I couldn’t wait to share this interview with Beth Daniels. She is a fascinating women with a wealth of knowledge and publishing experience. Writing as Nied Darnell, her latest Steampunk release is THE CASE OF THE REPURPOSED MAN by Nied Darnell, a Weird West Covert Cogs Adventure, novella.
Could you please tell us about your newest release?
While waiting for a traditional publisher to realize what a brilliant story is unfolding in my Weird West Steampunk trilogy (of which, granted, only the first book is written, though the 2nd is started) I’ve been writing novella length stories about the Covert Cogs of the Allegory Society set prior to the trilogy. I’ve been introducing characters that appear in the trilogy, sometimes as the main character and other times as a secondary character. Actually, I’m having a lot of fun doing these tales. They start out being serialized on the blog at www.WritingSteampunk.com and then a month after they’ve concluded I morph them into e-books and trade paperbacks. So, on one hand, THE CASE OF THE REPURPOSED MAN is the latest release but THE CASE OF THE HOLE IN THE WALL has begun serialization in the blog. Both of these feature heroes who have major roles in the trilogy. It’s 1875 and the Second Civil War has ended but technology has progressed to a point where the men who lost limbs and had organs damaged are being remade without their permission so that they wake up in the hospital with mechanical parts. The only future left to them is as soldiers known as Irregulars, policing the western territories. In REPURPOSED MAN the specialized melding medication is being stolen and my She Cog agent is undercover as a nurse. In HOLE IN THE WALL we have dinosaur bones missing at a scientific dig site and a Cog agent missing as well. His partner needs help and she ends up with the most unlikely fellow at her side, an actor known as the world’s greatest melodramatic villain.
What do you like the most about the Steampunk genre?
I discovered Weird West Steampunk when historical romantic adventure set in the Old West fell out of favour at the publishing houses. As that’s my specialty (history degree and everything!) I either needed to write westerns, which weren’t high on editors’ “want to buy” list either or go straight historical. Well, that just wasn’t me. Then I heard about Steampunk and that there was a special branch of it that was set in a twisted history American West. I knew I’d found Nirvana. So what I like best about Steampunk is that tinkering with history. 90% or more of it stays the same but oh the things you can change to remake your stage!
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for decades, but my first novel was published back in 1990. Since then I’ve had a lot of romantic-comedy published and a handful of historical romantic adventure, and I’ve gone under many different pseudonyms. Nied Darnell is the one I created for Steampunk, though I write romance as Beth Henderson (and previously as Lisa Dane and Beth Cruise) and urban fantasy comedic PI mystery and comedic mystery without the paranormal/magic as well as comedic fantasy without a mystery as J.B. Dane.
Who is your favorite author?
I have to admit I have many favorite authors. The one who served as my unwitting mentor (because I read and reread her books) was the late Elizabeth Peters, but I also reread Georgette Heyer. However, I grew up in the era of westerns on TV and lived in Arizona and Nevada for 22 years (although I’m from Ohio and now live in Kentucky) so I WATCHED a lot of westerns. When I hit the Borax Museum in Death Valley in the Spring of 1973, my whole historical focus moved from Medieval England to the mining towns of the mid to late 19th century west. I can’t say that I have a favorite author who writes either Weird West or stories set in the Old West though. My reading favorites currently are all falling in the urban fantasy field. That doesn’t stop me from harkening back to the 19th century to spin my own tales though.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite Steampunk book is THE ANUBIS GATE by Tim Powers (1997), it’s one of the first Steam books I read and still a favorite, but for an all-time favorite book I’ve got to say it’s PYRATES by the late George MacDonald Fraser. It’s extremely silly, which is why I like it.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. Keep learning your craft. I had three books that I wrote over a 12-year period and then rewrote and rewrote and rewrote again from scratch as editors rejected them but usually gave me some hints on what I was doing right and where I went off track. After those 12 years, all three books sold within six months of each other and within three years I had nine different titles available from four different publishers. Perseverance and learning what you can do better is the key.
What do you do for fun (besides writing)?
Oh, that’s an easy one! I READ and I watch movies…I love the Marvel universe, but if there’s a chance of humour in a movie AND Chris Hemsworth, I’ll be buying a ticket..and buying a copy to watch over and over again when it is released for home viewing. Looking forward to MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL with Chris in June this year.
How many books have you completed?
How many books – well 29 romances published, an urban fantasy series launching later this year (RAVEN’S MOON by J.B. Dane is what to look for), I have that first book of the Weird West trilogy looking for a home and a historical romantic mystery set in an Idaho mining town sitting on an editor’s desk, too. Then there are the Indied novellas for both The Raven Tales and the Covert Cogs. I’ve also got a Dieselpunk story (WAGES OF S.I.N.) that I wrote for an anthology that passed on it (I have a feeling they weren’t looking for funny or quite so much 1920s slang slung) and have some Nick Claus North Pole Security urban fantasy shorter tales in print or in the works. And as if that wasn’t enough, I also do online workshops and then turn them into Fiction Writing guides. In fact, my best sellers are GEARED UP WRITING STEAMPUNK and THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO STORY ARCS FOR SERIES AND TRILOGIES. My contract for the Raven Tales novels was for three books and the second is finished and I’ve started work on the third. So, lots of books completed or in the pipeline.