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Love Queer Steampunk? Read Murder on the Titania

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Imagine, if you will, Sherlock Holmes, only he’s been transformed into a queer Latinx woman with a penchant for piracy, thievery, invention, and exasperating her boring but stolid right-hand man Watson Simms. Make it steampunk Denver and a dash of zombies and you have Murder on the Titania and other Steam-Powered Adventures. It’s the queer Holmes adaptation you’ve been waiting for without the undertones of (and sometimes blatant) bigotry of the original stories, but with an added bonus of fucking with patriarchal and gendered norms whenever possible. Have I sold you yet?

A Brief (Spoiler Free) Run-Down

Captain Marta Ramos, the most notorious pirate in the Duchy of Denver, has her hands full between fascinating murder mysteries, the delectable and devious Delilah Nimowitz, Colonel Geoffrey Douglas (the Duke of Denver’s new head of security), a spot of airship engineering and her usual activities: piracy, banditry and burglary. Not to mention the horror of high society tea parties. In contrast, Simms, her second in command, longs only for a quiet life, filled with tasty sausages and fewer explosions. Or does he? Join Captain Ramos, Simms and their crew as they negotiate the perils of air, land, and drawing rooms in a collection of 4 novellas and one short story set in a North America that never was.

The Good Stuff

When I first heard “steampunk, genderbent, queer Sherlock Holmes,” my reaction was that this could either be amazing or terrible. I’m quite pleased to say it’s firmly the former.

Acks writing is fast-paced, atmospheric, and genre-appropriate. The first story in Murder on the Titania and other Steam-Powered Adventures (hereafter, Murder on the Titania), the eponymous “Murder on the Titania,” establishes the steampunk world and ambiance right away without being kitschy or forced. The introduction of the “Infected,” lends itself to the more fantastical side of steampunk. The US being broken up into warring duchies allows for the existence of the Victorian aesthetic outside of its more typical British setting, and it works extremely well. I didn’t realize Salt Lake as steampunk could be believable, yet here we are

I’m honestly impressed with how well Acks manages to stay consistently within genre conventions across these stories, even when it comes to characters. Our first point of view character, Colonel Geoffrey Douglas, is very much the consummate Victorian soldier: stiff, professional, correct, and uncomfortable with women. Other characters we meet are equally genre-specific, yet without feeling stale or thinly characterized. Acks seems to take pleasure in subverting expectations while still sticking within what’s expected. Douglas may underestimate Ramos at first, but he’s no foolish lawman that our protagonist can easily outsmart.

Speaking of the lady of the hour, let’s talk about Captain Marta Ramos, the “pirate, inventor, and gleefully self-proclaimed thorn in the side of many a Duke and Duchess.” When the action at the end of the first novella shifts to Captain Ramos’ perspective—a genius introduction of her character that involves spoilers, so I won’t go into it—we meet a character at once at home in her genre and at odds with her environment. She’s everything I wanted out of a female adaptation of Sherlock Holmes. Heck, she’s better than most of the male ones and right up there with Jonny Lee Miller’s portrayal on Elementary, which is my favorite of the recent visual adaptations.

“Captain Ramos was not a woman who took well to boredom.”

“Captain Ramos seemed to only have two categories for classification when it came to the world—interesting and boring.”

She’s outwardly about as opposite from the original Sherlock as one could be—queer, non-white, a pirate/thief instead of upper class—yet she retains all the important internal character elements. She’s driven by rationality, intellect, and a fierce desire to avoid boredom. There’s a good layer of levity and whimsy to her character as well, which was present in the original Sherlock yet many of the most recent adaptations have failed to carry over. At some point I’d like to learn about how she became the way she is, but the lack of backstory isn’t a deal breaker. I just love watching her work and listening to her thoughts. She’s captivating. I might want to kiss her…

Anyway, all this exists without making her a complete asshole, stigmatizing neurodiverse people, or queerbaiting! (*cough* BBC’s Sherlock)

The introduction to Deliah, Captain Ramos’ adversary/potential love interest works well as a twist on “A Study in Scarlet.” Like everything else in this collection, you can see the inspiration behind the characters and action, but it’s still thoroughly its own story. Deliah isn’t Irene Adler, but you can see how she could have evolved from Doyle’s character. She’s also an excellent foil for Ramos and a delightful potential lover. The chemistry between Deliah and Marta crackles, and I can’t wait to see more from them.

