Thursday, July 21, 2022

O.E. Tearmann Interview - Deuces are Wild

Photo Content from O.E. Tearmann

O.E. Tearmann is the author of the Aces High, Jokers Wild series. Their books include strong themes of diversity and found family, providing a surprisingly hopeful take on a dystopian future. Bringing their own experiences as a marginalized author together with flawed but genuine characters, Tearmann’s work has been described as “Firefly for the dystopian genre.” Publisher’s Weekly called it “a lovely paean to the healing power of respectful personal connections among comrades, friends, and lovers.”

Tearmann lives in Colorado with two cats, their partner, and the belief that individuals can make humanity better through small actions. They are a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, the Colorado Resistance Writers and the Queer Scifi group. In their spare time, they teach workshops about writing GLTBQ characters, speak and plant gardens to encourage sustainable agricultural practices, and play too many video games.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
There is power in other people’s perceptions. I learned a lot about using that power to get the world off my back in school. Because I was quiet, got decent grades, and didn’t rock the boat, teachers put me in honors classes and treated me like a good kid. In reality, I was pragmatic rather than good. I got away with so much drawing at my desk, waffled on a lot of papers, and read whatever I wanted in class by being ‘a good student’. I even argued with teachers, and I got away with it because I was perceived as ‘a good kid’.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I grew up in a family of storytellers, and telling stories was integral to my experience of family gatherings. When I headed out on my own, it was only natural to find a new outlet for telling stories.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre? 
Ah, one of the really frustrating questions. One favorite book? Just one? Impossible!
My favorite nonfiction: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
My favorite book series: the Discworld Books by Terry Pratchett. I refuse to choose just one!
The book I’ve held onto even after its cover fell off: Sabriel by Garth Nix.
The book that got me through the bad times: The Ivory and the Horn by Charles DeLint.
The book I read whenever I need a little break from the world: the Miss Marple Mysteries, where everything is worked out and tied up in a tea cozy.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
The mother of a trans teenage reader wrote to thank me for writing the character of Aidan, who had showed her son that he could have a cool job one day. That meant a lot.

If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be?
I would have loved to have gone back in time and helped work on some of the early Greek medical texts, so we wouldn’t have been so wrong about medicine for so very long!

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
What else? The internet.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Diane Duane’s Young Wizard series showed me that science and magic were not natural enemies, and gave me a sense of the pattern and goodness in life during a time in my life when I felt very lost in the world. I credit that series with getting me on the path to being a good adult.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
We need stories to be human. We weave ourselves out of the narratives we are told, the narratives we choose to tell, and the threads of all the history that has led to the world being as it is around us. There’s so much power in a story. It can shape a life in its own image; the life of a person, a nation, or a world. What power there is in that. And what responsibility.

Can you tell us when you started DEUCES ARE WILD, how that came about?
Right around 2016, as the crap was hitting the proverbial fan in the United States, I had the burning urge to do something to push against the hopeless rage around me. So I sat down and started writing. In about a year and a half, I’d banged out Draft Zero of the entire series. This latest book in the series has been influenced by a lot of what’s going on in the world, but at its core it’s the story of a scrappy found family insisting, day by day, that they’re going to take care of each other and make the world just a little better.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
Apparently Yoni is the Sanskrit word for a lady’s private parts. One of my characters is named Inyoni, and his nickname was going to be Yoni. That changed real quick after a google search!

Meet the Characters
Name: Tweak (full name not given)
Age: 21
Call Sign: Deuce Of Diamonds
Also Known As: Golden Dragon
Rank: Technical Officer
Division: Technical
Recruitment Date: 7/25/2155
Official Citizenship Status: CPS
Corporation of Origin: TechoCo
Special Interests: Game coding, technical research, drag racing movies
Tweak in five words: China Doll Full Of Dynamite.
A look at what she gets up to in Deuces are Wild:

Tweak dropped into her coding chair, and brought up every surveillance program she had. The grid was at her fingertips. Now she just had to be good enough to handle it. At her side, she brought up the group call for the Code Monkeys for the second day in a row. Technically they were the Inter-Quadrant Technical Solutions Committee: ten of the best coders in the nation, each with ten teams of coders reporting to them, and Tweak in the center acting as the coordinator. But they all knew they were code monkeys, and they stuck with what they knew.

“Hey everybody,” Tweak offered. A chorus of ten ‘hey’s and smiles ran through the circle of faces on the screen. Tweak gave them a grin. “Everybody g-good to go? Where are we r-right now?”

“Drones are disabled in all eleven Quadrants,” Fatima offered, typing away already. “We’re all good there, now that we’re in the source code.”

“The Eagle-scrambling is going great,” Nathan chipped in. “We’ve pretty much jammed all their signals. They’re starting to call each other on their personal tabs, but it’s a hell of a lot slower.”

“What’re we using for j-jamming? The d-declaration, yeah?” Tweak asked.

“Yep,” Nathan agreed. “Playing lines from the Declaration of Independence on a loop, so they can’t talk to each other through it. It’s driving them up the goddamn wall.”

Tweak nodded. “So, we r-ready for today?”

Deniki cracked his knuckles, grinning. “Hell yeah.”

“This is gonna kick ass,” enthused Ethan in his dumb ‘coders do it with frequency’ hat. Darnisha grinned, giving the screen two thumbs up.

