I was extraordinarily lucky, but in order to be lucky, it took me about five years of struggle to get there. In 2009 I was offered a place in the MA, Creative writing program at Brunel University. My first novel, A Conspiracy of Alchemists, was my dissertation. I had quite a bit of editorial interest from the start, and rejections, but then I met my agent, Oliver Munson and the rest was magic. Within a month I had a book deal. It was like a dream come true.
I also joined the Romantic Novelists Association as part of their New Writer Scheme. Being part of that community and having that support was so wonderful. They made me feel like I was a “real” writer.
What part of being a writer do you love most?
I love everything about being a writer. It’s the best job in the world. My favourite bit is when inspiration and creativity come steaming along. It’s like a rush of wind that thunders through you and you have to hold on for dear life and type till your fingers ache.
I think the greatest tragedy of all is the fact that with the exception of a very select few, most writers cannot make a living out of their writing alone. I hate that. I also hate the eye-bleeding, mind-numbing, soul destroying tedium of working a day-job in order to pay for boring things like cat food and mortgages. This is an essential part of the process though, because in all art there must be a little suffering.
Steampunk isn’t a new genre – but we are seeing more steampunk style novels coming out now- give us your definition of the genre…
The name steampunk was coined in the 1980’s, but writers like Michael Moorcock and others were writing this work for some time before that. And before them, people like Jules Verne and HG Wells were writing subversive steam-powered fiction, although for them it was contemporary. So I think you are right – at least the notion of steampunk has been around for a long time.
I would define steampunk as subversive steam-driven speculative fiction. Retro SciFi. It’s reimagining of the world as it would have been had electricity not replaced steam technology.
What life advice have you been given, that you wished someone had given you sooner?
Remember to have fun! Writing can be such a fraught, anxious business that it’s easy to forget to enjoy the journey.
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?
Oh, I think I’d end up turning my time machine in to one of those open-top sight seeing buses one sees around cities. I’d go round and round the centuries hopping on and hopping off.
I am a big fan of the time that stretched from the Regency era, through to the Victorians and Edwardians and into the 1920’s. I also love the Elizabethans. Those guys were really interesting.
That’s a difficult one. I recently read John Saturnall’s Feast by Laurence Norfolk and it had me literally drooling. I’d love to have some of John’s quodling apples with cream.
Although, it would be absolutely awesome to have dinner with Count Dracula and the good Mr Harker in the count’s castle. Decisions, decisions.
Who are your favourite authors and why?
I don’t think I can answer that question because it changes from week to week. Although the first author I fell in love with must be Rosemary Sutcliffe. I must have been about eight or nine when I first picked up one of her books from the library.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have just finished writing SKY PIRATES, the third book in the current series, The Chronicles of Shadow and Light, so I’m in that lovely gap between delivering a manuscript and waiting to hear from agents and editors, so right now I’m catching up on all the things I sort of ignored while I was writing.
Where can fans find you online?
I’m always happy to say hello if I can and I absolutely love hearing from people.
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. Always a pleasure Liesel!