We’re so pleased to have author Susanna Hays joining us today with an excerpt from her new novel, Project Ordell.
Title: Project Ordell
Cover Artist: Stef Masciandaro
Blurb: Ordell Rutledge lives in the small town of Blackwick where he helps in his father’s modest automaton shop. While he enjoys interacting with the few people who grace his father’s business, he feels isolated because he can’t relate to them. For ten years, life’s been quaint and peaceful, but Ordell has a secret: he is an automaton, sentient enough to pass as human.
Ordell’s life is upended when the person he trusts most betrays him. Heartbroken, he sets off for Linnesse, a city that accepts automatons as people and is booming with the latest technology. With another sentient automaton, Elias Griffith, at his side, they overcome obstacles and uncover the strange truth behind Ordell’s past. But sometimes the past is best left in the dark.
One thing that I liked about this excerpt is the bit of conflict Ordell faces, especially with a few scenes that happen later on with the story. He isn’t happy that his father is selling automatons that he helped create and see as family as mindless pleasure slaves. He certainly isn’t happy that a man wants a pleasure slave that looks exactly like him either.
What I liked most about writing this scene is the tension that begins with Ordell and his father. He has spent his life viewing himself as Octavio’s son, so to hear the words that he is a “creation” hurts him.
With Ordell’s character, I planned on him to be stubborn, selfish, and naive when it comes to the outside world. This plays a bigger role later in the story and gets Ordell into trouble.
Excerpt: During that workday his father’s words swam around in Ordell’s head. He knew Octavio only said them out of frustration, but it hurt to hear that come from him. To call his siblings stupid pieces of metal.
“You remind me so much of my son,” Mr. Stokes said, icing one of the cakes. “Both of you went off in your own little world. He was such a sweet boy, but refused to stay in reality for more than five minutes.” He chuckled and shook his head. “Drove my wife insane, he did! She wanted him to do this, and he was too busy skipping off to the pier.”
“I would’ve loved to meet him,” Ordell said with a small smile.
“Me too.” His voice grew low. “I wish I could talk to him again. Hear those little rambles as he talked about that world of his.” Mr. Stokes cleared his throat and looked back up at Ordell. “Why don’t you take the rest of the day off? I’m sure your father would love to have some help around the shop.”
“Are you sure, Mr. Stokes?”
He waved his hand. “It’s been a slow day. You should enjoy the weather while it’s still nice. Here.” He put a few pieces of bread in a small brown package. “A little treat for you and your father.”
Ordell patted Mr. Stokes’s shoulder. “Thank you so much. Would you like me to help open up tomorrow?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
When Ordell got to the shop, he could feel the heavy tension around the room.
“I brought home some rolls,” he called out. “They’re freshly baked.”
Ordell took a few more steps until he reached the door to Octavio’s shop. He took a deep breath and turned the doorknob.
“Father! What happened in here?”
Papers were scattered around the shop, blueprints torn and metal tossed around. Ordell found his father hunched over the workstation with his beefy fingers threaded through his peppered hair.
He raced over to his father and grabbed his shoulders. “Father! Are you all right? What happened?”
“I can’t find the damn blueprints! That bitch must have them!”
“The ones for the—” Octavio sighed and pushed his hands through his hair again. “Forget it. I don’t need another argument with you.”
“You said you wouldn’t!” Ordell narrowed his eyes. “I can take on another job! I can—”
“I need the money, Ordell!” he snapped. “The shop needs this! How can you not understand this?”
“You said you wouldn’t do this,” Ordell said again, punctuating his words slowly. “You promised.”
“I won’t be bullied by my own creation!”
“Now I’m just your creation?” He swallowed hard. “I thought I was your son.”
“Just forget it.” He took a step back. “Do what you want. They’re your creations, right? Don’t let me stop you from earning a quick profit.” He turned on his heel and stormed out of the shop.
About the Author: I am an avid reader and writer who writes M/M romance. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember, but have just recently started to share my work with the public. I am still learning the ins and outs of writing, and hopefully some will enjoy my stories.