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Sci-fi torture tale lands author three book deal

Jo Zebedee
Jo Zebedee

Sci-fi writer Jo Zebedee has unleashed her dark side in a new space opera.


The Carrickfergus woman has been dreaming of distant galaxies since she was a teenager.

But she hadn’t written a word of her Inheritance trilogy until four years ago.

Now Abendau’s Heir has been published and it’s already creating a buzz among sci-fi fans.

With Sunset over Abendau and Abendau’s Fall to follow within the next 12 months, the management consultant has suddenly found she’s an in-demand author.

And her scenes of torture of main character Kare may come as a surprise to people who know her.

“It’s not what people expect from a suburban mother of two,” says Jo.

“It’s very dark because of the ordeal he goes through – torture is one of the big areas, which I researched extensively. For it to be realistic it had to be very dark.

“I wanted to write about what that does to you – in books two and three he’s suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In Star Wars Luke has his hand cut off; in Game of Thrones a character loses a hand, but you never find out how that affects them. What happens when a person is broken by their ordeal?”

Jo sums up the trilogy as a character-driven space opera, and the timing of a new Star Wars movie is perfect.

“A few years ago space opera was dead but now soft sci-fi is back in vogue.

“I’ve been carrying this character about since I was a teenager. I warned my husband Chris when we met that there was another man in my life!  Fortunately he was fictional.

“I’d promised myself I’d write it before I turned 40 and one afternoon I realised the kids were entertaining themselves so I made a start, and I’ve written six books since then.”

In the story Kare is the chosen one who’s taken from his mother by his dad, but when she wants to pass her kingdom on to him he refuses, so she tortures him. The sequels follow his plans to overthrow his mother.

The evil ruler was the most difficult part for Jo to write, getting inside the head of a psychopath.

“She’s so far removed from what I am – she’s not exactly your school run mum,” says Jo.

The writer had expected that by book three she would have gained a following but the novels had a fanbase before they were even published.

Inspired by her steps into another world she’s also written stand-alone novel Inish Carraig, about two Belfast boys attempting to fight off an alien invasion with a virus. 

Jo plans to self-publish that this summer. And she has another trilogy in the offing, a dark fantasy set in the Glens of Antrim.

“The next step is the film rights,” laughs Jo. “I’d like Eric Bana to play Kare, but ideally I’d love Muse to make it into a rock opera,” says the author.

Abendau’s Heir is published by TicketyBoo Press.

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