In Taking Flight, the world as we know it has been devastated, and only sex can provide a future for the humans who remain. We speak to Tabitha Rayne about this intense, erotic slice of speculative fiction.
Xcite: Tell us a little about Taking Flight, and the world in which it is set?
Tabitha: Thanks for having me! Taking Flight is set in a not too distant future where deadly toxin clouds are having a devastating effect on the population – especially male fertility. The main character, Deborah, is working on a cure and in one sexy eureka moment realises that female arousal may hold the key to saving the world. (But we all knew that already, isn’t that right ladies ;) ) The problem is, the government don’t really want a cure to emerge and Deborah and her partner Marcus have to flee to the forest where they meet another couple in hiding. This couple show them new ways to share their bodies and minds through sexuality.
Xcite: What was the inspiration behind the book?
Tabitha: Well, the inspiration is exciting and a little depressing. For as long as I can remember, I have been fearful of the apocalypse – in whatever form it may take – nuclear war, asteroid, impending ice age, pollution – the list goes on… However, I realised when I grew up that this internal worry can be balanced out with the joy of sexuality. Sex can make the most awful day turn around. I’m a great believer in the healing power of the sexual connection -whether that’s uniting your own mind, body and spirit or with a partner/s. It makes everything better. So I guess, without realising it at the time, I took this to the last degree and tried to make sex the saviour of the entire planet. I think that’s pretty ambitious – but you never know, it might work ;). I was also brought up watching superhero and survival films so I guess there’s a bit of that thrown in too.
Xcite: What appeals to you about a dystopian setting for your fiction?
Tabitha: I love it because I don’t have the ease of technology – there are no phones, computers, TVs – barely any cars. Some might say that’s utopian rather than dystopian. So if my characters need to communicate they have to actually meet up or find another method. Taking Flight also explores the possibility of ‘ultimate unity’ – where two people can break through the barriers of physicality and meet spiritually when they come. My leading lady and gentleman are trying to perfect this technique so that if they are ever apart, they could achieve this meeting through orgasm. They also have to survive out in the wild for a while, trapping rabbits and building shelters – I love all that – you can really test a character’s strength by how they cope in those situations.
Xcite: You’ve written erotic fiction in various different genres, but which do you find most enjoyable, and why?
Tabitha: I really love all styles. I’m more comfortable writing reality or contemporary in my short stories – in fact most of my shorts have been set in the real world. It’s only my longer pieces that delve into the strange – but that’s when you’re letting your own imagination and ideas do whatever it wants to do. Generally in short stories, you are writing to a theme. I think I have written a werewolf and a witch short for Xcite, though. Those were pretty intense.
Xcite: Of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favourite?
Tabitha: I think I love Deborah the best. She’s my leading lady in Taking Flight and makes an appearance in A Clockwork Butterfly as someone completely different. A Clockwork Butterfly is the opening book of the trilogy – so if you read that first you will have perhaps not the best impression of Deborah. I loved getting to tell her story and how she changed and adapted as a survival mechanism. I was really glad to hear from a reader that she was surprised to find that she actually fell in love with Deborah in the second book when she’d really not liked her at all in the first. That felt good, to be able to have the time and space to explore a character and really tell her story about why she is who she is and does what she does.
Xcite: What are you reading at the moment?
Tabitha: I am about to start reading Sharing Nicely by Victoria Blisse, but I’m currently reading At The Bay – one of those little short books released in the 80s. I just went to find out the author for you, but it’s lost! I’m hoping my cat hasn’t dragged it somewhere… grrr!
Thank you so much for letting me ramble on!
Tabitha Rayne has been told she is quirky, lovely and kinky – not necessarily in that order or by the same person. She writes erotic romance and as long as there’s a love scene – she’ll explore any genre.
Tabitha is fascinated by nature in all its glorious forms and took a lot of inspiration for this book from watching the way plants and weeds will find a way to thrive in the most hostile of places. The Meeting Point trilogy is an erotic study in survival.