November 14, 2012 5 Comments
Today I am happy to bring you a new author, Katy O’Dowd! Her new book, a Steampunk novel called THE LADY ASTRONOMER was inspired by the life of Caroline Herschel (1750-1848), who suffered from both Smallpox and Typhus, was a milliner, soprano, her brother William’s assistant . He, in turn discovered the planet Uranus, then known as George’s Star for the King who funded the build of the ‘Great Forty-Foot’ telescope. More importantly, Caroline became the first woman in recorded history to discover a comet. Not to mention the first woman in the UK to receive a working wage, from the King if you don’t mind.
The floor is all your, Katy!
There’s Something Really Appealing About Writing Steampunk.
There’s something really appealing about writing Steampunk – never mind that wars have been started over lesser things than how to define exactly what it is.
I was recently asked to write an article on ‘What is Steampunk?’ for the writing resource writing, ie which was a very interesting experience, as I was going on the premise that people didn’t know what Steampunk is. At all.
So I hummed and hawed, and reckoned that the easiest thing to do (not that I’m lazy, you understand) was to turn something from current popular culture into something Steampunk.
An excerpt from that article goes a little something like this:
“Let’s say the Dowager Countess is having tea with the Countess at the Abbey. They are bemoaning the fate of Lady Mary who has not yet agreed to marry her cousin Matthew. In races Carson to say that Beryl Patmore’s eyesight has deteriorated again and the whole house is about to burn down as she has mistaken bullets for peppercorns.
Instead of being simpering little ladies, although the Dowager Countess could hardly be described as such, they race into action, tucking their long skirts into their bloomers – I know, I know, slight time lapse, forgive me – and run to help. The DC outside to her awaiting dirigible, which she pilots to the nearest lake. Luckily Carson has come with her and between them they devise an ingenious device which sucks the water from the lake, whereupon they fly back and hose it all over the house. While risking life and limb, obviously.
Meanwhile, the Countess meets Lady Mary in the hall. She is wearing breeches, off to Egypt for a bit of exploration, don’t you know, while deciding what to do about Matthew. Her mother hurriedly explains the situation to her and they head to the lab, don goggles, and invent an eyepiece for the Cook so that such a thing need not happen again. And everybody knows quite how hard it is to find a decent Cook.”
Now that might be quite simplistic, and if you are a fan of Steampunk you know all that already. The best part for me though, was that writing the article brought into very clear focus what I love about writing within the genre – it is so much fun. Glorious imagination abounds, with a dash of not taking oneself in any way seriously, tea, adventure, derring-do, experiments, tea, inventions, tea, kick-ass heroines, amazing fashion, tea. And more tea. There really is something appealing about writing Steampunk.
Lucretia’s life as an astronomer is quickly turned on its head by her eldest brother when he is commanded by the king to build the grandest telescope in the land. Her nights spent on rooftops gazing at the stars are replaced by adventure as the family move to be nearer the king. In a race to build the Forty-foot telescope on time, misfortunes take their toll. The lady astronomer finds court life to be more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Can she find the strength inside to overcome the obstacles threatening her destiny? Only the stars will tell.
The Lady Astronomer was published by Untold Press www.untoldpress.com on 26th September 2012. It is currently available as an eBook, and will be out as a paperback later on in the year.
Where to buy:
You can purchase The Lady Astronomer on Amazon USA and Amazon UK.
Katy is an arts and entertainment journalist and has worked for Time Out, Associated Newspapers and Comic Relief and her articles have appeared in The Times (London), Metro (London) and many other arts and entertainment publications, paper and online.
She reviews for the Historical Novels Review and the British Fantasy Society, is a commissioning editor at Pendragon Press and is co-editor of the Nasty Snips II Project for that press.
Alongside writing with her Dad under the pen-name Derry O’Dowd, whose first book ‘The Scarlet Ribbon’ was chosen to launch the History Press Ireland’s fiction line, she writes under her own name.
‘The Lady Astronomer’, a YA Steampunk novel, is out with Untold Press now. She is currently writing a Steampunk adult series because writing for tweens and teens is damnably hard work.