Today I’m delighted to welcome Kara Jorgensen to the blog.
Kara is an adjunct English professor and writer from New Jersey. She considers herself a period drama aficionado and the mother to a pack of mutts. To marry her love of science and Victorian literature, she decided to write a historical-fantasy steampunk series called the Ingenious Mechanical Devices.
Please tell about your latest book and where it fits in your Ingenious Mechanical Devices series.
Dead Magic is the fourth book in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. The story follows Immanuel and Emmeline who share a soul but live very separate lives. Neither one is particularly thrilled that their lives are tethered together by a soul or a shared painful past. As Immanuel settles into his new career as a museum curator, he soon realizes that their past won’t go quietly. Old villains are reappearing in new bodies, and Emmeline finds herself in possession of a magical tome that some questionable witches are after. They become entangled in a plot filled with occult rituals and dark magic that could awaken a creature from another world.
The Ingenious Mechanical Devices series takes place in a Late Victorian world where steam and electricity power the world alongside the hidden realm of magic. The series thus far has followed two separate groups: Eilian and Hadley who are the new Earl and Countess of Dorset and Adam, Immanuel, and Emmeline whose lives have become entangled through the events of book two, The Winter Garden. With each book, the characters seek to find their place in the world and leave it a little better than it was before.
Your “About” page says that you will “probably die slumped over a Victorian novel.” What do you love about Victorian fiction and do you have any favourite authors or books from the 19th century?
That’s hard to pinpoint. I think a lot of it is nostalgia. The Victorian Era was a time where there were still mysteries in the world, there was hope in tomorrow, and technologies that are so prevalent in our modern world were just in their infancy then.
The Victorians were a strange people in that they were incredibly conservative, yet Queen Victoria collected nude sketches while erotica and pornography became a budding industry.
My real favorites are later Victorian authors, like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde. Wilde is probably my favorite Victorian figure, especially in contrast with Conan Doyle.
What lay behind your decision to write in the steampunk genre?
I was first introduced to the genre when I was in middle school.
I loved the aesthetic with the gears, leather, and corsets.
The costumes drew me in first, but then, I realized there were books with the same flavor. At the time, I was reading through all of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, so anything from the same time period sucked me right in, especially since steampunk seemed so full of mystery and London fog. Then, I started writing steampunk stories for myself and discovered that I loved the diversity and possibilities of the genre. There are some many subgenres that can be worked into a steampunk story that the possibilities are endless.
What I love most is that I can work diverse characters into my stories, which would be harder with straight historical fiction.
How do you manage to balance being an indie author with your day job?
It isn’t easy, especially recently. In May, I finished up MFA in creative writing, and now I’m working at two universities as an adjunct English professor. I’m still getting accustomed to balancing grading and writing for myself, but I’m starting to get into a routine. Luckily, I like to write at night before bed, which usually means peace and quiet with few distractions. The key for me is finding a time to write every single day until it becomes a habit.
I must admit that I may have put off grading in favor of editing Dead Magic. Sometimes it must be done when there’s a deadline to meet.
What are your future writing plans?
My main plan right now is to write and publish at least three more novels in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. Each book will focus on a different set of characters, and strangely enough, they’re each a different genre: mystery, adventure, and paranormal-fantasy. At the same time, they’re still all steampunk or Victorian historical-fantasy, which is what I love about this genre. In the future, I’m also hoping to write a solarpunk series or something more contemporary but still involving paranormal creatures.
Thanks Kara, that was great!
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