My guest today is JL Peridot, author of the stylish and thought-provoking thriller Chasing Sisyphus.
Welcome to the Naughty Corner, JL. Tell us a little about Chasing Sisyphus?
It’s a romantic suspense story about a bounty hunter and a police detective who cross paths while pursuing the same target: a hacker named Sisyphus.
Here’s the problem — Adria needs the payoff to take care of her sick brother, but Rhys has a file on her down at the station. Bounty hunting’s illegal in Basilica City and even his growing attraction to her can’t win out against his sense of duty as a cop.
Eventually, they realise they’re in over their heads. This hacker kid isn’t just a threat to some fat cats’ bank accounts — something bigger is brewing behind the scenes.
What kind of research went into writing the story?
I’m sure my Google search history could implicate me in a crime… I read up on weaponry, psychology, human anatomy and biomechanics. I learned a lot about how misleading TV can be, how simple (while not terribly easy) it is to kill a person, and how the human body responds in violent situations. I study martial arts as a hobby and my partner’s an instructor, which meant we could test out the fight scenes to make sure they were plausible.
The heroine of Chasing Sisyphus is a bounty hunter. If you were a bounty hunter, who would you most like to track down?
The idea of killing someone for money makes me squeamish, so I’d lean towards tracking down missing persons to reunite them with their loved ones. Even if that person turns out to be dead, at least their family can get some closure.
You write in a variety of genres, but what attracts you to science fiction in particular?
For me, sci-fi is an opportunity to consider two big questions:
- How can the impossible become possible?, and
- Why would that be meaningful to us?
Even if these concepts are only in the background of a story, like they are in this novel, I feel it makes for a fascinating universe. From dumb sci-fi (like The Core) to philosophical sci-fi (like Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke), you’re entertaining crazy ideas that push the boundaries of normality. I just love it.
Is there any genre you actively avoid writing, or that doesn’t interest you as a reader?
If you’d asked me a year ago, I would have said romance. That was when all I knew about the genre came from people complaining the stories were dumb, cheesy, all the same… Of course, you can get that in any genre, because everyone has different tastes and opinions are so subjective! Once I realised romance is what you make it, I was way more open-minded.
I think I’d give most genres a fair go, except maybe certain flavours of BDSM erotica, dubcon and scat.
What are you reading at the moment?
I hope I’m not the only reader juggling several books at once. I’m currently reading Dirty-Good by Evie Bliss, Star Brides: Procured by Pia Manning, One Hit by Jillian Hoff, The Writer’s Guide to Weapons by Benjamin Sobieck, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan (re-reading!), and working through The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey and the Luna series by Ian McDonald.
What is your next writing project?
A love story set in space. Yeah, sci-Fi again, but less suspense this time — it’s an office romance on a space station.
What is the one thing about you that would surprise people reading this interview?
One of my goals is to be able to write short stories in a language other than English.
Chasing Sisyphus excerpt
Adria hadn’t counted on the tripwire. This kid knew someone would follow him home one day. He’d strung a line of empty soup cans across the apartment hallway. When she kicked that out, a hefty serving of iced water came down squarely on her head. Gooseflesh prickled her neck and shoulders. The muscles in her jaw seized in the cold. Against the shock, she scrambled to her feet, fired up to catch the stomping and crashing in the other room before it got away.
A figure ran past the doorway.
“Stop!” she yelled.
It rounded the corner. Adria gave chase.
She scanned the room. It was dim at best, thanks to the streetlights from outside, but she saw enough. Computer equipment and various peripherals lay strewn across the floor, some still plugged into a transportable battery in the corner, emitting tiny lights and numbers.
A window slammed shut. The glass shattered. Shards crunched and ground beneath Adria’s boots as she hurried in pursuit of her fleeing target.
When she stepped out onto the fire escape, two hands rammed her into the ladder. The whole balcony shuddered from the collision. Pain flared down her shoulder, but she kept her grip on the gun. She held it up with her good arm and fired.
She stumbled backward, clutching her burning shoulder, but the railing crumbled under her weight. Adria grabbed what was left of it with both hands as her footing slipped away.
It looked like a four-storey drop. Maybe five if she’d miscounted. Her legs dangled over thin air while from below came the clatter of broken pieces of railing, along with her gun, as they hit the concrete.
Overhead, her target stomped away on the rungs and disappeared onto the roof.
Adria’s shoulder raged. She tried to pull herself up, but couldn’t take the weight with just one good arm. Her feet kicked out, searching for a foothold, but the grill beneath had long withered away to slivers of rust and sharp edges.
Water and sweat dripped into her eyes. She swiped them helplessly on her sleeves and winced as rough seams grazed the skin. The railing creaked in her clammy grip. She could always let go. If she timed her landing right, maybe she’d get away with a broken ankle and a tetanus shot. Surely it only looked like a long way down.
Then she heard a gunshot from inside the apartment.
Bounty hunter Adria Yuan is hot on the trail of her final hit: a notorious hacker wanted by the city’s elite. With the reward, she can pay for her brother’s surgery and finally get out of Basilica City. Trouble is, her line of work’s not exactly legal, and she’s barely staying ahead of the cops who want her target, too.
Detective Rhys Carver may be a little unorthodox, but he’s a good cop. Born and bred in Basilica, he does his part to keep his city clean. As clean as it gets, at least. And with Adria suddenly in his sights, it’s going to take more than falling in love for him to let her go.
As the pair close in on their mark, they are unwittingly drawn into a high profile conspiracy that could thrust the whole of Basilica into chaos. Can Adria and Rhys set aside their differences, and their desires, to save the only home they know?
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chasing-sisyphus-the-basilica-conspiracy-jl-peridot/1127259716
JL Peridot likes stories with a little danger and only realised in her thirties that falling in love is one of the most dangerous things we do. She favours savoury over sweet, spaces over tabs, and a hearty pub meal over fine dining any day. From her home in sunny Australia, she writes erotic romance, and sometimes just erotica.
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