Punkettes | April 22, 2016
Need help steaming up your Summer?
The other day I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to read the THIRTY DAYS LATER anthology put on by Thinking Ink Press. I wasn’t expecting the soirée of steam/clock infusion. I soon found my tea turning cold and me turning the next page. Thirty Days Later is full of interesting diverse stories that will appeal to a wide variety of readers with sightings of Royals, ghosts, dragons, Japanese folklore, spies, and even a Sasquatch(?!). While the packaging didn’t capture my attention, the high caliber creative content did. From Hugo award winning author to fresh new voices, this is one collection steampunk enthusiast should not judge by the cover.
I got to chat with a handful of the authors and asked some questions:
Tell us about yourself and your writing history.
I’m a scribbler, an idea follower, and more often than not a stuck-in-the-weeds author who wishes he could outline more fully before diving in. I’ve written a number of short stories, two novels, and countless bits of text-that-shall-not-be-named (or read, for that matter).
I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but I didn’t get serious about my writing until about five years ago. Now I write steampunk, urban fantasy, and mystery novels.
Steve DeWinter is a #1 Bestselling Amazon Action & Adventure Sci-Fi Author who has also co-authored two fantasy novels with one of the greatest Victorian writers to have ever lived, Charles Dickens. Yes! That Charles Dickens.
Sharon E. Cathcart:
I’ve been writing since childhood, sometimes for a living.
My first book was published in 1995, at a time when I was a newspaper editor-in-chief.
My background as a journalist made historical fiction a natural fit for me; I love doing the research.
Hi! I’m Anthony Francis; by day I work to bring about the robot apocalypse, but by night I write science fiction and draw comic books. I got my writing start doing computer-themed hard science fiction (“Sibling Rivalry” in The Leading Edge magazine) but my big break was the urban fantasy Dakota Frost series, including the award-winning FROST MOON and its sequels BLOOD ROCK and LIQUID FIRE.
My first published steampunk story was “Steampunk Fairy Chick” in the UNCONVENTIONAL anthology, set in the world of my forthcoming novel JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE.
Katherine Morse and David Drake:
We have written technical papers together for more than 20 years in our chosen profession. We decided to team-write The Adventures of Drake & McTrowell 6 years ago as our contribution to the steampunk community.
I’ve been writing since I was 14, and recently started to really get the hang of it.
I stick to writing Fiction as much as possible, and love reading old classics.
Lillian has published SHIP OF DREAMS, a pirate romance novel, under her romance pen name Elaine LeClaire through Dorchester Publishing’s Leisure Imprint. Her short fiction has appeared in Weird Tales, Fantastic Stories, and the newly released TYPHON: A Monster Anthology. Lillian’s historical short fiction has appeared in And All Our Yesterdays and These Vampires Don’t Sparkle. Two paired stories are included in the Clockwork Alchemy 2015 anthology Twelve Hours Apart. Another pair of stories set in the same series appear in 30 Days Later. Born in San Diego and a veteran of historical reenactment, Ms. Csernica is a genuine California native. She currently resides in the Santa Cruz mountains with her husband, two sons, and three cats. Visit her at lillian888.wordpress.com.
I write my steampunk-laced alternate historical fiction stories from my anachronistic Victorian home in the center of Silicon Valley.
After writing technical and scientific publications for many years, I started writing fiction seriously about three years ago. Trained as a chemist, I bring an appreciation of both science and history to my stories.
My first novel, a steampunk adventure story titled To Rule the Skies, was the product of participating in NaNoWriMo 2012. A prequel is in the works.
I grew up in Hawaii in the middle of an east-west melting pot of fantastic myths and legends, so it’s no surprise that ‘ve been telling stories to myself forever. I’ve been writing seriously since high school, and now, an undisclosed number of years later, have finally challenged myself to stop faffing around and be the author I wanted to be in 8th grade when mom and dad said “You can’t just write that Star Wars stuff. There’s no future in it.” If they only knew…
Can you summarize your Thirty Days Later story to one or two lines? And what inspired this story?
A mob enforcer with a conscience decides enough is enough and puts everything on the line to save an innocent life. He succeeds, but it costs him plenty. The protagonist is a side character in my second novel. I wanted to explore his origins more fully than the novel allowed and wanted to give readers of 30DL a taste of what the novel is about.
