Gail: It’s always interesting to know what writers enjoy reading. What was your top reading pick of the last year?
Shelley: I’ve gotten hooked on Regina Scott’s Regency series from Love Inspired (The Irresistible Earl, The Rogue’s Reform). I liked her YA novels, but her adult Regencies bring back the best of this subgenre—its clothes, its diversions, its language, and its lovable characters. The demise of the Regency has really bothered me, so I’m happy it seems to be finding a new life in the Christian market . . . and on my bookshelf once again.
Where do your best ideas come from?
If I knew that, I’d have more of them! Ideas for this steampunk series come from looking at modern objects or practices and imagining how they might look if they were powered by steam and had a Victorian outlook behind them. For instance, I saw a child’s balloon the other day, which led me to think of airships, which led me to wonder how you would power an airship on a transatlantic voyage without diesel fuel, which led me to . . . you get the picture.
That’s a fascinating way to come up with ideas. Thanks for sharing. Tell us something about your book you think readers would like to know.
People often ask me, “What’s steampunk?” The simple answer is: High technology in the Victorian age. In other words, if you take the inventiveness triggered by the Industrial Revolution, add that sense of wonder and exploration prevalent in the Victorian consciousness, and make both available to your characters, you get steampunk. My heroine can build a bomb out of junkyard parts. She carries a rifle that shoots lightning bolts. And two of the orphans she looks after have built a chicken coop with mechanical legs that has to be exercised once a week. I haven’t inquired how the chickens feel about this, however.
That would be different for them. No wonder steampunk is becoming so popular. It's very creative. How about the cover? Did you have input for it? If so, what did you suggest?
Since Lady of Devices is self published, I found the image, did the basic design, then handed it over to a Photoshop professional to finalize. The artist at www.Phatpuppyart.com creates the images for bestselling indie author Amanda Hocking’s ebook covers, so I figured that she would know what she was doing with historical fantasy. And sure enough, her images convey exactly that sense of wonder and ability that I write about.
They absolutely do. Is there anything else about your cover you’d like to tell us?
The girl on the cover is a Victorian inventor, as is my heroine, Claire. The beauty of steampunk is that, while the story is grounded in the reality of 1889 London, my heroine has the freedom to defy convention. In the Magnificent Devices world, society is divided into Bloods (those who inherit what they have and will defend the status quo to the last man) and Wits, who believe that intellect trumps bloodline. Claire was born a Blood but she’s Wit by nature, and this is what saves her when she loses everything and is cast out on the streets to make her own way in the world. Or the underworld, as the case may be.
Thank you, Shelley.Now here’s Shelley’s question for us. I can’t wait to read the answers.
What hidden talent do you possess that many people don’t know about? (And that you’re willing to reveal.)
The voting has ended but you can see the cover and read the blurbs here. Be sure to enter the drawing for one of three great books by leaving a comment here or on facebook.
Be sure to come back on Wednesday to read about award-winning author James Rubart. You won't want to miss the unusual fact he shares about one of his characters and the story about the chair on his cover.