Secret Matilda seized by the Consortium while creatures invade and revolution ignites the edges of space. What were some sources that guided this novels direction?
One of the ideas that held fast to me was how would an oppressive government that had shortchanged its military handle an invasion and a burgeoning revolution at the same time? One of the more recent historical examples I researched was how the Chinese National government handled the invasion by the Japanese military during World War II, and how this fomented the revolution fronted by Mao Zedong. Another example I read up on was the Russian Empire during World War I and after for context. My story and characters are not an analog of these events, but they both made for good examples to work from.
Something else I had to research heavily and modify to fit my story was how would a nomadic people exist in such a ‘world’. An obvious example is the Romany people, but I also dug into the Sami people of Norway and Russia. Other pieces came from the gatherings of ancestral family groups where trade, marriage and the like would occur. Human history is rich with information, and I can never know enough.
On a more fun note, I had already done tons of research on tardigrades you know… because you do. To be honest, that was the part I was most looking forward to, and ‘Surprise!’ it was my favorite part to write.
What were some challenges you felt were important to defining your characters in this story?
Some of the challenges I wanted to showcase was how the crew of the ship each have their strengths and weaknesses and how those play into their decisions. How would each of them respond in a highly tense situation? How would each of them respond to capture or dealing with the unknown in human society? In the end, it was important to me to show how they truly work best as a team… as a family.
Equally challenging was how would Galena make sense of what is happening to her? She isn’t alone under the skin of her body or in the confines of her mind. This was easily the hardest part to write for me, but also one of the more interesting.
Another thing I wanted to highlight and give some precedence to was Jacquotte Delahaye. We’ve only come to know her a little bit, from being born on the Matilda and living her life onboard. But there is more to her. This book gave me the chance to flesh out more of her story.
What has been the most surprising reader reaction to your series?
One of the more interesting reactions to me over the whole story is how certain characters seem to resonate with different readers. It’s been a fascinating experience talking with readers and how some really like one character and not like another only to get the reverse from the next person! As the story has unfolded, some of the readers have warmed to the ones they didn’t like or at the very least, seem to understand them. I mean I love them all, and I know some of them are not very likable folk… at all. So, it was a lot of fun to learn this.
But one of my favorite responses is that moment when the reader realizes that all of the chapter titles and all of the book titles are song titles from Luli’s playlist. It makes me grin like a Cheshire cat every time!
What can readers expect in book five of the Matilda series?
What wouldn’t you expect? More action! More adventure! More mystery! Some answers! New tarnished bits of the universe to explore! And finally, the story of the Matilda will come to a close.
The real question is, with only Galena on Jacquie’s mind, will a dead engine stop her? Will the alien invasion get in the way? Will the revolution be a roadblock? Can anything stop her and her intrepid crew? I can’t wait to find out!
The Matilda Series by Jon Gray Lang is the space saga that keeps on giving! Secret Matilda is book four of the series, and continues to be a riveting science fiction adventure and a page turner full of action that will satisfy the needs of every sci-fi lover out there. The book starts right in the middle of the action, setting the space-faring mood for the rest of the story. Chapter after chapter something new and exciting is introduced, the characters are always moving and the entire plot is incredibly dynamic. It is impossible to get bored while reading the story.
It’s so much fun getting to follow, yet again, the Matilda crew on their adventures and misadventures as they travel throughout Consortium controlled space. The bond between the members of the crew feels even more realistic as one can sense the worry and the love that they have for one another. Fans of the Mass Effect video games will enjoy this story as I felt the character relationships against a sci-fi backdrop were reminiscent of that game. This time, the characters find themselves once more in the middle of danger. Imprisoned and with Galena missing, they’ll have to figure out a way back to freedom to save their friend, having only worry, love and a need for survival uniting them on their quest. The characters are quite fierce and all around strong willed, however, as they deal with dreadful situations their vulnerabilities start to appear, a detail that is highly appreciated and has made them very engaging.
