It’s that time of year again, kids! When the writers in your life disappear for hours upon end, consume copious quantities of caffeine (and sometimes alcohol), and come out the other end of 30 days with some semblance of a book completed. Though I’m not officially signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which consists of 50,000 words in 30 days, my goal is 30,000 words in 30 days. This will hopefully get me close to the end of Steel Empires Book 4.
If you follow me on social media, you already know that I’ve been particularly obsessed with all things time travel lately. This isn’t new, really. I’ve maintained a fascination with the TARDIS for almost ten years, and so I figured it was time to put my own spin on it.
Today, I’d like to officially introduce you all to my current project: Steel Time.
Question 1: What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I already talked a bit about this above, but I’ve known since soon after I started drafting book 2, and decided that this would be a 7-book series, that I wanted to explore time travel at the midpoint of the major story arc. Don’t worry: I won’t be resetting my world and wiping out things that have gone before. Instead, I wanted something epic to bring Victory and Toria back together as POV characters in a novel.
Question 2: Describe what your novel is about!
Steel Time jumps forward a few years after the overlapping tales of Steel Magic and Steel Blood. By now, Toria and Kane are full members of the Mercenary Guild and take jobs across both Europa and back home on the New Continent. When they’re hired to hunt down an artifact in the ruins of Nacostina, they ask Victory along for her knowledge of the city as it once was. The story begins when Victory and Toria are thrown back in time to the city before it’s destruction in the Last War.
Mother and daughter will have to join forces to find their way home without ruining the future they know. Learning to work together as equals will be even more of a challenge.
Question 3: What is your book’s aesthetic?
I’m not significantly changing the aesthetic of the Steel Empires series, so I hope readers continue to enjoy my genre-blending adventure with bits of humor and drama. In terms of time travel tropes, I’m playing it fairly safe my first time out, but I won’t say more to keep this spoiler-free.
Question 4: Introduce us to each of your characters!
You should already know Victory and Toria by now, but I’d love for you to meet some new friends!
Liam: Museum curator. One of the first people Toria encounters in the past, who is tasked with educating her about her new time period. This relationship blossoms into a friendship, and might even turn into something more.
Hugh: Retiree. Gives Toria two important things: a place to live, and the first uncomplicated friendship she’s ever had.
Lyra: Bartender. Hires Toria as a bouncer when she strikes out with the sexism of the past Mercenary Guild, but it turns out their connection goes even deeper.
Jarimis: Academic. Victory’s progeny, and the former owner of the rapier Toria carries. A blast from the past, and a face returned from the dead.
Question 5: How do you prepare to write?
As usual, I’ve been writing from a detailed scene-by-scene outline. This year, I’ve also had a ton of fun with “writing crawls,” which I found on the NaNoWriMo forums a few months ago. Writing in short bursts with incorporated breaks works well with my short attention span.
Question 6: What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
The next stage in Victory and Toria’s relationship as mother and daughter, which is sure to bring tremendous conflict, since growth is never easy. Close runners up include Victory coming face to face with the son she lost decades ago, and Toria finally getting her own shot at romance.
Question 7: List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
- Washington, DC
- Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
- Toria’s hatred of 1940s era women’s underwear
Question 8: What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
On the one hand, Victory and Toria just want to get home to the lives they know.
On the other, Toria really doesn’t want to mess with the integrity of the timeline.
On another, Victory just wants to make sure her kid makes it back in one piece and doesn’t care who or what stands in her way.
And Toria would really like her mother to just trust her on this one, okay?
Question 9: How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
For the first time in her adult life, Toria has to face the world without Kane standing by her side. Writing about Toria battling her inner demons hits pretty close to home for me, but I hope that drawing on personal experience makes my words richer.
Question 10: What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
The evolving nature of the mother-daughter relationship. The fragility of the timeline. How mental health affects all relationships.
I really hope that readers continue to enjoy the Steel Empires series and leave this book excited for the continued adventures in the back half of this saga.
What are you working on for NaNoWriMo this year?
And Happy Halloween! What are you dressing up as tonight?
Make sure to let me know about both in the comments!