Kev’s Author Interviews Presents:
Hello, everyone! I’m thrilled to be here today. My name is Kate M. Colby, and I’m an author of science fiction, fantasy and nonfiction for writers. My first series, Desertera, consists of steampunk fantasy novels with themes of socio-economic disparity, self-empowerment, romance, and revenge. By day, I’m a copywriter at a wine marketing company, and by night (when I’m not writing), I enjoy antiquing, playing video games, and wine tasting. I live in the United States with my husband Daniel and our feline son Thomas.
Kev: What’s your latest book called and how did you come up with the title?
My latest novel is titled The Courtesan’s Avenger. It’s the second book in my Desertera series (the first being The Cogsmith’s Daughter). As you may have noticed, my titles follow a theme. Each title describes the novel’s protagonist. In The Courtesan’s Avenger, my leading lady Dellwyn is on a quest for justice and to avenge the cruel murder of a fellow courtesan. Thus, she is literally “the courtesan’s avenger.”
Kev: Which Genre do you have it listed under and does it cross any other genres?
The Courtesan’s Avenger (and the rest of the Desertera series) offers a twist on the steampunk subgenre of science fiction. However, while steampunk in styling, it takes place in a desert wasteland, long after the traditional steampunk world has experienced an apocalypse. As such, it crosses into post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and fantasy.
Kev: Tell us a little bit more about it.
I’ll let my copywriting do the talking for me:
A courtesan on a mission. A brothel ravished by greed. A murder to avenge.
Dellwyn Rutt loves her life as a courtesan. For years, she has enjoyed the simple pleasures and lavish gifts of her trade. Now she wants more: the title of madam.
But Madam Huxley, the brothel’s current proprietor, refuses to name a successor—a problem that is amplified by the legalization of adultery. As the new law sends lusty clients flocking to the brothel, Madam Huxley’s greed grows unchecked at the workers’ expense. Only one outsider seems to care: a self-proclaimed prophet who won’t rest until the unholy institution is abolished.
After weeks of abuse, Dellwyn desperately seeks a way to subdue Madam Huxley’s tyranny. But when another courtesan is murdered, Dellwyn must set her struggles aside and solve the crime. The only problem? All evidence points to Dellwyn’s friends… and to her.
Driven by twisting turns, peppered with witty dialog, and shadowed by unrequited love, The Courtesan’s Avenger is a cozy mystery in a steampunk fantasy world.
Kev: Introduce us to your main character (Looks, attitude, habits, strengths, weaknesses…)
Other than her unsavory profession as a courtesan (in which she thrives), Dellwyn Rutt is everything I wish I could be. With clients and strangers, she’s confident, passionate, and incredibly intuitive. At home, she’s a caring and motherly surrogate sister to the young Sybil and a fiercely loyal friend. When faced with the gruesome murder of a fellow courtesan, Dellwyn doesn’t shy away or dream of revenge. Instead, she dives headfirst into the mystery and seeks justice, as defined by the laws of Desertera. Her weaknesses? Dellwyn has a tendency to bite off more than she can chew, too carefully guards her heart, and is a bit too trusting and dependent on others for her sense of self-worth.
Kev: Provide a teaser/short passage from your book.
I love this scene. It’s when Dellwyn finally approaches Madam Huxley about her desire to take ownership of the brothel one day.
Dellwyn swallowed. She wasn’t quite sure how to phrase what she wanted to say, and subtlety had never been her strong suit. Screw it. “You’re getting older, Madam. I’m sorry, but it’s true. You don’t have any children or family, and I doubt you want the Rudder to go up for auction to the highest-bidding nobleman when you die.”
Madam Huxley scrunched her nose. “Go on.”
“And me, I’m not getting any younger, either. I’m closer to thirty than twenty. In a decade, if I’m lucky, my clients are going to start trading me in for younger girls. It’s inevitable, and I’d like not to get thrown out on the street when it happens.”
