Thursday, March 7, 2019

Deviant Flux by Jessie Kwak and Author Interview


About the Book:

Title: Deviant Flux: A Durga System Novella | Author: Jessie Kwak | Pages: 142 | Genre: Science-Fiction | Recommended Ages: Young Adult and Up

Book Description:

She thought nothing could come between herself and her new family. She was wrong.

It’s been five years since Starla Dusai’s home station was destroyed by the Alliance, and she’s spent every minute searching for evidence that she wasn’t the only survivor.

When she receives a tip that her beloved cousin Mona is alive and well on an asteroid station out in Durga’s Belt, she drops everything to find her. Thrust into an unfamiliar world of crime cartels and union politics, Starla soon realizes Mona is caught up in a dangerous plot — and that saving her might just mean giving up the new family she’s come to love.

If it doesn’t get them both killed first.

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My Review: 

Deviant Flux is another exciting story in the Durga System series. I fell in love with Starla in Starfall and she's back in Deviant Flux! Both Starla and Gia get to shine in the latest Durga System novella by Jessie Kwak. Starla is good at modifying and inventing gadgets. She's also deaf. Gia is a gunslinging medic and Starla's mentor. She was quite a formidable character in Negative Return and it's nice to learn some of her backstory in Deviant Flux. We also get to meet some new characters like Absolon, the weapons guy, and Aiax, the casino guy. Jessie says that we'll get to see more of them in future books. 

Starla and Gia have arrived as Willem Jaantzen's representatives on an asteroid station out in Durga's Belt. They are there to strike a deal, but Starla is also looking for a long lost cousin. There's trouble on the station and the presence of Alliance soldiers makes things more difficult for her. It was the Alliance that killed her family and they haven't stopped hunting down any remaining relatives, Starla and her cousin included. Gia has her hands full trying to keep Starla safe and then she ends up meeting someone from her past. Lots of things go down in a short amount of time. Will Starla and Gia make it out alive? 

More Reviews of Jessie Kwak Books:

Author Jessie Kwak:


Author Interview:

1. What does a typical day in your home look like?

My day job is as a freelance marketing copywriter, and I work from home — which means my day can be as flexible as I want! That said, I work way better when I have a schedule.

I tend to be at my computer by 8am after some exercise and breakfast. I either work on fiction first thing, or do client work if I have a deadline that day. I’ll normally work through lunch at my desk, then take a break in the afternoon to go for a walk and dictate drafts of something. I’ll come back to my desk for another few hours of work, then make dinner (I love to cook!).

Lately I’ve been on a deadline to get the third book in my Bulari Saga finished, so I’m often back at the computer after dinner — but this time with a glass of wine and some relaxing music in the background.

Of course, this whole schedule gets thrown out the window on days when I travel with my husband. He’s a sales rep, and sometimes I’ll ride along as we drive through Oregon and Washington, working in the car or from cafes when he stops to visit shops.

2. When do you find time to read and what do you usually like to read?

I love to read!

I read every night before bed, and sometimes I’ll take breaks in the afternoons to reset my brain by reading a few chapters of something. I read a lot of science fiction, of course, but I also love thrillers and mysteries. (I’m a sucker for anything by Tana French or Tess Gerritsen.)

I read less nonfiction, and when I do it’s normally related to some aspect of a book I’m working on.

3. What was the first book that you wrote and did you publish it?

The first book I wrote took up two spiral bound notebooks, and I wrote it by hand in middle school. And — ha! No, I did NOT publish it.

Nor did I publish the book I wrote my senior year of high school, the book I wrote in college, or the next three books I wrote after that. They won’t see the light of day, but they taught me a lot!

My first published novel, Shifting Borders, came out in 2015. It was the first book that I got to the end of and thought, hey, this one actually works! After that, I had a lot more confidence in my work.

I still think about those old books, though. One of my trunk novels is a thriller police procedural set in a historical fantasy world, and I’m planning on getting back to that one when I’m finished writing the Bulari Saga. I think I’ve finally learned enough about plotting to do it justice.

4. What other authors are you friends with, and how have they inspired you?

Having other authors as friends is amazing! I found community through the internet at first, and then in person by going to different events, joining critique groups, attending write-ins, and going to conferences. My husband and I moved to Portland, Oregon, about 5 years ago and since then I’ve met a ton of the amazing writers who live in the area.

They inspire me by talking about what they’re working on, sharing ideas and tips, acting as beta readers for my work, and sharing my writing with their audiences. But mostly it’s just helpful to talk to someone who understands what it’s like to write a book.

That can be summed up something like this: “This book is murdering me and I hate everything about writing — wait, hold on, I just had this amazing thought let me go write it down! This book is going to be amazing. Or terrible. Or amazing!”

5. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Keep at it! Make friends and connections, but don’t worry about where other people are on their journey. Just keep writing and learning, and you’ll get there in the end.

6. What would you like readers to know about your latest book or book project?

I’ve been working on the Durga System series for about three years now. Originally I was writing a novel in which Willem Jaantzen (my main protagonist) was the villain. But he and his crew totally stole the show, and I ended up rewriting that book from scratch (twice) with him at the center. He’s still a notorious crime boss, but his heart’s mostly in the right place.

As I was discovering his story, I started writing a set of standalone novellas about members of his crew, including his deaf goddaughter Starla, his trickster lieutenant Manu, his surgeon/warrior Gia, and all the other characters who kept walking onto the page. They’re one big complicated family, and it’s been really fun to explore the depths of their love and friendship.

7. How many books to you plan to write for this series?

I currently have three standalone novellas in the Durga System series, and I’ll be publishing a 5+ book series (The Bulari Saga) starting this spring. Once I’ve wrapped up the Bulari Saga, I’m toying with the idea of writing a series of space-pirates-meet-Indiana-Jones style books about Starla’s parents.

8. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I’m torn between the money I spend on conferences (for professional development and to meet other writers), and the money I spend on my editor, Kyra Freestar. She is worth her weight in gold!

9. Does your family support your career as a writer?

Absolutely. My parents have always been very supportive, as have my extended family. (I have a massive extended family who stay pretty close — much like Starla.) My mother has read all my books and told me that they’re amazing (even the terrible early ones), then pointed out all the typos.

And my husband is the biggest reason I’ve gotten as far as I have today. He supported me when I wanted to take the leap to freelancing, and he’s supported me working overtime to try to make fiction writing a viable part of my business. He’s my first reader and my biggest critic, and he’s never let me get away with a boring plot point or weak character.

I’m passionate enough about writing fiction that I probably would still be doing it even without the support of my family, but I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

About the Author:

Jessie Kwak is a freelance writer and novelist living in Portland, Oregon. When she’s not writing B2B marketing copy, you can find her scribbling away on her latest novel, riding her bike to the brewpub, or sewing something fun.


Disclosure: I received an eARC of this book and this is my honest review.

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