Thursday, 25 April 2013

Mechanized Masterpieces: The Story Behind My Story

First up, the official book launch of  Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology happens on April 30th! As one of the authors featured in the book I am inviting all to the Book Launch Party on Facebook:

Next, I have a little ramble about how the story came to be, and some trivia at the end (which may come in handy around party time- hint, hint).  So read on, and enjoy.

Mechanized Masterpieces: The Story Behind My Story

Once upon a time (because don’t all happy ending fairy tales start that way, even steampunk ones?) I submitted a story to Xchyler Publishing for a steampunk themed anthology. The idea was to take a classic book and expand on a character, steampunk style.
I thought to myself, “that’s sounds fun, I can do that...” all those things writers tell themselves to get off Facebook and back to creating. So I flew off in search of a classic story and landed on Dickens, (but don’t worry he wasn’t hurt), and A Christmas Carol specifically.
At first I thought perhaps Bob Cratchit would do, or Tiny Tim, but as I reacquainted myself with the story I realised there was a character badly neglected in the original, Scrooge’s nephew Fred. Questions began to race through my head. Who was Fred? What did he do for a living? What if he was a spy? That’s when something clicked- write a spy story, a steampunk spy story.
So off I went, scribbling furiously giving Fred a backstory, and taking his friend Topper and his nameless wife (although in my tale she isn’t yet his wife and she has a name) along for the ride. And about halfway through, I hit a bit of writer’s block, so I like to officially extend my thanks to the Google+ community at Dark-Fantasy Writers for helping me over the hump. Their supportive brainstorming was the inspiration for the rats.
So writer’s block banished, I furiously finished my prose in time to make the deadline, and sent off my story, Our Man Fred, where it ended, nestled in the pages of Mechanized Masterpieces.

Now for some trivia bits:
  • The spy agency in Our Man Fred is called the Clockwork Department, which shares its initials with Charles Dickens as a nod to A Christmas Carol
  • The title Our Man Fred is an homage to the old spy movie Our Man Flint
  •  The automaton man mentioned briefly by Topper was dropped in as a nod to various Victorian era dime novels.
  • The mention of the Penny Dreadfuls by Mary is also a nod to Victorian era fiction.

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