In honor of the release of Gears of Brass, a steampunk anthology published by Curiosity Quills, I am bringing you an interview with S.A. Larsen (aka Sheri) on the craft of writing in the genre of steampunk …
- Sheri, how did you come to be involved in the Gears of Brass anthology?
I was approached by another author, who heard that Curiosity Quills was interested in putting together a group of young adult stories with a steampunk edge. This was an area I’d never worked in before, which gave me pause. But growth as a writer comes from leaping into what we’re less familiar with and learning. That’s what I did.
- For those readers who are uncertain about the term, how would you define steampunk?
Ooh, Susan Kaye Quinn explained it wonderfully in the forward she wrote for the book, but I’ll give it a try. I see the world of steampunk as science fiction meets gadgets and gears powered by steam all weaved in mystery, intrigue, and romance. And lots of times lace, corsets, and some really cool boots. 😉 Steampunk is a form of world a story grows up in and how that world affects the characters and storylines—a unique battery with which to tell a tale.
- I know from your post on the cover reveal that you did a lot of research into steampunk before beginning your story. How does one go about researching a technology that doesn’t exist?
Great question! Initially, I searched for images dealing with already existing steampunk. These photos or drawings gave me visual insight into the world of steampunk and the Victorian age. From there, my imagination took over. I began comparing what I saw to today’s world of clothing, transportation, food, gadgets, social behaviors, architecture, and employment.
The idea of a spinning wheel producing more than mere yarn has always fascinated me. Call it a writer’s twitch that would never leave me alone. So when I saw all the time pieces within the steampunk images I found, I just had to somehow relate time to a spinning wheel. That led me to some cookie baking to entice detailed terms out of my husband about how car engines, stereo systems, and other electronics of today work. The rest I simply plucked from the far reaches of my brain.
- The closest I have come (so far) to writing steampunk is my Tesla-punk manuscript based on the science of Tesla’s inventions – the real ones, the ones he envisioned but never made, and the ones that conspiracy theorists think he did make but were covered up. What kind of science is your short story based on, and did you have to coordinate with other authors – or is each story independent?
Each story is independent. It would be fun to coordinate them, though. Steampunk elements were our only criteria, though it was suggested that takes on fairytales or folktales would be great.
Honestly, the story is loosely based on the workings of time and most of that I stretched to meet my story goals. I actually incorporated elements from a young adult story idea I had a while back. It was a take on Rumpelstiltskin—thus, the spinning wheel. And then, as I began developing the story, my female lead became one whose way of life had been stolen from her, making survival a struggle—thus, my Cinderella elements. When I began writing TIME SPUN SOULS, I never intended to lean on any fairy tales. But the more I wrote, the more these fit.
5. Can you give us a logline for your story?
Trapped in the clutches of her step-mother’s quest to marry wealthy, a girl is thrust into the underground of forced labor, where yarn is not the only thing she spins.
S.A. Larsen is a wordsmith, book cover designer, and avid reader. Her quirky view of life urges her to create unique worlds for exploring the joys and angst of the young adult years, the awkward middle grade years, and the curious younger years of picture books. She is represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary.
Her vineyard-set YA novel, MARKED BEAUTY, has received multiple offers of publication and currently remains on submission. She lives in the land of lobsters, snowy winters, and the occasional Eh’ya, with her husband of over twenty years, their four children, a playful pooch Gracie, and two kittens Chloe and Molly.
Sheri, that’s impressive you wrote a story in a brand new genre for the anthology. Well done!
Thanks for having me here, Dianne! This was fun. And thanks for all the support.
Steampunk is such a fascinating genre. This anthology looks like it promises to be really good! Congrats, Sheri! =)
Looks like a fun anthology!
Sheri’s story sounds pretty darn awesome!
Wow, to take on a new genre is impressive. the story sounds good too.;)
I’m still working on my first and only genre, fantasy. I’m amazed you could jump right into a new genre. Good work!
Sounds like a great anthology, and Sheri, yours sounds awesome!! And Dianne, I love the Tesla story you’ve talked about. It sounds great!!
Yay for Sheri! Great thoughts. I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on this anthology. It’s undoubtedly epic.
Unleashing the Dreamworld
I’ve always liked the idea of steampunk, though never read much in the genre. Clearly, I need to change that. ^_^
Great interview. Sheri’s story sounds awesome. Congrats to her!
Hi Dianne and Sheri .. I’ll be back – just v busy right now .. I’m looking forward to reading properly .. cheers Hilary
This anthology sounds so, so epic! I STILL haven’t read anything steampunk lately – really need to get on that.
Hi Dianne and Sheri – the way you’ve created your story is fascinating – I love idea of a spinning wheel weaving its tale … I definitely will be getting the anthology … and I love the logline .. cheers Hilary
Congrats Sheri! I loved the interview. Research can be the thing that pushes you in a new direction and inspires your leap of imagination. I <3 research!
After reading Sheri’s description of steampunk, I think I might like that genre, after all. At any rate, I’d be willing to check it out. If she’s brave enough to jump into writing a new genre, I should be brave enough to jump into reading it.
And Dianne, I sure hope you give that Tesla inspired book of yours some TLC, so it gets published sometime. I’d love to read it.