Today we have the lovely C.K. Oliver here to discuss their latest novel, Daybreak Rising. Before we actually get to the interview, here’s more about the novel and the author themselves!
About the Novel
Daybreak Rising by C.K. Oliver
Sci-Fi/Fantasy, LGBT+, New Adult
Release Date: Spring 2016
Preorder Information Coming Soon!
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22-year-old Celosia Brennan spent sixteen years being raised as the heroine her nation needed. A dual-touched Elementalist with both the power to conjure fire and see glimpses of her future, Celosia was the best hope at overthrowing the oppressive Council in a mission called Daybreak, an attempt to secure justice for the massacre of her people and so many others. There’s just one problem: she couldn’t. Celosia broke down after realizing the enormity of her task and is struggling to make things right while the blood of her fellows stains her hands.
Now branded a failure, Celosia desperately volunteers for the next mission: taking down the corrupt Council with a team of her fellow elementally-gifted mages. Leading the Ember Operative gives Celosia her last hope at redemption. They seek to overthrow the Council once and for all, this time bringing the fight to Valeria, the largest city under the Council’s iron grip. But Celosia’s new teammates don’t trust her—all except for a powerful ice Elementalist named Ianthe who believes in second chances.
With Council spies, uncontrolled magic, and the distraction of unexpected love, Celosia will have to win the trust of her teammates and push her abilities to the breaking point to complete the Ember Operative. Except if she falters this time, there won’t be any Elementalists left to stop the Council from taking over not only her country, but their entire world.
About the Author
C.K. [Rin] Oliver is a white, trans, grey-asexual, autistic person that writes LGBTQ+ fantasy novels. By day, they masquerade as a freelance writer & PR professional while finishing their last year of university. Rin resides in New Zealand with their fiancee and their cat, Ember. You can read more of their work here.
The Interview Itself!
Q: Please describe your book using any five words!
Fun. Exciting. Gritty. Hopeful. Magic.
Q: What was the inspiration for Daybreak Rising?
I wanted to tell a story about what might happen if the protagonist failed. A story with a complex magic system, classism, dealing with mental illnesses and PTSD. As DAYBREAK RISING is set in a unique secondary world, there is no racism or homophobia within it. There is transphobia, though it is not to the extent people face in ourworld. In Esonith. it’s more biting remarks or exclusion from social events.
I wanted to have a romance that reminded me of what I share with my fiancee. I’m a hopeless romantic.
More than anything, I wanted to tell a story about what happens after you fail.
Q: If there’s one thing you could teach your readers, what would it be?
To understand that everyone has good days and bad days. That there’s no shame in admitting you need help. That the world is full of amazing people from a variety of backgrounds and lived experiences.
Q: How do you include diverse elements into your books?
4/7 characters in DAYBREAK RISING are PoC. Adan is a transgender brown man, Lark is a transgender black woman, Riva is a nonbinary brown person, and Ianthe is a cisgender brown woman.
Celosia, Kayvun, and Adelin are white. Adelin is genderfluid. Celosia and Kayvun are cisgender.
Kayvun is bisexual, Adan is heterosexual, Celosia is a lesbian, Ianthe is pandemisexual, Lark and Riva are queer, Adelin is polysexual. Though, these things have no actual definition in Esonith. These characters love who they love, if romance is even something that their character arc entails. I use labels in interviews so that people that may relate to these characters might see themselves reflected in them. As this is a secondary world, they do not use our labels within the pages of the book.
I have had [and will have more] many betas throughout editing this novel, comprising TWoC, fellow agender people, fellow asexual people, and more. I have done extensive research as well. I am not perfect. I will probably mess up somewhere. I try my best to include diversity that reflects the world I live in. I am fortunate to know a lot of wonderful people. I wrote my characters so that their trans identity or their sexual orientation is not their only defining feature. It is something they are, but not all of it. That’s very important to me. This is not a coming out story. These characters are well settled in their identities, and for the most part, happy.
Q: If you don’t mind me asking, why do you write diverse books?
Because I want to see people like myself, my fiancee, and my friends reflected in the pages of books we read. Because there are not enough queer characters in SFF, nevermind queer women that actually survive. This was important to me. I wanted to have trans characters that are treated with respect, also. I write diversely because my world is diverse. I seek out new friendships, new experiences, and listen to those around me when they speak of their lived experiences. I write diversely because to write about straight cisgender heterosexual white people would be writing something I cannot relate to at all. I wanted to write something that would resonate with people.
Q: Are you working on anything new now?
Yes and no. I’m editing DAYBREAK RISING currently. When I’m not editing, I’m dabbling in a project I’m calling SALT AND STEEL [it’s on my website]–a futuristic YA fantasy. It’s got dragons and queer ladies. What more could you possibly ask for?
Other than that, no.
I just want to say a huge thank you to C.K for agreeing to participate in this interview. Hope you’ve enjoyed this interview as much as I had!