Wednesday, September 3, 2014

An interview with first time Steampunk author, February Grace.

Tick tock, 

As a lover of all things clock this next book caught my eye. Especially the blurb:



"What is a heart if not the ultimate clockwork?"
     Abigail’s young life was saved by the kindness of strangers: Schuyler Algernon, the man who found her collapsed on cold city streets, and Quinn Godspeed, the doctor who risked everything by breaking the law to keep her fragile heart beating.
     As the truth about what she’s become and her feelings for her savior overtake her, Abigail is forced to ask what constitutes life, living, and what dark secrets are contained within Godspeed’s past and the walls of Schuyler’s house.

I tracked down the author and I just had to interview her. Punkettes, I'd like you to officially meet February Grace and her novel Godspeed.  




Clockpunkette: Tell us about why we would like your book.

FG: Well, I think you would like this book because it is an awesome blending of light Steampunk and literary romance! It is appropriate for the YA age group, but I have readers that cross almost all age categories (from age 12 on up into their near 70’s that I know of!) It was also chosen to be a featured story on Wattpad after I published it there in January of 2013, so that is another thing that speaks to its awesomeness! I am so grateful to Wattpad for their support of my writing. *note if you don't know what wattpad is go here

Above all, though, I hope that you would love it because of the diversity in its characters. Most have different disabilities (I have multiple disabilities myself) and I wanted to give them a voice, as it were. As Doctor Godspeed says to main female character Abigail at one point in the book: “It’s time you met the Freaks!” (The Freak’s Chorus is how the small band refers to itself, it is a name they have taken and proudly owned. Pretty cool, I think. I love them all.)

Oh...and it also hit number #1 in Steampunk (Paid, in Kindle Store) on Amazon a couple of times during different promotions...beyond my wildest dreams, that was! It was such an amazing feeling. I'll never forget it.

Clockpunkette: Would you consider your book steam/clock or deislepunk?

FG: Definitely Steampunk-ish. The gadgets are not the center of the story though, the people are.

Clockpunkette: How did you find steampunk?

FG: I kind of stumbled into it backwards…through seeing artwork online and people cosplaying at Comic Con and thinking, that is really cool, what is that about? I’ve always loved clocks and gears! As do I. Then I realized there was all the cool steam powered stuff and inventions (and gears!) and levers (and gears!!!) and that great stuff and I wanted to read a really cool steampunk book. So I looked for one that I would love…and I didn’t find it. In fact, I didn’t really read more than the synopsis/blurbs for most of them before realizing they were not what I was looking for. So I decided to write the book I wanted to read myself. I kept myself away from all Steampunk books while I was writing too—and you know, I have yet to find a story out there that someone else wrote that I can really fall in love with, steampunk-wise. I’m still looking!!! Any suggestions for her Punkettes?

Clockpunkette: Why did it influence your book?

FG: Steampunk had to be at the heart of the devices that I wanted Doctor Godspeed to create. It was a natural fit. I actually came up for the idea for the book in the middle of the night when I was very ill and recovering from surgery. The thought, “what is a heart if not the ultimate clockwork?” came to me and I jotted it down in the notebook I was using to keep track of all my medication doses in. Originally the idea for the story was much darker than GODSPEED turned out to be, but I couldn’t really be happier with the way the final story turned out. This book is my baby.


Clockpunkette: How do you conducted research for the steam elements?

FG: I read about Steampunk in general online to get a feel for the limits of what I could and couldn’t invent for GODSPEED which was great because being it is set in a fictional city, I had a lot of leeway to play with. I didn’t specify the year for that same reason, though I imagine it to be in the late 1890s. I wanted the freedom to create these fantastic devices, but I did look into things like when the first of something critical to the book was invented and by whom and how (spoilers if I tell, sorry!) so I wouldn’t mess that up! Then I just went for it.


Clockpunkette: If you could make anyone read your book who would it be?


FG: If I could MAKE anyone? LOL Probably be someone at Disney, with the hopes that they’d want to make it into a film! Now THAT would be the ultimate! 


Clockpunkette: And lastly can you provide us with an excerpt of the book.

FG: Gladly!

