Please welcome Richard Ellis Preston, Jr back to the blog! His new book, ROMULUS BUCKLE & THE ENGINES OF WAR just came out, and not only did he answer a few questions about it, but you can win a copy, so be sure to check out the details below the post!
The 2nd installment of the Romulus Buckle series, ROMULUS BUCKLE & THE ENGINES OF WAR, just came out! What can we expect this time around?
Lots of action again, a mystery solved and several new mysteries arise. The heroes battle a set of alien beasties (sabertooths and a kraken) and become involved in the desperate political maneuvering of the clans as war becomes imminent.
How do you think Romulus had changed since the first book?
Romulus is confident in his abilities and as a zeppelin captain but he has never really been tested. He enters his first major zeppelin air-to-air battle in this book. He has grown up fast but he is still very young and you can see how his brashness is becoming a habit. Also, his obsession with finding his sister (apparently kidnapped by the Founders) may be clouding his judgment.
What have you enjoyed most about writing his character?
I wanted to write an adventure hero, a guy like Indiana Jones or Richard Aubrey, a guy Errol Flynn might have played in the movie version. I wanted him to be fun and he is.
What is your writing process like? Do you need to have anything at hand to get you in the writing mood?
My process is to write early in the morning and just write without concern for word count or page count unless I am under a deadline. I don’t wait for inspiration. I follow a schedule. I find that once I force myself to sit down and write I tend to find the excitement again. I love the quote on inspiration by Jack London: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” At night I like to review what writing I think I might do the next day so my subconscious can chew on it all night. I like to start writing in the early morning just after I wake up because that is when my brain is freshest from the dream state.
So far, what do you like most about being a published author?
Probably the obvious things. It is great to have a professional artist do your covers (mine is Eamon O’Donohugh and he is fantastic), to have professional editors to work with (my development editor is Jeff VanderMeer, I mean, wow) and of course the marketing and PR machine of a publishing house behind your book.
What kind of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write the book you must write, not the book you think everybody else wants.
Read any good books lately?
Life of Pi. Great Book.
What’s next for you?
This fall I took a break from steampunk to write the first book in a Young Adult adventure series. It involves England, Egyptian mummies and weather machines. Once that book is polished up and ready for submission I will tackle Romulus Buckle Book 3, which is set in a version of Atlantis. Underwater steampunk.
EXCERPT: Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War
The kraken descended, its huge wings beating, a flesh-and-blood nightmare shedding the unreality of myth, an alien beastie so ravenous that no aviator unfortunate enough to face one had ever come home alive. The fables described the kraken as a hunter of human sweetmeats, devouring entire crews in mere minutes, a pitiless crusher of airships.
For an instant, all Buckle could do was stare. The kraken resembled a giant squid, reddish yellow in color, though the head was almost blue, nestled amidst countless muscle-bound tentacles, the tubular body long and sheathed in an armored carapace, crowned with a horn-lined frill—a triceratopian head. The four sweeping wings, bat-like with their translucent, veined flesh and protuberance of the skeletal structure beneath, beat slowly but powerfully, each one casting massive vortexes in the snowstorm, each one as big as the Arabella itself. Blue-white arcs of electricity crackled back and forth across the kraken’s skin.
And the eyes—the beasties always had such terrible, glowing eyes. The kraken had seven of them—one huge, multi-chambered orb in the center of the head and three smaller eyes aligned on each side. They were hypnotic, drenched with malevolence, and frightful in their intelligence.
It had to be killed and killed quickly. And all Romulus Buckle had in his hand as he hurled aside his safety line—a deadly hindrance now—and scrambled amidships with a heart firing like artillery … well, all he had was a blunt axe.
It would have to do.”
**Wanna win a copy of ROMULUS BUCKLE & THE ENGINES OF WAR?**
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About ROMULUS BUCKLE AND THE ENGINES OF WAR:
The frozen wasteland of Snow World—known as Southern California before an alien invasion decimated civilization—is home to warring steampunk clans. Crankshafts, Imperials, Tinskins, Brineboilers, and many more all battle one another for precious supplies, against ravenous mutant beasts for basic survival, and with the mysterious Founders for their very freedom.
Through this ruined world soars the Pneumatic Zeppelin, captained by the daring Romulus Buckle. In the wake of a nearly suicidal assault on the Founders’ prison city to rescue key military leaders, both the steam-powered airship and its crew are bruised and battered. Yet there’s little time for rest or repairs: Founders raids threaten to shatter the fragile alliance Buckle has risked everything to forge among the clans.
Even as he musters what seems a futile defense in the face of inevitable war, Buckle learns that the most mysterious clan of all is holding his long-lost sister in a secret base—and that she holds the ultimate key to victory over the Founders. But rescuing her means abandoning his allies and praying they survive long enough for there to be an alliance to return to.