Car here. This is a series of interviews I’m doing for my author, Rebekah Webb, for the participants of the 2016 Brain to Books Cyber Convention. (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/154267-brain-to-books-cyber-convention-2016) Since I only interview inanimate objects, I have used the power of booze and lack of sleep to transform my interviewees into assorted objects of their choice.
Today I am going to interview Kate M. Colby, aka Charlie the mechanical frog. When she isn’t hopping around, being wound, or flirting with mechanical ducks, she’s the author of The Cogsmith’s Daughter.
Book Title: The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1)
In a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland, one king rules with absolute power and unquenchable lust, until the cogsmith’s daughter risks everything for vengeance.
Two-hundred years ago, the steam-powered world experienced an apocalyptic flood. When the waters dried up, the survivors settled around their steamship in a wasteland they named Desertera. Believing the flood and drought were caused by a scorned goddess, the monarchs demanded execution for anyone who commits the unforgivable sin—adultery.
Today, King Archon entraps his wives in the crime of adultery, executing each boring bride to pursue his next infatuation. Most nobles overlook King Archon’s behavior, but when Lord Varick’s daughter falls victim to the king’s schemes, he vows revenge.
When Aya Cogsmith was a young girl, King Archon had her father executed for treason. Orphaned and forced to turn to prostitution for survival, Aya dreams of avenging her father’s death. When Lord Varick approaches Aya with plans for vengeance, she agrees to play the king’s seductress—even though it puts her at risk for execution.
Packed with high-society intrigue, dappled with seduction, and driven by revenge, The Cogsmith’s Daughter is a new adult steampunk dystopian novel with the perfect mixture of conspiracy and romance.
More about Charlie:
Aya Cogsmith’s father created Charlie for her when she was a child. Now that her father is dead, Aya clings to Charlie as one of the few pieces of her father she has left. Like people often do with living pets or stuffed animals, Aya talks to Charlie when they are alone. He rests next to her bed as she sleeps, then serves as her alarm clock. (She winds him every night, then he ‘wakes’ to croak and hop when it is time for Aya to rise.)
Central to Charlie’s movement is a very special cog, called the vortric cog. It is this cog that is behind the unfair execution of Aya’s father (see book blurb). Long story short, King Archon demanded that Master Cogsmith fix the prince’s mechanical pet bird. A vortric cog was required, but Master Cogsmith did not disclose that Charlie contained one. He was willing to die to hide the cog from the king, and the king was willing to kill for the cog. As of this point in the series, the importance of the cog remains a mystery to Aya – all she knows is that it is one-of-a-kind and that she must protect it as her father did.
Kate M. Colby is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. Her first series, Desertera, consists of steampunk dystopian novels with themes of socio-economic disparity, self-empowerment, romance, and revenge. She lives in the United States with her husband and furry children.
Where to Find The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1):
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015TUD7WS
Signed paperback copies can be purchased directly from Kate here: http://katemcolby.com/books
Where to Find Kate:
Amazon Author Profile: http://www.amazon.com/Kate-M.-Colby/e/B015UF01M6
Twitter (@KateMColby): http://www.twitter.com/KateMColby
What made you start writing? As a mechanical frog, I bet your writing is influenced by the tiny
mechanical flies you’ve caught over the years.
I’ve loved telling stories for as long as I can remember. As a young frog, I would get wound up and hop my way all over the house, imagining I was jumping on lily pads or chasing flies. I suppose that imaginative spirit always stuck with me.
How does a mechanical frog write? Do flick you metal tongue into ink and flick it at a stack of paper? Do you send coded messages to your owner in the forms of ribbits? Or is there another way to be able to put words to paper/screen?
I have done the tongue-in-ink method before, but I found it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. My favorite way to write is using an ancient typewriter that my human, Aya, fixed. She’ll put in a piece of paper, and I’ll flick my tongue on the keys. When I reach the end of the page, I’ll let out a few croaks, and she’ll get me a new piece. It’s an expensive habit in Desertera, where paper is a scarce resource, but Aya indulges me.
Do you hang out with other mechanical items and if so, what are they like?
There are all kinds of mechanical objects lazing around in Aya’s workshop — from toys like me to music boxes to little engines. Most of them are sad and broken, but Aya’s doing her best to fix them.
Tell us about your inspiration for The Cogsmith’s Daughter. Did it involve staring into the sun until the afterimages turned into an interesting story? That’s how I come up with interview questions.
After everything Master Cogsmith and Aya have done to care for me, I felt like telling Aya’s story was the least I could do. Aya’s such an inspiring character — she’s brave and loyal and never gives up, even when all hope seems lost. I thought her quest for revenge and the lessons she learned along the way might inspire others who are down in the dumps.
What made you choose to write a steampunk novel? I always imagined mechanical frogs writing interactive fiction about the life of Kermit.
Steampunk really chose itself. I kept looking around Desertera and thinking, “Man, if only we had enough water to create steam and power all these gadgets!” When Aya told me that most of the old ‘steampunk’ tales didn’t suffer from a lack of water, I knew I had a unique market. After all, what’s more troubling than ‘steampunk without steam?’
Is it true that mechanical frogs are likely to croak at any minute?
Oh, absolutely! All it takes is a bump or a nudge, and our winder will turn ever-so-slightly and send us croaking and hopping.
Is there a special mechanical frog in your life? Or are you currently unattached?
Actually, there’s a pretty mechanical bird in the palace that I fancy. It’s aiming high, I know, but I’ve always been a good leaper.
What else have you wrote and have you ever decided to find a nice electrical pond to settle down in?
Currently, I’m working on another novel about Desertera. However, I’ve also written several short nonfiction booklets, each packed with fiction writing prompts. I hope they inspire other writers. As for the electrical pond…well, I’ve got my gears crossed that one day I’ll get to take a nice oil bath to soothe my old cogs and screws.
What hobbies do you have? Are you a member of a mechanical animal a cappella group?
I think Aya would take out my voice mechanism if I tried to croak a tune! When I’m not writing, I enjoy going for long hops around the shop, modeling Aya’s talents for customers, and napping in her dressing trunk.
Do you have any advice for young mechanical frogs out there who might want to try their hand at
Don’t let anything stand in the way of your writing time — not reading, not friends and family, not other hobbies, not even yourself and your insecurity. To be a writer, the number one rule is that you must write (writing well will come with practice). If you make the time to do it, eventually, you will end up with a story. Also, ask your cogsmith to give you hands — I hear it’s much easier to type with fingers!