1. Hello Kristin! Thank you for granting me this interview. I’d like to talk first about your book Legacy of the Clockwork Key. How did this story come into being?
Legacy of the Clockwork Key began when I saw a picture of a steampunk raven that someone had created. I was fascinated by it, and I wondered who would put the effort into creating it and why. I remember being in the car and seeing a large crow fly overhead and then I began to think about how amazing it would be if a mechanical bird could imitate a live one. At that point my secret society of inventors was born. I’ve always loved Victorian children’s literature, and I thought it would be fun to create a story that reflected the sweeping sense of whimsy and adventure of those classic books.
2. What was the most challenging aspect of creating this character of Meg?
Meg is an extremely challenging character to deal with as an author. I knew first and foremost, in order for her to be convincingly brave enough to face all the enormous physical and mental challenges I was about to throw at her, she’d have to be exceptionally bold and really intelligent. The problem was, I had placed her in a time where being a bold and intelligent female often landed one in an insane asylum. Consequently, Meg is very constrained by her social position as a young women who has a certain sense of herself, but no means to act on it at the moment. The rashness that she needs to break through her social constraints and seize the reins of adventure can give her a harsh edge to her personality.
I didn’t intend to use a Zodiac sign as a strict personality guide, but I had to choose a birthday for Meg to make some of the timeline work out. It turns out, she’s and Aries through and through. She tends to shoot first and aim later.
The benefit of this is that Meg starts out in book one as a fairly flawed character. She’s naive, she’s stubborn, she jumps to conclusions, and she can be pushy. That has given her a lot of room to learn and grow through the course of the three books, and I’ve had fun seeing her mature into a composed and powerful character by book three.
3. How did you approach the research needed for the book?
I tried to take the research one step at a time. First I did a lot of general reading on the Victorian era, and even broke out a lot of my favorite Charles Dickens novels to gain a sense of the contemporary language of the era, and also for setting details. I did a lot of reading on how households were run, and the rolls that servants had to play. Once I felt I had enough of the big picture in place, every time I needed a specific detail for the book, I looked that up individually to make sure it fit into my setting, and also that it was plausible. Looking up slang terms in particular was very interesting.
4. What are your current/future projects?
I am currently writing book three, and it is fun to finally bring all the big picture pieces of the story together. I’m not thinking too much ahead of that, but I’d like to write something with a boy as a protagonist sometime in the future.
5. If you had to be one of your protagonists, who would it be?
I can be really mean to my characters. I don’t think I’d want to be any of them. I put them in danger and injure them frequently. I think if I had to be anyone, I’d be Oliver, just because he lives a fairly charmed life, unless I’m causing him immediate physical pain.
6. Who are your favourite writers and why?
I love Jim C. Hines, his fantasies are fun and his characters are fantastic. I love Julia Quinn novels because she writes such fun romance, and I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter books.
7. What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?
Honestly, it was probably Black Beauty by Anne Sewell. I think it started my life long obsession with horses, but I think reading a book as a young girl written from the perspective of an animal, then following along through much of the joy, heartbreak, and abuse that animal suffered, left a mark on my spirit that can never be erased. Through my life, I have never doubted that animals have thoughts and feelings and I continue to try to live my life in a way to help as many animals as I can.
8. What are your 5 favorite books —and why?
I love Frankenstein, because it is thought provoking. I love Harry Potter because it is so much fun. I love Lord of the Rings for the world building. I really adoreGoblin Quest by Jim C. Hines because it is hysterically funny and touching at the same time. And I love Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson because it is one of those books that everyone should read.
9. What is the greatest challenge you have faced in your career as an author?
I’ve had some fairly serious writing setbacks that at the time seemed „career ending.” Picking myself up and recovering from those took a lot of mental fortitude. I guess in that way, I’m a little like Meg. I can be really stubborn and I don’t like to give up.
10. Describe your writing room
I’m going to be moving soon, so it’s really a mess at the minute. I have a tiny desk in our greatroom. There’s a futon behind me, and some bookshelves, and the pool table down here. Mostly I’m staring at a messy desk and a blank wall in our cold basement. It’s not very glamorous. There are certain whimsical things in the room though, like this animation cell replica of the Pink Panther.
11. Take us through a typical day in the life of Kristin Bailey.
Most of the day is taken up just being a mom. I have to get the kids to school, feed everyone, clean the house, then if I get some time in the afternoon, I answer emails and try to do interviews and blog posts. Once everyone is asleep, that’s my time to write. I’m a night owl, and I hate mornings. Having the house dark and quiet is best for my concentration.
12. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I hope everyone enjoys Legacy of the Clockwork Key. I had a great time writing it and celebrating invention and engineering. More than anything, thank you for being readers and enjoying books. If you would like to know more about The Secret Order, you can visit my website at http://www.kristinbailey.com, follow me on Twitter @KBaileyBooks or stop by and „like” my Facebook page.
Happy reading everyone!
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