Blog Hop

Blog Hopping Down the Bunny Trail. Radford-bio-photo-pr-frost-200h

Thank you Jennifer Stevenson for inviting me to join this blog hop. This is how it works. Jen answered the 4 questions below and then tagged 3 people to do the same. I was one of those three so here goes.

1) What am I working on?

At the moment, I’m pouring words into a Steampunk novel that started as a short story in “The Shadow Conspiracy” a shared world anthology edited by Phyllis Irene Radford and Laura Anne Gilman and published by Book View Café.  One of the joys of a shared world is that the characters can appear in more than one story and grow with each appearance. Madame Magdala walked on stage with a complete backstory, some of it provided by other authors, but we all worked together on this.

The current novel takes place a few years before the setting in “The Shadow Conspiracy,” centered on the coronation of Queen Victoria in June of 1838. Some aficionados use this date as the official beginning of the Steampunk era.

I sold the book to DAW Books as “Night Dancer.” Now that I’m 20,000 words into it I’m thinking “Madame Magdala’s Phantasmagorical Adventures with Necromancy” might be more appropriate. I’ve asked my editor if we can change but haven’t heard back from her yet.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Like several Steampunk stories, I am postulating that Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace built the Difference Engine and then went on to build and improve the Analytical Engine, which gives us all kinds of new gadgets. Steampunk as a genre is littered with gadgets. I have more than a few. But I’m not letting them take over the story. Madame Magdala is the centerpiece and she keeps both feet firmly planted there. Her attitude and running commentary on fashion, or lack thereof, make her unique. Her keen observation makes her a magnificent spymaster. She bills herself as the bastard daughter of a Gypsy King—she’s six feet tall and blonde—allows her to live a bit outré, having access to guttersnipes as well as the finest salons and box seats at the opera.

3) Why do I write what I do?

My imagination never stops. I see something interesting and instantly have to add magic, or space ships, or gadgetry to the story that forms in my head. I love history and have written a lot of historical fantasy as well as a non-fiction book about the Magna Carta. Steampunk gives me history, science, fantasy, and a character with attitude.

4) How does your writing process work?

What day is it? I had a different process yesterday and will have yet another tomorrow. I’ll start with either a character who needs a story, or a scenario that needs a character and together they build a story.  Whichever, the character is the most important part. Once I’ve detailed notes on whose story I’m writing, I’ll brainstorm with a friend or two, define what research I need to do, and then dive in. If I’m writing on spec I’ll stop at a synopsis and three chapters and take them to beta readers. Rework a bit and send off to The Agent. Sometimes I deliberately divorce myself from the project until a contract develops. Sometimes I can’t and just keep plowing forward, making notes on things that are missing or need more development or foreshadowing as I go. Rarely do I go back to the beginning, or even a few prior chapters, until after the first draft is finished. I learn more about my characters and my story by finishing a draft than I do from any amount of fiddling with the beginning.

When the first draft is done, I have to let it ferment a bit. Then I go back for draft two with the goal of dealing with all those notes. Then it goes out to beta readers while I work on something else for a while. When it comes back and I address or reject all my friends’ notes, then it goes to The Agent and The Editor.

Revisions are a way of life. My creativity comes in layers. Some of my best writing comes on the final draft when I have it all laid out in front of me to work with.

And now I’m tagging fellow small press writers:

Esther Reed Jones:

Esther Jones co-authors fantasy fiction, reviews indie books, and revels in geekery.

Jess Faraday

Jess Faraday lives and writes in the wild American west.

S.A. (Sue) Bolich:

S. A. Bolich is a Northwest author whose fantasy and SF tales immerse the reader in worlds they will never forget.


About Phyllis Irene Radford

Irene Radford has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species—a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon—she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck. A museum trained historian, Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between. Mostly Irene writes fantasy and historical fantasy including the best-selling Dragon Nimbus Series and the masterwork Merlin’s Descendants series. In other lifetimes she writes urban fantasy as P.R. Frost or Phyllis Ames, and space opera as C.F. Bentley. Later this year she ventures into Steampunk as someone else. If you wish information on the latest releases from Ms Radford, under any of her pen names, you can subscribe to her newsletter: Promises of no spam, merely occasional updates and news of personal appearances.


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