I really enjoyed my recent interview with author Thomas Webb. I think you will all enjoy learning about this fascinating author and his amazing Steampunk books.
Could you please tell us about your newest release?
I’d be happy to. ? My latest release is entitled Vindication: Clockwerk Thriller Book 3. As the title implies it’s the third and final installment in my Clockwerk Thriller series. I like to use the shorthand description of “Vince Flynn meets Jules Verne.” My publisher likes to joke that it’s “steampunk. . .if Michael Bay wrote it.” LOL. Its set in an alternate-history American Civil War-one with more airships, more retro-futuristic technology, and maybe best of all-more equality. Book three picks up a few months after Book 2. The main character, Colonel Julius Montclair, has just undergone some serious trauma (see Book 2). Right away, he’s pulled (rescued, really) from a self-imposed exile in the frozen Dakota territories. And soon after he’s right back where he belongs, in command of his airship the U.S.S. Vindication, and headed off on another mission to save the Union.
What do you like the most about the Steampunk genre?
Oh man-what don’t I like about Steampunk? It’s such a stylish genre! Not just the clothes (which are very cool-don’t get me wrong), but the retro-futuristic vibe, the meeting of the old and the new, just has so much panache. I know that steampunk usually happens in Victorian England, but that wasn’t the only place in existence in the 19th century. There was a whole world out there to explore (see Jay Kristoff’s excellent work Stormdancer for an example). Not to mention how the technology allows for such great storytelling, or how the genre is adaptable to so many ideas. I could go on and on about it.
How long have you been writing?
That’s a good question. So I began writing when I was about 7 years old. My first work was what I’ll graciously refer to as a ‘graphic novel.’ It was done in crayon, and was cleverly entitled Indiana Jones and the Temple of School. I know. . .totally original, right? As you might well imagine that work went unpublished. But I’ve been writing ever since.
Do you write in any other genre besides Steampunk?
I do! I normally stick to the sci-fi and fantasy genres (and heavy on the action, if you please), although I’m not afraid to follow an idea as far down the rabbit hole as it goes. Even if it means violating a few ‘genre’ rules. I’ve personally felt like there’s room nowadays for a great deal of overlap between genres. We’ve seen this in lots of cases. There’s sci-fi mixed with horror (the movie Aliens), comic heroes mixed with the political thriller (the Captain America films), thriller mixed with horror (the outstanding Seal Team 666 series by Weston Ochse), and western mixed with horror mixed with sci-fi (Stephen King’s breathtaking magnum opus, The Dark Tower series).
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I’ll start out by saying I’m no master. But I am far enough along that I can offer a little sage advice, which is this: write your own truth, whatever that may be. Write it in its entirety. Then, after you’ve written your truth, put it in a drawer for no less than six weeks. Now take it out and read that horrid drivel you’ve smeared across the pages. Then view your truth with the clarity of your fresh eyes. (I’ll add here that if this if this is your very first novel, you should repeat that first step, along with adding in copious amounts of studying the craft of writing). Now you’re ready to print that draft out, take your red pen to it and make it bleed. Then, after you’ve incorporated your additions and changes, send it to a really good editor. As far as voice and style, discovering them can only come with dedicated practice, a.k.a. those 10,000 hours Malcom Gladwell writes about in Outliers. In other words, you have to write. No matter what, grind out those words. Writing almost every day is good. Writing every day is better. Writing more often than that would be best. To paraphrase David Eddings, everything before a million words is just practice.
What do you do for fun (besides writing)?
I’m finding my spare time more limited now due to writing (which I love), but when I do have some, it’s usually family first. Spending time with my wife and our kids is huge. Especially nowadays-my stepson is 16 and my daughter is 13. That time we can spend with them before they venture off into their own lives is slipping away, so we try to take advantage of the days we do have. Exercise is probably next-I love to lift weights. I like running. I’ve trained in Brazilian jiu jitsu for the last twelve years, so martial arts is a big part of my life. I try to watch TV occasionally (so much good TV out there now!). And read. Oh-and eat! I love to do that. Dang-that sounds like I actually have a lot of free time. I really don’t! I just make the most of what I do have, I guess lol.
How many books have you completed?
As of right now, I’ve written three published novels, a novella (the prequel to my Clockwerk Thriller series, available for FREE download at my website ?), and six short stories (all published either individually, or as parts of anthologies). This has been in about the space of a year and a half.
Broken and a shell of the man he once was, Union airship Commander Julius Montclair has fled his home and his friends. The pain of old wounds, both physical and mental, wrack his body and mind. A dire new threat looms on the horizon, and his service to his country is once again required, but Montclair is no longer certain he is the soldier he was… can he rediscover the elite warrior within himself in time to answer the President’s call for help?
Scarred by the loss of her mentor, fiery-haired Department of Strategic Intelligence assassin Cecelia ‘Scarlet’ Alayne thinks only of bloody revenge. Her emotions have made her reckless, but she’s about to embark on one of the most critical and dangerous missions of her career. Can she set her rage and hatred aside long enough to complete her mission and attain the justice she seeks?
Political mastermind and former Confederate President James Smythe has fled south, where he’s recruited new allies and a new army. Emboldened by his growing forces, Smythe schemes to launch a military campaign that could threaten not only the Union, but ultimately the entire continent. With his plans of conquest renewed and the strength of foreign legions behind him, can anyone stop his march to Richmond to reclaim the Presidency of a Confederacy still reeling from his ouster?
More about Thomas Webb
Thomas Webb is a short story author, essayist, and novelist. He’s a prior service Marine residing in Richmond, VA, with his wife and two children.
When he’s not spending time with his family or writing, Thomas enjoys lifting weights, running, and choking his friends via the fine art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
You can learn more about Thomas at cobblepublishing.com (under the ‘authors’ menu), or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ThomasWebbbooks). For a FREE copy of Command, the novella prequel to Thomas’ Clockwerk Thriller series, visit Thomas at his website (www.thomaswebbbooks.com),