Read Part One here.
Airship Ambassador: What was the reason behind setting the series in a steampunk world?
Adam Dreece: In today’s world, our devices work like magic, with few of us having any real physical sense of how they work. Our interpersonal relationships are such that we immediately go to first names, and our clothing has stepped away from elegance and flow. We also have the feeling that there’s nowhere to go, and there are many places we’ve been but we aren’t striving for (e.g. the moon).
In a steampunk world, there’s a sense of inventiveness and exploration, that sense that the world’s there to be discovered and explored. The technology is big and imaginable, allowing most of us to think up ways that maybe, just maybe, we could make such a thing. Then there’s the clothing and the interpersonal relationships that have a romance to them.
AA: Yep, the outfits are the way to hook people on steampunk LOL. What can you share with us about the main characters?
AD: In The Yellow Hoods, I’ve got quite a cast of characters.
There are the three teens: Tee, Elly and Richy.
AA: What kind of steampunk gadgets and machinery are in the Yellow Hoods world?
AD: There are a number of them, put probably the coolest ones have to be the mechanical horses called King’s-Horses and the two types of airships: Skyfallers and Hotarus. I’m going to try to give a peek as to what they’re about, without ruining anything. This is going to be tricky. Strap in, let’s go!
The King’s-Horses were invented by brilliant inventors Nikolas Klaus and Christophe Creangle about 40 years BEFORE the series start, in the middle of a war on genius called Age of the Abominator. We learn about them in Book 3 – All the King’s-Men, and they help provide a basis for how come certain other inventions, like shock sticks, exist.
The Skyfallers are airships that are an evolved version of air balloons, while the Hotaru is a different contraption all together.
And one cannot forget the steam train itself! Or the high-pressure communication system invented by Dr. Neuma, known as the Neumatic Tube.
AA: Airships, trains and mechanical horses are definite pluses! Any other items of interest?
AD: Where to begin? Probably the most interesting one, according to my readers, is that the story is very much layered. As we enter Book 2 – Breadcrumb Trail, the plots and sub-plots develop a lot more complexity. On the surface, you have the Yellow Hoods themselves and a crisis they’re trying to resolve, but then you’ve got the ambitions of various players, and as you get into Book 3, the subterfuge and more.
A core element of the series is how I’ve made fairy tales and nursery rhymes real, but haven’t made them front and center as an explicit retelling. My inspiration was Ring-Around-the-Rosie and its relationship to the black plague. So I’ve taken things like Rub-a-Dub-Dub, made a dub-dub a wooden duck which is rubbed for luck, and the heart of the rhyme as being about a secret society that has lead various factions from the Moufan-Men to the Baker’s Dozen. All the elements for dozens of rhymes and fairy tales are there, if you can find them.
AA: That will be an interesting twist and then readers can say “Oh, I see what you did there!” With all of that, anything else that might be interesting?
AD: What OTHER elements? Hmm. The one thing that I keep coming to is really discovering just how far I’m willing to push these characters. At one point, someone called me the “young adult version of Game of Thrones.” I’ll leave it to the readers to figure out if that’s earned or not.
AA: How did personal elements influence The Yellow Hoods?
AD: In many ways. One pivotal example is that I took my struggle with chronic pain, and how I had 15 months of horrible pain and channeled that, and the lessons from it, into one of the characters introduced in book 2. The equivalent of an eleven-year-old Spanish/Moroccan girl loses her arm shortly before the book begins, and she has a personal journey in dealing with that pain to find her true self and heroism.
I also took my severe-asthma and brought that to a character in Book 3 in a funny and powerful way. It’s one of the great moments in that book.
AA: Wow, great way to turn big negatives into something that works for you. Book 5 is coming very soon, will there be a Book 6?
AD: While Book 5 – The Day the Sky Fell officially finishes off this series, it is not the end of the world or Yellow Hoods. My plan has always been to write a sequel series, which is now officially called Mark of the Yellow Hoods. In addition, I’m planning some spin-offs. Stay tunes!
AA: Because I’m curious, might readers see or hear any more of Nikolas Klaus and Christophe Creangle?
AD: Nikolas appears immediately in Book 1, while Christophe arrives in Book 3. You also meet Christophe’s daughter, Christina Creangle, who arrives and plays a really important role from Book 2-4. I had so much fun with these characters, and playing with that nod to the legend of Santa Claus.
AA: Say no more – no spoilers! The series is doing well in the dual age groups of 9-15 and 28+. Was that planned or did either niche come as a surprise?
AD: I had planned it from the outset, but I had no idea whether or not I would achieve it. As time went on, I found that it very much was that. While some readers were not
Thanks, Adam, for the behind the scenes look at The Yellow Hoods series! We look forward to the imminent release of Book 5, and then hearing about the next series in this world.
You can support Adam and our community by getting your copies of The Yellow Hoods series here.