The annual Vegas Valley Book Festival was held in Las Vegas the weekend of November 2nd and 3rd. The Festival culminated with the final event, a Steampunk Themed panel and talk with three Young Adult authors whose works have included Steampunk stories. The event was held at a Mortuary in order to offer some atmosphere and provided an elegant location.
The authors who were invited included Suzanne Lazear (Innocent Darkness), Bethany Griffin (Masque of the Red Death), and Kiersten White (Corsets and Clockwork contributer). The three authors took to the podium and each offered a small reading of their books to give a taste to those present. Afterwards they all answered any questions that the audience had.
The first question was about the development of characters by a gentleman in the audience. After Kiersten promised to make the gentleman’s handlebar mustache into a character for her next book, she talked about going in depth to find a voice for one’s characters as well as making sure that voice didn’t get too overwhelming. Bethany went on to talk about how she liked to adjust them as she went on to ensure they would fit within the story as needed. Suzanne also discussed developing deeper details about a character such as quirks, likes, and hates.
Of course, the important question asked was how each of the authors discovered Steampunk. Kiersten was the first to answer and admitted it was because her editor asked her to become part of a Steampunk compilation. While she had a vague understanding of what the aesthetic was and agreed to do it, she had to do quite a bit of research to get a better handle for her writing. As she delved more deeply she came to appreciate Steampunk a great deal and enjoyed working on her short story for the anthology.
Bethany talked about how her involvement with writing Steampunk expanded as she worked on her book. She had always been a fan of Edgar Allen Poe. Since Masque of Red Death is a retelling of his classic tale, it worked to set it in the same time frame. That she was able to add some Steampunk elements to the story helped to make it flow even better for her.
Lastly Suzanne reminisced about how she had been reading Steampunk stories for a while, but had not been familiar with any sort of name to them. When she finally came across the Steampunk moniker she decided to apply it to her latest novel which also included telling a fairy tale. Combined, the two were able to give her some nice elements to Innocent Darkness such as young women rebelling against social norms and wanting to repair and drive flying cars.
The authors answered a few more questions before settling in to sign copies of their books and take pictures. Each was gracious with their time and funny with their quips back and forth. Over all a very enjoyable evening with three wonderful authors who shared themselves and their books.