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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

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Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

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Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker

Boneshaker blew me away so much I had to learn a bit more about the author Cherie Priest. Priest is the author of many books including the much lauded Eden Moore series of Southern Gothic stories starting with Four and Twenty Blackbirds in addition to many other works. You can check out my review of Boneshaker here and be sure to visit The Clockwork Century site, which gives you plenty of more info about the world Cherie has concoted with it wonderful alternative history of a Steampunk America.

MH: Hello Cherie, welcome to Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself?

CHERIE: I’m a bespectacled spec-fic quasi-goth with a passion for cheap red wine and steampunk, and a morbid fear of sloths. I was born in Florida but moved around a lot, sort of settled in Tennessee, and ended up in Seattle because, well, these things happen.

MH: For those who haven’t read BONESHAKER, what would you say to prospective readers to whet their appetite? And what can readers expect out of The Clockwork Century world?

CHERIE: Imagine Seattle in 1880. Imagine it surrounded by a wall, and filled with a poisonous gas that turns people into zombies. Now imagine a fifteen-year-old kid with a bone to pick and something to prove … sneaking underneath the wall. And NOW imagine exactly how righteously pissed his mother is when she finds out what he’s done.
Basically, this is a story about a woman with nothing left to lose, and a city full of zombies, pirates, mad scientists, and career criminals to fight her way through in order to save her son.

MH: Will all the books focus on the same characters or will it be more of a mosaic series where smaller characters come to the fore?

CHERIE: My next projects from Tor and Subterranean will be set in the same universe, called The Clockwork Century. Though the stories are related—sometimes by sharing characters, sometimes with more distant connections—they’re not precisely sequels to one another, and I’m setting them up so they can be read in any order, more or less.
For example, the book coming from Subterranean next year (CLEMENTINE) is about a man who appears only as a secondary player in BONESHAKER. And DREADNOUGHT (coming from Tor next fall or winter) follows the daughter of one of BONESHAKER’s main players—but her adventures take place back east, beginning in Virginia.

MH: When did you first learn about Steampunk? What does Steampunk mean to you?

CHERIE: I’ve been generally aware of steampunk for quite awhile, primarily because I’ve spent years hanging around the periphery of the goth scene—and there’s a lot of overlap between the two. I love Victoriana and retro-futurism, and one thing sort of flowed into the other.

But a couple of years ago I became really intrigued by steampunk; I was starting to see it all over the place, all of a sudden, and it struck me as something absolutely LOADED with potential. Coming from a bleak, industrial-cusp 19th century zeitgeist, there’s so much to play with from a world-building standpoint—and also oodles of social commentary to be mined.

I’ve been known to joke that the core tenets of steampunk are reduce, reuse, and recycle. But I’m only half joking. If there’s a “core” to steampunk philosophy and style, it comes from a spirit of customization and repurposing, rejection of mass culture and disposable commodities, and a demand for accessible technology that can be repaired rather than replaced.

MH: Where do you see the world of Steampunk going? Will it only become bigger or will it remain a smaller sub-culture such as Goth?

CHERIE: It’s hard to say. I think much will depend on the next couple of years; “steampunk” has become such a buzzword in publishing and video games, as well as in TV and movies … so there’s a lot in the works right now that won’t hit the streets for another ten or twelve months.
The quality of the forthcoming projects and pop culture’s reception of these projects will—at the very least—determine whether or not steampunk stays more or less a “subgenre,” or whether it’ll claw its way to a higher tier of visibility.

MH: Not much has been mentioned about CLEMENTINE, which as far as I can tell will be a novella with Subterranean Press. I can guess that it will focus on one of the airships we see in BONESHAKER, but what more can you reveal? Is there a release date in mind yet?

CHERIE: CLEMENTINE is a hoot and a half, and I’m really excited that Subterranean was interested in it. In short, one of my favorite secondary characters in BONESHAKER needed a little more page time … and I wanted to show what happens to him after the final events in BONESHAKER (the story does not end fantastically well for him).
So yes, it’s the story of this man and his crew heading back east in pursuit of a stolen dirigible—and along the way, they pick up disgraced former spy Maria “Belle” Boyd, who’s now working for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Together, the old spy and the old pirate wreak a little havoc and raise a little hell.

MH: Seattle’s catacombs are used to great effect in BONESHAKER. Were the catacombs instrumental in creating your story or did you see it as something you could just work in to the story? (for background visit here)

CHERIE: The Seattle Underground is a well-known local institution, and I do love touring it. In fact, it’s usually the first thing I do when out-of-towners come calling—I drag them downtown to the Underground. Support your local historic societies and their projects, that’s what I say!

