By Katy Krump
Page Length: 269 pages
Tour Organizer: B3 Tours
All teenage girls keep secrets and Kerry Johnston is no exception. More than anyone else she knows how to lie, for ‘Kerry’ is an alias and her life is a nightmare of secrecy, violence and fear. In reality this overweight, limping teenage girl is Qea, a Forbidden child from the Qarntaz Octad, sent to Earth to hide from the warlord she has betrayed. Born third into her family in an overpopulated world where surplus offspring are Forbidden and killed or delivered as fodder for the malevolent Inquisitors, Qea has spent her life in hiding.
Qea (Pronounced Kee-ah) is a girl with an unusual history. She comes from a distant galaxy where warlords rule the law and corruption is rife, so she must become hard to survive, but here on Earth a young man will change her heart and risk her life, changing it forever.
Slowly over the next days, Donna allowed Adam to draw her out of herself and although she still had the creeping unease, she began to tell him about herself, the stolen life of course, never the whole truth, but enough of it for it to seem real. ‘What about you? Where are your parents?’ he asked. Donna caressed her red glass necklace without thinking and it warmed to her touch. Adam touched it gently, examining the delicate design engraved in the surface. ‘That’s pretty, unusual.’ ‘Oh, yes. My mom gave it to me when I turned eight, from a gypsy she said, but she probably got it at a shop. They died in an accident when I was nine, my parents,’ answered Donna, and it was partly true. ‘I was brought up by relatives, but I had to get out of there. What’s the point in staying where you aren’t wanted? I've never been on my own like this before. My aunt and uncle had about a million rules I had to obey and it got too much. It’s strange to be responsible for my own choices, to decide what and when and where I do stuff. They didn’t give me much leeway so I just stopped thinking and let them do it all for me. It was easier that way.’
Interview with Kerry, the main character in Blue Dust.
What is your name?
They called me Kerry Johnston at first. I changed it to Donna when my keepers disappeared and I had to escape. I was called Qea at my birth and have reclaimed it since returning to the Qarntaz Octad.
Why were you given that name?
I was in hiding on Earth and they picked the names ‘Kerry’ and ‘Johnston’ off gravestones in a nearby cemetery, nothing more profound than that.
What is your hair color and style, eye color, and skin tone?
My hair color is whatever I want it to be. I was born golden (what you would call blonde), but have not been that color for many years. I change my hair color and style with my personality whenever the need arises. My eyes are ice-blue, like a wolf’s and my skin is fair, although it has become almost colorless since being on Earth- the island I was taken to has infrequent sunshine. In the Octad my skin glows and takes on a darker golden hue.
Who are your parents?
They are dead and I don’t fully remember their first names. I think perhaps my father, who was a spy and a traitor, was called Raaiq, something similar. My mother was an academic. I have memories of her name being something like Artixa or Artiq. It is of no consequence now.
Do you have any siblings? If so, what are their names and ages?
Two brothers, Aqiem, the oldest and Balzar, the second born. They hate me and I have not seen them for many moons. Aqiem is about 24 in Earth years, Balzar must be 19 or so. I was very young when last I saw them. For all I know they’re dead, and a good thing too.
What is your favorite food on earth?
Earth food is most peculiar and at first it made me ill. I developed a liking for tomatoes and broccoli, which are tasteful and not too rich and come from the ground. I also enjoyed the jelly-like confectionary shaped like a child – a very bizarre custom. Why would anyone derive such pleasure from biting off the head of a small ‘jelly baby’, I wonder? I developed a liking for coffee, though it gave me heart palpitations.
What is your favorite thing to wear?
Having grown up wearing robes, which can be most bothersome especially when trying to run, I found that the garments called ‘jeans’ are most liberating as too are the soft shirts made from stretching fabric. I also find the garments known as pajamas most satisfying and would wear them all day if allowed to do so.
Where do you live and why did you choose to live there?
I have no home. On Earth I lived in a two story house made of bricks and mortar. It was most dull, but I did not choose to live there. I was taken there with no say in the matter and it served its function of protection from the elements and to keep me safe from my enemies. Upon escaping I lived for a while in a small room known as a ‘bedsit’, for it is a bedroom and sitting room and kitchen all at the same time. Now I live among the stars and planets and blue dust of the Qarntaz Octad.
