Bluebird: Author Ciel Pierlot tells us about her space opera thriller - SciFiNow

Bluebird: Author Ciel Pierlot tells us about her space opera thriller

We speak to author (and hardcore gaymer) Ciel Pierlot about her female-led, lesbian gunslinger space-opera thriller, Bluebird.

Three factions vie for control of the galaxy in Ciel Pierlot’s Bluebird. Rig, a gunslinging, thieving, rebel with a cause, doesn’t give a damn about them and she hasn’t looked back since abandoning them three years ago. That is, until her former faction sends her a message: return what she stole from them, or her twin sister will die.

So Rig embarks on a journey across the galaxy to save her – but for once she’s not alone. She has help from her network of resistance contacts, her taser-wielding librarian girlfriend, June, and a mysterious bounty hunter named Ginka. If Rig fails, trillions of lives will be lost – including her sister’s. But if she succeeds, she might just pull the whole damn system down around their ears. Either way, she’s going to do it with Panache and Pizzazz.

We spoke to Ciel (pictured above) about a shockingly lack of scientific research and which of the colourful characters in Bluebird is her favourite…

When did you first get the idea for Bluebird?

I had this idea for a sort of rogue, D&D bard-esque character who used two guns named Panache and Pizzazz. Rig ended up growing from that idea and the rest is history.

If any, where did you look to for inspiration when writing Bluebird?

Mostly a lot of western sci-fi. Some Star Trek, because Deep Space Nine lives rent-free in my head, but also Firefly and Guardians of the Galaxy.

From nano-tech to medical advancements, there is a lot of science in Bluebird. How much scientific research did you undertake when writing the novel?

Shockingly little. I am quite fortunate in that my step-dad works in the pharmaceutical industry and my boyfriend works in geochemistry stuff. Both got asked at least a few questions. I actively tried not to get too technical in Bluebird, though. The story is more of a romp and I didn’t want to detract from that by stopping to explain a ton of science details. I stuck to things that we’re used to seeing in sci-fi with some fun tweaks.

Rig and Ginka form an unlikely friendship in Bluebird – could you tell us a little about their dynamic and relationship?

Basically Rig finds a feral cat and tosses it scraps of friendship while it stops clawing up its fur and the furniture. Or, to be more deep about it, Rig’s perspective is that of a smartass who’s determined to be aggressively optimistic and subvert the system that fucked her up, whereas Ginka is so used to being the system’s punching bag that she refuses to consider that fighting back might be a good option.

Bluebird Final
Gunslinging rebel, Rig, is on a mission to save her sister… and trillions of lives… in Bluebird.

There are plenty of colourful characters in Bluebird – where do you begin when forming those characters and do you have a favourite?

I go two routes. One is that I begin a vibe of what I want the character to be like and develop their personality as I write them more and give them challenges to face (obviously I don’t keep the early versions and I make sure characterization is consistent in the finished book). The second route is that I have a place in the narrative that needs filling. There needs to be some kind of character there, so I think about who would add interest while fulfilling whatever plot requirements there are.

To be honest, I think my favourite character is June. She walks a fun line of deeply practical mad scientist, and as someone who’s also painfully practical myself, I gave her a chunk of my own personality.

The world of Bluebird is made of three factions – why did you decide to have these and which one is your favourite/least favourite?

Originally I started with WAY more factions. I think fifteen? And then I worked it down to ten and then to five and then finally down to three. I think my favourite is Ossuary though, just because they have a spectacular aesthetic and I love stuff that’s unashamedly edgelord material.

The world of Bluebird is also layered with thousands of years of history, vastly different cultures, religions and folk tales. How did you go about building the world of Bluebird?

I honestly don’t remember. I think I started by going with stuff that sounded cool or interesting or that would provide nice conflicts with the characters, and then just accumulated so much stuff that I could sort it into piles and call those piles ‘worldbuilding’.

This world could also be open for more books – would you ever revisit this world and if so, where would your focus lie?

I don’t know. My gut instinct is to say no, because I feel as though Rig’s character arc reaches a satisfying conclusion at the end of the book and to drag her back into a new conflict seems like it would sour that. If I did revisit the world, I’d be looking at either side characters that appear in Bluebird or an entirely different cast in the same ‘verse.

What are you reading right now?

Beasts of Prey, by Ayana Gray. I’m only a few pages in though, so no one spoil anything for me!

What’s next for you?

Well, I’ve got my next Thing written and am in the process of seeing if it could be a Thing That Sells. After that though I’ve got a bunch of ideas, some fully outlined, some more general conglomerations of characters and fight scenes, and some that are just being poked at with a stick to see if they’re domesticated yet.

Bluebird by Ciel Pierlot is out now from Angry Robot.