"What a surprisingly fun series starter! With a good mix of sci-fi, intrigue, humour, action, and delicious romance, Joined is a new debut out today from Mara Gan. Meda is a spunky ruler-to-be from a destroyed planet and – though she won’t admit it – somewhat in need of protection from the mercenary Perseus." Dani, Goodreads
Published: September 12th, 2017
Duty and prophecy get in the way of everything.
All I ever wanted to do was read my books, play my sports, and help people. Life and prophecy had other things in mind.
Helping people is what I do; as an empath and semi-frequent telepath, I can easily sense and understand people’s needs and emotions. Sometimes even before they do. Being able to read everyone’s thoughts and feelings all the time can drive me crazy with anxiety, but that moment when I can finally make someone’s life better makes everything worth it.
Unfortunately, I’m also the next in line to rule the galaxy, I’m the only diplomat most planets will listen to, assassins try to kill me on an annoyingly regular basis, and a much-vaunted Prophecy has decreed that I’m going to die. Oh, and someone blew up my home planet.
Kind of a lot to deal with, right?
Too bad I just got another problem: a big, irritating, overbearing bodyguard with serious anger management issues.
And I think I’m falling for him.
Top five role models/heroes
When I was in elementary school, my third grade teacher asked us to write about our hero. I think he expected us to come back with inspirational stories about our parents, grandparents, older siblings in military service, or George Washington, so imagine his disappointment when most of our stories were about our dogs (“because he licks himself all day and then sleeps”), the playground supervisor (“she gets recess all day long!”), or my favorite, the refrigerator, because “it’s full of food all the time.”
I don’t really have any heroes, I suppose, but (mostly fictional) characters with traits I find fascinating and occasionally worthy of emulating. They are mostly anti-heroes, people or characters that walk the line of good and bad. I guess I find them more realistic and relatable that way.
Cheshire Cat. Always and forever, a personal role model. He’s not evil, but he’s not good, either; he tricks Alice so many times and nearly gets her killed, but he does try to save her and help her, too. Plus, his nonsensical, irrelevant-to-the-conversation humor speaks to me and how my mind works.
Sherlock Holmes. Especially the Benedict Cumberbatch version. In general, the character is a sociopathic genius who would just as soon let you fall off a cliff as help you, because ultimately, all he cares about is the puzzle. He’s a true neutral; let people do what they do, as long as he can do the same. He’s predictable in that way, but his utterly different approach to human interaction is what I find fascinating. His brilliance is a trait no one can dispute, either, although beautifully, he’s still an idiot sometimes.
Voltaire. Not fictional, obviously, but his ideas and witticisms resonate over two centuries later, and I can’t help but love someone who refused to renounce the devil on his deathbed because “this is hardly the time to be making new enemies.”
Garak, from Deep Space Nine. He had such a different way of thinking, and his confusing conversational habits are the stuff of legend. I’ll always remember his response when someone first told him the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf; he questioned the moral of the story, saying that it wasn’t “you should never tell a lie,” but rather, “you should never tell the same lie twice.”
Jack Sparrow. Who doesn’t love Jack Sparrow? (Sorry, “Captain” Jack Sparrow.) His quirky, unbalanced-yet-completely-calculated manner of thinking was sheer brilliance. He’s the kind of person you always want on your side, because he desperately wants to be selfish but has a painfully loyal streak, and he possesses the ability to predict and plan for scenarios that most of us couldn’t even imagine.
BONUS HERO: Another real person! Dorothy Parker. Her dry wit and devil-may-care attitude toward societal norms transcends time.
A dinner party with these six would be mind-blowingly awesome. I’d get Joss Whedon to write it, but they’d probably all die at the end if he did.
About the author:
A Pacific Northwesterner by birth and disposition, Mara has lived in Washington DC, Oregon, Japan, and most recently the beautiful Pacific Grove, California, before returning to her roots in Seattle. By day she teaches history to unsuspecting teenagers, and by night she writes books and travels to far-flung places. She loves to be with animals, read, play sports, and drink more London Fogs than is likely good for her.
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