Why do I write? I ask myself that a lot. Sci-fi seems to be the red-headed-stepchild of literature and women sci-fi writers are that child locked in the basement. I would never write if I did it for the praise or the sales or the recognition.
I write because I like to read good science fiction written from a woman’s point of view. But more importantly I write for my inner Divine Child. The Divine Child is a Jungian archetype that represents newness, growth and hope. Jung considered it the egg from which all heros are hatched. Which, if you think about it, is what science fiction is all about. Hope for the future, and heros who are willing to take us into that future. I wanted to write about female heros.
Which brings us to my series of books, The Black Bead Chronicles. This series of sci-fi/fantasy adventure novels takes place on a distant planet, a few thousand years in the future. A group of people have left earth to purposefully disappear and start their own matriarchal society where all of the traits considered by us to be “feminine” are valued. Because the planet they choose to live on is inhabited by immense predators, they are forced to build their cities under protective domes. The stories center around a group of five young children who are led by the most unlikely and gifted member, six-year-old Cheobawn.
I am often asked why the main character is so young in the first book, if the audience is young adult and older? The reason is because Black Bead is a hero origin story. Joseph Campbell, mythologist and author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, explains the basic narrative pattern of the hero’s journey: “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man”. Cheobawn (the Divine Child), the domes, and her Mothers all started out as allegorical expressions of the many faces of the female consciousness. I am first and foremost a student of the human condition.
That was the beginning.
Then I built a world. A forest full of fierce psychic alien creatures became a planet whose ghosts still wander restlessly through the minds of those who can hear them. That planet was not alone in the cosmos. I built a star system full of humans and aliens and fleets of starships meant to do battle. That world shaped my characters. I put them in it and watched them walk around, as proud as any new mom. The characters took on a life of their own. I loved them all. (How does George R.R. Martin so blithely kill of his characters? I will never understand that.) I want them all to have happy endings, and bright futures. Maybe that is the mother inside me. Maybe it is just me refusing to believe that you need torment and death to make a good drama. Oh, there is death. That is part of the hero’s journey. One cannot evade death in a world that wants to eat you. But Cheobawn’s Luck keeps her Pack alive.
The Black Bead Chronicles is a progression. Each book is an adventure that stands alone and can be read separately from the other books, but each book expands Cheobawn’s consciousness and each adventure gives her tools to battle whatever demons may come in the next book. So to the question, do I have to read all the books in order, all I can say is… well, maybe. Everyone who reads the fourth book, Trade Fair, immediately wants to go back and start from the beginning.
I invite readers to step onto the hero’s path in The Black Bead Chronicles. In a time when our womanhood is being debased and objectified on the political stage, there has never been a greater need for strong female heros. Books one through three are available on Amazon: Black Bead, Bhotta’s Tears, and Spider Wars. Book four – Trade Fair – will be published in the Spring of 2017.
J.D. Lakey was born and raised on the high plains of Montana under an endless sky and as far from civilization as anyone in the twentieth century could get. There she explored the finer nuances of silence and the endless possibilities of the imagination. The stories were always there. The shifting of fortunes finally granted her the time to gather all the stories and give them flesh.
An avid reader of science fiction and comics, she currently lives in San Diego, California where she divides her time between her writing, commuting on the I-5, and spending time with her delightful grandchildren.