As a contributing author in Shanghai Steam & the Steamfunk! Anthology, Ray Dean enjoys writing about many different cultures. Steampunk speaks to her in a retroactive futurism that opens so many possibilities. Her blog, My Ethereality (http://raydean.net), explores history, culture, war and love in eras and countries that influence the Steampunk world. Recently, she’s been working with D. Alan Lewis in his capacity as an editor for Luna’s Children – Stranger Wereworlds Anthology and she jumped at the chance to interview him about his upcoming novel release.
Interview with D. Alan Lewis, author of The Lightning Bolts of Zeus
by Ray Dean
Ray Dean: How did inspiration strike you to create Jasmine & Thyme Hawke?
D. Alan Lewis: I’ve always had a love for Steampunk and sci/fi- fantasy stories from the Victorian era. After finishing my first novel, a murder mystery, I wanted to jump right into a Steampunk tale. The idea of a lost Confederate airship came to me first off but the sisters took a little more time to come together. At first, It was just a single woman, Jasmine, who would be after Zeus. But after watching my daughters playing one afternoon, I decided that there should be 2 sister. In The Blood in Snowflake Garden, I had 2 central characters and wrote the story from 2 points of view. I enjoyed telling the story in that manner and decided to do the same with The Lightning Bolts of Zeus. As I progressed into outlining and writing the first draft, the Hawke Girls came to life in ways I hadn’t planned.
When I started writing, the Hawke girls had been fleshed out in my head as far as basic looks and personality, but as the story progressed, I found them lacking somewhat. I wanted to explore who they were and why they were doing what they do. So the backstory was created. Their mother was a secret agent and the girls followed in her footsteps. The mother’s death, which we learn about early in the book is a source of turmoil in their lives, but especially Jasmine’s since she was present when the mother was murdered. For Thyme, this adventure is her first time as an agent, so she is struggling to deal with the ordeals of the adventure, dealing with an overprotective big sister and falling in love for the first time.
The mother’s death, Jasmine’s guilt, and Thyme’s romance were never planned early on, but came about as a need to make the character more alive and real. It is one of those wonderful things about being a writer…. you watch as the characters grow and take on life as you write.
RD: Where does their world veer off from known American History?
DAL: In the world I created for the Hawke Girls, Steampunk technologies (advancements in steam power, electric energy, mechanical construction) come into play during the early 1860’s. With the Civil War underway, the Confederacy embraces the new technologies as a way of compensating for the manpower and resources while the North doesn’t. The result is a prolonged war, lasting 10 years instead of 4. One of the lasting effects of a decade-long war is that much of the male population of the United States is killed off. Women are now forced to step into the roles that had formerly been male-dominated.
Another lasting impact of the war has to do with the Indian Wars. In our history, the Indian Wars lasted until the early 1900’s and pushed the Native America on to small reservation, scattered throughout the U.S. In the Hawke Girls’ world, the United States lacked the manpower to continue the western push, battling the Indians across the continent. Seizing on the opportunity, British, French and Russian diplomats brokered a treaty between the U.S. and the combined Indian tribes and created the Sky Nation. This Indian nation will play a big role in the future of the series.
RD: What other Steampunk books/stories/ have you written/published?
DAL: I have a few short Steampunk short stories published or soon to be published.
“Kaylana” in Dreams of Steam 4: Gizmos
“Dull Flesh, Sharp Fangs” in Comfort Foods
“The Celeste Affair” coming soon in A Tall Ship, a Star, and Plunder
“Keely ” coming soon in Capes & Clockwork
Capes & Clockwork is an anthology I’m editing for Dark Oak Press. The stories are a fusion of Steampunk and the Superhero genre. My story Keely was a lot of fun to write.
The Celeste Affair is a Steampunk pirate adventure, but there is a twist. The lead character is Anastasia Hawke, mother of Jasmine and Thyme Hawke from The Lightning Bolts of Zeus. I plan on writing short stories from time to time featuring secondary characters from the Hawke Girls’ Adventures.
RD: What have you written for other genres?
DAL: My first novel, The Blood in Snowflake Garden was a fantasy murder mystery. I’m planning on a sequel, eventually.
I’ve also written a number of Pulp stories. For those who don’t know what it is, Pulp is a style that echoes the pulp books from the early 2oth century. The stories typically feature over-the-top characters, paranormal or supernatural villains or elements. The stories are full of action and concentrate on telling the story and not as much on exploring the thoughts of the characters.
I’ve written some horror and science fiction as well.
RD: Are you planning another foray into the world of Jasmine & Thyme?
DAL: Yes… in a number of ways. The Lightning Bolts of Zeus is the first book in the Hawke Girls’ series. I plan on 5 books in the series which is geared for adults and young adults. In addition, there will be a ‘Young’ Hawke Girls’ series that will feature Jasmine and Thyme as children, traveling the world with their mother. The ‘young’ series will be short chapter books for children 8 to 14.
Another publisher has approached me about turning the Hawke Girls’ world into a role playing game. Depending on the popularity of the series, that could be something in the near future.
Plus, as I’d mentioned earlier, some of the secondary characters in the series may show up in some short stories, here and there.
RD: Tell us about your current launch promotion-
DAL: After 2 years of writing, it seems that many of my projects are hitting within a 3 month period. So as a way of celebrating/promoting all the new work, I’m conducting a give-a-way. All you have to do is go to my website, sign-in to the Rafflecopter contest link.
You can ‘Like’ various Facebook pages and ‘follow’ me and my friends on Twitter. The more you like or follow, the more times your name is dropped in to the hat. You can come back daily and tweet the contest link or share the link on Facebook for additional chances to win. The contest will run through the end of the year. There are plenty of prizes, large and small, so take a look. http://www.snowflakegarden.com/alans-launch-contest/
Ways to contact Alan:
Website: www.hawkegirls.com (work in progress)
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Author-D-Alan-Lewis/141282752579697
The Hawke Girls’ page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Hawke-Girls-by-D-Alan-Lewis/211289518894053
The Blood in Snowflake Garden page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Blood-in-Snowflake-Garden/212067772166261
The Pulp page : https://www.facebook.com/#!/dexterblackwolfe
Alan’s Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/D.-Alan-Lewis/e/B006DA9P2U/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1