Title: Under Glass
Author Name: Rebecca Cohen
Publication Date & Length: April 10, 2015 – 306pgs
Creating planets and guarding the stars leaves novice planet builder Kai Faewiva lonely. For members of Kai’s species who are born with an organ called a caerellon, their true love, their Sun or Moon, is identified at birth. But the novices are people who have lost their perfect love, and Kai’s Sun is long dead, killed in an accident when he was five years old. Or so everyone thought.
After recovering from another bout of the unidentified illness he has battled for years, Kai returns to work. But his quiet day at the planetarium is thrown into chaos when scans of Goka Prime, one of the planets in the Sol-Alpha2 system, picks up a life-form that shouldn’t be there. Kai’s Sun, Oliver Gyin, is alive and well, but how he got to be on Goka Prime, no one knows. Now he needs to be brought home.
Ollie has lived most of his life in the City of Harrea, never guessing he is from another planet. Surprised to find a stranger means the world to him, Ollie wrestles with his loyalties and the drive to return with Kai. To leave Goka Prime, he must give up everything and everyone he knows. But twenty years apart means Kai and Ollie face a fight to secure their destined future.
The East Terrace had clear views of the city and the hills in the distance, and the setting sun bathed the world in hues of red, purple, and orange. “One of the best views from the palace,” Ollie said. “Guests aren’t usually allowed here.”
Kai glanced back to the door. “Will we get in trouble?”
“No, Menish is a personal friend. He won’t mind.”
“Must be good to have a friend who rules the city.”
Ollie chuckled. “We went to school together. I often have to remind myself that he’s the sultan and not the kid who helped me toilet paper the housemaster’s study windows.”
“Very good friends.”
Ollie didn’t think Kai needed to know just how good a friend Menish had been at one point, although what they had enjoyed was nothing more serious than teenage exploration. “Put it this way: he’d have no problem with me showing you this terrace.”
“The sunset is quite beautiful,” Kai said, turning to face it, and Ollie thought Kai wanted to steer the conversation away from Menish.
“Yes. It changes through the seasons, but I think this is my favorite time of year.”
“Then I am fortunate we chose this time to visit and a place on the mission became available.”
Kai’s choice of word in calling his visit a mission was a little strange, but Ollie thought better of mentioning anything. “Oh, you were. The festival to celebrate the end of harvest starts in a few days, and the city is awash with stalls and street entertainment.”
Kai turned back to him, cocked his head to one side, and smiled. “Perhaps you would agree to be my guide for that as well?”
The hopeful expression and the slight smile made Ollie swallow thickly as he stared into Kai’s dark brown eyes in the failing light. Kai bit his bottom lip and tilted his head back a little to look Ollie in the eye, making Ollie lick his own lips involuntarily. His hand twitched to cup Kai’s cheek and rub his thumb across his cheekbone to prove his hypothesis that Kai’s skin would be soft and warm to the touch.
The little voice in the back of his head returned, and it bluntly reminded Ollie he wasn’t a single man. The pang of guilt made him turn away, and he saw a confused look on Kai’s face. Not only was he in danger of betraying Rica, but he was also leading Kai along on a dance that Kai didn’t know Ollie already had a partner for.
He stepped away, shaking his head. “I’m sorry, Kai. I can’t do this. While I can’t deny you have caught my eye like no one else, I am not the type of man to be unfaithful.” There, he’d said it, made it clear he was attached, and Kai’s expression morphed first to confusion and then into hurt. “I don’t understand.”
“I have a boyfriend.”
“Boyfriend?” asked Kai weakly.
“His name is Rica. He’s away at sea.” The devastation on Kai’s face almost made Ollie step closer and gather him into his arms, but he forced himself to put more distance between them. “I’m sorry, Kai. I was so wrapped up in the connection we seemed to share I lost sight of things. I should never have let it get this far, and I must stop it going further.”
“I see.” Kai turned away. “I wish you a good evening, Mr. Gyin. If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to enjoy the view a little longer before I find one of the servants to show me to my room.”
“Of course. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Kai didn’t reply, and Ollie retreated back inside, part of his mind protesting that he was going the wrong way, the other part telling him he was doing the right thing. He turned back to see Kai still standing on the terrace, his head bent. Ollie fled, fearing that if he stayed a moment longer he’d do something he’d really enjoy but regret later.
- Can you describe in detail what your writing environment is like?
I’m lucky that I can write pretty much anywhere. And it’s a good job too, as I need to grab the chance to write when I can, what with a day job and family to balance writing around. Most of my writing gets done on the sofa in the living room, so I can spend time with my hubby once my son is in bed and not have to lock myself away in another room to write
- Is there one of your characters that you relate to (from any of your works)? Why?
If you discount the magic and being a leader of his city, I would probably say Lornyc from my ‘Reagalos’ series. We are both passionate about science, fiercely loyal and have a very dark sense of humor.
- If you couldn’t be an author, what would you do instead?
I have a day job, and I really enjoy it… although I won’t bore you with the details. However, it can be very stressful and writing helps combat that. I’m not sure I want to write full time at the moment.
- Is there anything that you learned during the writing process that you wish you had known before hand?
In general I am learning with every new story I write. For ‘Under Glass’ it turned out to be a longer story then I originally envisioned, so I think a dose of time management skills would have been highly appreciated.
- Is there anything that you wish you could change about your book now that it is out?
Je ne regrette rien
- How do you come up with new ideas for your story?
I jump around genres and this gives me the opportunity to pull ideas from wherever and whenever. I love science and technology, but also history and mythology. I love to read and watch documentaries and believe that even the most mundane thing in life can have creative merit.
- What’s next for you as a writer?
A contemporary rom-com novella series set around an amateur dramatics group in the UK. Three different gays couples, each with their own story to tell.
- Where do you live? Do you think this influences how or what you write?
I live in Basel, Switzerland. I tend to base my contemporary stories in the UK, where I’m from originally, and I think living overseas has made me long for home at times and that manifests in my writing.
- What is your favorite genre outside of the one you write in? Why?
I jump around the genres (historical, contemporary, fantasy, sci fi) so I don’t really think there’s a favourite one I haven’t written in yet or don’t have plans to do so. Sci fi was the one I was missing and I closed the gap with ‘Under Glass’.
- Do you have any vices? Shoes, coffee, shopping…etc?
I love expensive handbags, but have stopped buying them while I have a toddler, since things that are leaky, smelly and sticky don’t mix well with designer leather.
Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and young son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.