Leanna Renee Hieber has stopped by EverAfter to share her Top 5 Space Heroes as well as share a short excerpt from her Dark Nest Chronicles! Take it away Leanna!
1. Romana from Doctor Who, the Tom Baker years: Romana, in her second, blonde iteration, was my idol from about the age of 7, she was smart, clever, kind, and looked a bit like me so I identified with her from the start. One of the only female Timelords to travel with the Doctor, she was more his equal than other companions. A confident and capable independent character, she would often garner a line from the Doctor like “what’s Romana doing? It looks terribly interesting.” And that kind of constant problem solving and creative, unabashedly intelligent mind was a great role model for a young girl.
2. Ripley from Alien – Good God did that movie terrify me. But Goodness does Ripley kick ultimate ass. Sigourney Weaver’s performance is flawless, portraying a powerful, relatable and ingenious woman. The character and setting is so scary and so compelling and was not originally written for a woman. Casting Ripley as female and not changing the strength or capability of the character revolutionized how women could be written, cast and portrayed in genre films.
3. Captain Jean-Luc Picard – Does this one even need explanation? Picard is one of the best captains in the history of the entire genre. And Patrick Stewart, come on. What Would Picard Do is never a bad question to ask.
4. Mr. Spock – I’ve always been fascinated by Vulcans, and Spock is a compelling, wonderful character who manages intensity and intelligence beautifully, with subtle humor that was always gratifying. He’s a character that delights, surprises and entertains while more often than not, being the smartest person in the room in order to save the day. I’m not as much of a fan of the original Trek as of Next Generation, but Spock is critical to the entire franchise as one of it’s most valuable and intriguing assets.
5. President Roslin of Battlestar Galactica – the brilliant Mary McDonnell played this powerful, nuanced, brilliant woman in the very well-made new edition of this sci-fi classic show. She was captivating on screen and moving in her portrayal, fair, forward thinking, shrewd, wise and everything you’d want in a leader. I loved every minute of her on screen.
All these characters influenced me very much as I wrote the Dark Nest Chronicles. I’m known far more for my Victorian Fantasy series like the Strangely Beautiful saga (which is re-issuing April 2016 from Tor and now up for pre-order!) and the Magic Most Foul saga beginning with Darker Still, but space opera has always been in my heart. I credit this series to a dare by the talented Isabo Kelly who knew of my space ship heroes and encouraged this series (and edited it brilliantly) and has helped it come back into the world again after going out of print.
Exclusive excerpt from Part III, Song of Saire:
Professor Brodin dialed back the ship’s filters so that there was no mental block between himself and the whole of his surroundings.
He had to sift out the tumult of emotions of the ship’s grieving crew and instead attempt to pierce the whole of space and time with one psychic lance. He dared to break into the mind of the woman who meant more to him than he’d ever been allowed to say.
He put his fingers to the pressurized glass and stared out at the stars. Only in reaching out his hand did he notice how hard he shook; not because he was an elder—age was relative for a man of his power— The pristine white tunics of the first grades were spattered with garish scarlet blood as shrapnel tore through little bones and vulnerable tissue. He shook for all the years he’d spent wondering if he could ever freely love her—
She was running. Hard.
He shook because a rare graft over his heart allowed him to feel her pulse in concert with his— Choking out the stench as the Training School burned; buildings, turf, human hair…
He shook to be truly with her in these terrible moments— Hiding surviving children—all that were left from her class—in a cave in the mountainside… Success. He’d gotten through. He could sense her, see flashes of her mindscape. Her experiences hit him like swift blows to the head—
Captured by gunmen…
But what good did seeing do when he was light years away, forced to watch and wait, helpless to get her off the Homeworld that wanted her dead— An assailant struck a blow to her side, a rib cracked in searing pain— Brodin slammed his fist against the glass and the cavernous vault of the Dark Nest cathedral of a ship echoed his furious cry.
He didn’t know when these flashes timed with her reality, or when he could know she was safe. She could not feel him as he did her. Her mental fields were too tightly sealed as she did her best to mitigate the crashing waves of psychic screams transmitted as her students were murdered.
But because she was unable to wholly block them, Brodin in turn was accosted by the dying emotions of children he considered his own, though they were not. Gunned down or bombed, the children faced the shock of death with the question: Why, what did we do? on their terrified lips.
Brodin rallied as his mind’s eye watched— A swift, psychic blow brings the gunmen to their knees. She sends what students she can onto a ship, but she couldn’t get to all the survivors, so she stays behind… As she watches them go, Brodin catches her stern, terse prayer though she’d have no idea he was listening or alive: Brodin, you and that Nest better be up there and you better be ready…
“I’m ready,” Brodin cried aloud.
About the Dark Nest Chronicles:
In the Dark Nest Chronicles, newly evolved psychically gifted humans have been sent by the Homeworld on a space mission aboard two distinct “Nests”. Relationships between the Light Nest and the Dark Nest have faltered and three distinct sets of commanding officers are sure there’s something insidious behind it. In a matter of hours, in three high-stakes tales told from different perspectives aboard ships and under Homeworld siege, these sets of lovers will be torn apart and reunited, secret survival plans will go into dizzying effect, assassinations and revenges will be attempted and carried out, and death-defying sacrifices must be made. Each of these visionary leaders must do their part to quickly unite their people and discover vast new powers the Homeworld denied them, or else submit to genocide.
Actress, playwright, artist and novelist Leanna Renee Hieber is the award-winning, bestselling author of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels for adults and teens, such as the acclaimed Strangely Beautiful saga, the Magic Most Foul saga and the new Eterna Files saga, launching many new books with Tor in the genre of Gaslamp Fantasy. Her short fiction has been featured in numerous anthologies, in several Mammoth Books, on Tor.com and her novels have been translated into many languages. A proud Goth girl never seen outside of full Victorian regalia, she works as a ghost tour guide in New York City, where she lives and works in film and television. Also a proud member of performer unions Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA, she works periodically on various films and shows such as Boardwalk Empire. Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and her website LeannaReneeHieber.com. You can procure her one-of-a-kind art and Steampunk / Neo-Victorian Jewelry at her Etsy store.