In this well-defined space opera we get to see a bit more of what could be happening with Galena Chadov, a mystery that has kept both readers and members of the crew on edge in the last books. With this though, new mysteries emerge and the plot thickens. Now, new possibilities are presented and the crew may have to encounter unknown dangers. Strange creatures seem to be creeping from remote dimensions, a serious threat that appears to be looming for the next books. The revolution against the Consortium is finally on its way as well, adding a new layer of complexity and intrigue to the story.
As with the other books, Secret Matilda has been brilliantly structured, with short yet gripping chapters that keep the story moving at full speed. The plot is quite complex, supported by unique characters with intricate motivations, and a highly creative setting that lets your imagination fly.
Author Jon Gray Lang has again created a captivating book filled with possibilities. The state of the Matilda perfectly represents all that the crew has been through, getting to escape each time just by luck. Is the end of the Matilda near? Will the crew find their friend Galena and save her? Will the revolution succeed? Or perhaps everything will be tainted by the appearance of these strange, yet highly intelligent alien creatures? These questions remain unanswered and one can only wait with lots of excitement for the next book of the series. Secret Matilda is a gripping space adventure whose characters will, with time, steal the hearts of readers.
Pages: 444 | ASIN: B09G5Y5YKS
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Black Matilda follows the crew as they race across the stars looking for Luli as war and dark rumors brew. What inspired the setup to this thrilling novel?
At the end of Twistin’ Matilda, Jacquie and the crew of the Matilda were left in dire straits. The past raised its ugly head and tore the crew apart. Furthermore, Luli Qing was gone, and no one knew why or where. The only thing holding this fragile group together was their desire to find Luli and rescue her.
But would Jacquie want them all back on the ship if Luli was rescued? How far was the crew willing to go to find a lead, any lead on Luli’s whereabouts? With all that has happened since they broke Anton off a prison ship, can they learn to trust each other while the galaxy falls apart? Can they come together as a family? That was the story I wanted to tell.
In what ways have your characters development surprised you over the course of the series?
One of the aspects I really enjoyed was the dynamic between the characters as they paired up in search of Luli. Barney and Anton working so well together even after Anton had been gone for years. The ease with which Jacquie and Galena flowed, interrupted with bouts of dread when Galena was… not herself.
The sheer strength of Luli’s will astonished me. Luli comes across as a fun, lighthearted person. But, throughout the journey of her long life, she’d never been tested as she was in this story. No matter how dark the moments were, she refused to give up. This made me love her all the more.
But my favorite part was getting to see a different side of Derain. How he was more relaxed and less on edge while talking with an old childhood friend. Also getting to see him in his element where he can control all the pieces like a chess match. But the biggest shock to me was Derain deciding to rescue Luli instead of vengeance for those he’d left behind.
On top of all that is Mr. Leon! I don’t really know what he’s planning. He’s been an enigma from the very beginning and probably will remain so all the way to the end.
I enjoy the world that your story has created. What were some new ideas you wanted to add to your world in this book?
The universe of Consortium-controlled space is huge. So far, I’ve only been able to show a smattering of planets and systems. I wanted readers to understand how vast it is. How different groups of people live, survive, and under what conditions. Be it on a well-traveled space station, a run-down mining colony, or a derelict ship, the Consortium is failing its citizens by simply not caring. That is the breeding ground for change with or without the blessing of those in charge.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The latest book in the series, Secret Matilda was just released on September 14th, 2021!
In the meantime, I am busily writing the fifth and final book in the series. It’s set to be released in late 2022 and it’s a doozy of a ride! I’m also working on a compilation of short stories that take place in The Matilda Universe. I still have so much story left to tell!
Bounty Hunter. Ex-Freedom Fighter. Fugitive. Smuggler. Butcher.
Far off into the future in a distant part of the galaxy, the Consortium controls the human colonies held together by the jump gates. Where the Consortium doesn’t hold sway, crime flourishes. Through the use of a hellish engine that goes where no one should, the crew of the Matilda slips its way between the two. But everything has fallen apart since they arrived on the planet Mithuna.
Luli Qing’s been abducted and the only clue left behind is a corpse. Tales of deep spacers disappearing pepper the feeds. Old secrets have cut to the quick and torn the crew asunder. Caution is thrown to the wind as they scatter across the stars chasing rumors. All the while, the tides whisper of war against the Consortium.
