Hello my fellow book worms and page turners, today’s post is an interview with the Author of the society of steam Andrew P Mayer. Andrew is mostly known for his novels, especially his super hero Steampunk trilogy I mentioned earlier. The society of Steam is a unique blend of history, technology, incredible characters and lots and lots of action pact .. well action really!
Andrew is now working on a new series of inter-dimensional cosmic adventure entitled “The Fool” which not only describes me in title, but also seems to be a very interesting storyline from what little snippets I have attained online, and I am hoping to get my hands on a copy and give it a good read soon!.
Well that’s my usual waffle out of the way, onto the main event I think!
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi there! My name is Andrew P. Mayer! I’m the author of the Society of Steam, a trilogy of superhero steampunk novels, and The FooL, a mind-blowing fantasy adventure series.
When I’m not writing books, I’m working as a video game design consultant – a job that sounds far more glamorous than it actually is.
What do you feel makes a Steampunk novel really tick?
For me, it’s about using the genre as a metaphor for our relationship with all the crazy technology that’s threatening to invade our lives and changing our world on a daily basis.
My favorite steampunk books also hold up a mirror to our society and remind us that we didn’t get here first.
Could you tell us what was your first experience with Steampunk and what made you want to write it?
I’m old enough to remember when Steampunk showed up back in the 80s as a sort of side genre to cyberpunk.By the early 90s, it didn’t seem to be going anywhere outside of roleplaying (Space 1899 comes to mind) and it fell off my radar.
Then I went out to Burning Man in 2006 I saw the Neverwas Haul (http://www.neverwashaul.com/) and the amazing devices that Kinetic Steamworks (http://kineticsteamworks.org/) folks had built. I’d also been hanging around the San Francisco metal-art scene a few years earlier, and it seemed to me like there was a genuine moment of zeitgeist happening around the idea of Steampunk
The Victorian Era was the last age of genuine craftsmanship before we were overwhelmed by mass production. A lot of their legacy is still with us today, both in terms of the structure of our society.
I realized we’d reached the point where we were capable of making things in our basement that had taken entire factories to build back in the 1800s. I realized if you could do that in the 1800s you were a superhero.
In previous interviews you mentioned that your experience with both comic books and Burning Man. How do you feel these experiences have influenced your writing?
I always feel like I’m at my best when I’m combining the ridiculous and the sublime – slamming together huge, world-shaking nonsense with deeper philosophical ideas that resonate with our daily lives.
That kind of storytelling is something that I think comic books taught me. For a genre story to connect – no matter how ridiculous or “out there” the ideas are – I want to ground it in the stories of the individual characters who are fighting for their lives and the lives of the people they love.
In the end, that’s what all good fantasy does. I think Burning Man is as close as I’ll ever come to having those kinds of “fantastic” experiences in my real life.
To some degree, I think that the cultural impact of Burning Man has leaked out into society at large over the last decade – particularly with conventions becoming more like indoor festivals in the last half-decade.
I have to admit the majority of novels that I’ve read within the Steampunk genre have been based in either Victorian England, or the American West. In fact with the exception Murdoch Mysteries all TV interpretations of the genre that I have seen to date follow this trend, so what prompted you to set yours in Victorian New York over all other possible cities and times?
My mother is from London, so I did originally think about using England as a backdrop. But London in that period was settling into being an empire and that didn’t strike me as the right environment for the sort of “mad scientist” stories I wanted to tell.
On the other hand, I’m a native New Yorker and in the late 1800s New York was busy becoming the modern metropolis we know and love of today.
To me setting a story in a city growing beyond the means of the people living in it to grasp or control what’s happening around them seemed like the perfect backdrop for Steampunk adventures of all kinds.
And New York City and superheroes go together like Spider and Man.
Was there anything that did/didn’t make it into the Society of Steam series, that you in hindsight wish you had included/removed?
The short answer is no.
I initially thought Society of Steam that it was going to be a two-book series. By the time I was midway through the 2nd book, I had realized just how wrong that idea was, and it became a trilogy
By the time I was midway through book three things were sprawling out of control. Despite my editor being willing to expand the series, I wanted to keep it a trilogy.
Things got cut to make that happen, but I was glad they did!
Which was your favorite character to write from the series & which did you identify with the most?
Anubis was probably my favorite. In my mind, he combines the things I like about both Wolverine and Batman, but he’s a true outsider in a way that neither of them could ever be.
Of all the characters in the book, I probably identify with Tom (the Automaton) the most. The journey he takes in to try to find his humanity in the books mirrors my spiritual journey over the last few years.
Even though its not Steampunk could you give us, a little taste of what to expect from your Current series “The FooL” & After this series, have you any thoughts on returning to a Steampunk Genre?
The FooL is my take on creating a “mind-blowing paranormal fantasy”. It’s about a mysterious and powerful angelic being named Matt Zero and a Jewish/Korean girl from New Jersey named Betsey Weisz. They travel together between alternate dimensions saving universes in peril while hurtling towards a dark fate. It’s my take on Doctor Who from a more fantasy driven perspective.
I’ll be releasing book two of the series sometime in late September, but you can get book one for free (and a bonus story) for free right now! Just head on over to my www.andrewpmayer.com.
As for the Society of Steam: I do have the structure of the next book in the series fleshed out, although I’m not sure when it’s going to get written at this point. Hopefully, I can get to it next year.
Finally, what genres do you like to read and what are you reading at the moment?
I’m a big fan of unique and quirky takes on fantasy and sci-fi, although the good stuff is harder to come by now that Terry Pratchett has left the planet. Similarly, I’m a fan of what falls under the “New Weird” label, although I’m not sure I buy that it’s still “new” 15 years after Perdido Street Station came out.
Right now I’m reading “The Last Policeman” by Ben H. Winters, which is scratching my itch for genre noir.
If you wish to find out more about Andrew, you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and have a look at both of these including his Official Website, which are all listed below.
Until next time, read more books..