Hi everyone, V here. I’m very excited to introduce guest author Laura Hardgrave today! Laura’s book Captive by the Fog was released on Friday by Musa’s GLBT imprint Erato. I invited her here today to talk about “Aliens, dreams, and lesbians–Oh my!”
Jotting Down Dreams about Aliens
Dreams are important for writers. Dreams are the reason we write, the reason we yearn to get our messages out into the wide, open world, and the reason we hope our characters resonate in the hearts of our readers. Whether your dream is to simply share a vision, make a reader laugh and cry at the same time, or leave behind a legacy of words, us writers all share something in common—we’re all dreamers.
As such, literal dreams often voice powerful messages to us. Nighttime dreams are born from this wonderful, zany mix of our unconscious thoughts, our everyday lives, and an odd blending of both past events and hopeful futures.
I’ve always loved trying to remember my nightly dreams, even as a child. I used to try and write them down in the morning, which sometimes worked, sometimes didn’t. There’s something almost magical about opening one sleep-covered eye to the world and languishing in the feeling of your mind lounging in that other world your brain came up with while you were snoozing. That secondary world slips away ridiculously fast unless we write the dream down, and that’s also pretty magical when you stop and think about it.
Captive by the Fog, my debut novel that was released by Musa Publishing October 26th, was originally based off a dream I had. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I dreamt about an alien invasion, and about being held captive by a species that refused to show itself to my dream’s narrator. It woke me up out of a sound sleep, my heart beating something fierce. Shivers rode down my spine. It was then that I knew I needed to stumble over to the computer and write that sucker down.
My dream’s narrator was terrified, but also hopeful, and busy basking in the sight of a young woman she met while held captive. The two fell in love and sought solace away from the situation’s dire circumstances within each other. It all sounds cheesy as I write about it now, but there was something very powerful in the dream’s message—love really can strike at any time. There’s always a way out, a way up, and a way through that darkened tunnel.
Some details needed to be untangled, naturally, but this is the case with most ideas derived from dreams. Dreams can be pretty wild, and that’s half the fun in using them as creative inspirations. I would have never even considered writing a story about aliens previous to this dream, because aliens always seemed kind of cliché. Eh. My dream didn’t care. Be damned with clichés, it seemed to say. So I took its advice—and wrote Captive.
Speaking of dreams, there’s one other point that needs be hit on. Captive is modern day science fiction—but yet, its central love story is a lesbian love story. Is it lesbian fiction? Yes. Is it a pure lesbian romance? Not exactly, but romantic elements are present. The world needs more queer speculative fiction, and with this debut novel, I intend on helping change that. That’s one of my dreams.
V: Agreed! Thanks for visiting today Laura, and come back anytime! 🙂
Captive by the Fog
In order to survive, a prisoner must confront the darkness or crumble with the world around her.
Sam is caught in a life she can’t escape as the caretaker for her terminally ill homophobic father, but what she wants more than anything is to find the courage to escape and live her own life.
One fog-filled evening, Sam, her father, and a group of strangers are captured by beings from another world. Held prisoner by this mysterious race, the band struggles to hold on to the hope of freedom.
As Sam finds herself unexpectedly falling into a leadership role, she also falls for the shy smile of fellow prisoner Kisana. But as freedom continues to slip beyond the reach of their prison, the group must find the strength to carry on, maintain their humanity, and most of all—survive.
I needed a better look. I headed into the living room and to the front door. To my surprise, the door was wide open and the couch empty. I sprinted out the door and found my father sprawled out on the ground, half of his body on the sidewalk, the other half on the stairs.
“Dad!” I yelled, “What the hell are you doing? What’d you do, fall off the stairs?” I bent down to help him up, and then realized he wasn’t looking in my direction. He was frozen in place, staring directly at the sky. I followed his gaze, and I too, froze. My heart leapt inside my chest, scrambling to escape.
A huge, metallic, disc-shaped object hovered in the foggy darkness above the grass of a nearby park. Round portholes on the sides emitted silver beams of light that screamed soundlessly into the fog. Three large metal beams extended from the base and onto the ground. Landing pads. I didn’t see a door. Yet.
My breath caught in my throat. My vision almost glazed over, and I had an overwhelming desire to run and escape my body and what I was witnessing.
“I—it…c-can’t b-be…It’s…It’s a…UFO…” The words tumbled out of my mouth, rolling over themselves like a rock slide.
I averted my eyes from the object, and saw my neighbors all out on their front doorsteps. Their eyes and bodies were rigid as they stared up at the spacecraft. Some were in their robes and pajamas. One woman two doors down lay in the grass after having fainted, her hair in curlers.
Bruce still hadn’t moved or uttered a word. He swallowed hard and gave me a quick, terrified glance. His mouth gaped open as he attempted to find words. There were none to be found, and his jaw shook with tremors. His frail frame shuddered beneath my hands, and my insides felt just as shaky.
My gaze drifted back toward the spacecraft, almost in slow motion. My mind tried to force my body to look away as if I were watching a horror movie, and the zombie was about to jump out of the shadows. A garage door-sized hull opened on one side of the UFO, and a large, metallic cube floated out. It was about the size of an RV, but had no windows or wheels. Instead, it had discs on the bottom that emitted blue beams of light down toward the ground. It hovered in the air through the power of that light. A single huge, mechanical arm extended from the front, and next to the arm were two mechanical jaws clenched shut. It reminded me of a trash truck—only sterile, alien, glistening, and unquestionably life-threatening.
The door on the UFO snapped shut, and the smaller craft rotated toward us. It began to whirr, creating the revving noise I had heard. I could see what looked like a spotlight on the very front of the mechanical jaws. It twisted around and sent forward a bright beam of yellow light that cut through the fog like a knife slicing butter. The fog had little choice but to disappear in its path.
Laura Hardgrave writes science fiction and fantasy with a queer edge. Her current project is a four-part fantasy novel series involving the creation of life and magic, a GLBT host of characters, a talking rock, feline shifters, and lots of sake. She’s a bit of a self-proclaimed weirdo. By day, she’s also an MMORPG gaming journalist, avid gamer, reader, and animal lover.
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