Next month, an awesome soulmate F/F romance is coming out and I can’t wait for everyone else to be able to read such an interesting book. Curved Horizon has so many things in it that I think romance readers will absolutely love it so I couldn’t miss the chance to have the author, Taylor Brooke, sharing a bit about her work on our blog.
Q1: How would you explain the Camellia Clock world to someone who’s starting the series from Curved Horizon?
You know, I left the Camellia Clock open for interpretation on purpose. I wanted people to find their own footing within a soulmate universe because the term soulmate is so different for all of us. Soulmate could be best friend, someone could have multiple soulmates – there’s room to explore. But to go over the basics: The Camellia Clock is fate. The driving force behind its decision making is unknown, but as it was developed, scientists could track patterns and changes influenced by this anomalous human hormone – the soul. Being able to pinpoint exactly when two lines of energy will meet, or when multiple lines of energy will meet, opened up the discussion for sexualities, gender identities and so on. Even though the Camellia World seems to lean toward a bi/pan mindset, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other Rose Roads, including ace/aro Rose Roads. Because the Camellia Clock is a tether for soulmates, someone who is asexual would be matched with people suited for them depending on where they landed on the spectrum. That goes for aromantic folks as well. After a pair/group reaches 00:00 on their Camellia Clocks, they’re faced with a decision to take their relationship in two directions – Emotionally or Physically. Sometimes it’s a mix of both, sometimes couples/groups lean one direction more than the other, it just depends. There’s room to navigate identities, fluidity, boundaries, trust and so on. That’s really one of the most interesting parts of the story for me – the act of falling in love backward, or forming an intense bond backward. When the characters are presented with their soulmate/soulmates, whether stranger, friend, rival or acquaintance, they’re faced with a future most people would’ve wondered about for a long time. There’s curiosity trying to balance with lust, love trying to balance with friendship. There could also be absence in curiosity, lust, love, friendship, or a significant increase in one or the other. Depending on who is paired with who and how they identify, a Rose Road could be romantic, it could be friendship, it could be companionship. Emotional connection means something different to everyone and so does physical connection. The Camellia Clock doesn’t have stipulations placed on souls. Once the pair/group times out, it’s up to them to figure out how they proceed, what’s good for them, what’s necessary, wanted and encouraged.
Q2: Where did you get the idea of a world with soulmate clocks? This is the first time that I read a soulmate story like that outside of fanfic and I loved it.
I’m glad to hear you loved it! I won’t lie, the idea came from fanfiction. I’ve written fic for years and I kept coming across these alternate universe fic’s that were tagged soulmates and everyone lives and fluffy, and the majority of them were all Queer. It got me thinking about how publishing and media treats Queer relationships and how disheartening it was to only find the happy, warm, conflict-free content on the internet and not in the limelight. I wanted to change that. I initially imagined the Camellia Clock books as anthology style stories with different pairs/groups in different parts of the world, but that was a super ambitious project. So, I put it aside for a while. After I moved from Southern California to Central Oregon, I missed Laguna Beach. It’s like I’d left a part of me there and I didn’t know how to get it back. I started writing Fortitude Smashed, gave it the soulmate storyline and it became one of the most personal journeys I’ve ever gone on as an author. I wanted to show a Queer found family and flawed characters and absolute, unquestioned normalcy when it came to Queer love.
Q3: I also love how opposite in personalities Daisy and Chelsea are but yet they fit perfectly together. How was it to write a romance with such different people?
You know, I’ve sorta always written opposites attract in my books. In Fortitude Smashed we’ve got a thief and a cop, in Curved Horizon we’ve got a feisty artist and an uptight doctor. I’ve got a few books coming out soon that also play with romance and opposites. It’s fun. It gives me room to flesh out these deeply complex characters in ways that a narrative other than opposites attract wouldn’t. I can shift the perspective the reader has and move it with the characters, show arcs and development that would otherwise be hidden. Romantic tension between two opposites always brings up the question: Why aren’t we good together? And usually the answer isn’t what the characters expect.
Q4: What are some of your favorite LGBTQIAP+ books?
The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Huntsmen by Michelle Osgood
It’s not out yet, but coming in May is A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra
Q5: When and how did you start writing?
I’ve been writing since I was really little, but I got serious a few years ago. Before that I was writing fanfiction regularly. I still write fic sometimes, but a lot of my time is eaten up by deadlines these days. I still sneak in a ficlet every now and then 😉
Q6: What’s next for you? Any stories we can be waiting for soon?
Yes! I’ve actually got a New Adult trilogy in the works right now called The Isolation Series. The first book – Omen Operation – is coming out this summer. It’s X-Men meets Mazerunner with a Queer cast of badass characters fighting for their freedom. It’s got a large cast, lots of twists and turns, and it’s fast. Real fast. I hope my Camellia Clock readers are ready for some bloody knuckles and urban scifi!
About the Author:
After fleshing out a multitude of fantastical creatures as a special effects makeup artist, Taylor Brooke turned her imagination back to her true love—books. When she’s not nestled in a blanket typing away on her laptop, she’s traveling, hiking or reading. She writes Queer books for teens and adults. She is the author of Fortitude Smashed (Interlude Press ’17) and the upcoming sequel Curved Horizon (March 8 ’18) and is represented by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services. Follow her on Twitter at @taysalion.