I’m excited to bring you a guest post from Australian author Amanda Bridgeman. She was kind enough to answer a few questions from me and share an excerpt from her novel, The Subjugate. Welcome, Amanda! Thanks for coming by to talk about writing and your process.
- What makes you write?
Ultimately, it’s the desire to communicate thoughts and feelings, and to connect with others. I write to entertain and move people, so if readers enjoy my books, I’m a very happy writer!
- What about this book compelled you to write it?
My two favourite genres are sci-fi and thrillers (be it psychological, crime, suspense, etc) and I’d always wanted to write a cop character, so this story enabled me to meld these together. In terms of worldbuilding, the Solme Complex came to me quite strongly, and I wanted to explore this interesting world of horrendous criminals turned into saints. And the plot itself enabled discussions on violence against women, religion and technology, and the impact – and control – each of these can have on our lives.
- What are the themes or motifs readers will always find in your work, and did these same motifs take you by surprise?
At the heart of my stories there is a hero or heroine who tends to tough it out alone but who eventually realise that it’s okay to be weak sometimes and to lean on and accept help from others. This feeds into a ‘teamwork’ theme that threads through many of my stories. We can fight battles alone, or we can team up together and share our strengths and weaknesses to overcome the bad. We can be strong alone, but we are much stronger when we fight together.
My heroines are often fighting to prove themselves in a man’s world, and my heroes are often trying to be the best men they can, but like any human, sometimes they struggle to live up to the expectations placed upon them.
The strongest theme across all my books, would be the subject of control and how we as humans will either succumb to (and even crave) being controlled by another, or will fight vehemently against it.
These themes/motifs didn’t really surprise me at all. As a writer you can’t help but leave your fingerprints in the text of your stories, and that’s what makes readers respond to your work. You offer them an entertaining story with a part of yourself inside, and the ones that identify with that voice, that part of yourself, will connect with it as you had intended.
“He’s doing good. You should go see him sometime. I think the old guy would appreciate that.” He glanced over to the empty desk opposite hers. “Where’s your new partner at?”
Salvi checked the time on her police-issued iPort, a thick data-enabled wrist cuff. “He can’t be too far.”
“How’s he been doing?” Hernandez’s eyes sharpened on hers. “It’s been nearly four months. You must have a good feel for him by now.”
“He’s doing fine.”
“Really? Seems to me he’s been drinking a bit.”
Salvi went to respond but Ford called out from her office. “Brentt and Grenville! You’re up!”
“The boss calls,” she said to Hernandez, then stood and glanced at Mitch’s empty desk, wondering where the hell her partner was. Hernandez checked his iPort and pursed his lips, just as Mitch finally walked in.
She caught her partner’s eye. “Ford’s office.”
Mitch nodded as he made his way toward her with two takeout cups of coffee in hand. He held one out for her and she took it. For whatever reason, every morning he brought her a coffee. At first she thought it was just a gesture from one new partner to another, but three and a half months had now passed and he was still bringing her one every day. She wasn’t complaining.
“What’s up?” he asked, pulling his dark wrap-around shades onto his head.
“You’re late,” Hernandez said, studying him. “Big night?”
Mitch’s hair was still wet from a shower, his face unshaven, his eyes a little bloodshot, but he smelled of aftershave and mints. He smiled and pointed at Hernandez. “You’d make a good detective you know that?”
Salvi grabbed him by the arm and ushered him toward Ford’s office before Hernandez could respond.
They found Ford sitting at her pristine desk, which was empty aside from her console display, a hologram of her wife and kids, and a cup of what smelled like Strawberry Cofftea. Back in the day she was attractive, athletic and known to hold her own in the field and in a fight, but now she carried a little extra weight and the stress of being Detective Lieutenant.
Salvi eyed the large glass screen affixed to the wall behind Ford, displaying a map of the city with various lights glowing and flashing, indicating the current location of all callouts. She wondered which one would be theirs.
“Don’t get too comfortable,” Ford said as they took a seat in the guest chairs, her light blue eyes fixed on her console’s display. “You got a drive ahead of you.”
“We’re we going?” Salvi asked.
“The body of a young female has been found inside her home in the unincorporated community of Bountiful, just outside the city. Looks pretty nasty and the Sheriff’s office is small, so they don’t have the manpower to work it. Weston and Swaggert will be handling the forensics. They’re already on their way. This is a first for the community so it’s big news. You heard about Bountiful, right? It’s one of the tech-pullaways.”
“Survivalist or religious?” Salvi asked.
“Religious,” Ford said. “But Bountiful was founded before the Crash.”
“How religious?” Salvi asked. “Cult-religious?”
“Cult’s a pretty strong word,” Ford said. “Let’s go with extremely devout.”
“I think I heard about that place,” Mitch said. “Bountiful is the one next door to the Solme Complex, right?”
“Yeah,” Ford said, resting her elbows on the table. “I need you to get out there and get a handle on it. Let’s be discreet on this one. We want to keep the media out of things if we can. The first place people will be looking to throw blame is the Solme Complex given what it houses. We need to manage that. From everything I hear, the place is doing good work and the people of Bountiful have accepted them. But I guess you never know. So, get out there, see what you can find out.” She turned back to her console and tapped at the screen. “I just uploaded the case file to your accounts. The contact out there is Sheriff Holt. He’s expecting you.”
Mitch stood and tapped his iPort, checking the information had come through. “We’ll get on it,” he said.
“Maybe use the autodrive today, huh?” Ford said studying him carefully.
Mitch looked back at her.
“I can see the red in your eyes from here, Grenville,” Ford said, “and I know it’s not your comms lenses.”
“I’m fine to drive,” he said.
“Next time use some drops for Christ’s sake. At least try and hide it.”
Mitch didn’t say anything, but gave a nod then turned and left the room, his long black coat swishing behind him.
Salvi watched him leave as she stood, then glanced back at Ford.
“He doing OK?” Ford asked.
“Seems to be,” she said with a shrug.
“Keep an eye on him, huh?”
Salvi eyed Ford curiously. “Something I should know?”
Ford shook her head and looked back at her display. “Just making sure the new guy is settling in.”
Amanda is an Aurealis Award finalist and author of several science fiction novels, including the best-selling space opera/military SF Aurora series, alien contact drama The Time of the Stripes, and sci-fi crime thriller The Subjugate.
Born in the seaside/country town of Geraldton, Western Australia, she moved to Perth (Western Australia) to study film & television/creative writing at Murdoch University, earning her a BA in Communication Studies. Perth has been her home ever since, aside from a nineteen-month stint in London (England) where she dabbled in Film & TV ‘Extra’ work.
Amanda is currently working on more novels, as well as screenplays, in a variety of genres.