Is Luli still alive? What do the entities from beyond want with them? Will Galena survive the foreign substances within? Can Jacquotte Delahaye bite the bullet and bring them all home?
Clip your ‘breather on and suck in a few breaths for the third book of the series, Black Matilda.
Posted in Interviews
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Black Matilda is the third book of the enthralling science fiction Matilda Series by Jon Gray Lang. The crew of the Matilda is back, and this time each of the members of the crew have no choice but to split up after the kidnapping of Luli Qing. Following new hints, Captain Jacquotte Delahaye, Galena, Anton, Derain and Barney travel all throughout Consortium controlled space in pursuit of those that took their friend, trying to save her from the unknown danger that she’s in. This sends each of them on a riveting adventure that will keep the readers’ attention through every new chapter.
Many deep spacers have been disappearing, now Luli is missing too, and no one is sure what’s really going on or who’s behind it all. This series of events end up showcasing the incredible loyalty that each member of the Matilda crew have for one another, and how deep their friendship truly is. Each new chapter presents a new part of the mystery, a new riddle, a new hint, which keeps the suspense throughout the book high and makes for an incredibly gripping science fiction story. The undeniable connection between the members of the crew only makes things better, as there’s a real fear about what could happen to them.
The writing style is descriptive and engaging the narration has a quick pace. The author writing is fluid, allowing for a smooth reading experience which is a prefect match for a space adventure story that is constantly moving in a sci-fi world that is rich and imaginative. The constant travels through space, fights between crews and the resolution of enigmas are a never-ending reward for the reader, whose entertainment is prioritized all throughout the book. Incapable of putting it down, I devoured chapter after chapter, eager to find out what would be the destiny of Luli and the rest of the crew.
The characters, as expected, are well developed and their unique personalities shined through in this book, and their perseverance in rescuing their friend and helping each other during this mission made them even more enjoyable to read about. The way the book ended has left me excited for the next one in the series, I can’t wait to find out what will be the next quest for the characters that I have learned to love.
Black Matilda is yet another exciting space romp full of twists and turns that will not disappoint, the ideal match for those who have a true passion for science fiction.
Pages: 315 | ASIN: B08R2VQMPH
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Twistin’ Matilda finds Jacquotte and her crew of misfits struggling to keep the ship while savage creatures threaten to break into the universe. What were some ideas that informed this novel’s development?
As planet-bound as we are, there’s always the idea that there is more out than we don’t understand. Even as we find a solution to one question, a ton of other questions spring forth from the answer. There is so much that we don’t understand. As a species, we’ve wondered at what lies in the darkness, what dangers lurk underground, in the skies above, and what slips beneath us under the waves. The wellspring of stories lies at the heart of these mysteries, as we struggle for explanations to that which we don’t know… yet.
Ancient sailors told stories of monsters attacking their ships at sea, of beautiful islands that glint with riches but are, in truth, traps with no escape. Populating these fanciful yarns are pirates and privateers, mutinous crews, ancient shipwrecks, and lost colonies. These tall tales are rife with other wondrous, mad things and they captured my imagination. They lead to a large part of what ‘other space’ is. I imagine the crew of the Matilda as they sail on the teetering edge of the world.
Space is the last great frontier and we’ve only stepped off the front porch.
What were some challenges you felt were important to Jacquotte’s character development in the story?
At the tender age of fourteen, Captain Jacquotte Delahaye was left with no choice but to take control of the Matilda and her life. From that point on, she decided where it goes, what it does, and who the ship flies for. All of that comes to an end when an old friend needed her help. She makes the rash decision to break him free from a prison ship and nothing, but trouble has been after them since. Now the haven she worked so hard to create is under constant threat and she has to make choices on the fly. All without knowing what the repercussions of those decisions will be.
Can she keep a handle on it all? Do the traumas from her past play a role in her choices? As the group splinters apart, how does she handle the separation? Do her coping mechanisms fail and spiral into more problems? Can she bring the family she made back together? Should she?
