1) What is the working title of your next book?
Treachery Aboard The Palace du Mar
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have been getting into Steampunk lately, and the idea for this book came out of the random musings about the age of steam combined with a picture of a Roman Quadreme that was large enough to have a full-sized temple on its deck. Of course the Roman ships were powered by oars manned by slaves, but who said you couldn’t have steam powered oars? My original idea was to make the ship a luxury liner, and to use it as the setting for a central romance, but as I did research into shipbuilding I realized my design would create a ship that could never be profitable. After all, it is the third and second class passengers that truly fund a ship of that size, but due to the need for extra engine space and fly space for shipping the oars, my ship would have no third class berths and very little second, most of which would be occupied by ship’s employees. The Palace had to have a better way to make money. That was when I decided to turn it into an exclusive, high-class brothel that catered to the royalty and nobility. After that, the central story of my heroine inheriting the ship after her father’s murder fell into place.
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Lucky for me, Steampunk is its own genre with many different types of books so I don’t have to sacrifice my genre bending elements.
4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Connor Graves– the murdered father – is an affable and voluble man who is self-effacing and almost naive. George Clooney would be perfect.
Katherine (Kitten Graves) the eighteen year old heroine – is a prim and proper boarding school girl with untested depths and great determination. I think Scottish actress Karen Gillan would be great.
Margaurite (Madame Rita) is a French Madame of culture and wit. Alex Kingston would be fabulous in this role.
Just Fletcher – Kitten’s Godfather and Connor’s best friend, Just is a freed slave. He is a gentle giant, but has an edge of suppressed violence. I think Djimon Hounsou would be great!
Geoffrey DuChamps – is one of the Mandrakes (male prostitutes) aboard the ship, and is Kitten’s love interest. Adrian Grenier is too old, and yet – curly headed guys can get away with playing younger, can’t they?
James Dickson - Scottish detective and potential rival for Geoffrey in Kitten’s affections. Andrew Rothney would capture his earnestness perfectly – and of course would be a natural for the accent.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Steampunk/Murder Mystery/Romance/Coming of Age story set on a ship of impossible luxury and decadence.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I will be seeking to traditionally publish. I like having a team in my corner and cannot afford to hire that team freelance.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I wrote the first 65000 words during NaNoWriMo and finished the draft in the following two months – so I guess about three months total.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Hmmm this is hard, because Steampunk is a relatively new genre. Also, because it is a mash-up of a lot of genre elements it isn’t any one thing. It has kind of an Oliver Twist/Treasure Island vibe: the innocent adventurer thrust into a situation beyond their experience, faced with moral choices and a shifting definition of good.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I have always loved old ships – both sail and steam powered, and the anarchy of the seas provides the perfect backdrop for a story that can push boundaries while exploring decadence and manners.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
As is common in much of Steampunk, by book takes place in an alternate history where Scotland and England never merged crowns or parliaments. Scotland rose to international prominence, and colonized the U.S. Scottish tax law is very different than English law, so in my alternate history, the United States of New Scotland never rebelled, and are still colonies. It is fun investigating what America would be like if we still had a King. ALSO – Steampunk allows me to imagine a world where there is more gender equality, and the Scottish enlightenment continued into the Victorian age. For the brothel, this aspect provides a rich panoply of characters, courtesans and customers, of both sexes and every inclination.