Captain Ramos’ faithful assistant Merriweather Octavian Simms—preferably known as Simms—functions equally well as a foil for Ramos. His loyalty to her paired with his distaste for anything she finds ‘interesting’ out of a seeming desire for a more stable, boring existence plays well off of her intellect driven need for something interesting in her life. He’s the “Marta, no” to her “Marta, yes,” and I just adore his pov when read alongside hers. They’re great together.

Murder on the Titania is, in many ways, a Victorian setting suffused with anti-Victorian sentiments. The stories honestly reflect Victorian views on women, yet never endorse those views. Sexist assumptions face derision and rejection at every turn. Most of the time, Ramos uses these assumptions to her advantage, which serves the purpose of highlighting just how ridiculous, anachronistic, and wrong those beliefs are.

A super smart, queer woman of color protagonist mitigates the potential ick factor of the Victorian views about women—or at least the popular depiction thereof—without making her too Not Like Other Girls. The existence of Deliah, Amelia, Lisa, Jun Xing, Clementine, and other intelligent, capable women alongside Marta Ramos evinces that for Acks, this isn’t just a Smurfette story. Not everyone might side with me here, but I found the inclusion of the more patriarchal elements of steampunk in order to highlight just how absurd they highly enjoyable.

“I tend to think that murder is a crime against nature, and the rest is none of your concern.”

Also enjoyable? The morbid/gallows style humor that both Marta and Simms display throughout. The irreverence delights me, even more so given how rare a trait it is to find in a female protagonist. It’s just the right tone to strike for both this kind adventure/mystery story in general and a Holmsian character specifically.

“Murdered twice and then robbed. Not a good week for her.”

Potential Drawbacks

Publishing a collection of short stories and novellas that have previously been published has its pitfalls. For one, choosing an order  and deciding which to include that doesn’t replicate any previous publications. To my mind, Murder on the Titania did an overall decent job on this account, but it isn’t perfect. While “Murder on the Titania” is an excellent introduction to the world and Marta, and both it and “The Flying Turk” work well as an inclusion, there were times in between when the order felt off.

“The Jade Tiger” felt out of place when I first read it, given its lack of specificity and connection to any of the other stories. When I discovered that it was, in fact, the first Marta Ramos story written, that made more sense. However, I still think it could have been updated to make it more connected to the novellas. In “The Ugly Tin Orrery” Ramos mentions “encounters” (plural) with Colonel Douglas, yet we’d only seen or heard of the one, “Murder on the Titania,” up to this point.

I wasn’t really sure how the Infected fit into this world either. After doing some research, I learned that there is another story featuring this aspect of Acks’ world more prominently, a previously published but not currently available “Blood in Elk Creek.” While it’s nice to know there is more to the reanimated dead than what we get in Murder on the Titania, I can’t help but think that as it stands now, the zombie element feels more like set dressing or an afterthought. Not that I mind, the stories are enjoyable as is. However, it’s easy to forget it’s a part of the world. So easy, that when you’re confronted with it again, it can be slightly jarring.

Finally, certain turns of phrase do not fit the setting perfectly at times. They’re never enough to take me out of the world or ruin my enjoyment, but they exist. I also wish that there was a bit more of an explanation of certain terminology. Maybe it’s because I’m not a regular steampunk reader, but I had to look up several of the mechanical terms and objects. Most of the time, it doesn’t matter all that much. However, in “The Ugly Tin Orrery,” the mystery is a heck of a lot harder to puzzle out if you don’t know what an orrery is.

Final Score: 8/10

Murder on the Titania and Marta Ramos are utterly charming, delightfully irreverent, and one of the best adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories I’ve seen in a good long while. Despite a few minor consistency issues due to placement order of the stories and a few ‘out of universe’ phrases, this collection hangs together well. It’s a great introduction to a fascinating character and world, and I wish I could read the other two previously published stories. Perhaps they’ll get published again soon in another collection? Here’s hoping we get more of Captain Marta Ramos from Alex Acks!

About the Author

Author Alex Acks is a writer, geologist, and sharp-dressed sir. Their biker gang space witch novels, Hunger Makes the Wolf, winner of the 2017 Golden Tentacle for Debut Novel at the Kitschies Awards, and Blood Binds the Pack were published by Angry Robot Books under the pen name Alex Wells. They’ve also had short fiction in Strange Horizons, Crossed Genres, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed and more, and written movie reviews for Strange Horizons and Mothership Zeta. They’ve also written several episodes of Six to Start’s Superhero Workout game. Alex lives in Denver (where they bicycle, drink tea, and twirl their ever-so-dapper mustache) with their two furry little bastards.