Who is your biggest rival / enemy? Describe them briefly.
The warlord Ximbala is my greatest foe since he kidnapped me as a child and held me captive for many moons. He is a very large and muscular man, towering above most everyone else. He always wears a red bandana and a waistcoat made from animal covering (skin). His skin is dark, his eyes deepest green and his head shaven. He is a fierce warrior and most ruthless, but I have seen a softer side to him too. I betrayed him and he will do anything to find and destroy me. The Inquisitors too are a deadly foe. I have yet to see one up close, but they are a flurry of purple darkness, with wings, gaping jaws and stinking breath. They have no soul or conscience or mercy at all and seek only to devour the life-force of Forbidden children and to serve The Committee.
Do you have any irrational fears / phobias?
I am not afraid of anything irrational as I am fierce and well trained warrior. I do, however, fear the way Adam makes me feel.
What is your worst habit / vice?
I suppose it must be selfishness and self-centeredness. I find it difficult to empathize with others and to be honest care little about anyone else. All I am concerned with is surviving, though Adam has helped me shift my focus to the Forbidden children and chastises me for not caring enough.
What is your most cherished possession?
I have two, the only possessions I own. A red glass tablet given to me by my mother and the Troiqa’s seal, a crystal with eight diamondines in the shape of the Octad embedded in its surface.
What is the driving force / motivation in your life?
Survival and revenge. Perhaps love will one day replace these.
What crisis are you facing at the start of the story?
My keepers have disappeared, which means that my enemies have tracked me to Earth. I have to get away and become someone else in order to survive and fulfill my mission.
What would you never do, no matter the price?
Hmm, that’s a very hard question for me to answer. At the beginning of my story I would have said there is nothing I wouldn’t do, but now, after meeting Adam and the Forbidden children and receiving my mission from the Troiqa, I suppose I would never betray those that love me.
How would you define the word ‘love’?
A warm, shivering feeling in the stomach? A memory of my mother and her arms around me? I have not known much love or felt it for anyone so it is hard to know. I believe it is placing your life totally in the hands of another and trusting them to take care of it. I know Adam shows me love but I’m not certain if what I feel for him is love as it’s an emotion that has been mainly absent from my life.
How have you evolved by the end of the story?
I have begun looking outwards to the welfare of others, something I would never have done before. I have also realized that there is more purpose for my life than simply surviving and taking revenge on those that have hurt me. I know now that I have a destiny to fulfill. I’ve also begun to find parts of myself that I never knew existed, perhaps Adam had helped me find the ‘true’ Qea hidden within the shell of the ‘created’ Kerry/Donna.
Why should the reader care about your story?
My story could be about any one - we’re all aliens in some way, be that because of moving school or home or translocating across a galaxy. We’ve all been in circumstances and situations that were not of our own making, but we do not have to let our past define us. Everyone feels like a stranger in a strange place from time to time, we feel afraid and wonder why we matter. Life can be scary. Inwardly though, I believe we are all strong and unique with the ability to shake off the parts of ourselves that have been forced upon us through life. I hope my story will give hope to those who feel like an ‘alien’ and will prove that anyone can rise above their circumstances to become the best person they can be. If it can happen for me it can happen for everyone.
Katy was an English and music teacher before almost losing her sense of humor (and mind) and deciding she needed to devote herself to the thing she loved most - writing. She published a number of children’s musicals and then became a full-time television scriptwriter for children, entered a nationwide script writing competition and was selected to be on the writing team of a popular South African soap. She also worked as an advertising copywriter, wrote radio ads and jingles, educational textbooks and readers...anything writing-related to keep the wolf from the door. Basically, she’s constantly writing, books and TV scripts and if not that then plotting, planning and scheming how to take over the world!
Like her creation Qea, the feisty heroine in Blue Dust: Forbidden, Katy understands something about being an alien after she embarked on a new journey, crossing the galaxy to settle on a new planet (England) many moons ago. Some like to call this process 'immigration'. Katy is now a proud possessor of a maroon Intergalactic Wayfarer Permit and has come to love the aliens she mixes with daily.