Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing S. L. Lahna.
About S. L. Lahna:
S. L. Lahna goes by they pronouns and knows way too much about Weird Things and Cold War history. Will tell you all of the reasons why James Bond is Wrong. They are hard at work on various novels for teens and adults. Some are about asexual magicians and their demonic mentors, some are about mentally-ill monster hunters, some are about pansexual teenage boys trying to survive a horror movie. Their day job is tearing apart books for money as a freelance editor at Word Vagabond. The Bulletproof Spy series is their debut novella.
About The Bulletproof Spy #1: The Silver Bullet Affair:
The year is 1965, and Alan Gable is the best spy America doesn’t know they have. Operating off books and outside the law, Alan has been tasked to do the impossible - get inside a laboratory in Moscow, get the Russian’s lead nuclear scientist, and get out, all without the KGB ever knowing he was there. No human could do it.
But Alan isn’t human.
Yulian’s life is perfect. A top counter-intelligence agent for the KGB, favored by the head of Section 1. His best friend is happily awaiting his first child. His indiscretions have remained discreet.
Until Dr. Tamm and his entire lab goes missing, and Yulian’s life starts to unravel.
The only way to survive long enough to get the bottom of the mystery is for Alan and Yulian to work together. If they can survive each other that is.
A madcap mashup of Hellboy and The Man From Uncle, the Silver Bullet Affair is a winning combination of espionage and the supernatural, an action-packed novella from start to finish lead by LGBT characters. Fans of the genre who’ve grown weary of the same old James Bond song and dance will find a new series to love with the Bulletproof Spy.
AN INTERVIEW WITH S. L. LAHNA
- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
I’ve been working in publishing as a freelance editor for four years and am starting off this year as a copyeditor with Flame Tree Press. I go by they pronouns, am a member of the LGBT community and a very outspoken proponent of We Need More Diverse Books.
- You've written The Bulletproof Spy #1: The Silver Bullet Affair. Could you tell us something about this novella?
The Bulletproof Spy series is a Cold War era espionage starring queer male leads from opposite sides of the Iron Curtain. While painstakingly researched for historical accuracy, it’s a series that makes for a fun, enjoyable read.
- How did you come up with the idea of writing this speculative fiction spy story? What inspired you to write it?
I’ve always wanted to write espionage, but I was nervous to do it because a) I could screw it up terribly as I knew little about spy history and b) there are little to no espionage books written by someone of my gender.
The idea hit me while watching The Man From Uncle for the umpteenth time that the solution to the espionage writing problem was that I didn’t want to do something modern. I didn’t want these characters to be able to simply radio for backup like James Bond in Skyfall, or smart phones or satellite imaging to get them around and out of things. To steer clear of James Bond, I knew I had to do a US agent, which left with me with the Cold War as the US spy game is non-existent up until this point. And the Art Spiral just continued from there!
- What is the target audience of this series?
Anyone looking for a more diverse read in the action adventure genre, which has been massively lacking. LGBT readers who want to see queer characters kick ass in a series that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
- Is there anything you could tell us about the characters in The Silver Bullet Affair? What kind of characters are they?
Yulian Komarov and Alan Gable are men of their time in every conceivable way. They’re both at the top of their game, they love their respective countries, and despite being from opposite sides of a war, both of them still retain a sense of right and wrong. Yulian is devoted to his cause and his family; he’s the quiet guy who writes letters to his parents every week. Alan has given up everything to serve his country, but its not a sore spot—it’s a badge of honor. And they’re both as queer as the day is long.
- Did you have to do any research while writing this novella?
YES. Did I ever. I’ve spent over a year buried in research before even drafting out part 1, and its still on-going. I imagine I will be researching every installment until they’re finished, and still after. Much of the information available today didn’t exist when I was in school, as it was still classified by the Russian government. I’ve buried myself in CIA histories, KGB uniform changes, Russian queer history...and then there’s the silly thing you constantly have to look up such as “when was Tupperware invented?” because all of these little things come together to make the world real. For anyone who wants to know more about the early years of the Cold War and Russia’s queer history, I highly recommend Battleground Berlin and Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia.
- How would you advertise The Silver Bullet Affair to potential readers with a few words?
The Silver Bullet Affair is The Man from Uncle meets Hellboy, an espionage series with a dash of the supernatural, led by queer males spies who read like people, not tropes. If you love espionage but are tired of Yet Another Bond Girl, this is the series for you.
- What are you currently working? What can readers expect next from you?
Readers can expect the next installment of the Bulletproof Spy series as early as May of 2018, with parts three and four debuting in August and November of this year. I’m also working on two YA projects: a rural fantasy set in the Ozarks starring gender queer punks, and pansexual teenage boys trying to survive a horror movie in Colorado, as well as two adult urban fantasy series: one about asexual magicians and their demonic mentors, and another about mentally-ill monster hunters.
- Is there anything you'd like to add?
You can find the official cover release and blurb over at Qwillery.To learn more about the Bulletproof Spy series, visit us at www.bulletproofspy.com. Subscribe to get all the latest updates, as well as sneak peeks at early chapters. You can also follow me on Twitter at @Vagabond_Sue, as well as my personal blog, www.anandronamedsue.com.