Thursday, February 28, 2013

Interview with Author Andrew P. Mayer

Welcome to the blog this lovely 28th day of February two thousand and thirteen. What a month it has been hasn't it? Thank you all my guest authors, artist spotlighters and etc. for helping to make Let's Get Steamy 2.0 so wonderful. But I'll leave the wrap up post for tomorrow. Today I've got an interview with Andrew P. Mayer, author of the Society of Steam series! I read book 1 recently and I am absolutely thrilled to have the man behind the words here on the blog today! Please welcome Andrew!
Hi Andrew! Thanks for coming on the blog today! Since this event is all about the love we share for steampunk, please tell me what was your first experience with Steampunk and what made you want to write it?

I'm in my 40s, so my influences go back to the Difference Engine. It was such a strange thing to see two cyberpunk authors switching genres back then, but it caught my attention. I kept my eye on Steampunk over the years, and always thought it was interesting when it popped up.
Then, when I went out to Burning Man in 2006 I saw the Neverwas Haul and the amazing devices that Kinetic Steamworks  had built. I’d been hanging around the San Francisco metal-art scene a few years earlier, and it all just clicked. I realized we’d reached a point in our culture where the genre was an exciting way for us to explore our relationship with technology.
Cool! Would you believe I've never heard of those before?? Thanks for sharing because I feel like I just got my own education lol...Do you participate in any other aspects of the Steampunk genre?
(conventions, cosplay, movies, etc)

Obviously I've been out to a number of conventions over the last few years, and I like to dress up. I've actually made a concerted effort to adopt some steampunk style bit to my regular wardrobe as well, and have added in tweeds and jackets into my rotation.
I'd love for there to be more Steampunk movies, and I keep my eye on what's going in the genre.
Me seems like the only steampunk movies out there are SuckerPunch, Hugo, and Wild Wild West...*sighs* What is your writing process like and how has it changed as you've grown with your series?

There was a time when I was getting up at 5:30 in the morning to write before work. I've managed to create a better schedule than that now, but since fiction writing takes a long time to become a job that can pay a living wage, it's not my full-time focus yet.
Tell me about it. I've recently tried to start writing on my own and between work and the million other things I've got going on, I feel like I can barely find five minutes to sit down and write! When you ARE writing, do you continuously write the Society of Steam Series or do you take time in between for other projects? If so, what are some of them?

I've been exclusively focused on the Society of Steam novels since I started in 2007. Now that the trilogy is complete I've been working on something new, although I'll be writing more in the world of Society of Steam as well.
Woo cool...I've have to remember to keep an eye on you :) Which books and authors serve as major influences to your writing?

I wanted to be a published author since I was 11 years old, so a lot of the old school folks inspired me early on: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Frederick Pohl, Michael Moorecock, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Stephen King, to name a few.
But it was the comics writers of the 70s, like Jack Kirby and Jim Starlin that gave me sense of scope. These were guys who were building the foundations of the comic book universes that we're turning into movies now.I also love modern authors who understand that books are about more than just what's on the page, like Corey Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, and Scott Westerfeld.
I also love the way great anime can turn a genre on its head, and make us question our assumptions, and I tried to get some of that into the series.
Gaiman, Westerfeld, and King are three of my absolute favorites! Tell those of us who haven't read any of the Society of Steam books a little bit about them.

It's a straight-up blend of steampunk and superheroes set in 1880's New York. But rather than focus on the heroes themselves I tell the story through eyes of a young woman named Sarah Stanton.Her father is a powerful hero named the Industrialist who's a member of the Society of Paragons; New York’s greatest team of gentlemen adventurers. When Sir Dennis Darby, the leader of the Paragons, is killed in front of her on the top of the Brooklyn Bridge Sarah discovers a conspiracy that makes her realize that a lot of her assumptions about what it means to be a hero aren't as black and white as she imagined.Ultimately it's a story of her journey into adulthood, and learning what it means to become a hero.
Most Steampunk books are set in either Victorian England or the American West. Why did you choose to place yours in Victorian New York over all other possible cities and times?
I had seriously considered London, since that's where my mother is from, but it all seemed a little done to me. Since I was born and raised in New York City, it was very attractive to me.New York had a vibrant and exciting Victorian Era that really was the origin of the city as we think of it today, and a lot of those building are still there, so every time I was in the city inspiration was all around me. It's also been a great backdrop for superhero stories since at least the 1940s, and I wanted to take advantage of that heritage.
Your first book in the Society of Steam, The Falling Machine, was received with outstanding praise and reviews, particularly from fellow Steampunk authors. Did this put any pressure on you to keep going with the series or was it always intended to be a trilogy?
No one puts more pressure on me than I do!
The series was originally intended as two novels. Honestly I had never even completed one before I started, so there was some hubris in thinking I'd be able to write two.But then novelitis hit, and by the time I'd written 90,000 words of the second book I'd only just reached the beginning of the big battle at the end. In December of 2010 I called Lou Anders, my editor, and asked if we could do a third one. He was all for it, and lo, a trilogy was born!
Unfortunately I've only had the time to read The Falling Machine. (Though I've added the next two to the very top of my TBR pile!) What can you tell me to expect in the next books? Will I continue to get the thrilling mystery and the Sarah Stanton and Dennis Darby that I've come to love or will there be any major surprises or upsets?

I'm just glad you enjoyed it enough to want to read the second one!A lot of my friends love to tease me about the body count in the books. That's my anime influences showing, although obviously I don't kill off everybody.Hearts trades in the detective mystery for more of an action/romance plot. In the first book Sarah was looking for trouble, and in the second book she's found it!The third book is more widescreen action, although all the characters, good and bad, are reeling from the events of book 2. To me a good action story is about motivations, decisions, and consequences. As the mysteries are revealed everyone
Which is your favorite character to write, or the one you identify with the most?
Is it strange to say the Automaton? He's in the tradition of characters struggling with emotion, like Spock, or Data. I think that the thing I love about characters like that is that mirrors the internal struggles we all have. I think when you have a bunch of your characters chasing after another character's heart, it's hard to hid that.With the release of Power Under Pressure, you have completed your trilogy. Any chance that there may be a companion series or a spinoff of any kind?
I wrote a Christmas story in December that takes place about a decade before the Society of Steam, and I want to do more prequels stories as a run up to the next series, exploring the Paragons in their hay day.
Thank you so much for doing an interview with me today! I really enjoyed The Falling Machine and can't wait until I get a chance to read books 2 and 3!

Thanks for having me! Definitely let me know what you think of the series when you've finished reading it.
 Thanks again Andrew! I freaking LOVE this series (so far) and cannot WAIT to finish the series! I hope you all (my followers I mean) enjoyed Andrew's post because I sure as hell enjoyed interviewing him!  Check out the Society of Steam series for sure if you love a rollicking good time old chaps!

1 comment:

  1. I've only read a few steampunk novels so far. This sounds like a great series for me to try.

    Love the covers!