Murder on the Titania is available for purchase on Amazon (U.S.), Smashwords, IBooks, IndieBound. Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Note: The author of this review received a copy of the book in exchange for a free and honest review.


Images courtesy of Queen of Swords Press

Bi, she/her. Gretchen is a Managing Editor for the Fandomentals. An unabashed nerdy fangirl and aspiring sci/fi and fantasy author, she has opinions about things like media, representation, and ethics in storytelling.

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Fireside Fandomentals: Sci Fi Horror on YAS Pitches with Gretchen

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The Steward and the King (and Éowyn)

Katie

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Éowyn

People (nerds) have already spilled bottles of ink over the fate of Éowyn in The Lord of the Rings. Some find her romance with Faramir and her change of heart a fitting and satisfying end to her character’s series-long arc. Some find it a betrayal, a last-minute shunting of the story’s primary female heroine, who had regularly eschewed traditional gender roles, into the “safe” role of wife and healer. And… both of these are true! So, come on, friends. Let’s talk about some feminism.

“I Looked for Death in Battle. But I Have Not Died.”

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: pretty much any question about the appropriateness of Éowyn’s character arc would have evaporated on arrival if Tolkien simply had more women in his story. As we’ve noted here before, Tolkien is… sparing with the women who appear in his story (though when they show up, there’s often better than their modern fantasy counterparts). Éowyn is one of the only women in The Lord of the Rings. She’s certainly the only women to so clearly question the gender assumptions of her society.

So when Éowyn declares that she “will be a shieldmaiden no longer nor vie with the great Riders, nor take joy only in songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren,” it can feel like that narrative is going back on its promise. It’s easy to assume that Tolkien intended to say all of her earlier critiques and actions had been misguided, or “wrong.” Éowyn wanted to go out and fight with the guys, but she would have been happier nursing and cultivating all along.

This becomes especially difficult to swallow when this transformation occurs as she falls for a handsome prince/steward whom she had just met. Her courtship with Faramir, on several occasions, seems predicated on Éowyn “weakening” herself. When she demands that Faramir let her leave the Houses of Healing before the doctor-prescribed time, “her heart faltered, and for the first time she doubted herself,” fearing that Faramir will find her childlike and petulant. On another occasion, talking to him, Faramir notes that her voice became “like that of a maiden young and sad.” Out of the context of her entire story, this feels very much like Éowyn attaining happiness by softening her edges, by giving up her earlier demands to become a maid, uncertain and waiting to be saved from her sadness.

And… none of that is exactly incorrect. Where I question that strand of criticism, though, is in its tendency to reduce Éowyn to Valiant Fantasy Warrior Maid, whose narrative role is to defy the men keeping her down. If that were simply who she was, her ending would absolutely be a betrayal. But Éowyn’s story has always been more complicated. Her desire to cast herself headlong into battle has always been both deeply understandable and deeply misguided: a fusion of justified anger at her restricted role and a misplaced glorification of battle that borders on a lust for self-harm. Éowyn is not a badass fantasy warrior who just wants to fight. We’re never told that she loves sword-fighting, or tactics, or cavalry formations. Éowyn loves the idea of fighting, the lifestyle of it, those riders who get to go out and make choices and affect their own futures. She is a person whose life has become some terrible and so circumscribed that she feels her best option is to blaze out in battle. Perhaps people will sing songs about her. Better that than to have leave to be burned in the house, when the men will need it no more.

By the time she reaches The Houses of Healing—and honestly, well before that—this desire has verged on the suicidal. “I looked for death in battle,” she tells Faramir in their first meeting. “But I have not died.” So, so much of Éowyn’s story has been centered on choice, and how it is almost always denied to her at every turn. You get the sense, reading The Lord of the Rings, that her attempts at choice were whittled down so far that death would be welcome to her, so long that it was something that she chose. But then she was not even allowed to do that.

Éowyn

Éowyn and Faramir

Faramir, of course, allows Éowyn to choose.

It’s the heart of their relationship, and it means that it works better thematically than as a palpable romance (Faramir seems to think Éowyn pretty and sad; she seems to think him pretty and nice). Things move pretty fast—which, eh, the world’s ending and they are both pretty, have fun, kids—and their chemistry is nothing to write home about. But I think it works nicely as a thematic end to Éowyn’s story. Things start off by seeming like more of the same: Faramir won’t let Éowyn ride off to chase after Aragorn and the armies marching on the Black Gate (rightly pointing out she wouldn’t be able to catch up in time anyway). But after that, Faramir leaves the agency largely to Éowyn. After their first meeting, he simply tells her that they can meet more if she’d like, at her discretion.