Madam Huxley tapped her fingers on her desk. The clacking of her nails made Dellwyn’s heart race. She hoped she hadn’t been too blunt. “As much as it pains me to admit it, you make a fair point—for both our futures.”
Dellwyn let out a long breath. “I’m not asking to be handed anything. I’m just asking you to think about it.”
“I shall.” Madam Huxley glanced over Dellwyn’s shoulder. “In fact, I can think of a couple of your coworkers who may appreciate the same consideration.”
Dellwyn clenched her skirts in her fist, silently cursing the madam’s manipulative nature. Of course she had to turn this into a contest. Why couldn’t Madam Huxley just keep quiet and let Dellwyn think she had no competition, even if it weren’t true?
Madam Huxley patted her dress, as if they had been discussing the ever-unchanging weather. “Is that all, Dellwyn?”
Dellwyn closed her eyes, rolling them behind the safety of her lids, and let out another breath. “That’s all.” She stood to leave.
Kev: When you wrote this work, did you write off-the-cuff or use some kind of formula like an outline?
As much as I would like to make up my novels as I go along, I’m a dedicated outliner. I always plot the major events that need to happen in a novel … though there were a few moments in The Courtesan’s Avenger where the characters surprised me (no spoilers!).
Kev: Did you research for the backdrop of your story or any other part of it?
Since my novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, I did not have to research most of the setting. However, I have done some research into desert farming and survival, as well as steamships (the palace is a magnificent steamship). I will be researching more into steam power and technologies as the series (and the characters’ technological abilities) progresses.
Kev: What challenges did this particular work pose for you?
The Courtesan’s Avenger posed the challenge of being a sequel. On one hand, I created most of Desertera and its characters when I wrote The Cogsmith’s Daughter. However, that also meant I had to keep all the details consistent for the second novel. Similarly, I put a lot of pressure on myself with this sequel. I wanted to prove that writing my first book wasn’t a fluke and that I would improve and grow as a writer with the second novel. If you read the books, you can tell me whether I succeeded!
Kev: What methods are using to promote this work?
Since The Courtesan’s Avenger is a sequel, I’m not doing much to promote the novel itself (other than sharing its release with my followers and doing a few guest posts like this). To help new readers find the series, I’ve recently done a multi-author free promotion, NetGalley listing, and a sequel launch sale for The Cogsmith’s Daughter, and I’m pleased to report they have gone very well.
Kev: Do you have any advice for new authors?
Such a loaded question! Where to begin? My best advice is to remember why you’re writing. Are you hoping to build a career, reach other people with your art, or simply have fun? Whatever the reason (they’re all wonderful), always keep it at the forefront of every decision you make. If ever a decision goes against your “why,” it’s probably not the best fit for you. This practice will help you write the purest story you can as well as navigate the minefield of publishing (should you choose that path).
Kev: Speaking of advice for authors, what is your nonfiction for writers?
Currently, I’m writing a series of ten creative writing prompt booklets. Each one focuses on a different genre of fiction and contains 100 prompts to inspire the hopeful (or blocked) fiction writer. I won’t clutter this interview with individual links, but anyone interested can view them all on my website at: http://www.katemcolby.com/books/nonfiction
Kev: Where can readers buy your novels?
The Desertera series is available in ebook and paperback formats on all major online retailers. You can choose your favorite store from the links below:
The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1) – http://books2read.com/the-cogsmiths-daughter
The Courtesan’s Avenger (Desertera #2) – http://books2read.com/the-courtesans-avenger
Kev: Where can readers connect with you online?
I’m all over the place, so feel free to connect wherever you like:
Website – https://www.katemcolby.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKateMColby
Twitter – https://twitter.com/KateMColby
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/katemcolby
Tumblr – https://katemcolby.tumblr.com
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/katemcolby
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/katemcolby
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+KateMColby
Kev: Any final words?
Thank you so much for hosting me and for everything else you do for the independent artist community, Kev! It’s always a pleasure to connect with you, and I hope your readers enjoyed my interview.
Kev: The pleasure was all mine, Kate. Thank you for visiting.