the interview chair. We’re discussing her latest series release The Valence Chronicles, a m/m sci-fi romance.
1. Hello, D’Arcy. Everyone knows about the writer you. But what about the everyday you. Can you share about your personal life?
D’Arcy: Something most people don’t realize about me is that I’m asexual. So my social life only includes a small circle of family and friends. I’m also perfectly happy spending time by myself, and I enjoy making art (both writing and visual art) and hitting the gym to train for competitive weightlifting (my first competition is coming up soon. Wish me luck!).
2. Before I ask about the novel, I see you are drawn to menage and sci-fi romance. Why write stories with these two elements in them?
D’Arcy: I’ve always loved sci-fi and fantasy, even as a kid. So, when I decided to start writing erotica, I just took the type of stories I was already writing and added sex scenes to them. Besides, there is nothing that can’t be improved by adding spaceships to it.
As for the menage. It wasn’t originally my plan to write an erotic novel with a polyamorous relationship. However, when I was coming up with the characters I had a few different ideas and couldn’t choose between them. Eventually, I decided “why not have all of them” and so the ‘menage a quatre’ was born.
3. I read the blurb for both books. Where did the idea come from that inspired you to create The Valence Chronicles?
D’Arcy: I’ve had the idea for décor (a person who is also artwork) for a while and wanted to incorporate it into a story. Everything stemmed from there. What type of society would produce décor? What kind of person would become décor? How would the concept of décor be enforced, and what would that enforcement do if something didn’t meet their expectations? Asking myself questions like this helped me build the backbone of this story.
4. Let’s talk about the main characters. What do you love most about 2689 aka Pet, and what makes you want to shake him?
D’Arcy: I love watching 2689/Pet find himself as a person. He’s fun to write because I get to discover things about him at the same time he does, and he often surprises me. My favorite thing about him is his eagerness to try new things.
However, he can be a bit clueless when things aren’t spelled out plainly for him (a fault he openly admits to) and this can lead him to overlook important things. For example, even after two books he still doesn’t understand the true depths of the trio’s feelings for him. He knows they care about him, but since the words “I love you” have not been explicitly said, he doesn’t realize how important he really is to them.
As the writer, this makes me want to smack him upside the head and shout “they love you, you idiot” but I’m also looking forward to addressing this issue in future books.
5. The same for Brog. What do you love most about him, and what makes you want to shake him?
D’Arcy: I love Brog’s contradiction of strong and soft. He’s a big strong guy who can punch his way out of a jail cell, and he’s got a gruff straightforward personality. However, he’s also surprisingly sweet. He loves to cuddle, and hand-makes little gifts for the people he cares about.
What makes me want to shake him, however, is the same thing that annoys 2689/Pet the most. The fact that he is still sleeping with other people. While technically he’s doing nothing wrong as 2689/Pet and the trio haven’t promised exclusivity, it’s annoying when he’s too caught up in his own pursuit of pleasure to notice that it bothers the people he cares about.
There is catharsis in knowing that this character flaw doesn’t go unaddressed. Brog’s sleeping around has a big impact on the second book, and I hope readers will enjoy discovering more about why Brog is the way he is.
6. And we can’t forget Desmodian. Can you share why you created this character?
D’Arcy: Desmodian was the hardest of the trio for me to create. Part of my writing process is that I have to be able to draw the character before I’m able to write about them. Brog and Xavis’s designs came easy, but Desmodian would not cooperate. For example, I had planned to make each of the trio a primary color. Brog is blue, Xavis is yellow, and Desmodian was supposed to be red. Yet, no matter how I drew him, red never looked right. He insisted on being green, so green is how he ended up.
This means I had to work backwards with his character. Instead of coming up with a backstory for him and then designing a character that fits the backstory, I was forced to draw him first and then come up with a backstory for the design.
7. Last but not least is Xavis. What makes him tick, and what upsets him?
D’Arcy: Xavis has a complicated backstory, which is going to be the focus of the third book. There’s a wild edge to his personality that’s never been fully tempered, and he doesn’t care at all about societal expectations. He’s a creative person who doesn’t so much “think outside the box” as “completely overlook the fact that there even is a box”.
Because of this, he does rely on the other members of their group to keep him grounded and provide stability. He doesn’t handle change to that stability very well. Basically, he’s comfortable with an “us vs. them” mentality. Yet, when the conflict is internal and it becomes an “us vs. us” issue, then he has no idea what to do.
8. What do you think readers will love most about The Fourth State of Matter?
D’Arcy: I hope that people will love the world I am building, along with the people in it. I’ve tried to make a diverse cast of alien species and environments, and have them feel real without getting bogged down by too many technical details.
And the sex scenes, of course. Can’t forget those.
9. What do you think the readers will find most surprising about The Use of Heavy Water?
D’Arcy: There are some revelations about Brog, Desmodian, and Xavis that will probably come as a surprise. Unlike the first book where the three work seamlessly together, this time there is discord among the group.
It’s Pet’s turn to step up and save the day.
10. If readers asked you why they should purchase The Valence Chronicles, what would you tell them?
D’Arcy: It’s got three hot aliens and a pretty fem-boy human, who have plenty of sex and exciting space adventures. What more could you possibly ask for?
An intriguing plot? Good writing? Unique settings?
We have that too!
11. I enjoy doing random questions, so please humour me:
- What’s your favourite movie?
Fantasia or Pan’s Labyrinth (depending on what mood I’m in)
- What book is currently in your e-reader?
A Charm of Magpies series by K.J. Charles
- Who’s your favourite musical group?
