Interview 110, Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus author, Sean Patrick Little, Part 2

Welcome back for part two in our talk with Sean Patrick Little, author of Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus.

Read Part One here.


Airship Ambassador: There are some other notable guest characters in the story. They weren’t surprises, given steampunk, but how did you choose to involve them?

Sean Patrick Little: You mean Nikola Tesla, right? He’s not a surprise because he’s on the cover. I figured Bobbins is the type who knows everyone who is a major player in the world. He’s well-connected. He’s an industrialist. Any industrialist worth his salt would know Tesla and have one ear attuned to Tesla’s ideas, because any of them might grow to be worth a lot of money. Plus, I liked making Tesla a foil for Bobbins. Their personalities clash terrifically.


AA: Haha, it is quite a clash, especially since they have a few things in common. Looking behind the scenes, how do you connect the readers with the characters?

SPL: I just try to tell a fun story with good characters. That’s it. You can’t write to and audience. You have to write something you, yourself, will enjoy and hope that others will enjoy it, too. That’s all you can do. I had fun writing it. I like the characters. I just hope others will like them, too.

AA: It was great fun for me to read, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished. There are some wonderful twists and turns in the developments of the story, and some clever bits of science and technology. What are some of the interesting and important details within the world of Romanian Ruckus?

SPL: Well…one of the important details is something of a spoiler…so I’d better pass on this one.


AA: Argh, the suspense for our readers! Guess they’ll have to run right out and get the book, now. What scene was really memorable to write?

SPL: I liked writing the first chapter. To me, that’s where I found the feet to this book. The first chapter is basically the introduction of Nicodemus Clarke. It’s the first chapter where I found the hero who could lead this book. Before I wrote that chapter, I had no book. I had a story, but without Clarke, it was not going anywhere.


AA: That makes quite a change, as you mentioned earlier, from Bobbins being the lead to being Clarke instead. Not everything ca be crammed into a book. Was there anything that you loved but which just had to be cut?

SPL: Many. I had some extended takes with Bobbins and Tesla needling each other verbally, but they just got to be too long and tedious. Too much back and forth weakened the story. I tend to do that in writing. I like dialogue a lot. For many years, I wrote dialogue a lot like how Gregory Mcdonald does in the ‘Fletch’ novels—two people talking without attribution or further description. Short, fast dialogue. I like that. But, a lot of people don’t. So, I had to scale back a lot of those exchanges.


AA: Liking to write dialogue is a great skill to have as a writer. Short, quippy interactions between characters can be very effective in setting mood and creating anticipation to see what gets said next. When people read Romanian Ruckus, what would you like for them really remember?

SPL: That’s too deep of a question for an adventure book. I just hope they enjoy the ride.


AA: Right, we’ll save philosophy for the next book! What was one memorable story while writing this story?

SPL: I think I enjoyed the Bobbins’ dialogue the most. You can get away with a lot when writing his speech. He can be mildly offensive or earnest and it fits him. I think power and money let people get away with a lot in this world, and Bobbins is a by-product of that. He’s not a true hero—he has his own darkness, but his worldview lets him be annoying and silly at times.


AA: Sounds like hints for future stories! What kind of research went into creating the Romanian Ruckus world?

SPL: Given that I was playing in Eric Larson’s sandbox with setting this in the TeslaCon world, and I had not attended any of the prior conventions, I relied a lot on Eric filling in gaps in the story for me.


AA: I’m guessing that wasn’t a short coffee session. How long did it take to write, and rewrite, Romanian Ruckus?

SPL: It was probably a ten-month process. The initial draft was probably six months long (I could have done it faster, but I was working a job with a lot of 12-hour days at the time). The next four months were spent in editing and layout and production.

AA: Might there be further adventures for readers to follow?

SPL: It is hoped that this will be an ongoing series. I actually wrote the second book, Lord Bobbins and the Dome of Light, in a month. Once I knew the characters and had the next story outlined, writing went very quickly. (Plus, I was unemployed, so I could spend four-to-ten hours a day at a keyboard.) Dome of Light is an even better book than Romanian Ruckus. It was easier to write once I had all the character voices and mannerisms established. I am currently working on the third book, Lord Bobbins and the Clockwork Girl. If people like them, I can keep writing them.


AA: Excellent! My one request, OK, one of several, is that all the books are the same height so they all match up on my shelf. Matching spines would be nice, too. If someone likes “X”, then they’ll like Romanian Ruckus. What is “X”?

SPL: Indiana Jones movies. Adventure movies from the 1980s. I was born in ’75, so the 80s were a major influence on me. I think a lot of my personal aesthetic is still stuck in the 80s.


AA: Ah, the 80s! Great music, great clothes, and the hair! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and read it all in one day, so I know I’d recommend it to others. What do you think puts this story on someone’s must read/have list?

SPL: It’s a fast read. There’s not a lot of downtime in the book. The humor is quick and light. It’s not a book that’s going to bum someone out or ruin their day with a lot of heavy thought. It’s just fun.


AA: It really was! If Romanian Ruckus were made into a movie, which would be great fun, who would you cast as the main characters?

SPL: Well…Harrison Ford is too old to play Nicodemus Clarke, so I think I would go with Neal McDonough for Clarke. I’ve always liked him as an actor, and he’s got freakishly blue eyes, so he’s memorable. He’s right in the right age range for Clarke. If I had to pick someone for Dolly Shaw, I’d probably go with Claire Foy. She has the right look, and she was wonderful in that first season of The Crown. Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) could do it, too. She’s amazing. (I would have liked to see her play the Doctor in Doctor Who.) And Bobbins can only be played by Eric Larson. He’s an original. No one else could do him justice.


Some good actor choices in that list! We’ll pause here in our chat with Sean.

Join us next time when he talks about his writing process.

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 17, 2018 at 7:11 pm  Comments (2)