Author Interview: California Dawes

Hello, friends! Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to California Dawes, author of Starfall Ranch! California Dawes is an indie author with a space fantasy western that you might just love. Queer people are the norm in Starfall Ranch and there is a central f/f romance as well as nonbinary representation.

Do you ever feel like giving the entire planet the middle finger and running away to start a nice goat farm where you wait for the most beautiful woman in the galaxy to show up in the rain on your doorstep? Then California Dawes thinks that Starfall Ranch is going to be a good fit for you. 

Here’s the full description.

Starfall Ranch Cover30-year-old Shiloh Kerridan migrated to the moon world Sirona 5 years ago with one goal: to put a lifetime of betrayals behind her and never deal with a broken heart again. That stuff was better off left behind on Earth where it couldn’t find her. Now she’s the sole inhabitant and owner of 30 beautiful acres of land that she calls Starfall Ranch.

Life has been good to her at Starfall, and she hasn’t minded the loneliness one bit. But the discovery of a rich vein of platinum beneath the land has a rich mining company breathing down Shiloh’s neck for a piece of her pie. And what’s worse, her orchards are succumbing to relentless blight and her farm droids keep malfunctioning or turning up broken.

The last thing she needs right now is an unexpected visitor.

Smart, beautiful, witty Thisbe Vandergoss leads a charmed life on 22nd century Earth; her family’s power, connections, and resources are unmatched. At 25 years old, she’s already a billionaire–thanks to her overbearing parents puppeteering her through every decision in her life. But now they’re demanding she do the unthinkable for the good of the family, and Thisbe can’t take it anymore.

Desperate to escape their grasp before it’s too late, Thisbe signs up for a mail-order-bride matchmaking service that sends her to the far-off farm world Sirona to meet her new husband, Sean Kerridan. Better to have her own life with a 76-year-old man on another world than a life dictated by her parents’ horrifying every whim, right?

Thisbe shows up at Starfall Ranch and realizes she’s found the wrong S. Kerridan just as a storm cell sweeps through the valley, temporarily cutting off all communication, and Thisbe’s way to her intended husband.

As two women from two very different worlds get to know each other over stubborn goats and apple pastries, the sparks begin to fly and they soon discover that they may have needed to cross a galaxy to find a chance at true love. But can they overcome their own fears, not to mention the machinations of powerful clans, to make it last? (Goodreads) Goodreads

You can learn more about California Dawes through this EXCLUSIVE author interview facilitated as part of a blog tour with A Novel Take PR.

Hello, California! Welcome to the blog! Can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Hello and thank you so much for having me! So let’s see, some stuff about myself… I’m a lifelong gamer, starting with the old Sierra games in the 80s. I learned to type by playing Infocom text adventures, and I am dying to get my hands on the next Dragon Age.

I’ve lived up and down the west coast my whole life, I have two floofy cats who are the biggest troublemakers, and an aussiedoodle who thinks she is a cop. We call her a bossydoodle. Aside from lots of writing and lots of reading, I’m also a big fan of trail running, gardening, road trips, used book shops, baking, and coffee. I take my coffee Very Seriously. 😉

What inspired you to write Starfall Ranch?

I started out with two separate ideas. I was drafting out one story being about a woman on the run from her family on Earth and having limited options on how to escape them, but I wasn’t quite sure where to send her. At the same time, I was outlining another story about a woman on this beautiful pastoral ranch on a far-off moon world and I was like, this is a really pretty setting and I love this character, but where’s the story, exactly? Then I realized: OH. This is the same story from two different perspectives. And it all came together very quickly after I merged the two. 

What would you say some of the influences are on Starfall Ranch?

Definitely the space western elements in Star Wars, Kage Baker’s Empress of Mars, and Firefly had a big influence on my own imaginings of what the different settlements on Sirona might look like. I’ve studied a lot of history, and the mail-order-bride in space idea was directly pulled from the real-life histories of expansion into new territories.

With the romance elements, I’d say I was influenced most by what I didn’t want to see. I set out intentionally to write a love story between two people where one of them doesn’t have to be victimized by and then subsequently forgive the other, which I have seen too many times. I wanted both main characters to have their own complex issues surrounding intimacy that they had to come to terms with. And I strongly wanted the world of Starfall Ranch to be a welcome space for queer characters of all types. This is their world and they’ve got plenty of other problems to deal with!

Who is your favorite character in Starfall Ranch, and why?

I think I fell in love with both of the main characters equally and I love all of the supporting characters so much, but I think the real MVP of the book is Taryn the bartender, who is not only great at making cocktails, but really comes through when things start looking rough.

What’s one thing that would surprise people to know about you?

I don’t get stage fright when addressing a large crowd or making a prepared speech on a stage, but I am a nervous wreck if I’m asked to present to a small group!

What was your last five star read? What made it a five star read?

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz. It’s a feminist punk rock time-travel novel and I couldn’t put it down. Literally, I sat down to read for an hour one night and the next thing I knew it was way past my bedtime and I was reeling from the impact of the last pages.

What talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could be one of those people that remembers everyone’s names, even acquaintances they haven’t seen in years.

If you had a burger named after you, what kind of burger would it be, and what would you want to be on it?

A Dawes Burger would definitely be beef mixed with bacon on a brioche bun, with avocado, tangy Romesco sauce, and crunchy lettuce shreds. Tater tots and spicy pickles on the side!

What’s next for you after Starfall Ranch?

My next full-length novel, Heart of Temptation, comes out April 14th!

Heart of Temptation is the first book in a new series that follows three queer women in their mid-30s as they head back to their sleepy hometown of Temptation Rock, Nevada. They’re looking to sort through their messy family lives, find real love, and fight the forces of darkness/save the world from utter ruination along the way. It’s a contemporary paranormal romance series with a lot of snark, steam, and whiskey, and it’s been a ton of fun to work on! I can’t wait to share more about it in the months to come.

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