Fifteen years ago, Ariane Kedros piloted a ship on a mission that obliterated an entire solar system. Branded a war criminal, she was given a new identity and a new life in order to protect her from retribution.
But now, twelve of Ariane’s wartime colleagues are dead— assassinated by someone who has uncovered their true identities. And her superiors in the Autonomist army have placed her directly in the assassin’s line of fire on a peacekeeping mission that will decide the fate of all humanity…
Below, Laura answers some questions about inspiration, good reads, and her favorite word in the lexicon!
Can you explain how your experience in the military laid the foundation for Peacekeeper?
I was stationed at Comiso Air Station, Sicily, as the Berlin Wall came down and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty between the USA and USSR was enforced. At the time, I was a scientist that had cross-trained into Ground Launched Cruise Missile launch operations and I had the opportunity to escort Soviet Union treaty inspectors. After the Air Force Office of Special Investigations briefed us regarding who were bona fide scientists and who were KGB agents, I realized the military intelligence communities, on both sides, were excited about these games. Having a hobby of reading and writing science fiction, I thought, “This could be an interesting SF setting, being military-flavored yet occurring during peacetime.”
However, the character of Major Ariane Kedros took time to coalesce. As a young officer, I was tagged to be an independent investigator (outside the unit) for a sexual harassment case. The case also involved suspected alcohol abuse and I was struck by the fine line between social and abusive drinking in the military, and how the system punished members who asked for help. Those issues, plus other details involving my stint in nuclear weapon operations, helped build Ariane Kedros.
Without giving too much away, what can readers expect to see as the series arc progresses?
Major Ariane Kedros continues to seek redemption for her wartime actions, however unattainable she feels that may be. However, given her personal demons and missions complicated by the peacetime setting, the series and character arc will remain optimistic. Ariane’s values and attitudes will be challenged: for instance, can she work for her old enemy when the Terran League degrades into civil war? What will she and her employer Matt learn about the alien Minoans and their agenda?
When and where do you write?
I prefer to write in the mornings, with a cup of coffee beside me. I usually write on a Mac and my desk is next to a window where I can see the Colorado wildlife wandering by.
What kind of books do you like to read? What are you reading right now?
I like to read science fiction and fantasy, preferably with complex worlds. Right now, I’m dividing my reading time between three very different books: Daniel Abraham’s A Shadow in Summer, Carol Berg’s Flesh and Spirit, and Warren Hammond’s Kop. They’re each gripping and have very different tones, but they all display a detailed, multi-faceted world. I also browse a few nonfiction books, mostly for research, which explains the presence of Physics of the Impossible (Kaku) and An Introduction to the Law of International Criminal Tribunals (Knoops) on the bedside stand.
What’s your favorite word?
Hmm, I like lots of words. One that always resonates with me is “honor” (or “honour,” if you’re British). Even though the specific standards of conduct defining honor will be different for each person and each society, I think we all intuit the same feeling from the word.