One of the most awesome parts of running a blog like this is that I get to feature stories the mainstream media usually ignores. In our two months of blogging we’ve already featured one steampunk series about a transgender woman and today I’m thrilled to share The Gunfighter & The Gearhead, a steampunk novel featuring an explosive relationship between two brilliant women.
I hope you’ll enjoy learning about their story as much as I have.
Can you tell us a bit about your novel, The Gunfighter & The Gear-Head
It was my first novel and is still one of my favorite projects. It’s a love story at its heart with an unusual backdrop of the post apocalyptic American southwest. It sprung from a short story I wrote in college and blossomed into a full series of books combining an end of the world setting with steampunk technology and a dash of humor and sex.
A short story that turned into a series of novels! I thought that only happened to me! All joking aside, this is an awesome way to build a story.
What part of the story came to you first?
The romance between Fiona and Gieo, definitely. I wanted to write an out of control emotional connection between two women that have almost nothing in common beyond their undeniable attraction to each other. The firestorm relationship between a dangerous, unbalanced gunfighter and a brilliant, fearless scientist needed an interesting setting, and that’s where Tombstone came into play.
This sounds like such a fascinating relationship, no wonder you couldn’t keep it contained within a single short story.
How much planning did you do before delving into the actual story?
Since it was a short story first, the bare bones of what I wanted to do already existed. I fleshed the ideas out some, took a few drives into the desert for inspiration and research, and everything grew from there. I have the entire series outlined, which has made it easy to add three more books including two sequels and a prequel.
You sent this quote to me with the blurb: “Four things greater than all things are, – Women and Horses and Power and War” ~Rudyard Kipling Why did you choose this quote to represent The Gunfighter & The Gear-Head?
Kipling is such an interesting historic and literary figure. He’s a British colonial writer, which should make him completely outdated and bland by modern standards, but they just remade the Jungle Book into a live action movie so his work still has appeal. His stories and poems about under dogs and the power found in unlikely people are remarkable for his genre and era. I actually found the quote before I wrote the third book in the series and it summed up exactly what I was going for. Two of the earthshaking forces people know and expect, war and power, but I don’t think everyone realizes how influential women and horses have been in shaping human history, and that’s the story I wanted to tell. All four great forces Kipling mentions combined into one movement: the Raven Ladies.
When & how did you discover steampunk?What part of steampunk is most appealing to you?
I like the science and style mixture. Function and form melding together. My father is an aerospace engineer so I grew up in a household full of pictures spanning the age of flight, models and sculptures of anything that ever left the ground, and tons of schematics, blueprints, and design drawings for flying machines. I never had a talent for any of the engineering side, so I invented my machines in fictional realms where they wouldn’t rely so heavily on funding and physics to exist. I doubt Boeing would be wooed by Gieo’s airship designs, although Harley Davidson might take a look at her motorcycle.
I also really love the combination of science and style you find in steampunk. I think too often modern science has gone for efficiency without aesthetics, leading to an overly sanitized and often ugly world.
Your “day job” is actually freelance writing, but do you write any types of fiction other than novels?
I think for a freelance writer to make a living it has to be all about diversification, like a good investment portfolio. I write short stories and novellas from time to time. I have a few collections out and a novella series right now. I used to write sex advice columns for various lesbian magazines, then a relationship advice column for a network of dating sites, and now I’m writing grants for LGBT organizations. I’ve tried my hand at poetry and fan fiction with cute but ultimately not very good results.
That’s quite an impressive list of things you’ve written. I’m really interested in learning more about the grant writing process and expanding the diversity of my own non-fiction work–I’d love any advice you can share in the comments section here!
What are you working on right now that readers can look forward to?
I’m on the homestretch of writing a mystery novel set in early 20th century Barcelona with a steampunk private detective investigating a serial arsonist. It’s called Pintor Noche and I’m hoping it’ll be ready for release this summer. It combines so many of my favourite things, intrigue, food, art, gadgets, sex, and fashion.
Those are many of my favourite things too! I’ll have to add it to my to-be-read pile(which only seems to grow, no matter how fast I read books. Thanks for agreeing to this interview, I hope you’ll stick around to discover the other amazing Steampunks we’re going to feature!
I write a free-lance sex advice column found in various lesbian magazines and dating websites. My short story collections and novels can be found at http://cassandra-duffy.com/. I’m a dutiful partially-Asian daughter who is beloved by a fairly traditional Korean father who thinks having a gay daughter is just fine as long as I keep playing coed flag football. I’m a stereotypical younger sister, and adoring aunt of a hilarious little boy. Being a modern techno-freak, gamer-girl, I spent most of my childhood dreaming of designing video games, but changed my mind and brought my dreams of world building and story-weaving to writing unique romance novels. I am a gleefully monogamous wife to an earthbound goddess. When I’m not being an avid fang girl (vampire fan girl) or tormenting people in online gaming, I live and write in Florida with my soul mate Nichole and our two cats: Dragon and Josephine.
Think The Gunfighter & The Gearhead sounds awesome? Know a steampunk author/artist you think we should interview here? Let us know in the comments section below!
You can find Cassandra at www.Cassandra-Duffy.com.