I don’t know about you, but that’s what I wanted to find out!
What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer in this book?
From a writer’s aspect, I wanted to build up my processes and this book did not disappoint. Writing this book was a wild ride. My invisible muse whispered secrets into my ear and the story fell out of my fingers! I completed my first draft in a mere twenty days and it still is the most fun I’ve had writing.
It was a blast! It was intoxicating! I couldn’t wait to jump on the next one! Of course, I still had to work on the rewrite, but I was pumped!
The Matilda was very much an ensemble piece. By the end of it, the crew worked well together even as the Matilda fell through into ‘other space’. Derain knew everyone except for Anton and Anton knew everyone except for Derain. Anton has got to be wondering what Derain brings to the table and vice versa. On top of that, Galena is a wild card, and now the ship is brimming with others like her.
One of the things I wanted to learn about was how do individual crewmembers work with each other. Can they work together? Can they work with the other genorgs?
This is book two in your Matilda series. What can readers expect in book three?
The future looks dark for Jacquie and the crew of the Matilda. The mysterious Consortium ship, M33, found a lead and is getting closer to catching them. The past raised its ugly head and tore a rift in the crew. With all that happening, Luli Qing has disappeared, and no one knows why or even where to start looking. It seems like the only thing holding them together is finding and rescuing her.
With more places to visit as Consortium space expands, other questions pop up to the surface. Who covets the memories of the deep spacers and why? What nefarious plans does Mr. Leon have for the genorgs and for the Matilda? And what is going on with Lieutenant Galena Chadov?
Posted in Interviews
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Twistin’ Matilda is book two of the Matilda Series by Jon Gray Lang, a science fiction story filled with mystery and action. In this instance of the series we continue to follow the Matilda crew’s adventures as they travel through different systems of the universe, dealing with many dangers and uncertainty. Trying to run away, the crew of the Matilda finds itself stuck in an unknown system and their problems start to mount: their supplies are running low, they don’t know in which galaxy they are or which way they should go, something seriously wrong seems to be going on with one of the members, Galena, and they might not even be able to help her or save her.
It was interesting getting to follow the dynamics between the different members of the crew of the Matilda. In this world there are cyborgs, natural-borns and genorgs, each of them are perceived differently given how they came to be, and are responsible for different tasks among the crew. We see these differences throughout the book, getting to understand better how the interactions between people work in this science fiction world. Multiple things happen throughout the story, new problems keep appearing and the characters have to constantly deal with them and fight off many dangers. These things make for a gripping and riveting storyline, where the suspense keeps the reader wanting to find out more, expectant to what’s next to come.
This is a thrilling space adventure that will be very much enjoyed by the lovers of science fiction. There are lots of things to learn about the world that Jon Gray Lang created, like how the government of this universe operates, known as the Consortium, the trouble of dealing with pirates during the space ship’s travels, and the birth of a revolution against the Consortium, that surely will be dealt with in more detail in the next book.
The plot is deeply intriguing and moves quickly, but I would have enjoyed a bit more exploration of each character. Nevertheless, the story was still very enjoyable and I’m eager to find out what’s going to happen in the next book of the series. Twistin’ Matilda fans of high intensity action will have plenty to enjoy in this kinetic space adventure.
Pages: 314 | ASIN: B07Z9N2BZY
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The Matilda follows a ragtag space crew that must fight off a government and an alien invasion in a dangerous galaxy set against them. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
For as long as I can remember, I have been enthralled by the worlds created for science fiction. From the beginnings with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, into the dark corners of H.P. Lovecraft’s mind, twisting through the philosophical questions of Phillip K. Dick, and into the cultural phenomena of Star Wars and Star Trek. Peppered throughout is my love of the crazy genre films from the 1980s, the cyberpunk cities of the 1990s, humans struggling to survive space travel in the aughts through to the colorful Marvel movies of the new millennium.
The Matilda is more like a love letter from me to science fiction in general. In fact, so is the whole Matilda Series and it is sprinkled with concepts that kept me attracted to the genre. I had the initial idea for the story locked in my head for close to a decade and it was going to be a television show. But it kept getting shoved to the side by other projects. Jacquie and the crew kept riding me to tell their story. Now, here we are and there is still more story to tell!