“You shall walk in this garden in the sun, as you will; and you shall look east, wither all our hopes have gone. And here you will find me, walking and waiting, and also looking east. It would ease my care, if you would speak to me, or walk at whiles with me.”

It’s such a kind offer of support to someone in Éowyn’s position. He lets her know that he would like to spend time with her but also leaving the choice entirely up to her. They spend most of their time together simply sitting or walking and talking, coming to understand each other and the commonalities of their past. And, eventually, he asks her to choose what she wants. And she does.

Then the heart of Éowyn changed, or at last she understood it. And suddenly her winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.

I, uh, have this engraved in wood and hanging on my wall. It’s very simple, but it also means a lot to me. So much of Éowyn’s story is so very sad, and so much of her action through the story is driven by desperation, by a drive to assert herself that’s so strong that she’s willing to destroy herself in the process. In this context, Éowyn’s turn at the story’s end is not a betrayal of her integrity as a character or a patriarchal demotion. It’s a moment of brightness. That with such a slight shift, and with just a bit of help, she was able to turn and warm and choose and grow. For me, at least, Éowyn was never a “feminist” character primarily because of her pushback against Middle-earth gender norms. Rather, Éowyn was a “feminist” character because of her constant assertion of her right to be able to make choices about her own life, even in the face of widespread pushback from those who cared about her most. In the end, she was finally able to choose. And her life was better for it.

 

The Return of the King

So much of this chapter focuses on the stories of Faramir and Éowyn that I’d nearly forgotten that it’s also the chapter where Aragorn is crowned king, enters Minas Tirith, finds a Nimloth sapling, and gets married (!). Life gets busy when you’re a king, I guess.

Aragorn is quite remote by this point in the story. So while there are some nice moments here, everything also feels very elevated, very lofty. Kate Nepveu has noted that in a book that starts and ends very heavy on the hobbits, “The Steward and the King” is the clear low-point of hobbit saturation. And it shows! It’s a more formal, cooler, more aloof chapter than those that surround it, so much of Aragorn’s actions here are things that I appreciate but care about largely in abstraction. There are still some good ideas floating about, though.

The first, and largest, is simply the sense of loss embedded all of this. It’s funny: Aragorn’s reign is Minas Tirith’s canonical golden age. Tolkien notes specifically that under his rule the city became “more fair than it had ever been, even in the days of its first glory.” But there’s still a sense of sadness, stretching forward and stretching back. Gandalf articulates the obvious one, the one that’s been highlighted throughout the series: that things that were will be lost.

“The Third Age of the world is ended, and the new age is begun; and it is your task to order its beginning and to preserve what may be preserved. For though much has been saved, much must now pass away.”

I like that the nostalgia here—“much must now pass away”— is twinned with potential growth. The language focuses on saving and on preservation, but the fact that this sits cheek-by-jowl with the command to Aragorn to order the Fourth Age’s beginning is a nice reminder that in Middle-earth loss is often accompanied by possibility.

Of course, the inverse is true as well. Even at the high point of Minas Tirith’s history, there is a sense of impermanence. Tolkien notes that after Aragorn’s coronation, the city was

filled with trees and with fountains, and its gates were wrought of mithril and steel, and its streets were paved with white marble; and the Folk of the Mountain laboured in it, and the Folk of the Wood rejoiced to come there; and all was healed and made good, and the houses were filled with men and women and the laughter of children, and no window was blind nor any courtyard empty; and after the ending of the Third Age of the world into the new age it preserved the memory and the glory of the years that were gone.

It’s a beautiful picture, bright and happy. But the sudden perspective shift into the ambiguously-distant future almost creates its own sense of sadness. Jumping forward to give the encapsulation of Aragorn’s glorious reign functions to make it feel to the reader as though that were in the past as well (which, canonically, it is). It’s an interesting combination. Tolkien is using very old forms and archaic systems in most of his handling of Aragorn in this chapter. But he’s using them to convey a sense of transience, of continual change and momentum.

And while it’s a bit on the nose, I do enjoy Aragorn’s rediscovery of the White Tree, and Gandalf’s insistence that “if ever a fruit ripens, it should be planted, lest the line die out of the world.” It fits in quite nicely with the themes of growth, renewal, and cultivation that are littered throughout the end of the story. We see some of it here in Éowyn’s reorientation towards healing and growth and we’ll see it more later in Sam’s upcoming replanting of the Shire.

