Part one can be read here.
Airship Ambassador: What kind of research, and then balance, went into creating the The Clockwork Scarab world? I enjoyed several of the references to the classics, such as Sherlock Holmes’ description of Irene Adler as “the woman”.
Colleen Gleason: Since this was a steampunk world, I could play with some of the elements of the setting: the fact that electricity is illegal, the layers of street-walks, the gadgets… But I did start with a core setting of Victorian London, and researched details about it, then built the world from there. I also of course re-read the Holmes stories and Dracula in order to get a feel for the language, places, and details of the time.
AA: What elements did you include so readers could feel the world and history of The Clockwork Scarab?
CG: Lots of every day elements–at least, elements that are every day to the characters but that are markedly different than our world. I spend some time describing specific food (flaming carrots, with their crispy, sweet tips), gadgets (the Sweet-Loader sugar bowl), as well as the act passed by Parliament that outlaws electricity (the Moseley-Haft Act).
AA: Every author I’ve talked with has a different journey to seeing their works in print. What was your publishing experience like?
CG: I wrote seven books before I sold my first book, The Rest Falls Away, in 2005 (released in 2007), and then went on to sell another sixteen books to large publishers such as Penguin, HarperCollins, and Harlequin before I landed with Chronicle for this fun series. In the mean time, those other seven books that wouldn’t sell to publishers have now been made available via all online retailers–so I have a total of 26 books in print, in a variety of genres.
AA: For the aspiring writer, what lessons did you learn about having an agent and editor, their feedback, and your writing?
CG: Having an agent and editor means I have two other people who are just about as invested in the quality of the work as I am myself…which means they only want the best for the book. However, at the same time, as the author and creator, it’s ultimately my story, and I have to protect the work at all costs. It’s my name on the cover.
AA: If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing now instead?
CG: Probably sales or product development for a cutting-edge company like Amazon or Google.
AA: The Clockwork Scarab isn’t your only series. Would you share a bit about the other ones?
CG: I actually have three different series, plus several stand-alone books.
The Gardella Vampire Chronicles is my most well-known series, consisting of five books beginning withThe Rest Falls Away. It’s about Victoria Gardella, a female vampire hunter who lives during the time of Jane Austen. I’ve recently released the first book in a trilogy spin-off of that series, which is about a descendant of Victoria who lives in Prohibition Chicago and hunts vampires. (Evaline Stoker is also a descendant of Victoria Gardella.)
As Joss Ware, I’ve written a six-book series called The Envy Chronicles (beginning with Beyond the Night) set in post-apocalyptic Las Vegas.
AA: Do you get to talk much with other writers and artists to compare notes, have constructive critique reviews, and brainstorm new ideas?
CG: I have many other writer friends, and we do spend our time talking about the business, what’s changing and what’s not…but not necessarily for plot-storming.
AA: How have you and your work grown and changed over time?
CG: I like to think my craft has matured, and that I better understand how to construct a series from the first book, rather than running by the seat of my pants (which I still do to some extent).
AA: What do you do to keep a balance between writing and the rest of your life?
CG: I have three teens and two dogs, plus my husband, and they make it impossible for me to completely lock myself away. 🙂 That’s a good thing. But I also do yoga, get regular massages, and I love to entertain.
AA: You’ve mentioned that working in your garden is a passion, as it is mine. What might we find growing in your garden? What is your favorite plant(s) in it?
CG: This year my garden is a mess, I confess. 🙂 I do have basil, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm and mint growing, but I didn’t get to put in any tomato plants or cukes. I do have a gorgeous annual flower bed, though, with dahlias, peach-colored begonias, and lantana, as well as lavender and echinacea and a rapidly-expanding raspberry patch.
AA: Looking beyond steampunk, what other interests and topics fill your time?
CG: I tend to lean toward historical settings–even my post-apocalyptic series felt historical because of the lack of infrastructure my characters had to deal with–and would love to do a historical mystery series for adults.
AA: Now the rapid fire, totally random question – what is your favorite cookie, time of day, and fragrance?
CG: Cookie: soft oatmeal with dried cherries.
Time of day: Sunday at 2:00 pm–naptime!
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
CG: No…just thank you for having me!
Thank you for joining us!
Keep up to date with Colleen Gleason on her website
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