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To close out this great week of Fantastic Fables, we have an interview today with Devon Monk. Devon’s latest release is DEAD IRON, which is the first book in her new steampunk series called The Age of Steam. The world that Devon has crafted is more of a western steampunk that takes place in Hallelujah, Oregon. Hallelujah is filled with steam, supernatural elements, magic and machines. As Devon summed up, America was built on blood, sweat, and gears. DEAD IRON will be followed by TIN SWIFT (release date unknown). Thanks to Devon and the awesome people at Penguin/Roc, five of you who comment on this post will win a copy of the book! See details below
DEVON: Hmmm. As a child I watched Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and loved all the cool contraptions, adventure, and monsters. I think that’s probably my first introduction to the genre.
DFT: What inspired you to start The Age of Steam series?
DEVON: The first book, DEAD IRON was inspired by a short story I wrote several years ago. The short story wasn’t steampunk, but had the same characters and the same heart that the novel has. Once I realized that the short story should be told as a novel and most certainly better as a steampunk, DEAD IRON began.
DFT: Was the experience of writing DEAD IRON different from your other novels?
DEVON: In some ways, certainly. I still write an outline, aim for a certain word count every day, but when I write steampunk, I find myself browsing old historical books and photos a lot more, and even dipping into old inventions and patent applications. I also mess with language mercilessly, bringing an “old world” feel to the text, which is tons of fun.
DFT: What should readers know before stepping into your world?
DEVON: It isn’t a Victorian steampunk. It’s set in the American West, but not in an exact replica of the America we know. In this America, devisers use steam and gears to create wild contraptions, and Strange creatures out of myths and legends are rising in the land, looking to cause harm. There is magic and matics, witches and curses, and most of all, there’s Cedar Hunt, a man who sets out to make things right.
DFT: Tell us something about your research process and the choices you make when creating the story.
DEVON: Other than casual reading and maybe a historical movie, I don’t research much until I need to know something. When I run into a spot in the text where I am uncertain as to something, say like how long it takes a horse to cross Idaho, or what kind of material was used to make tatting shuttles in the 1800’s, I go looking. It’s time consuming, which is bad when I’m on a tight deadline, but it’s also a lot like treasure hunting, which is not only good but also a lot of fun. One piece of gold might be nestled among hundreds of fascinating jewels, interesting cups, lost crowns and rail road maps.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
DEVON: Ooh. Too hard to choose. I love them all. (That’s not a very good answer is it? Hmm…) Okay, I’ll close my eyes and randomly choose. (Spins. Points.) Looks like I love the Madder brothers. Because they are ornery and more than they seem to be.
DFT: Your steampunk world is populated with…
DEVON: Wild devisers who turn metal and steam into beautiful and frightening matics and devices. Cursed bounty hunters, witches, undying love, and native gods. Strange creatures from myth that come to feed on nightmares and blood, gunslingers, heroes, railmen, airmen, fighters, gamblers, dreamers, and plain folk who are caught betwixt it all.
DFT: How would you sum up the steampunk genre?
DEVON: I wish I could. Or maybe I’m glad I can’t. The thing I love about steampunk is it reinvents itself with each story, adding or subtracting gears, guns, adventure and awe, as heroes and monsters take each other’s measure and get down to business. With every new turn of the wheel, steampunk is what it decides to be.
DFT: Are you a fan of Victorian-era fashion? If so, tell us about your dream steampunk ensemble.
DEVON: I am. But I haven’t had any time to even think about my dream steampunk ensemble, though I’ve dabbled in shopping thrift stores for steampunk pieces.
DFT: What other projects are you working on that you would like to tell us about?
DEVON: I’m currently writing TIN SWIFT the sequel to DEAD IRON, which should be out July 2012. Along with that, I’m writing MAGIC WITHOUT MERCY, book 8 in the Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy series, then will finish the urban fantasy series by writing book 9 at the end of the year. I should have a couple short projects coming out, and am in the very beginning stages of putting together a new series that will hopefully, grow up to be real books someday.
DFT: Thanks for taking the time to stop by, Devon.
DEVON: Thank you, Angela! I had a great time!
Devon Monk writes the Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy series, the Age of Steam steampunk series, and the occasional short story. She has one husband, two sons, and a dog named Mojo. She lives in Oregon and is surrounded by colorful and numerous family members who mostly live within dinner-calling distance of each other. She has sold over fifty short stories to magazines and anthologies in five different countries, including a Year’s Best Fantasy collection. When not writing, Devon is either knitting strange things, remodeling the house-that-was-once-a-barn, or hosting a family celebration.
Want to read more from Devon Monk?
This giveaway is provided by Devon and Penguin/Roc
Five winners will each receive a copy of Dead Iron by Devon Monk
Available on July 5, 2011 from Penguin/Roc
About the Book:
In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle to claim the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, one man must fight to hold on to what is left of his humanity…
Although the devisers have civilized the east with their contraptions, civilization hasn’t tamed the frontier that bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides. Cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother’s death, he’s a hard man for hire. But when a trio of miners offers him the possibility that his brother may yet survive, Cedar isn’t going to haggle for payment. All he has to do for them is find the Holder: a powerful device created by mad devisers from the realm of the Strange.
The Holder is in the hands of Shard Lefel, a dandified railroad tycoon who’s come to Hallelujah, Oregon, promising a civilized tomorrow. But what Cedar cannot know is that Lefel is an ancient Strange banished to walk this land for centuries. Now nearing the end of his sentence, Lefel is desperately searching for a way to fend off his own mortality—and the Holder may be the key.
In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only thing a man can count on is his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he’s going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all.
Click HERE to read an excerpt
1. Leave a comment for Devon, let us know what you think of this interview, book or series.
2. +1 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
3. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada only.
4. Please include your email address in your comment.
5. All Fantastic Fables winners will be announced on September 7th.
6. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.
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