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?
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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
Tags: adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, goodreads, Jon Gray Lang, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, space marine, space opera, story, suspense, thriller, Twistin’ Matilda, writer, writing
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
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Jon Gray Lang, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, space adventure, space marine, story, suspense, The Matilda (Matilda Series Book 1), thriller, writer, writing