Could you please tell us about your newest release?
Full Throttle is a Steampunk motor racing adventure, set in a world in which those born to privilege get given everything while those lower down the social scale get nothing. The sequel, Rise of the Petrol Queen, is out in late September.
What do you like the most about the Steampunk genre?
Being able to say something about the way we are but under the cover of an alternative timeline romp, which allows me to make a series of political/social points without alienating those who refuse to face up to the nature of our socially constructed reality. Also, corsets.
How long have you been writing?
For about 20 years. I’ve almost got the hang of it now….
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
From a young age, as writing was the only thing I was ever good at.
Do you write in any other genre besides Steampunk?
I have done, but not for a while, now. After the Full Throttle series is done, though, I can’t imagine I’ll be doing any more Steampunk.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Be cynical.
Be born posh and well-connected. That way, you’ll be given opportunities denied everyone else, regardless of your talent. Or lack of. Whatever you do, don’t be born working class. Or female. Or coloured. Or gay. Or trans. Because your chances of success will be limited…
Do you write full time or part time?
Part time, alas, as I have very low sales. My last royalty statement was for £3.92 pence. I try and fit the writing in between real life. And sobbing quietly in a corner.
What do you do for fun (besides writing)?
Fun? I seem to vaguely remember that word…. But I do enjoy going out on charity shop crawls and other meet-ups with the local Steampunk group, who are a splendid bunch.
How many books have you completed?
About 22 under various pen names, and about 8 or 9 under my own name. I tend to write and then forget them as I focus on the new work, so I’m a bit hazy on the actual numbers…
What do you enjoy most about being an author?
The amazing success of it all….
How do you handle writer’s block?
Walk away, have a break, recharge. I have experienced burn out a few times and it seems to be my brain’s way of saying “rest”
Will you be appearing at any upcoming book signings or events?
I shall be at the Tamworth Literary festival on the 9th March, while the local Steampunk group are putting together a display for the Black Country Museum’s Red By Night event, which should be in mid-May, so I shall be there as an example of a Steampunk author. Or possibly as a warning against being a writer. One of the two.
How do you develop your characters?
I usually know how the story starts, how it ends, and a few points between; I then just write and see where the plot and the characters go. Sometimes you can be surprised as back stories emerge and connections between characters are revealed that you never, ever intended…. And sometimes the whole thing just dies a death and you have to bin it and start something new.
What format are your books available?
Full Throttle is my first with a traditional publisher, so both paperback and digital copies are available.
What are the hardest scenes for you to write?
I find action scenes a bit tricky as I’m not an action writer. And romance scenes are awkward as I’ve never had much luck with the real thing.
In an autocratic society that refuses to let her move forward, can Poppy stay ahead of the pack?
As expensive steam-powered automobiles speed across the land, Poppy Orpington is trapped and going nowhere – until her father reveals his secret project, a petrol-fuelled car ready for the race track. But will they even be allowed to compete? Racing is the preserve of the wealthy elite and few will welcome a working class family onto their hallowed ground. Can Poppy overcome social prejudice and conformity, or will her one and only chance of a better life be crushed before it can even begin? Full Throttle; book one of a Steampunk motor racing adventure set in a world of division, intolerance and inequality that modern readers may find disturbingly familiar…
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