Today I am interviewing Ash Gray, author of the new science fiction humor novel, The Harvest, second book of The Prince of Qorlec series.
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DJ: Hey Ash! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Ash Gray: Thanks for having me for this interview. I was unhappy the other day, thinking I might lay low for a while and stop talking about my books. But talking about them actually makes me happy, so I’m glad for the opportunity.
When asked personal questions, I usually insist I’m a dragon and roll off into the dragon routine, but since I’m not in a joking disposition, I’ll answer honestly.
There’s a lot about me. There’s a lot of sadness and madness. If people want know me (lol, why?) I suggest reading my books. There I am on the page, bare for inspection.
DJ: What is The Harvest about?
Ash: The Harvest is the second book in my humorous science fiction series The Prince of Qorlec. There are six books planned for the entire series, two are published, and the third I’m currently writing. I plan to write the first four by the end of the summer, then switch over to a different series for a while. Doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the series (I always try to finish the things I start) this is just my m.o.
I was inspired to write Project Mothership, the first book in the series, back in March when I was watching alien documentaries late one night. One documentary was about a woman who told the story of getting abducted by aliens and impregnated with alien fetuses all her life and how it ruined her any chance of a marriage. I thought –somewhat guiltily – to myself, “Man, this would make a great story!”
So I started writing The Prince of Qorlec, which is a humorous series about the last princess of an alien planet. Quinn’s planet is under siege and she is placed inside a human surrogate in order to save her. The human (Rose) raises Quinn on Earth for four years, until the alien enemies of her home planet finally catch up to her.
The first book is about Quinn and her mother trying to escape Quinn’s alien enemies. It’s a very silly, nearly campy novella that somewhat lampoons Terminator, Men in Black, and a mix of my favorite sci-fi films.
The rest of the series is about how Quinn discovers she is alien royalty and rises against the zonbiri in a campaign to drive them from Qorlec, her homeworld.
The series is called The Prince of Qorlec because the many aliens featured (there are barely any humans) have a different view on sex, gender, and sexuality than humans. So while hiding, Quinn often has to pretend to be a boy, but a “boy” means different things to different aliens. For example, zonbiri women all have penises.
I’m not doing anything groundbreaking by using aliens to explore gender and sexuality (it’s been done many, many times before), so I’m often confused when people think I must be transgender or queergender myself. No. I’m a cisgender queer woman completely comfortable with exploring these themes and – not only that – but exploring them as inoffensively and responsibly as possible. Whether or not I have managed this remains to be seen. Continue reading