Blog Tour - Author Interview: Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey

As part of Kristin Bailey’s blog tour for her debut steampunk fantasy book, Legacy of The Clockwork Key, I had the pleasure of interviewing her today in the blog.

RELEASE DATE. March 5, 2013
PUBLISHER. Simon Pulse
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SYNOPSIS. A teen girl unravels the mysteries of a secret society and their most dangerous invention in this adventure-swept romance set in Victorian London.

When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key—a key that only Meg can use—that unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg is compelled to follow.

Meg has uncovered evidence of an elite secret society and a dangerous invention that some will stop at nothing to protect—and that Meg alone can destroy. Together with the handsome stable hand she barely knows but hopes she can trust, Meg is swept into a hidden world of deception, betrayal, and revenge. The clockwork key has unlocked her destiny in this captivating start to a trilogy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR. Kristin Bailey grew up in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley in California. As a kid she enjoyed visiting the beach, camping and skiing with her two brothers.

Now she is a military wife and mother of two young children. She is also terrible about spoiling her pets. She has one fluffy mutt, two cats who think they own the world, and a fish tank with a quartet of fat fish, and two secretive striped ninja-assassin snails.

In the course of her adventures, she has worked as a zookeeper, balloon artist, and substitute teacher. Now she enjoys writing books for teens who enjoy mystery and adventure as much as she does.

Have you really seen yourself become an author?
I used to write stories all the time, even very young. I distinctly remember writing a story about a princess trying to run away from the castle because her brother was being mean to her when I was seven, but writing for a living never seemed like a real possibility to me. It just didn’t seem like something people really did. In my mind it was almost as if authors sprung up out of the ground with their newest books in hand. I never imagined I’d become one.

Before becoming an author, how did you see yourself in the future when you were a kid?
I thought I would be an exotic animal veterinarian. I went to college intending to go on to vet school, but then I became hooked on my literature and especially my courses in Shakespeare, and I started writing for classes, then writing on my own.

What or who inspired you to be become an author?
It was a roommate just after college who said, “You should write a book,” and something clicked, so I sat down and I started researching how people go about getting published, and I wrote a book. Nearly ten years after that point and about six full manuscripts later, I actually got published. Writing is not a game for the impatient.

Briefly describe to us the exact feelings you got before and after you finish your first book—the writing process, getting a call from an agent, getting approved by a publisher, etc.
I remember being so proud of myself when I reached the end of my first book. It is a terrible novel and will never see the light of day, but at the time I believed in it and I felt for the first time I had really accomplished something. I did it. I wrote a book. I made it to the end. I am still proud of that accomplishment. Ten years later I was on the verge of giving up and trying to get back into my artwork when I finally got “the call”. I was really emotional about it because I was on the verge of giving birth. I remember being honored that my agent was so excited about my work that she called me on a Sunday, and I’ll never forget the look on my dad’s face when I said that an editor made an offer and it was from the publisher of a book he was reading at that moment. That is one of the most proud moments of my life.

Why did you choose the steampunk genre over the other genres? Do you want to explore other genre/s as well?
I didn’t really choose steampunk so much as it chose me. I just wanted to write a story that felt like the classic Victorian children’s stories that I loved growing up, like Peter Pan, or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I chose to write about Victorian inventors, and all that equation lines up to equal steampunk in the minds of most people. I love steampunk, especially the creative talents of the people involved in the movement, and I hope I honored that sense of creativity. I also like writing science fiction, fantasy, and romance.

Tell us more about your current book, Legacy of the Clockwork Key.
Legacy of the Clockwork Key is at its heart and soul an adventure story. When I was writing it, I was possessed by inspiration, and I can see reflections of just about every story or movie I deeply loved as a child in the book. A couple of them were deliberate homages, and some of them were unintentional, but every time I read the book I’m reminded of all the stories I have loved in my life.

It’s a simple story really about a girl who discovers her family and her past are more complicated than she first expected. As she unravels some of the secrets her family kept hidden from her, it sends her on a quest to unearth terrible and beautiful inventions that have been hidden throughout the English countryside. As she sinks deeper and deeper into the adventure, she finds herself tangled in a murderous plot driven by power, madness, and desperation. While she untangles that mess, the bigger issues about the truth of what happened to her family will drive the plots of the other two books. By book three everything will wrap up for Meg, and I promise, there will be no secrets left undiscovered. It is going to be a wild ride.

What is the most striking or unforgettable line in Legacy of the Clockwork Key?
I do have one single favorite line from the book. It makes me smile every time I read it. I get the same giddy sense of “Oh no!” in my heart each time I read it, but it is slightly strange taken out of context.

Meg and Will are exploring a giant labyrinth when Meg realizes it is built to be a mock up of the labyrinth at Knossos. Will is unfamiliar with the story and so Meg fills him in and tells him all about Daedalus, Icarus, Ariadne, etc, when they hear something and stop in their tracks. Will asks, “What is that?”

And Meg, realizing she knows exactly what it is, says my favorite line in the entire book.

But I’ll let you discover what it is.

Did you ever base any of the characters in real life?
The only character in the first book based on real life is Meg’s grandfather. I kept thinking about my own great-grandfather every time Meg thought about him. I miss him terribly. There is a short essay that is hidden away in a secret compartment somewhere on the homepage of my website. If you’d like to know more about him, you can search for it by “looking” around the page with your mouse for hidden buttons. There are also original sketches of Meg’s costume details and how they change through the story, and a page that is still blank right now, but will include some concept art for the trailer that is coming soon.

Was there a part of the story that was hard to write?
Dealing with the pacing in the beginning and the middle was a little difficult and required some editing to speed things up and keep the sense of immediate danger as heightened as possible. I think that was the one thing I really struggled with.

What advises can you give to aspiring authors (like me)?
The only one who can stop you from succeeding in this business is you. You are only “done” in this game the minute you give up. There’s always a bigger better story to write, and I’ve never known a writer to become worse at writing the longer they work hard at it. This isn’t a job for those who are discouraged easily. In the end, love writing, love the struggle, never give up, and no one can stop you. When you do finally get where you wanted to be, don’t let the struggle make you jaded. Do your best to be honest, professional, and kind.

Thank you so much for being a part of the tour and for being someone who loves to read.

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