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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Goddess Fish book tour: Fighting Gravity!

Hi everyone, Carson here,
Today we are doing something different. Guys Like Romance, Too! is now an official stop on the Goddess Fish book tour and today we have our first visitor. Leah Peterson has written a M/M sci-fi romance called Fighting Gravity. Although this isn't sci-fi month (that's August if you have one) we asked her a question that floats through our site a lot to get her take on it. So without further delay here is Leah to answer. Enjoy!

Hi everyone!
Your wonderful hosts here on Guys Like Romance Too asked me to blog on that topic and I’m thrilled. Why? Because I’m going to turn it around and ask how do you get the romance OUT of sci-fi?
There’s often this perception among non-sci-fi readers that it’s all spaceships and incomprehensible technology and green aliens. Well, there’s some of that, though less than there used to be. But here’s the thing, even green aliens are people(ish.) What’s one thing that people tend to do as a rule?
Fall in love. Hopelessly, or sweetly, or tragically, or any other adverb in the language you want to apply. It’s one of the most common of human (sentient being) experiences. We all do it, or want to.
Think of it this way, what story do you know that doesn’t have some flavor of romance in it? Maybe it’s not romance-novel-formula with its Happily Ever After, but sometimes the most tragic romances are the best. Romeo and Juliet, anyone? 

The romance in FIGHTING GRAVITY cemented this idea for me simply because it came out of nowhere for me as I was writing. I’d sat down to write this story about a boy taken by a totalitarian government, and I had this idea that the Emperor was young—a teenager, which is still young to me—which heightened the conflict for my similarly-teenaged-protagonist. I already knew they were going to meet, and that there would be tension and surprising revelations for both of them. What I didn’t know, was that they’d fall in love. 

Silly, I know, because I’m the author, I should know these things. But I’m a very character-driven writer, and this means listening to my characters and watching for the things they’re trying to tell me. Jacob firmly reminded me how intrinsic love and attraction are to the human experience. (And that teenage-boy hormones are as dependable as, well, gravity.) Pretty soon I had to admit that, more than anything, this was a love story, because, in the eye of a storm of adversity, that’s what you cling to.
Romance, love, sex, lust, longing, loss, these are commonalities all emotional beings share. When you boil it down to its basics, the difference between contemporary human stories and sci-fi (or any other genre) is just scenery and props and maybe a little creative anatomy. Same difference. ;)
What about you? Do you think there’s anywhere romance doesn’t belong? 

When Jacob Dawes is Selected for the Imperial Intellectual Complex as a child, he’s catapulted from the poverty-stricken slums of his birth into a world where his status as an unclass is something no one can forget, or forgive. His growing scientific renown draws the attention of the emperor, a young man Jacob’s own age, and they find themselves drawn to each other in an unlikely, and ill-advised relationship. Jacob may have won the emperor’s heart, but it’s no protection when he’s accused of treason. And fighting his own execution would mean betraying the man he loves.



After dinner, a servant summoned me to the emperor. This was now twice in as many nights. Was it about something I’d said the night before? That stupid ring?

I was led to where the emperor was talking with the ship’s captain in one of the hallways.

“Good evening, Mr. Dawes. I see you survived the lift-off.” He walked as he spoke, gesturing for me to accompany him.

“It was an incredible experience, Excellence. This is a nice ship you have.”

“Thank you. It’s not a new ship, there was no time for that. But many things were upgraded, the engines included. They’re the best of the best, I’m told. I thought about you during the lift-off. I wondered what you’d make of it.”

“You did?” I asked, stunned.

“Is there something wrong with that?” he asked, his mouth twisted in what looked like amusement but was probably something more dangerous to me.

“No, sir. I guess not…”

“Does it bother you?” He seemed to be teasing me again.

“Some,” I answered.

He stopped. “Why?”

“Because I’m afraid of you.”

He laughed, and started down the hallway again. But after a sideways glance at my face, he quieted. “You really mean that?”


“Oh.” His answer was soft, subdued, even. I got the distinct impression that I’d hurt his feelings.

“You must get that all the time.”

“I do,” he answered, but didn’t look at me. I was more and more sure that I’d offended him somehow.

“So why should it matter, then, Excellence?”

He thought for a moment. “I don’t know. I should be used to it. Of course, no one ever comes out and says it in so many words. It’s a bit of a shock to hear it confirmed like that.”

He stopped again, facing me, a slight furrow between his eyes that I would have called uncertainty, even vulnerability, if I hadn’t known who he was. “Why are you afraid of me?”

“Who wouldn’t be afraid? You can do anything you want with my life and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.”

The furrow deepened and he waited, as if I hadn’t explained myself at all.

“You uprooted my life a couple of weeks ago, who knows what you might do tomorrow?”

“You mean, you didn’t want this assignment?” he asked.

Apparently I wasn’t frightened enough to keep my mouth shut. “I want to be here,” I pointed to the ship around us, “but I didn’t want to be reassigned, no.”

“Mr. Dawes...” He hesitated. “I had no idea. I’m sorry.”

I shrugged but didn’t look at him.

“Would you like to be assigned back to the IIC?”

“Yes, Excellence.”

“Then you will be.” He started walking again, gesturing to me to accompany him. My stomach was jittery. I couldn’t believe what I’d just said. But he wasn’t reacting like an angry sovereign. He was acting like just another guy whose feelings were hurt.

“I’m sorry if I offended you,” I tried.

He turned to me. “Actually, you have no idea how much I appreciate your honesty.”

There was no reason for me to believe he was lying or just being diplomatic—and I couldn’t imagine why he would try to spare my feelings—but that didn’t make me feel much better. I was still on edge, certain I’d said far too much.


The author will be giving away a prize to TWO randomly  drawn commenters during the tour: a hat with a replica of an important institution referenced in Fighting Gravity.

Who is Leah Peterson?

Leah Petersen lives in North Carolina. She does the day-job, wife, and mother thing, much like everyone else. She prides herself on being able to hold a book with her feet so she can knit while reading. She’s still working on knitting while writing.
FIGHTING GRAVITY is her first novel.


  1. I enjoyed this scene between Jacob and the emperor. You did a wonderful job showing Jacob's insecurity and the emperor's growing interest in him. Thank you for sharing with us!
    Oh, and if there isn't romance in a book, to me, what's the point? :)

  2. Thanks, Dianne! I totally agree about the romance. ;)