To sum it up quickly: In 1889 Seattle essentially burned to the ground. The subsequent rebuilding involved a regrade that lifted the city some thirty feet off the mud-flats upon which it had been originally established. Due to a discrepancy between how fast the business owners wanted to rebuild and how fast the city officials wanted to regrade, the underground was created. The streets were raised and then the sidewalks were installed years after the businesses reopened … shutting off the ground floor of most of the shops and services.

It’s hard to describe. But the end result is that basically, the entire old quarter of Seattle is completely hollow underneath the sidewalks. And yes, it’s very difficult to know about this without wanting to write about it. However, my version of the hollow underground and the real version of the Seattle Underground share virtually no historic similarity. The underground in BONESHAKER is mostly a result of the residents excavating beneath the city – connecting basements and cellars with tunnels, tracks, and pathways – in order to escape the poisonous gas.

MH: What is your preferred type of hat?

CHERIE: I’m a fan of top hats in the winter; I have several, including a good wool one that’s very warm. But when the weather is nicer, I dig wee tiny (essentially decorative) top hats with netting … and the occasional sunhat. Yes, I have one. It’s cream-colored, and has a lovely silk band. Because you can’t wear brown and black all the time, that’s what I say.

MH: Do you have any plans for any new books outside of The Clockwork Century series?

CHERIE: Oh, certainly. In fact, I have a couple of books coming out from Bantam in the next couple of years, and these books have absolutely zilch to do with the Clockwork Century. BLOODSHOT and HELLBENT are very modern, urban fantasy chic. Also, I’m working on the next Wild Cards mosaic from George R. R. Martin’s consortium—and that’ll be a noir detective piece.

But after those, I’m not sure. I’m noodling on a young adult project or two, as well as a Belle Epoque Lovecraftian project that I’d love to work on. But not right now. Too much other stuff in the queue. Ah, well. Hopefully after the New Year, things will calm down enough that I’ll have time to think about what happens next.

MH: If you could be any character from a fantasy book who would it be and why?

CHERIE: Um … Gosh. Probably Jack from Charles De Lint’s “Jack the Giant Killer” books. Because those were the first really modern fantasies I ever truly loved—and let’s be honest. She was a total bad-ass.

MH: Who are some authors/books you think are under appreciated and deserve a wider audience?

CHERIE: I’m afraid I’ll be accused of friend-nepotism here, but I wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t think they were awesome, so here goes: definitely Mark Henry{Road Trip of the Living Dead}, who is probably the funniest guy writing perverted zombie fiction alive; Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series is also very cool if you like dark modern noir with monsters; and Caitlin Kittredge{Street Magic} is still a bit new on the scene, but her Black London books are really excellent; Cat Valente’s {The Orphan’s Tales}books are always fascinating, dreamy reads; Jess Nevins is a librarian who composes some of the damn-finest reference volumes out there, including The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana and others; I just picked up Sara Harvey’s The Convent of the Pure and it’s remarkable.

These kinds of questions are always hard because I know so many writers, and so many of them are just so GOOD. But if I don’t stop rambling, people will just start eye-rolling, so I’ll wrap it up there.

MH: What are 2 things about you most people don’t know? Do you have a pet monkey you keep sequestered in the backyard? Are you building your own clockwork automaton?

CHERIE: Let’s see. (1). I have a scar on my lower abdomen from an accident years ago, when an old boyfriend tried to teach me how to surf. I fell off the board and got caught in an undertow, which scraped me along the ocean bottom and wore a hole through my bathing suit and my skin like low-grit sandpaper. (2). I loathe black licorice. Even the smell of it makes me gag; and I can’t eat anything flavored with anise for the same reason. Red licorice is fine, though. And I’m actually kind of fond of the “Starburst”-flavored strips. Those are fine. But black licorice? Will seriously make me throw up.

MH: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

CHERIE: Thanks a bunch for having me! You have a wonderful site here, performing a great service for us spec-fic writers everywhere.

MH: Thank you for your time. I’m looking forward to more Steampunk awesomeness.  Keep away from the black licorice!

You Might Also Like:
Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
So Much Steampunk, So Little Time
Soulless by Gail Carriger
The Affinity Bridge by George Mann


ediFanoB said...

Thank you so much to both of you for this great interview. I'm really keen to read BONESHAKER. I sent a pre-order to in July. It should be delivered by middle of the September. Today I checked again and book depository uk but BONESHAKER isn't available. IT IS SOOOOOOOO SAD!!!!!!

Unknown said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the GREAT interview with Cherie!
Thanks for Cherie for sharing.
I loved the picture of her.
She is my generation's Tanith Lee.
I am getting BONESHAKER and look forward to lovingly devouring it.
Thanks again for the interview, I love learning about an author whose writings I adore.
All the best,