Saturday, 28 July 2012

"A legacy of Imagination", Guest Post by Kristin Bailey, author of Legacy of the Clockwork Key

A couple of years ago I was reading a blog that did a series of posts all about the Steampunk movement. I found the posts fascinating. I have always enjoyed classic science fiction and Victorian literature, and Steampunk embraces both.

I didn’t set out to write a Steampunk novel, but I couldn’t get a single photograph out of my head from that blog. It was of a raven with gears embedded in its chest and wheels for feet. It was a real object, which meant that someone took the time and effort to create it. I found that fascinating. I began to wonder who would invent such a thing, and why would they do it? What drives people to invent?

In that moment, The Secret Order of Modern Amusementists was born. I loved the idea of an underground society of slightly crazy inventors trying to out-do one another by creating the truly extraordinary. More than anything, I wanted to celebrate invention. I also realized that my favorite stories from my youth all contained a main theme of a hero or heroine slowly being drawn into a secret world that is as magical as it is dangerous. That was the story I wanted to write.

So I put the two together, a lust for fantastic invention and a secret hidden world, and I gave myself one constraint. I wanted to believe the Amusementists were real. I want to believe that the things they have invented through the centuries are still out there, existing in our world, we just don’t know where they are hidden. Every element of the book had to be built on a foundation of believability within our reality.

I wanted the magic of the book to be the magic of human ingenuity.

And I also wanted things to blow up in a spectacular fashion.

Once I had my wild idea I needed to find the very best characters to bring my story to life. The hero of the story, William came to me first. I loved the idea of “tinkering” as part of the theme of the entire book, and I wanted to create a character who was intuitively good at figuring out how things were put together. So I started doing research on Tinkers, and that research really opened my eyes. “Tinker” was a derogatory name for travelers, who were nomadic people similar to gypies. Suddenly my hero became a lot more interesting. I decided to make him a Highland Traveler, who suffered a terrible tragedy as a child. He was taken in and put to work as a stable hand. I love Will. He completely won my heart. He is so determined to make something of himself, and while he may fall on the side of brooding on occasion, he has such a strong and loyal heart.

My heroine, Meg, was much harder to pin down. I struggled so hard with the beginning of the book. I very nearly gave up on it, because I was getting the message loud and clear from my agent, it wasn’t going to work. Frustrated, I started pacing on the little walkway in front of my butterfly garden. That’s when I first heard Meg’s voice. It was like being in a dark room, listening to a girl telling me her thoughts, her story, in hushed secret whispers, as if I were her closest confidant.

Suddenly the whole book unfolded and I knew exactly what it had to be and how I had to write it. I still hear Meg in my head as I’m writing. She is bold, courageous and witty. No matter what I throw at her, or how badly I challenge her, she faces it with intelligence and daring. She has her own failings. Being impulsive and rushing to act before thinking things all the way through are certainly her faults, but in the end she became the perfect person to lead this amazing adventure.

I hope people enjoy following along with Meg as she reveals the mysteries of The Secret Order and discovers The Legacy of the Clockwork Key.

Author Bio : Kristin Bailey grew up in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley in California. As a kid she enjoyed visiting the beach, camping and skiing with her two brothers.

Now she is a military wife and mother of two young children. She is also terrible about spoiling her pets. She has one fluffy mutt, two cats who think they own the world, and a fish tank with a quartet of fat fish, and two secretive striped ninja-assassin snails.

In the course of her adventures, she has worked as a zookeeper, balloon artist, and substitute teacher. Now she enjoys writing books for teens who enjoy mystery and adventure as much as she does.

Her debut novel Legacy of the Clockwork Key, first book of the series The Secret Order is coming out on March, 2013 by Simon Pulse.
Visit her official website

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