When Dante conjures a terrible storm to wash ashore his mortal enemies, Mira must choose between her loyalties to her father and what she knows is right.
Sail the skies and soar the seas surrounding this Isle of Sound and Wonder as Alyson Grauer masterfully retells William Shakespeare’s classic, The Tempest, bedecked in the trappings of Steampunk.
Q & A with Alyson
When I was little I did a lot of storytelling, as some kids do. I was very small when my Grampa John and I collaborated on a short story called "In Search of the Painted Bunting" - it was about a grampa and a little girl who go birdwatching together. Grampa wrote the story (with my suggestions) and I illustrated it. My Gramma Sally encouraged me to journal when I was also quite small, and journaling helped me get into the habit of writing every day telling even the most ordinary stories in detail.
Do you have any strange writing habits?
Nothing extremely strange of late... I used to be very into wearing specific scarves or hats or drinking certain teas when sitting down to write... But due to my day job and the rest of my day-to-day activities, I tend to write a lot on the fly - on the commute to and from work and whenever I can steal time. I admit I'm probably ruining my eyes by writing in the Google Docs app on my iPhone sometimes!
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Write something else. Listen closely to your instincts - are you blocked because you can't figure out the strategy of a battle scene? Are you blocked because you just aren't feeling the sparks fly between your characters and you need them to get cozy? Are you blocked because you would rather write a sassy sci-fi comedy than your somber historical fiction tribute to your literary heroes? Learn to read your own tea leaves, folks. Write what you want to write, but also, learn what helps you get through the block. For me, making lists with bullet points and working with abstract stuff like visual inspiration (i.e. Pinterest) helps me fight the block.
What was the hardest thing about writing your book?
See above. I wrote the first draft as a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge to myself... and it was rubbish. The X saw potential in me and the story, though, and the whole team cheered me on even when I was at my lowest most dismal self-loathing of storytelling. One of the hardest things was accepting that it is a process. It's not a magical mystical unraveling of beauty in raw form, it's a process. It's chipping away at a sculpture. You need an idea of the big picture in your head constantly, and you need also to accept the imperfections of your own hand and chisel and the imperfections of the material you work with. Give in to the process, let it be what it is, and trust your editor.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Read a lot in the genres you're interested in, but don't ignore other genres. There is a lot you can learn from reading current, contemporary literary fiction even if you consider yourself a historical romance writer. Be aware of what's 'hot' in your genre and find your own path in that world - just because everyone's writing space westerns all of a sudden doesn't mean you have to. If you want to, you should, and find your own way of doing it. Just don't feel you should abandon your stories and passions for the ebb and flow of the popular tide.
What book are you reading now?
I just started reading "Aleph" by Paulo Coelho. It's sort of magical realism/literary fiction. A different pace from the usual sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk subset. Before "Aleph" though I devoured "Dawn's Early Light" by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris - a wild steampunk action-adventure with dashes of alternate history, romance, and mystery. Get it!
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I won't lie to you, I like the yarns spun by Danielle E. Shipley, and I'm terribly enamored of Rebecca Enzor's current WIP, "Speak the Ocean" - but Rebecca's in edits still. Keep an eye on these two!
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I love love love paperback books. I'll tolerate the occasional hardcover, and if necessary I'll deal with ebooks in their own way, but I love paperbacks with a wild passion.
If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
Hmm... Tough question. I see the characters as amalgamations of different actors and faces of people I know. I do know that Ouberan and Titanya would both be played by RuPaul. Trust me. It works.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
VERY tough question. I'm deeply fond of writing Aurael - mostly because he's so AWFUL. But I love Mira too, for her strength, her straightforwardness and determination, and Ferran for his fragile sense of adventure and his eagerness to be liked. But really one of my favorites is Gonzo, and I'm awfully sad that he isn't in more of the story. Gonzo's a chap who really has his head screwed on right.