Éowyn

Final Comments

  • Aragorn apparently makes peace with the Easterlings and Harad after the fall of Mordor. They are still hard for me to reckon with, as part of Tolkien’s world. They are such ciphers and such others in the story, and problems quickly arise no matter what reason you ultimately settle on for why they served Sauron.
  • “The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, I said, and that was how it was all discovered. And Mithrandir, he said to me, “Ioreth, men will long remember your words, and – ” I was a little annoyed by Ioreth back when we first met her in “The Houses of Healing” but I was kind of charmed by her here? Honestly, who am I to say, that if I got to talk with a wizard and hang out with the new king on his first night in town and help him do is healing, I wouldn’t tell absolutely every person that I knew.
  • I laughed out loud at the phrase “the harpers that harped most skillfully.” Which is fine linguistically, I guess, but is also a ridiculous phrase, J.R.R. Also, in related news: harp comes from Proto-Germanic harpon, also the source of Old-Saxon harpa, or “instrument of torture.” Please make fun of all your harpist friends accordingly, even those that harp most skillfully.
  • I enjoyed it very much that Éowyn moped around Minas Tirith, passive-aggressively ignoring her brother’s invitation to the Field of Cormallen. And then when Faramir shows up to ask her about it, she almost immediately yells at him to speak plainer and just express his feelings.
  • One more word on Éowyn: I think her story fits nicely on Tolkien’s attitude towards war and battle itself. She is arguably the biggest battle hero of the entire book, and she’s praised for that. But war is at best a grim necessity in Tolkien’s moral universe. The Rohirrim’s battle lust is often viewed as someone childlike and immature. Even the best warriors don’t put too much stock in the glory of battle. The level to which Éowyn elevates it was never going to be good for her or for anyone in this story. But Tolkien is also aware that Aragorn’s attitude towards war comes from a place of privilege that Éowyn does not possess.
  • High Point of Faramir Seduction: When he respects her boundaries but lets her know that she is welcome to chat and go for walks with him if she wants to. Yeaaaahhhh.
  • Low Point of Faramir Seduction: When a few days after meeting her, he decks Éowyn out in his dead mom’s star cloak. He is pleased by how pretty and sad it makes her look. Yikes.
  • Prose Prize: And they went up by steep ways, until they came to a high field below the snows that clad the lofty peaks, and it looked down over a precipice that stood behind the City. And standing there they surveyed the lands, for the morning was come; and they saw the towers to the City far below them like white pencils touched by sunlight, and all the vale of Anduin was like a garden, and the Mountains of Shadow were veiled in a golden mist. Upon the one side of their sight reached to the grey Emyn Muil, and the glint of Rauros was like a star twinkling far off; and upon the other side they saw the River like a ribbon laid down to Pelagir, and beyond that was a light on the hem of the sky that spoke of the Sea. The whole thing is rather nice, but the last bit cinched it. “A light on the hem of the sky that spoke of the Sea.” That’s so lovely.
  • Next time, on November 28th, we’ll dive into “Many Partings.” As far as I can remember it is a chapter where everyone hangs out and is friends and give each other presents. But in a slow, melancholic way because, well, that’s the tone into which we’re heading. See you then.

Art Credits: Art, in order of appearance, is courtesy of Snow-Monster, s-u-w-i, Jian Guo, and aegeri.

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Creator Corner: Interview with Author Mirah Bolender

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A few weeks back, my city hosted a week-long book fair, complete with panels, book readings, sales, and a whole bunch of other goodies a book nerd like me can’t get enough of. Of course, I couldn’t stay away from the panel entitled, “Fearless Women in Sci-Fi and Fantasy.” That’s my peak aesthetic. While there, I got the pleasure of listening to debut author Mirah Bolender talk about her debut novel, City of Broken Magic. I also managed to snag an ARC (advanced reader copy) of her book, and she graciously consented to do an interview with me. If you like fearless female protagonists and magical bomb squads, you’re going to want to check out City of Broken Magic.

Gretchen: What got you into writing? Did you grow up knowing you wanted to be a writer or come to it more recently?

Mirah Bolender: I’ve been writing since childhood. My uncle recently unearthed an old photo album of me at 10 years old, with the note that “Mirah wants to be a children’s book writer and illustrator when she grows up.” The exact direction hasn’t always been clear, but the writing always has been.

