Oh, here I am! Back in 2020 I might’ve given you the false impression that I could write a book a minute, but that pace was just the result of a backlog I’d amassed. A year and change later, now that we’re fully recalibrated, I think it’s safe to tell you another story.
This story I just finished is deeply in the sci-fi mode. Whispering Skin is about a woman who’s unsatisfied with her safe, comfortable routine. When a life-changing opportunity to travel to a distant galaxy drops in Olivia Jelani’s lap seemingly from nowhere, she’s enticed by the thought of leaving everything behind. Only she’ll have to leave behind a lot more than just her home and her routine. Because the aliens she’ll be visiting have very particular views about who they’ll allow into their system—and in what form.
If you’ve read any of my previous works, the main character’s struggles with identity and self-perception will be familiar to you. But this story let me explore those themes from a different angle, since Olivia finds herself quite literally “fitting in” with an alien race where appearance is everything. Is she slowly losing sight of who she is, or learning new things about herself that she never could have back at home?
My sixth novel was inspired by such stories as Iain M. Banks’s The Player of Games, and Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep. Whispering Skin explores different territory, but if you enjoy visits to strange lands with even stranger aliens, where the focus remains deeply rooted in the human condition, I hope you’ll check it out. Here’s a synopsis and excerpt from the story.
And here it is over on Amazon!
While we’re here, let me also praise the work of my cover artist Bastien Lecouffe Deharme. This was our second collaboration—he also designed the cover of The Last Shadow—and he really took my initial sketch (I know I’m a little rusty) and ran with it! As ever, I like a cover that captures some key aspect of the story without being too literal. But it should also be arresting, possibly unsettling, and beautiful!
Anyway, I’m so pleased with the result. Be sure to check out Bastien’s other work.
Oh, and one last thing. In her travels, Whispering Skin’s heroine Olivia Jelani encounters both the familiar and the strange. But it’s all new to you, so I’ve whipped up a supplementary wiki that explains many of the terms you’ll find throughout the story, as well as characters and places. Feel free to check it out, but be aware that you’re sure to find spoilers if you read it straight through.