Tweak nodded, fingers on the keyboard. “Okay. Whatcha got?”

Name: Liza Carlan
Age: 34
Call Sign: Queen Of Clubs
Rank: Personnel Officer
Division: Command
Recruitment Date: 3/3/2143
Official Citizenship Status: N/A Unregistered
Corporation of Origin: N/A
Special Interests: Throwing knives, visual arts
Liza In Five Words: The Adult In The Room
A look at what she gets up to in Deuces are Wild:

In the mirror, Liza watched her fingers ram home the pins that held her hair in its bun. It was like her mom had always said: do it right, do it tight, and it’s done for the day. The efficiency of that saying had always satisfied Liza; the clean, squared-away look the hairstyle gave her was great on any day, but it served her best on the days from hell.

She was really hoping this wouldn’t turn out to be one of those days. But Liza couldn’t be sure. So she used her special hairpins and followed her mom’s rule. Do it right, do it tight. Do the absolute best you can, and then? Well, if it all went to shit, at least it wouldn’t be your fault. And the hairpins were a good backup for her knives.

The last hairpin slid into place; Liza worked with it carefully, making sure not to tap the little button on its apex. Opening her hair-cream, she dabbed some out and ran her hands over her hair, making sure no stray wisps would sneak out of place. She checked the hang of her jacket, straightened her unit patch and rank pin, and pulled herself up for one last look in the mirror.

“Okay,” she whispered to her reflection, “Let’s get this done.”

Name: Naomi Henderson-Adler
Call Sign: Queen Of Spades
Rank: Munitions Officer
Division: Munitions
Recruitment Date: 6/29/2156
Official Citizenship Status: N/A Unregistered
Corporation of Origin: N/A
Special Interests: Hand To Hand Combat, Novelty Weaponry, Kung-Fu Movies
Naomi In Five Words: Move, Or I’ll Move You.
A look at what she gets up to in Deuces are Wild:

Naomi was absolutely in her element when it was time to explain weapons and evasion methods for everything from tear gas and fear gas to being grabbed. She laid a few air mats on the floor as she spoke, letting them fill as she walked the room, showing various methods of wrist holds, pinching nerves, and how to take a blow without too much damage. She pointed out the largest man in the room half way through her talk. “Hey, bud, you up to roughhouse a little?’

The big teddy bear of a guy gave an awkward little smile. “I mean, sure, but I don’t wanna hurt you…”

“Forget that, the Corps definitely want to hurt me, and I deal,” Naomi stated flatly. “Come up here and grab me from behind, okay?”

Warily, the man did. Seconds later, Naomi had flipped him over her shoulder and laid him spread-eagled on the mat.

“And that, friends, we call ju-jitsu,” she announced with a feral grin.

Inyoni Amanzi
Call Sign: N/A
Rank: N/A
Division: N/A
Recruitment Date: N/A Civilian
Official Citizenship Status: CPS
Corporation of Origin: Zoncom
Special Interests: Survival
Inyoni In Five Words: Yeah, yeah, I’m a jackass.
A look at what he gets up to in Deuces are Wild:

Inyoni groaned as he saw the hand Tweak laid down this time. "You cheatin' or somethin'? Jeez."

"You kidding?” She shot back with a laugh, “this's Blackjack. Don't need to cheat. Game was any easier. I'd fall asleep." Tweak tapped the side of her head. “This brain. Runs fast.”

Inyoni gave her a half-grin. “Yeah well, this one does too. Still think you’re cheating.”

“Then you’re a j-jackass.”

“Well yeah, you seen my ears? ‘Course I’m a jackass.” He grinned. “How much is the ace worth again?”

“Depends, what’s your other card?”

“Why’s it depend?”

“‘Cause I’m gonna cheat and t-tell you a n-number that’ll make you lose.” She glanced up, caught his eye, and grinned back at him. He snorted a laugh.

"How'd you make it?" Tweak asked as the cards moved.

Inyoni shrugged and focused on the shuffle. "Luck. Quick learner. Had the cute factor goin' for me for a while."

"Still do," Tweak remarked quietly. Inyoni made a sort of ‘erk’ noise in the back of his throat. She raised her head, meeting Inyoni's eyes with a flare of nerves. "What?"

"You think I'm cute?" Inyoni asked, a surprised grin on his face.

"Yeah," Tweak admitted grudgingly, "I do. Got a problem with that?"

Inyoni's grin widened and he looked back down at his cards. "Nah. I like it. No one's called me cute before."

They say to really free your body, you've gotta free your mind…

America is waking up. People are standing up for each other and a future worth living in. But they can’t do it alone.

Now, they don’t have to. The Democratic State Force is calling in favors across the nation. Members of Base 1407 and hundreds of other teams across the country are teaching the citizens how to fight back on their terms, with tactics that hit the Corporations right where it hurts–in the wallet and the pride.

The seven Corporations that think they own the country are scrambling to keep control over the citizens’ communications, their decisions, and their lives. Every dirty trick is coming out of their bags as they lose their grip. It’s going to take a lot to beat them at this game for the country’s soul.

Life’s a bitch. She doesn’t play fair. Out-think her with every hand, and you might just win.

You can purchase Deuces are Wild at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you O.E. TEARMANN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Deuces are Wild by O.E. Tearmann.