Interview #106 – Author Kara Jorgensen, Part 3

Welcome back for part three in our talk with Kara Jorgensen, author of The Ingenious Mechanical Devices series, which includes The Earl of Brass, The Gentleman Devil, The Earl and the Artificer, Dead Magic, and Selkie Cove. There’s also a short story series including An Oxford Holiday, and The Errant Earl.

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.

 

Airship Ambassador: With five books, how much back story hasn’t been told yet?

Kara Jorgensen: I try to leave quite a bit of their lives behind the scenes unless I absolutely need to talk about it in the story. That way, in case I want to create a plot point in a future book that involves one of the characters, I have room to work with. In the series, I’ve mentioned parts of Eilian’s early travels, and one day, I would possibly like to explore that in a spin-off series of novellas.

AA: That would be interesting, to see the events and thoughts which shaped him along the way before we first meet him. When people read the books in the whole series, is there anything you’d like them to take away from the experience?

KJ: No matter what story you read in the series, I hope my readers understand that somewhere you are appreciated and loved. No matter what you go through or worry about or how many molds you don’t fit, there is someone out there who will support you and think you are amazing. All of my characters are misfits in their own ways and most are the recipients of prejudice. For any readers facing a similar situation, I want them to know things get better and their tribe is out there.

 

AA: Finding our place, wherever that may be, and being happy is something everyone can relate to. The challenges we face and resolutions we enact guide us one way or another. You website bio includes the comment “…she realized she no longer wanted to be Victor Frankenstein but instead wanted to write like Mary Shelley…” Some might say you really could have been both, but it is great to see all that medical knowledge was put to very good use in these books. What kind of other research went into creating these books?

KJ: I research pretty much anything I talk about in my stories. Some examples are prostheses (especially biomechanical and antique), dirigibles, Victorian accounting practices, PTSD, trauma, phantom-limb syndrome, Victorian women’s rights, anything having to do with Victorian etiquette or party norms, 19th century Palestine, seal anatomy, and spiritualism, among other things. I’m a compulsive researcher, so I spend a lot of time reading articles and checking my reference books. While writing Selkie Cove, I learned more about seal anatomy than I ever thought I would. My background in science and English has served me well while working on this series.

AA: If it weren’t for the self checkout kiosks in libraries, I’m sure your book list might have some questionable pairings along the way. Afternoon Tea and Victorian Poisons, Grey’s Anatomy and A History of Burke and Hare, Home Galvanic Experiments and Frankenstein: A Guide Book. What were the deadlines and publishing schedule like for you?

KJ: I try to get a book out every nine months or so. It usually takes me several months to finish the first draft of a novel as I tend not to write a lot per day. My editing period takes about a month or so, and that includes major edits, line edits, and proof-reading. Once I’m in that mode, I’m fully in the zone and power through it. If I didn’t teach, I could probably write more and faster, but with life the way it is, it seems a book every nine months is as good as it gets.

 

AA: Ugh, life and responsibilities! Can you share what’s coming next after Selkie Cove?

KJ: Well, I am currently writing book six of the series, which will feature Emmeline Jardine and a certain dandified Egyptian novelist. The story features a long-lost relative, romance, a bratty medium with an attitude that exceeds her stature, and werewolves. Being the latter is a crime in England, which greatly complicates matters. The working title is The Wolf Witch, and I’m hoping to have it out by the spring of 2018.

 

AA: One more for the reading list <smile>. If someone likes “X”, then they’ll like Ingenious Mechanical Devices. What is “X”?

KJ: Hmmm, my best answer is if you like period dramas and Doctor Who, you’ll probably like my books. It sounds like a strange mix, but you would be amazed how many Doctor Who fans watch shows like Downton Abbey. I think you need to like a little mad science while still appreciating historical detail.

AA: Both shows are high on my list! What do you think puts this story on someone’s must read/have list?

KJ: I would like to think it’s my characters. They are what truly carries my stories, and without them, the plots would fall flat.

 

AA: What has your publishing experience been like over the years?

KJ: When I was at university, I thought traditional publishing was the only way to go. I had finished The Earl of Brass in my senior year and was polishing it to send out to agents when I saw some of my friends on Facebook talking about how they had self-published their books. At that time, there was still quite a bit of stigma surrounding the indie publishing scene, but my friends were doing well and their books were of good quality. What really sent me away from traditional publishing was hearing from an author I liked that she had to omit a romantic subplot between a gay couple because her publisher didn’t think it would be marketable. The idea that someone could make me change my plots so heavily was the final nail in the coffin. From then on, I started researching indie publishing, and in 2014, I published The Earl of Brass.

 

We’ll break here in chatting with Kara.

Keep up to date with Kara’s latest news on her website and Twitter.

You can support Kara and our community by getting your copies of Ingenious Mechanical Devices here.

Also, check out Kara’s exhibit page at The Steampunk Museum.

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Published in: on October 10, 2017 at 6:16 pm  Comments (2)