O.E. Tearmann lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, in what may become the Co-Wy Grid. They share the house with a brat in fur, a husband and a great many books. Their search engine history may garner them a call from the FBI one day. When they're not living on base 1407 they advocate for a more equitable society and more sustainable agricultural practices, participate in sundry geekdom and do their best to walk their characters' talk.
● The Hands We're Given ( Book 1)
● Call the Bluff ( Book 2)
● Raise the Stakes ( Book 3)
● Genre: hopeful queer cyberpunk
● Synopsis: Aidan Headly never wanted to be the man giving orders. That's fine with the Democratic State Force base he's been assigned to command: they don't like to take orders. Nicknamed the Wildcards, they used to be the most effective base against the seven Corporations owning the former United States in a war that has lasted over half a century. Now the Wildcards are known for creative insubordination, chaos, and commanders begging to be reassigned. Aidan is their last chance. If he can pull off his assignment as Commander and yank his ragtag crew of dreamers and fighters together, maybe they can get back to doing what they came to do: fighting for a country worth living in. Life's a bitch. She deals off the bottom of the deck. But you play the hands you're given.
● Publish date: 8/14/2018
● Publisher: Amphibian Press
● Publish date: 12/24/2018
● Publisher: Amphibian Press
● You can read a free excerpt at http://aceshighjokerswild.com/read-for-free/
Author Interview with O.E. Tearmann
Kasper: Welcome O.E. Tearmann. I must say that I was surprised to be joined by two authors today. (Yes, readers, you read that correctly. Two authors!) Even the mysterious pic (above) you sent when I asked for an author pic hadn't clued me in. Well, double the authors sounds like double the fun. Let's strap on into this levitating Readers Lounge and fire off some questions.
1. Do you have a pen name and why?
OW: We do! In fact, O.E. Tearmann is actually two authors in a trench coat. Olivia Wylie and Nonir Amicitia write together, but we decided on a singular pen name for three reasons:
1) there’s an unpleasant cachet about co-authoring we wanted to avoid
2) we write very queer positive works, and there are elements of society who don’t like that. We prefer not to get hate mail in our personal accounts
3) The name itself is meaningful for us. The name’s comprised of part of each of our names, and the word Tearmann is the Irish word for a safe place in a storm. Since we met when studying the Irish language, this was a perfect symbol for us. Below you’ll see answers from us both.
Oh wow, I hadn't realised there was a prejudice against co-authors. I applaud you two for making the collaboration work.
2. What was the defining event that made you start writing?
OW: Well, bloody 2016 made me decide to start bugging Nonir about getting serious on this series. Both of us felt like we needed to do something meaningful in the face of all the despair during that year, but neither one of us is a political animal. So we decided to really get to work on a piece set in the version of America we thought this mess could lead to. And then we decided to showcase a multi-ethnic, diverse, inclusive found family that was still finding hope and joy in that terrible setting. We took everything to the darkest place we could. And then we got to work showcasing that you can still make it better.
NA: Writing in general? I was bored in class in middle school and my friend at the time encouraged me to write down the ideas in my head. I’ve actually been writing since then, but Liv’s got the gist of why we started Aces High, Jokers Wild.
I do love the title, by the way. Looking forward to hearing more about writing the darkest place you could. Most intriguing.
OW: I write illustrated books on the intersection between folklore and plants under my own name. I currently have two out; Roots is an illustrated exploration of plants in Old Irish myth and law, and Smoke and Roses is an illustrated guide to the history of the Victorian Language of Flowers and how many of the exotic plants in our gardens came to be there. Nonir and I learned to write together by working on the free webcomic Parmeshen, where I act as the artist. It’s still our weird queer fantasy-steampunk baby.
I also write some short stories and may(!) one day get an urban fantasy book together based on a young lady who’s been kicking around my head for a while.
NA: I write all the things. I have three published short stories under the name Emily Kay Singer, a book of prose and poetry about the Norse god Loki, and a ton of fanfiction. At the moment, I’m working on a solo novel set in the same world as our webcomic.
My goodness, you two sound like you can write anything!
OW: I’d say what makes our work unique is the hope. You don’t see a lot of quiet, clear eyed hope out there. That’s what we write: the kind of quiet hope that says ‘okay, I’ll try again tomorrow’. We also stress compassion in our work, and creating characters who still reach for their better nature in spite of difficult surroundings has been something we’ve tried hard to do. NA: Oh, definitely. We also strive really hard to represent diversity and write a variety of characters without making our story about diversity. It’s a hard balance to maintain, but I like to think we do it pretty well.
That's really awesome. Something much needed in today's harsh times.
