Mechanized Masterpieces 2: an American Anthology is a collection of steampunk stories from authors around the globe. This collection takes American classic literature and gives it a steampunk makeover, much to the delight of this reader.
Today we are spotlighting author Neve Talbot, author of the story “West End.”
As a child, Neve Talbot developed the habit of lulling herself to sleep by dreaming up continuations of her favorite books too soon ended. She never left off the habit, and eventually gained confidence in worlds of her own creation. She first cracked open a spiral binder in high school, and has spent the past decade dutifully penning her prerequisite one million words of bad writing before getting to the good stuff.
Now author, editor, story coach, and journalist, Neve currently lives with her husband under the pseudonym of Penny Freeman, in a quasi-reality filled with fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, Regency romance, the classics, and history books, suspended between the piney woods and sprawling metropolis of southeast Texas. She plans on exploring the world when she grows up.
To learn more about Neve, check out her About me page!
An Interview with Neve Talbot:
As “West End” is inspired by Little Women, who do you envision playing your characters?
Liam Helmsworth for Theodore Laurence. I think he’s got the right mix of hunkiness, cockiness, and vulnerability to make it really come off.
Ian Somerhalder for Edward Rochester. He’s a touch too good-looking for the part, but he’s got a good combination of dark smolderingness and charm that works.
Julian Meeks (he has a much bigger part in my novel than he does in either Tropic of Cancer or West End): Morris Chestnut, I think. Julian’s a tricky character to cast.
Josephine March: smart, feisty, implacable, and impossible to forget? Emma Watson. Done.
Amy March: Amanda Seyfried
Beth March: This is a really, really difficult one because young actresses try to be sexy, rather than vulnerable and wise. Dakota Johnson has the right combination of both, but . . . ewww. She might be 50 shades of tainted. Too tainted for this angelic part. Victoria Morris seems like she has the sweetness for the part.
Bertha Mason: Halle Berry would make the perfect Bertha, except she’s a touch too old. Nathalie Emmanuel is also gorgeous, but she’s too young. In Bertha’s case, since age is a heavy factor in the plot of Tropic of Cancer, I’d have to go with Halle Berry.
Why did you choose the story of Little Women to convert into a steampunk tale? What is special about it?
Little Women was probably my first ‘adult’ reading experience. I must have been in the 4th grade. It’s held a warm place in my heart ever since. It seemed a natural choice to expand into Steampunk. Since my protagonists tend to be male, Laurie’s story got the nod. Finally, since this book is the sequel to Mechanized Masterpieces, I decided to tie this story into “Tropic of Cancer,”, my expansion of Jane Eyre.
What is your writing process?
I seem to do my best writing late at night, I think because my imagination has more room to maneuver in my brain. Traffic is much lighter. I also tend to write a lot, then delete at least half, then compress that into as succinct a text as possible.
When you have a chance to relax and read, what kind of book do you seek out?
I am a literary omnivore, but my favorites are biography, history, and historical fiction. I also have a fond spot for the classics. Fantasy and Steampunk have really strong historical components, with the world-building, etc., which is why I think I enjoy it. I’m a sucker for a good map. Maps are graphic history.
Do you have a current favorite book?
That’s like asking who’s your favorite child. The book that has had the most impact on me in recent years is Shadow of the Last Men by J.M. Salyards, recently the CYGNUS winner for science fiction.
What do you listen to when you write?
I usually need it quiet so I don’t get distracted. When I do listen to music, I listen to The Writer’s Trance, Orson Scott Card’s writing music on Pandora. Lots of emotive music without the distraction of lyrics.
Our writers out there are dying to know – Panster or plotter?
I used to be a pantser, which is how I made up my first million words of really bad writing. Now, I’m more a plotter, which makes a more finely crafted story. I believe in allowing a character to reveal themselves as the story evolves, which in its turn helps the plot itself to evolve. As they say, even the best battle plans mean nothing once the shooting starts. The same goes for writing. An author needs to be flexible enough to reevaluate and restructure their outline as they go, but having a general direction to travel and a goal to reach really helps. Also, plotters really are pantsers at heart. They just do it in a lot fewer words.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Follow your passion. Let your characters live you, and they will become real to your readers. Never stop learning. Every author deserves a good editor. If you find yourself telling others, “You just don’t get it,” you need to ask yourself what you can do to change it. The responsibility of communication is yours, not the reader’s.
What are some of your current projects?
Gosh. Here’s a partial list: my historical fiction I’ve sworn to finish this year; develop Tropic of Cancer story into a full-length Steampunk novel; a long-nurtured sci-fantasy that I’ve finally muddled out. I’m ready to start outlining that as well.
I had the pleasure of reading “West End” along with several of the other stories in this new installment of Mechanized Masterpieces. (I’m eagerly awaiting a time to curl up with a cocoa and warm fire to finish the rest!) In this story we get to experience Laurie’s life abroad as he goes about his studies and begins to specialize in the very steampunky field of medicine crossed with metallurgy and robotics. He has feelings for Jo and as readers we get to see his struggle with both life and love. However there is a nice little twist in the story from the original Little Women, one that I think readers will thoroughly enjoy.
I love the way the characters are handled. Each one has a unique and memorable attitude that plays of the strengths and weaknesses of the others. The steampunk elements are masterfully created and play well with the other elements of the story, which is always nice when it comes to a retelling of a classic tale.
If you like stories that include steampunk, relationships and love, travel, wonder, and Victorian sensibilities, then this story is for you!
Hey, guess what? There’s a giveaway! Click the link to enter!
A super big thanks to Neve and the awesome people at Xchyler Publishing for letting me participate in the book tour for Mechanized Masterpieces 2. If you want to learn more, or to buy your own copy, click on the banner below!
To visit other sites on this blog tour check out the links below: