Hi, we’re Michelle Moore and Reesa Herberth. The kind people here have invited us to stop by and tell you a little about our newest book, Peripheral People. A standalone novel in the Ylendrian Empire series, Peripheral People combines elements of romance, science fiction, paranormal, and crime drama in the intense, galaxy-spanning hunt for a psychic serial killer. Hot on the trail and hot for each other (in the sense that they’d both prefer to be set on fire than work together), the imperial agents who stumble into the case must evade terrifying mental traps, their own volatile relationship, and the discovery that someone in a higher pay grade may not be so keen on their quest for justice.
We’re thrilled to be with you today, and we’re looking forward to any questions or comments you might have.
What inspired you to write your latest novel, Peripheral People?
Hi folks, Reesa Herberth here. When we started our latest project, we really wanted to write a “cops in space” book. We were working on The Slipstream Con when we started Peripheral People, and we were in the mood to explore the more legit side of Imperial law. Not that con men and bounty hunters aren’t fun, mind you, but we wanted to take things a little darker than the average caper story would allow—so we started killing people off, and sent in our intrepid investigative team to figure out what was going on.
I’ve always loved the partner dynamic, both the buddy-cop trope and misfit partners, and I love that we found a way to explore both of those with West, our psychic cop. He’s got a bond of friendship and brotherhood with his non-psychic counterpart, Gavin. They’ve been friends since they were children, but their ability to work together has recently been tested, and they’re on unfamiliar ground as they test the new limits of their trust.
West’s partnership with Corwin Menivie, the imperial investigator assigned to work with him, is the exact opposite of the dynamic he has with Gavin on the surface. This working relationship is forced, and they don’t trust one another. Corwin thinks West is a showboating cheat who uses his psychic ability to invade people’s privacy, and West think Corwin has a stick up his ass the size of a giant redwood. When you get down to the root of the problems in both partnerships however, the issues are nearly the same. West and Gavin don’t know where they stand anymore because West doesn’t trust himself and doesn’t want Gavin to trust him either. West and Corwin can’t get a solid footing because Corwin can’t trust someone who won’t respect his boundaries, and West thinks Corwin is hiding something a lot nastier than professional disdain.
Meanwhile, Corwin’s partner, Nika, is rolling her eyes at all of them.
What do you think drew you to Westley Tavera’s character?
I love West because objectively, his life is kind of crap, but in practice, he’s pretty happy most of the time. This is a man who rarely has a moment of solitude in his own head thanks to his phenomenal psychic gifts, but he’s still optimistic and open to the people he cares about. He bakes cookies for his co-workers- something I wouldn’t do most days. He’s seen some really horrendous things in his line of work- hell, he’s felt them as a proxy to both victims and perpetrators. It’s not that he’s in denial and only sees the best in everyone, it’s that he still tries to give his best to everyone.
Corwin definitely has issues with West. What made his character compelling enough to explore on a deeper level?
I like a good curmudgeon. Corwin is the kind of guy who waits for people to prove they aren’t terrible before investing in them. It saves him a lot of time, even if it leaves him occasionally lonelier than he’d like. He was raised in a culture that had a very strict notion of privacy, and that’s been difficult for him to overcome on a personal level. He throws himself into his job because he feels comfortable inside the rigidly defined lines of his duty. Nika, his partner, is one of the only people he considers worth the bother, but even their friendship is restrained a bit by their jobs. Then along comes West, pushing every. single. button. he has- yet Corwin can’t help admiring how West has so much to lose, and still seems so ready to give of himself. That push and pull makes their interplay as partners, friends, and everything else fascinating to me, and I hope to readers as well.
Reesa Herberth was born in Nevada and spirited away to California before moving to Hawaii, where she grew up on the Big Island. She tried Arizona for a few years, then lit out for the D.C. area, where her nomadic itch is regularly curbed by the nightmares of urban traffic. She’s held a handful of the requisite crazy writer jobs, including book store overlord, office goddess for an artisan ice cream maker, and cheese-cup scrubber at an organic goat dairy.
Michelle Moore has a well-documented obsession with travel, television, frappuccinos and flamingos. These, however, come in a distant second to her love of writing. Most evenings she can be found huddled over her laptop at the local Starbucks, dividing her time between actually writing and pretending to be a barista.
Michelle and Reesa have been writing together for over fifteen years. They are currently working on more Ylendrian stories, and a petition to have cat hair recognized as a form of currency.
Corwin Menivie and Nika Santivan are decorated veterans of the Imperial Enforcement Coalition, and are perfectly capable of solving cases the old-fashioned way. When they’re paired with Westley Tavera and Gavin Hale, the most powerful Reader/Ground team to emerge from the Psionics Academy, it could either be the best thing that’s ever happened to crime fighting, or the makings of a quadruple homicide.
During a routine investigation, West’s talent puts them on the trail of a brutal serial killer who traps his prey in a deadly mental playground. Then the killer starts baiting the team, laying psychic landmines at crime scenes and exposing IEC secrets. The strain of the case binds the agents closer together—so close that Nika and Gavin start sharing a room, and even the curmudgeonly Corwin finds himself as occupied with West as he is with the murders.
But as West’s visions of death grow more violent, the only way out for all of them may be straight through the mind of a monster. If they’re not careful, they may forget which side of the hunt they’re on.
I would like to give a big Thank You to Reesa Herberth, Michelle Moore and Riptide for letting us take place in this Blog Tour.