5. What’s the basic plot of your book or series?
The arc of the series follows a unit in the resistance force of 2155 America as they fight to build a better life and dismantle the Corporations that own the country. Currently two books are published with the third due on August 6. Book 1 revolves around the way young Commander Aidan Headly pulls one of the best units in the Force back together after a disaster. Book 2 explores the way they pull together to manage the first big win of the war, and the third book is going to explore another big mission, and what it costs.
6. Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?
OW: Oh yes! The Aces High, Jokers Wild series is set in Colorado, and we take liberally from our home town setting. We have a lot of fun imagining what places in the area could evolve into in our universe. And Denver offers a lot of great cyberpunk names already: Commerce City, the Tech Center, and the Colosseum, for instance.
7. Do you have another job outside of writing?
OW: I own a small landscaping business here in Denver, and sell my garden-related art and writing through that.
NA: I do social media marketing for a cancer awareness campaign and run my own business, Wandering Jotun Crafts, which is dedicated to uplifting marginalized communities through art and spiritual services.
8. What song would you choose as the theme song of your book?
OW: The theme song is Bon Jovi’s ‘No Apologies’, which tells you an awful lot about our characters and us!
9. What music do you listen to when writing?
OW: it really depends on the project. For this one it’s a blend of Bon Jovi, Flobots, Mischief Brew, Social Distortion, Billie Joel and general fierce classic rock intersecting with 90s punk. For my artwork, it’s usually audiobooks intermixed with Irish folk. For the comic, audiobooks with a lot of middle eastern folk, some Irish folk and Romani music.
NA: I’m a huge fan of listening to movie or game soundtracks. I have a playlist that’s a bunch of my favorites (How to Train Your Dragon, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, etc), but most recently I’ve been listening to the Final Fantasy XV soundtrack because it gives me Feels.
10.What are you working on now?
OW: AHHAHAHHAHA quiets my own hysterical laughter we’re working on the next book release in the series. We’ve got a book signing and a convention coming up, and that’s about all we have brain power for...though Book 4 is in drafting as we speak. On my own account I'm planting gardens, drawing Parmeshen, writing a book on ancient Irish poetry and another one on garden plans with step-by-step planting plans. Oh, and writing reviews for books and comics. Whew...
NA: Yep. Working on more Aces High, but I’m also working on a solo novel set in the Parmeshen world, as I mentioned before, and I’m writing for a visual novel/dating sim project a friend is running. I’d like to get some short stories out soon, too!
Wow. You both sound so immersed in Parmeshen. I love it!
11.List some great books you have recently read:
OW: I’ve been on a reading kick lately, so I’ll suggest: Fiction River’s How To Save The World Last Tango In Cyberspace Juniper Girls by Aaron Michael Ritchie The Secret Life of Trees and, always and forever, all of Terry Pratchett’s stuff
NA: And me, on the opposite end of the spectrum, has been reading only really dull business books lately. But some of my favorites include: Good Omens by Gaiman and Pratchett Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine (yes, I have Middle Grade faves because nostalgia)
Favourite thing to cook:
NA: I hate cooking, but I’ll go with onigiri (rice balls) because I make them a lot and they’re so versatile.
OW: I stole my favorite cranky saying from Emma Bull’s War For The Oaks: ‘Well this sucks dead rat through a straw!’
NA: My entire life is one silly saying so I’m not sure how to pick!
Best holiday spot:
OW: My good friend Pink’s back yard on Beltane night
NA: Donegal County, Ireland
Most played song:
OW: Frenchy and the Punk’s ‘La Vie Boheme’
NA: F*cking Perfect by P!nk
With writing, are you a plotter or (seat-of-your) pantser?
OW: I’m a plotter. Our characters are not.
NA: I’m a pantser. Which made the beginning of our collaboration a little interesting.
Do you prefer to read SciFi or fantasy:
OW: I prefer to read. Period.
NA: I lean toward fantasy, but now and then I’ll crave a good scifi.
OW: A redo button: let me go back 20 minutes in time and fix mistakes please. Second in line is uncanny empathy. Please let me understand people and their actual motivations!
NA: Shapeshifting for me.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list:
OW: Go to the little town in Ireland my great grandfather came from.
NA: Dismantling the capitalistic patriarchal system. Short of that, finishing my half-sleeve tattoo, probably. If there’s anything else you’d like to talk about, feel free to make up one question of your own.
Kasper: Thanks to the both of you for dropping by the Readers Lounge today to share your work and thoughts with us. I feel like I know heaps more about you now. I bet the readers are keen to check out your books too. Links below.
Links for O.E. Tearmann