I enjoyed the creativity and depth with which you created your characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
One of the aspects of storytelling that has always appealed to me is the group dynamic of the ensemble. I am fascinated with how individuals work separately from their group but rely on it at the same time. I wanted my characters to be very human with all the merits and flaws that we carry around. I mean, the crew of the Matilda doesn’t always get along. But seeing the great lengths Jacquie goes to keep her people together and getting to connect with them as they worked together was amazing.
I wanted to show that they can learn from their mistakes and that colors how they handle future situations. But I also wanted to understand how those coping mechanisms can cause problems when they decide to not take those lessons to heart.
To be honest, behind the setting of an unjust universe, alien invasion, and all that, the heart of the story is more about the family we stumble into and the pasts that follow us in. Is that connection enough to keep people together when everything wants to tear them apart?
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I have always been fascinated by the people who exist on the fringes of society, the ones who do the work that isn’t entirely legal. I wanted to touch on the power of the individual or group of individuals versus the society that governs them. How does that color their perception of the world they live in?
I wanted to explore the power of love through friendship and how those bonds can form, bend, and break. Along with that is the capacity for perseverance and having the courage to carry on against all odds. Also, how vulnerability plays in that field but doesn’t necessarily make a person weak. I believe that it can prepare a person to be stronger in the face of adversity.
Lastly, I wanted to touch on the idea of what makes a person human. Is it the environment that raises us? Is it because we’re just born that way? What if an entity is made not born? What if a being has been technologically altered so much that they ‘resemble’ a human? Would they be considered human?
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
It’s been a crazy ride and I’ve been going full tilt for a while now. Twistin’ Matilda and Black Matilda, the second and third books in the series, are currently out and about on Amazon.
I recently finished my latest draft of the fourth one. It is currently in the hands of my editors. I’m sitting on the sidelines with bated breath as I await their corrections so I can get it done. Secret Matilda is set to be released in late 2021.
On top of that, the fifth and final book in the series is halfway through its first draft. The plan is for it to be released in 2022. Once that is completed, I have a compilation of short stories that take place in The Matilda Series universe set to be written. The future looks busy and bright!
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The Matilda by Jon Gray Lang is a science fiction adventure set in the twenty-ninth century. The crew of the spaceship Matilda are a ragtag bunch moving through the grey areas of space that are largely governed by The Consortium. They are soon joined by mysterious and potentially dangerous newcomers that alter their path. They are thrown together against hidden dangers and have to battle them together all the while navigating their personal histories and animosities. Captain Jacquie and her crewmates are at the center as the drama unfolds and fight to find the truth before it destroys them.
The crew was an endearing mix of quirky characters, Matilda included. She was given a surprising amount of character and personality for a spaceship. Luli Qing was my personal favorite– she was so effortlessly funny, competent, and generally cool. Jacquie was a delight in many ways: a sci-fi heroine in charge of saving herself and her friends. She was often in the middle of complex moral dilemmas but she navigated them with finesse, keeping her crew a top priority. The chapter names were pretty wacky and, honestly, I was way too many chapters in before I gave in and Googled “Beauty and Stupid”. Turns out all of them are songs. I even listened to a few– more authors should definitely find ways to incorporate David Bowie in their books.
Even though the story was gripping overall, there some moments where I would have liked a little more clarity and straightforward explanation. I found myself having to re-read some passages to untangle what was happening to what. I suppose it’s a science fiction reader’s occupational hazard that one has to come across wild gadgets, events, and creatures and let our imagination make the best of it. The dialogue was snappy and humorous so that really helped in moving things along. The action builds quickly towards the end, leading to a twist that I did not see coming at all.
Ultimately, I thought The Matilda was a crazy and fun read. It is pretty quick paced, too– I was surprised when I reached the end and was left wanting to know what is to become of the crew. Author Jon Gray Lang gives science fiction fans a thrilling space adventure that is a ton of fun.
Pages: 320 | ASIN: B07H2JNGV8
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