Secret agents getting in trouble! It was inspired by O’Henry’s series set in a South American banana republic, Of Cabbages and Kings
. I liked the idea of bringing a troublemaking South African “emperor” to gold rush San Francisco. The other wraps up one of the stories from the 12-Hours Later anthology, where my heroine is left in possession of a mysterious chest. Now we find out what happens next. Finally!
The Clockwork Writer is an episode of The Twilight Zone, Victorian Style. My story was inspired by a documentary I saw on The Writer Automaton, a 240-year-old doll that can be programmed to write any 40-character sentence, including spaces. I thought, what if he wrote something that wasn’t programmed? And what if what he wrote came true later?
Sharon E. Cathcart:
Inspired by the June Rebellion of 1832, “Two Days in June” focuses on two characters and their lady friends during an event that might have gone unnoticed had not an author been caught behind the barricades in Paris. I was inspired by my studies of the French Revolution and the historical events of “Les Miserables.”
I’m a long-time Francophile, and the history behind the June Rebellion is fascinating.
When a plague of infectious alien gears threatens her city, grounded Liberation Academy cadet Jeremiah Willstone steals a pair of Falconer’s wings to track it down – and pays the price. Thirty days after her crash, she awakens from a coma facing the question of whether she’s saved the city from disaster – or just gotten herself expelled. When writing the THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE, I discovered Jeremiah had washed out of the Falconry – her world’s version of the Air Force, AKA the brass jetpack brigade. Inspired by the “thirty days later” theme, I decided to explore that story – making the event of her washout not a simple failed test, but a spectacular smash-up with a city at stake.
Katherine Morse and David Drake:
Vengeance is mine sayeth Sparky. Not so fast dear sayeth Drake. Some of the elements are taken from apocryphal stories from Sparky’s family, but the theme of 30 days later naturally lends itself to lunar cycles and lunacy.
The choice to leave your ordinary life behind and follow dreams of adventure and glory, is a very tricky one. The main character in this story, Vivian Swift, was originally a very minor, side character in the 12-part novel series that I’m writing now.
When I first wrote her in, something about her struck me, as if there was much more there than I thought at first.
There was no place in my series to explore Vivian’s life, so I put the thought of her aside until I found an opportunity to give her her own story.
I’m very pleased that I finally was able to find out who Vivian really was.
Justin Andrew Hoke:
They’re a lesson. This story is about looking to the heavens as a way to pass God(s) and finding that you may create a few monsters of men along the way. I was inspired by the current political climate in the USA. Election season brings out my soapbox a little.
British-born Dr. William Harrington now serves as personal physician to the Abbot of Kiyomizudera, the Pure Water Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
His role as one of the Abbot’s guardians brings unwanted attention to him and his family from the creatures of Japanese myth and folklore. I love Japanese culture.
From bushido to the many arts and handicrafts, there’s so much to learn and enjoy.
Japanese gods and monsters are quite different from those in the West.
A Victorian astronomer makes a world-changing discovery.
Or does he?
Only his more sensible assistant knows for sure. Or does she? Indirectly, the story is inspired by an episode of bad science that I was involved in many years ago.
Remember cold fusion?
Wild Card and Straight Flush follow Kenna Wolfesdaughter, the Superspy with the Clockwork Eye, through an alternate world version of Las Vegas in a race to prevent the murder of three continents worth of world leaders at the opening ceremony of the Great Exposition. It’s Cyber-Steam James Bond in the city of lights, vices, and guilty pleasures, with a couple of clockwork sea serpents thrown in. These two stories are sequels to Hunter and Hunted from last year’s anthology, Twelve Hours Later. Kenna had a rough time of it in those stories and deserved an assignment someplace fun. Where better than Vegas? I had a blast reimagining it as a cyber-steam city of wonders and then throwing Kenna into a city I love to see what she’d make of it.
What attracted you to the steampunk genre?
AJ Sikes: At first it was whimsy. Then it was the freedom to imagine anything and everything, and finally the maker aesthetic – the DIY whenever and wherever and for whatever reason occurs to you. Steampunk for me, reflects a life lived to the fullest, following one’s own true pursuits and aims.