I’m not sure if it counts as a music group, but one of my favorite things to listen to is the Yuuri on Ice soundtrack. It has a lot of good songs featuring a lot of different genres, so no matter what mood I’m in I can always find something?
- What song puts a smile on your face?
There are a lot of songs that make me smile. Just about anything by Michale Jackson, the opening theme from Good Omens, and songs from the Cats musical (the stage production, not the movie).
12. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
D’Arcy: The concept of décor (a person who is also a piece of artwork) is an idea that I’ve had for a while. I wanted to write a story that explored the concept of autonomy and what it means to be a person. Then, when I decided to make it an erotica, I found that this concept went hand in hand with a story about a character discovering their sexuality and rebelling against taboos.
Title: The Fourth State of Matter
Series: The Valence Chronicles, Book One
Author: D’Arcy Arden
Genres: Sci-fi, M/M Romance, Menage, Space Opera, Aliens
Tropes: Class divide, Fast burn, Sci-fi spaceship adventure
Themes: Rebellion, Freedom, Personal discovery
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: 87 000 words / 349 pages
Release Date: May 31, 2021
Space is cold, the sex is hot, and the rebellion is right on target.
Blurb: Earth is dead. Humanity survives by selling the only resource available—themselves. 2689 has signed away his rights as a living being and become décor, living artwork that rich aliens use to decorate their homes. It’s a stable existence but a boring one. Until one day his owner plays host to three unexpected guests. Large, loud, and more potent than anything 2689 has ever experienced, this trio of ship-dwellers from the wrong side of the universe awakens a desire he can’t ignore.
However, blissful days of sex and companionship with Brog, Desmodian, and Xavis come to an end when 2689 discovers a plot that could land the trio in jail…or worse. 2689 will have to make a choice—stay silent and allow three innocent lives to be ruined or give up his stable life to protect the ones he loves.
Note: It is not a standalone story, but does not end on a cliffhanger.
Pet fumbled his drink, creating a clink of glass against glass and spilling pink droplets onto the table’s surface. He had encountered Décor Preservation Services once before, at his first auction, when they evaluated his quality and determined what price to charge his buyers.
“And what does DPS want with us?”
Desmodian sounded too calm, considering the tremor Pet felt running through the hand on his head.
Vige scoffed. “Really? A trio of dirty ship-dwellers running around with one of their precious décor, and you don’t think they’re going to intervene?”
“We’ve done nothing wrong.” Xavis ruffled his feathers again, filling what little space remained in their alcove. “Pet was transferred to us legally. Anyone can check the license.”
In a different situation, Pet would have stroked the feathers back down, but he was too scared to do more than stare dumbly from person to person.
Title: The Use of Heavy Water
Series: The Valence Chronicles, Book Two
Author: D’Arcy Arden
Genres: Sci-fi, M/M Romance, Menage, Space Opera, Aliens
Tropes: Beach vacation, the past returning, capture, rescue / escape
Themes: Relationships, betrayal, deception, personal strength, communication
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: 89 000 words / 360 pages
Release Date: October 12, 2022
Blurb: Décor don’t usually go on vacation, but after their adventure in the Iota Cloud, Pet is looking forward to a week of relaxation on the planet Syzygy, an ideal vacation spot for aliens from all corners of the galaxy.
The fancy resort they’ve chosen isn’t welcoming to ship-dwellers, but defying societal expectations has always been a favorite pastime for Desmodian, Brog, and Xavis.
However, a divide is sparked in the trio when shadows from Brog’s past make an unexpected appearance. Distracted by their conflict, the three are left vulnerable to an enemy who knows their weaknesses.
The trio can’t save Pet this time. It’s up to him to rescue the ones he loves and return them all to their true home among the stars. If he fails, their freedom and maybe even their lives will be forfeit.
Note: It is not a standalone story, but does not end on a cliffhanger. The books are best read in order.
Desmodian turned sharply back to Brog. His hand, which had been holding the card, opened and closed as if confused about its sudden emptiness. “What? You’re keeping it?”
One of Brog’s hands held the card, and another gripped Desmodian. That still left two arms free to cross over his chest in a challenging posture. “Maybe. No reason not to.”
Desmodian gaped. “No reason…after what that man did to you. There’s every reason to avoid him.”
The pair stared each other down, Brog with one set of eyes and Desmodian with his whole body.
Pet’s foot slipped over wet rock, and he nearly tumbled off the island. He had seen these emotions on his trio before, but rarely directed at each other. On the rare occasion they fought, it usually ended as quickly as it started. He hoped this time would be the same.
Xavis approached the argument with both wings outstretched. “Hey, guys, calm down. This isn’t worth fighting over.”
Brog let go of Desmodian, practically throwing his hand away. “If he thinks he can make decisions for me, then we got somethin’ to fight over.”
Desmodian’s hammer planted in the sand again, hard enough to sink several inches. “It shouldn’t even be a decision. It should be common sense. Yaivin Vels is the reason you ended up arrested and in Unit 22 in the first place. You shouldn’t want anything to do with him.”
D’Arcy Arden grew up in Akron, Ohio, where she attended creative art schools and was surrounded by beautiful country landscape. This combination cultivated an interest in literature, art, and the natural world around her. In college, she earned a Masters Degree in Fiction Writing, which primarily taught her that there is no one way to tell a good story. So, she turned around and went back for a degree in Animation as well. This love for both visual and written stories has given her a preference for stories that are memorable, easy to picture, and, most importantly, fun.
That was her main goal when she started writing The Fourth State of Matter—to provide readers with a fun story featuring the three S’s. Science, sex, and spaceships. It is her first published novel, but only the beginning of a great adventure.