The Cortii Series - a Trilogy by J C Steel
Khyria Ilan is a commander in the Cortii, the most elite mercenary organisation in known space. With a past she can’t remember, and commanders who would love to see her dead, her future is likely to be short: her command faces their ultimate test to prove their right to survive.
When the odds are impossible, sometimes the only thing to do is play the game
The Cortii are mercenaries, for hire to anyone who can afford their services. From their beginnings in humanoid pre-history, they have grown and colonised to span every galaxy. Every government uses them; no single government can destroy them.
To the Councils that rule the Cortii, eleven lives are easily replaced.
For the newest unit in their ranks, those eleven lives were half their number. To their commander, they’re a marker she has every intention of making good on, and while some of her unit’s wounds are less visible, it doesn’t mean they can’t be lethal.
The Cortii are mercenaries, for hire to anyone who can afford their services. Every government uses them; no single government can destroy them.
A newly discovered world. An opportunity for the Cortiian rebels. And a mission for Wildcat Cortia...
The Federated Planets Alliance scouts have discovered a new human civilisation; a civilisation not suited to their usual contact protocol. They want a Cortiian to test the waters, and the rebel faction has a very specific commander in mind for the mission – Ilan of Wildcat.
To Ilan, the orders are a convenient pretext. To an ancient feudal culture about to join an intergalactic civilisation, the leaping wildcat and a rider all in black are symbols long foretold - heralding cataclysmic change.
Q. What inspired you to write the book?
I’ve had Cortii universe stories in my head since I was a child. In many ways it was like growing up with a personal action movie, so before I actually sat down to write Through the Hostage, I’d been telling myself stories and daydreaming about these characters for a number of years, whenever I had a few minutes’ downtime. I think the main incentive, once I started to seriously consider writing a book, was the prospect of actually making the stories real, and pinning down some of the ideas I’d been playing with to share with other people.
Q. When did you realise that you want to write a book?
Actually, I didn’t. I wasn’t even very keen on writing 300-word essays at the point I started writing Through the Hostage in my early teens. It took one of my best friends telling me absolutely point-blank that I should write down some of the stories I told myself to get me to put a pen to paper – and I must confess that I argued, procrastinated, and most likely created drama before I finally buckled down and started writing.
Q. Who helped you in writing the book and please say about their contributions?
I owe a huge shout-out to my cover designer, Joshua Jadon, who creates awesome covers for my series. Otherwise, though, I’m an indie author, so I write, edit, and publish my books completely under my own power.
Q. How is your book going to inspire the readers?
Inspire? I’m not too sure, but I hope readers will enjoy the books. I hope my books take them to another world and let them live someone else’s life for a few hours. I think that’s about all a writer can really hope for.
Q. If you are given the chance to change one thing in your book what would it be?
To be honest, I’ve been revising and editing and refining parts of Through the Hostage and Fighting Shadows since I was fourteen. Because I am independent, I have the luxury of making sure that my stories are exactly how I want them to be before I publish. Despite spending all that time staring at versions of these books, I can still sit down and enjoy reading them – I really hope that they do as much for a few other people out there.
Q. How do you find time to write and which part of the day is best for writing for you?
I write around a full-time job, so I end up writing on the bus, in my lunch-breaks, and in hours snatched between end of work and sleep. In the past I’ve written in classes, at 0300 by torchlight, and almost anywhere else I had a few moments. I try not to tie writing and editing to one place and one time of day. I have a busy life, and if I can’t be flexible, I lose any writing time I might get.
Q. Which books have inspired you the most, in the journey of writing this book?
Oddly enough, one of the authors I have to take my hat off to here is a historical fiction writer named Dorothy Dunnett. Her characterisation, especially of the anti-hero character type, is awe-inspiring. I want to be half as good as she was at characterisation when I ‘grow up’ as an author.
Q. What is the best advice, you would give for writers who are trying to write a book?
Don’t give up. It’s a huge task, it’ll seem as if it eats your life, and sometimes it will feel as if the whole universe is conspiring to get between you and five uninterrupted minutes. Keep slogging away at it, because print proofs in your hands make it all feel worthwhile.
Q. What are your hobbies?
Aside from writing? I enjoy martial arts, travelling, reading… every so often I pick up something new and enjoy it for a while, but those are the ones that keep repeating.
Q. What can we expect from you in the future?
Right now I’m working on the fourth in my Cortii series, Elemental Conflict. It follows chronologically from Elemental Affinity, which just published in September 2016, and will tie up several storylines from that book, while setting the stage for part of the series arc (drumroll please). I’ve got drafts for books five through eight in various stages of completion, and I’m looking forwards to finding out what happens next.
I'm a writer, martial artist and introvert. In between the necessary making of money to allow the writing of more books, I can usually be found halfway to the next galaxy.