One of the more memorable books I read last year was Knight Errant by KD Sarge, published by Turtleduck Press. It’s part of Sarge’s science fictional Dream’verse series, and the first of three books featuring her engaging heroes, Taro and Rafe. (My brief thoughts on all three here.)
The second of the Taro/Rafe books is His Faithful Squire; and the third, Even the Score, was released last December. To celebrate the latter, today I welcome KD to talk a little about Taro and Rafe and the series.
Even the Score – A novel of the Dream’verse
One, two, three,
How many will my victims be?
One, two, three, four,
How many more to even the score?
When Taro Hibiki leads a survival class into the backwoods, he has two goals: to prove himself as an instructor, and to propose to his beloved Rafe before he loses his nerve completely. In the wilds might seem a strange place for that, but it’s where Taro feels most at home — and the only place the couple can escape all their other responsibilities.
On BFR, proud colonists say the name stands for “Big Effing Rock,” and brag about their planet’s dangers. More treacherous than bomb bugs or sight scamps, though, is a human seeking vengeance. Soon Taro’s students are dropping one by one, and no matter what Taro does, the killer stays a step ahead. Worst of all, Taro comes to suspect that the students are targets of opportunity — that the ultimate goal is Rafe.
Taro would die for Rafe in a heartbeat, but who’s going to take care of Rafe if he does?
As it happens, the killer has a plan for that, too.
Here’s KD Sarge…
1. Can you start by telling us a bit about the Dream’verse series — the inspiration behind it and how the stories fit together?
I didn’t start out thinking I’d write a series. I watched the musical Les Mis and all that tragedy got to me. I thought how most of the characters who died just needed a little ~help~ at the right moment. Two days later I started writing about Eve Marcori, former Marine, who made a hobby of helping just when it was most needed. Eve pays it forward, and that’s what links the books. All the main characters are Eve’s rescuees, or rescuees of Eve’s rescuees. She’s saved Taro and Rafe twice each — those boys need a lot of rescuing. 😉
2. Talking about Taro and Rafe — can you please give a brief run down of their story to-date?
Taro and Rafe — my hooligans. Taro is Eve’s little brother. His mother adopted Eve then died, and Eve took her promise to look after Taro very seriously. At nearly 16, Taro can fight like a Marine, fly like a fighter pilot, swear like a Calanian (and blow things up like Crazy Harry). In Knight Errant, Eve is about to send Taro off to college when Rafe drops in. His girlfriend’s jealous husband wants him dead, so he wants to hide behind Eve. Attempting to get rid of Rafe, Taro gets them both kidnapped and the pair end up stranded on a poisonous planet. Where, of course, they fall in love.
His Faithful Squire begins two years later. Taro is eighteen and Rafe is still pretty much useless. But Taro wants to see the galaxy, so off they go, getting in as much trouble as only those two could find along the way. HFS is all about Rafe figuring out he’s not quite useless, and he doesn’t actually have time to be useless at all, because if he is, Taro is going to get plowed under.
3. What kind of experience can readers expect from Even the Score and its brethren in the Dream’verse series?
I hope each book will be one heck of a ride. I want to make readers laugh, make them cry, and have them read the last page with a happy sigh.
4. What do you love most about Even the Score?
Taro and Rafe. I love them together. I love that they are so RIGHT for each other but they can still manage to screw it up pretty incredibly. And the amount of screwing up they do together…
5. What is it about the science fiction/speculative fiction genre that inspires you — as a reader, as a writer?
Sci fi/spec fic is more “figure out the rules” for me. I like to discover as I go. In the Dream’verse there are planets where everything is commodified, planets like BFR where personal liberty is the big thing, planets where it is NOT… it’s a lot of fun, running my characters into those situations to see what falls out.
6. What aspect of storytelling are you most passionate about?
All my stories seem to come around to saving people. Caring about people. Empathy. I want to tell a story about a person who is real to the reader. If a reader comes out of a book feeling like they’re not alone, maybe a little stronger, a little more tolerant — then I’ve done what I set out to do. And, of course, I want the reader to have fun! Life can be miserable enough; it doesn’t need my help.
About KD Sarge
KD Sarge writes for joy and hope, and works for a living. She has tried her hand at many endeavors, including Governess of the Children, Grand Director of the Drive-Through, and Dispatcher of the Tow Trucks. Currently KD loves her job at a private school for children with autism.
Past accomplishments include surviving eight one-year-olds for eight hours alone (she lasted about ten months), driving a twenty-foot truck from Ohio to Arizona by way of Oklahoma, and making a six-pack of tacos in twenty-three seconds.
Writing achievements include the Weightiest First Draft Ever, as well as eleven other, much lighter, completed novels. She has somewhere between five and ten universes under construction at any given time, writes science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, smut (in many genres), and means to one day undertake a cosy mystery. A widow, KD lives in Arizona with her biological daughter, her internet daughter, two cats, a dog, and a hermit crab named Bob.
KD can be found on the internet at kdsarge.com or turtleduckpress.com. Follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook, where she mostly talks about cool things she found when she should have been writing.
Many thanks to KD for dropping by to chat about the Dream’verse. Do yourself a favour and go read the first Taro and Rafe story, Knight Errant, today…