Interview 110, Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus author, Sean Patrick Little

This week we are talking with Sean Patrick Little, author of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus.


Airship Ambassador: Hi Sean, it’s great to catch up with again after Teslacon 2017.

Sean Patrick Little: Thanks for having me.


AA: Readers may know you from your previous work, including After Everyone Died, The Centurion: The Balance of the Soul War, and The Bride Price. Now, your latest book is available. What is Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus about?

SPL: It is a tie-in novel for the TeslaCon Steampunk Convention held every year in Madison, Wisconsin. Basically, it’s something of a prequel to the storyline the convention established, set outside of the convention story, but still loosely tied into it. In the novel, Lord Bobbins has taken over a Romanian castle next to a remote Carpathian Mountain town. There are some strange goings-on in the village, and Bobbins needs a man who can investigate the happenings and put an end to them so the village can be made into a tourist destination. Enter, Nicodemus Clarke. Clarke is a former US Army sniper and a former French Foreign Legionnaire who is just looking to retire from the adventuring life. Bobbins makes him an offer he can’t refuse, so he goes to Romania for what he thinks will be his final job.

AA: This was quite the collaboration between you and Eric Larson, the organizer of the Teslacon. Can you share with us how that all came about and what the process was during writing the book?

SPL: Well, I have known Eric for almost 8 years now. We met when we were both teaching at Madison Media Institute. The year we met was the first year of TeslaCon. I helped Eric out here and there, proofreading scripts for him and doing some editing. He kept telling me that I needed to write a TeslaCon novel. I tried a few times over the next few years. I was trying to tell a story where Bobbins was the main character, but I just couldn’t do it. Eric really owns that character, and the character is very contrary to my own personal mindset.

Each time I tried to write a Bobbins story, it just wasn’t working. It took me time to realize that Bobbins was better as an external character. He needed an air of mystery about him. He needed his secrets. I needed to be the man looking at him on the outside and wondering what cards he had up his sleeve. Once I figured that out, it was easy going from there. The character of Nicodemus Clarke came to me easily enough. Basically, he’s something of an homage to Indiana Jones in a lot of ways.


AA: Nicodemus is quite an adventurer. How does Romanian Ruckus express your vision of steampunk, and what does it add to the existing works in the genre?

SPL: This is a tough question. To me, so much of what steampunk is lies within its visual aesthetic, and that is difficult to translate to text sometimes. I did not want to write the book overly laden in a Victorian prose style, either—which I see some writers do very well. I wanted it accessible to the average person, as well as the steampunk fan, so I just concentrated on telling a fun, easy story that happened to be set in this TeslaCon Universe.


AA: You certainly succeeded, I think. I found it very readable, quite engaging, and had plenty of wonderful steampunk things to keep me happy. What was the inspiration for creating Romanian Ruckus?

SPL: Honestly, I owe a lot of RR to two things: Indiana Jones and Scooby-Doo. Both were big influences on me as a kid, and I have been looking for an outlet to do some sort of homage to them. This was that outlet.

AA: Those come through pretty clearly. The Mystery Machine stage coach wouldn’t have been out of place, LOL. What are the key themes in Romanian Ruckus?

SPL: I don’t like to write thematically. I think themes come later, after the story has been told. Looking back on this, I was just trying to tell a story and introduce the major characters in this world. For people who have been to TeslaCon, Lord Bobbins is familiar, but the rest of the characters were new and needed to be introduced, so I was just concentrating on finding their rhythms and quirks and beats. If there is a theme, it’s about the corrupting influence of power—not just power of leadership, but powerful weapons, and money as power. It’s a common theme in literature, I think.


AA: What can you share with us about the traits of the main characters, the larger than life Lord Bobbins, Nicodemus Clarke, and Dolly Shaw?

SPL: Well, Bobbins is the ultimate politician. He has the permanent smile, the quick glad-hand, and always has a card up his sleeve. That is all Eric’s creation, though. I was just borrowing his groundwork. Clarke is a blue-collar hero. He came from Virginia coal country, grew up poor, enlisted in the army, and worked for everything he has. He and Bobbins butt heads a little bit because of that. Bobbins is just another man to Clarke. Bobbins’ title and lordship mean little to him as an American, and that was by design.

I think Bobbins is made stronger by someone willing and able to check him once in a while. But, Clarke is also easy-going and jovial. He’s a good guy who just happens to be skilled at things that he’s used to kill men in the past, and he’s trying to get away from that life. And Dolly Shaw, Bobbins’ bodyguard, is a strong, silent type. She has mystery about her. She is serious and dour.


AA: It’s quite the trio, working together. How do they change throughout the story, or does the world change around them, instead?

SPL: This is an introductory novel for what I hope will be a series, so they don’t change much. Change will happen down the line, I hope.


We’ll pause here in our chat with Sean.

Join us next time when he talks about characters and memorable scenes.

Until then, keep up to date with Sean’s latest news on his Twitter feed or Facebook.

You can support Sean and our community by getting your copy of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus here.


Published in: on April 16, 2018 at 7:20 pm  Comments (3)  

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