Today we are so lucky to have one of the best urban fantasy writers here to talk about her newest project, a steampunk series. Devon Monk has been writing the Allie Beckstrom Series since 2008. The series is going strong with six books already out, another set to realease later this year, and two more before the series ends.
Tomorrow, Devon’s newest project Dead Iron, the first in the Age of Steam Series is set to hit the shelves nearest you. This new series is a mix of American olden days, monsters, machines and epic awesomesauce.
Thanks so much Devon for being here today!
Devon: Aw, thank you! I’m very excited for a little chat time!
Book Pushers: Tell us a little more about Dead Iron and the Age of Steam series.
Devon: Dead Iron is set in the steam age America, where man, magic, and machine are shaping the fate of the young country. Cedar Hunt is a bounty hunter cursed by lycanthropy who has left a life of sorrow behind him and has found no mercy on his horizon. Mae Lindson is a witch who left her sisterhood to follow the man she loved, a man killed by Shard LeFel, the madman railroad tycoon bent on finding his way back to a world from which he’s long been banished. Add in the Strange nightmare creatures from dark myths and legends, the uncommon Madder brothers miners, sweet Rose Small who can devise metal and matics as good as any man, a dash of love, a pinch of loneliness, revenge, guns, gears, hatred and hope, along with a hearty nod to seeing that justice is done, and you have Dead Iron.
Book Pushers: Where did you get the idea for the Age of Steam series?
Devon: Strangely enough, just like the Allie series, Dead Iron came out of a short story I wrote several years ago. But unlike the Allie books, the short story for Dead Iron only slightly resembles the book itself. The short story had some of the same characters: Cedar Hunt the cursed werewolf and bounty hunter, Shard LeFel the banished railroad tycoon, Mae Lindson the outcast witch, and Jeb Lindson, the lovelorn zombie, but the rest of the story is quite different.
Book Pushers: You’re only set to release two book in the Age of Steam series. Do you have the ideas for more, or is that it?
Devon: Great question! The Age of Steam series could be seven books. Right now I have the stories for the first two, and hints of what would come in the next five. But as with most series, whether or not I get to write the full seven comes down to how well the readers like the first two. I certainly hope people like the first one enough to give the second a try, because I’m telling ya, I have so many cool things planned for book two. Seriously fun stuff!
Devon: Um…I keep notes. That’s about it at this point. The world is complex, and for everything that did make it to the page, there’s heaps more that I haven’t mentioned. Plus, I’m mucking about with an alternate historical period, so I’m going to have to start a better filing system/bible for this series, especially if it stretches beyond two books. (note to self—start series bible) (note to note to self—don’t lose this note.)
Book Pushers: What did you have to do to change gears between the female based Allie Beckstrom series to the male based Dead Iron?
Devon: Dead Iron actually has three male lead point of view characters and two female lead point of view characters. So it involved a lot of switching, even in the novel itself. The best thing I found to slide the toggle between the Allie and the Dead Iron crew was music. I listen to alternative rock when I write Allie, I listen to Irish and Scottish folk music and certain soundtracks (Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Sherlock Holmes, etc.) when I write Dead Iron. Mostly, the music helps me switch out of the modern world (Allie’s world) to the historical world (Cedar’s world.) Once I switch, the characters are right there waiting for me.
Book Pushers: There are only three more books set in the Allie Beckstrom series. Do you have a definite ending point in mind, or are you open for extending the series?
Devon: I have a definite ending point for the plots that started in book one. I know exactly where book nine will end, and I hope by the time we get there, readers will be satisfied and excited, and pleased with what happens. Would I consider more books in Allie’s world? Oh heck, yes! I’ve had a few people ask me for a Shamus book and who knows? That could be fun….
Book Pushers: Have you ever considered writing in any other genres outside of the urban fantasy/steampunk/paranormal ones that you do so well?
Devon: I love trying new genres. That’s one of the things I love about writing short stories—they write so quickly, I can try a lot of styles and genres. I’ve considered YA, but haven’t come up with the perfect book I’d want to go out with yet. But I know that no matter what I do, it will always have a little bit of magic, paranormal, sense of wonder in it. I just love that stuff too much to write anything without it.
Devon: Well, I’m an extremely determined knitter. I don’t know if that counts as talent. 🙂 My grandmothers taught me to knit when I was little. I picked it up again as an adult by knitting Alan Dart’s Yuletide Gnome (talk about diving right in! I’d never even heard of double pointed needles, or any of the other things involved with knitting toys). The most difficult thing I’ve ever created was anything with lace. I simply suck at lacework! But I love the look of it, so I keep picking up projects with a little lace in it hoping it will click some day. No click yet.
Book Pushers: If you could produce a super weapon that was powered by knitting, what would it the weapon do?
Devon: Oh, I kind of did this in a short story I wrote called, STITCHERY, originally published by Black Gate Magazine, and currently in my collection, A Cup of Normal. It wasn’t exactly a weapon, though it could be used as one I suppose. In STITCHERY, the grandmother character hangs out at DMV’s and other places with long waiting lines and knits up spare minutes that everyone is wasting. When she pulls out her knitting, she releases those caught moments and stretches time. Wish I could do that.
Book Pushers: If Cedar and Allie were dropped into each other’s world, what is the first thing they would do?
Devon: Cedar would hunt down a Hound, make him/her explain how magic works, then storm into the head of the Authority and hold a gun to his/her head (or hold their neck in his jaws, if it’s near the full moon) until they gave him the spell he needed to get home. Allie would join an airship crew, start a mutiny, steal some glim and find out if casting time travel and gate spells would get her home.
Book Pushers: If Allie wasn’t able to pay for her magic with head and muscle aches, what would be her second choice payment?
Devon: She’d go for fevers, then stomach aches, I think. The last thing she’d put on the list would be anything that made her super foggy-headed. She’s a little paranoid about losing her mental faculties.
Book Pushers: Will Allie and her father ever be able to resolve the issues between them? Will we be able to see that play out in the next book, or are you going to make us wait till the very end?
Devon: Yes, we will have a resolution between Allie and her father. We see a lot of big changes for Allie and in her relationship with her father in the next book, MAGIC ON THE LINE, and even bigger changes are afoot for them in MAGIC WITHOUT MERCY. But there’s still more to cover, and that will all fall in book nine.
Book Pushers: And finally if you had the opportunity, what kind of UF hero would you like to be and what would you do?
Devon: A smart one? No dark deserted places without backup or weapons, no letting one little misunderstanding kill my relationships, no beating someone down to prove I’m strong, or letting the bad guy free, “just this once.” And I’d save the world, of course.
Thanks so much to Devon for being here today! Devon has graciously offered to give away TWO copies of Dead Iron! Leave your question or comment for Devon to be entered for a chance to win. Open internationally and ends on July 11th. Good luck!