Have you always been interested in writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I remember writing all sorts of stories, from mysteries to sci-fi and fantasy. I always knew I wanted to publish a book someday! I’m so happy to share my stories with the world.
And how did you first become interested in Steampunk?
I believe the first steampunk thing that really caught my eye was the Studio Ghibli movie Howl’s Moving Castle. I was obsessed with that movie, though at the time I didn’t know exactly what “steampunk” was. Gradually over the years, I noticed I was drawn to the Victorian aesthetic and to retro and anachronistic technology. Eventually I was able to give a name to those interests – steampunk!
Which scene from your book do you like best and why?
My favorite scene is one in which the pirate ship my characters are on gets caught in a hurricane. It’s actually a scene carried over from the original story that became Grigory’s Gadget (it was called “The Necklace of Time”, and it was markedly different from Grigory’s Gadget; the main consistency between the two was the presence of pirates). I like this scene because the storm hits when tensions are already high, and the added stress of the storm creates even more conflict.
Have you used any real events or places as inspiration for your writing?
Oh yes. Where do I start? Broadly speaking, the nation of Morozhia, where my characters are from, was inspired by Soviet Russia. The ships in the novel, sidewheel steamships, were a real style of ship used from the 1700s to the early 1900s. I also based the train station at the beginning of the novel on the Central Terminal in Buffalo, New York. There are others, but I’d be getting into spoiler territory!
What went into your decision to be an Indie Author and to take a route outside the traditional method of publishing? What do you feel is the best benefit of this choice?
Hennessy responds: There are several reasons I chose to go the Indie route. First and foremost, I wanted complete creative control over my book: the editing, the design, the cover, etc. I also know that the traditional publishing process can be frustratingly long. It can take a long time to find an agent who likes you book, and for that agent to find a publisher for it. There’s also the fact that traditional publishers have been providing less and less marketing support for their authors, unless those authors are already established. Ultimately, I felt that it made more sense to put my time and effort into self-publishing.
Liz Hennessy, who writes as E.A Hennessy, used Indiegogo to raise money for her first novel, Grigory’s Gadget, a steampunk adventure story. She was keen to self-publish so she could keep creative control, and she looked to crowdfunding when she realizedhow costly that route would be. She found asking for donations difficult and says that if she were to crowdfund again, she’d assemble a team of ambassadors to help promote her campaign. “I’m a shy, introverted person, so it was difficult for me to approach even friends and family. You know they care, but it’s hard to reach out and say, ‘This is how you can help me.’”