G: What drew you to writing fantasy in particular?

MB: Almost every single piece of media I enjoy is fantasy or science fiction. It always feels fresh, inventive, or engaging, and I’m a sucker for inventive world building and fun characters. Fantasy provides a much wider playground. Also, I can’t write nonfiction to save my life.

G: I’d love to know more about the moment it clicked for you that you wanted to write this specific book. When did you realize, “I have a novel?

MB: I cannibalized a lot of old story concepts to fill in gaps. Since the original piece began as a prompt, it wasn’t very balanced and catered more toward checking off boxes, but the more I eliminated the newer, stranger bits, the more I realized that the makeshift mortar worked. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having a five-year-old idea finally work in a plot, and I had about eight of these old threads coming together. I really wanted to see where it led, so I kept writing, and kept writing… 75,000 words later I realized this was becoming a monster itself and I loved it!

G: The setting for City of Broken Magic is early industrial/late 19th-early 20th century, was that purely an aesthetic choice or is there some other significance to it?

MB: The characters came first, so the world was shaped in response to my first image of them and the equipment they used. I wanted the setting to be modern enough to accommodate what I had, but also not too modern as to limit the fantasy aspect. A lot of times when a fantasy happens in contemporary times, it becomes limited by the real world—by locations, by politics, or otherwise. I wanted there to be no illusions that this was operating in a completely different world, and I wanted the freedom to explore from a blank slate.

G: City of Broken Magic features what amounts to a magical bomb squad, how did you come up with that idea?

MB: It actually came through multiple steps. My original concept had the monsters less substantial, nightmares to be driven off by sunlight. I changed it up for a story prompt in class—“A day on the job,” where it became a more physical monster. Then where did it come from, if not a nightmare? The more I wrote, the more the context came together to become what it is now.

G: This is a two-parter, but they go together: 1) What is your favorite thing about your primary characters? 2) Summarize each of them in a sentence of 20 words or less, if you can.

MB: I think my favorite things about my primary characters are how easy it is to write Laura, and how fantastic Clae is for grumpy exposition. Sometimes I’ll start writing another story and have to stop and say, Wait a second, I’m writing Laura all over again. She’s become my default character voice and it’s hard separating from it. If I were to summarize them, they’d be:

Laura: “Come back here and say that to my face!”

Clae: “Bite off more than you can chew and then CHEW IT!”

G: What stories/authors inspire you when you’re feeling out of steam or like the creative juices aren’t flowing?

MB: Revisiting anything I enjoy helps. Last year I was watching Return of the Jedi on TV, and I had the strongest urge to create something even half as cool… after that I wouldn’t put down my notebook to pay full attention to the movie. It doesn’t always give you a direction, but sometimes that excitement is all you need to kickstart motivation again.

G: As a debut author, what was the most useful piece of advice you were given during the writing, querying, or publication process?

MB: Ironically, the best piece of advice was that I can ask for advice. Everyone I’ve worked with so far has been phenomenal in teaching and supporting me through the publishing process, but, like in every piece of work, there’s inevitably one or two details that slip through the cracks— what seems obvious to the experienced isn’t always such to me. So long as you’ve done some research and are genuine in your questions, there’s no reason not to ask for more details. If you know more about how things work you can better do your job, which will help them do their job, and together you can succeed! Sometimes I get bogged down by the mentality of ‘I can’t bother anyone,’ so they reach out to check in on me and make sure everything’s okay.

G: What’s coming up next for you? Any other projects you’re working on that you can tell us or hint to us about?

MB: City of Broken Magic is actually the first planned in a series, so I’m working on book two at the moment.

G: Oooh, that’s exciting! Anything else you want to share with us before we go?

MB: If you’re writing, try to keep track of your old ideas. It could easily be that you just haven’t found the right setting for them yet.

G: Thank you so much for the interview!

MB: You’re welcome! Thanks for having me.

About Mira Bolender

Mirah Bolender graduated from college with majors in creative writing and art in May 2014. A lifelong traveler, she has traveled and studied overseas, most notably in Japan, and these experiences are reflected in her work. City of Broken Magic is her debut fantasy novel.

City of Broken Magic will be available for purchase later this month, on November 20th, though you can read an excerpt over on Tor.com to get you hyped up. Stay tuned for a review, which will be released on publication day.

In the meantime, check out Mirah Bolender on Twitter and visit her website to keep up to date on all her work.


Images Courtesy of Mirah Bolender and Tor

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