Excerpt from GODSPEED:

“My father was a clockmaker,” he declared, without my having to ask. “He was… sort of a business partner of Schuyler’s father. He built timepieces, restored antiques for the shop on a regular basis. I learned everything I know about clock repair and watch making from him.”
   He closed the case on the back of the watch he’d been working on and set his tools aside. Last of all, he removed the loupe and put it away. “I find concentrating on the task of repairing such a thing helps me to think.”
   I marveled that work so intricate, requiring such meticulous attention, could help anyone think about anything else. It just served as evidence again of the unusual mind at work here, someone so brilliant that clockworks were no challenge at all, and only in the mysteries of the inadequacies of the human body could a true challenge be found.
   “Your mother?” I asked softly. Hearing how dry my throat was, the doctor rose from his chair and brought me a glass of water.
   “I do not remember.”
   He did not elaborate as to whether she left him by choice or by chance, taken in death or had abandoned him when he was a boy. “Before you ask, no, I have no siblings. Well, none that are not… convenient fabrications.”
   I left the comment alone for now; I did not want to stop him talking. If I risked asking the wrong question in this moment he may never be willing to approach this topic again.
   I wondered that he was willing to approach it now. Again, I was too afraid of breaking the spell to question too mightily.
   “Schuyler’s mother, I remember. She was a very kind woman. Gifted,” he continued. “A musician. All the musical instruments you find around this place originally belonged to her. She tried to teach me to play violin and piano, but I had no natural talent for music.
   “So off to my father’s workshop I went, usually ferrying back and forth from it the items from Ruby Road that needed to be repaired. Very early on he had me assisting him, handing him this tool and that, never once behaving as if he believed I didn’t understand. No matter how young I was, he always used the proper terms for things and explained to me exactly their purpose inside the clockworks.” He got a distant look in his eye, and shook his head as he paced past his workbench and moved toward the cabinet across the room.
   He opened up a panel, procured a bottle and glass, and poured himself a drink. “I didn’t realize then that the greatest gift he would ever give me was faith in my own mind.”
He downed the dark, pungent liquid in one long gulp and nodded approvingly at the taste. He pivoted on his heel and turned back toward me. “Still, you refuse to tell me about yourself.”
   I looked away.
   “Even so much as your name.”
   My eyes remained focused on the opposite wall.
   “I am a fairly resourceful man, you know.”
   I felt the urge to laugh at the magnitude of his understatement. To say he was fairly resourceful was to say that the sea, roaring and endless with advancing and retreating tides, was vast and tasted slightly of salt.
   “I’ve done some investigating,” he said, pacing again as he spoke. “There have been no reports of a young woman your age, anyone even close to your description, going missing in the last year, and I highly doubt you were on the street more than a day before Schuyler plucked you from it. Otherwise you would not have survived.”
   He looked me over with carefully critical eyes, almost as one considering purchase of a piece of used merchandise. “Why is it a girl with such… who has been at least somewhat carefully kept and cared for over the years, would not be reported missing?”
I summoned all of my strength to speak, because I was driven to answer. “To be reported missing, sir, one must first be missed.”
   He inclined his head, accepting my explanation. He clearly understood how much speaking those words, words tied to such difficult emotions, took out of me. He pressed me no further.
He returned to the workbench behind the surgical table, where I now sat with my legs hanging over the side.
   He opened the top drawer, procured a small wooden box, and held it up on display.
   “A gift.”
   My eyes widened when I saw what at first appeared to be a brilliant silver-tone locket; antique, and fashioned in the arcing shape of a heart.
   “This, like most things in life, is more than it first appears.” He removed it with one hand and set aside the box with the other before moving within reach. “This is the means by which we will free you from the torment of harsher treatments.”
   I watched with absolute amazement as he unlatched the clasp on the charm and revealed its complicated interior. Gear upon gear, lever upon lever, all churning and clicking away in musical, clockwork time. He leaned in so close now that I could feel the warmth of his cheek against mine.
“Here.” He dangled the necklace in front of me, where it danced and flickered in the light. “This is your new heart. It’s rare, and young, and made of pure white gold.” For an instant he looked upon me with an expression I could not possibly put emotion to. “Exactly, I am certain, like the one it will repair.”
   He lowered the chain around my neck, and as he did so, tears I could not deny wound their way down my cheeks and onto his gifted, powerful hands.
 

Thank you so much for hosting me! I really appreciate it! 
Our pleasure.





GODSPEED is Published by Booktrope, and is available here:

Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/14uTC4s
Amazon Hardcover: http://amzn.to/18tMsCc

Contact February Grace:
Twitter: @FebruaryGrace
Pinterest: FebruaryGrace