I’d like to welcome our guest today, Theresa Meyers. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.
Thanks for the invite! I always enjoy it here.
I understand you have a new release out called The Hunter. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book and what exactly is steampunk?
I often get asked, what is steampunk. The term steampunk was coined by author K.W. Jeter in 1987 in a letter he wrote responding to Locus magazine in trying to describe the type of fiction he, James Blaylock and Tim Powers were writing at the time. The quick version is that steampunk is Victorian age science fiction. Think H.G. Well’s Timemachine or Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, or movies such as Wild Wild West, and you’ll get the idea.
The Hunter is a steampunk with a paranormal and romance twist. It’s the story of the youngest of three supernatural Hunters, all named after their father’s favorite guns, Winchester Remington and Colt in the Wild West. Colt’s the outlaw in the family, the one fully invested in the Hunter life. He’s working to save the world from destruction by finding his father’s missing piece of the Book of Legend, but he needs a supernatural to help him open up the place where he believes it is hidden. Colt’s a real ladies’ man, so when the supernatural he summons to help him turns out to be a succubus, he’s kind of in trouble from the get go. Overall the book is kind of what would happen if you mashed together the television series Supernatural with Wild Wild West and added a dash of Indiana Jones or Romancing the Stone.
The Hunter is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
Mostly it was because that’s what these guys are. It’s what sets them apart from an average ordinary man. They are Hunters. Only Colt’s the only one out of his brothers who has really embraced the title. His oldest brother Winchester doesn’t want anything to do with the life anymore and his middle brother, Remington, is a Hunter when and how it suits him.
What made you decide to write in this genre?
I’ve always been a bit of a Victoriana nut. I loved the clothes, the mannerisms, etc. One of my favorite movies when I was younger beyond Mary Poppins was a film called The Two Lives of Jenny Logan. It was about this woman who bought a Victorian house in San Francisco with this old dress in the attic. She tries the dress on and it transports her back to the 1800s where she meets this artist and gets embroiled in solving a murder mystery. She goes back and forth between here and her life in Victorian times by using the dress and eventually decides to stay back in time. I was the kid that instead of asking for a calendar of puppies and kittens, wanted one of Victorian house plans. When I had to sew dresses for my high school formals, they ended up with mutton chop sleeves, bustles and long-skirts. Really I didn’t decide so much to write in the genre as I kind of fell into it because of what I already loved.
Where did you get your idea for this particular book?
When I was living in Arizona, in 1998 I came up with an idea for these three brothers who lived in the Wild West. All of them were named after their father’s favorite guns: Winchester, Remington and Colt. I knew that the oldest was a lawman, the middle brother an attorney and the youngest a gunslinger/outlaw. What I didn’t know is how they fit together, their history of how they became what they were. Fast forward ten years. In watching the television show Supernatural, I began to think, hey what would it have been like to have these hunters in the West or Victorian times? How would they have functioned, who would they have been, would they have had a secret society that trained them? I merged that idea with my brothers and found out what I had was a Steampunk story-line. My brothers are hunters in the Weird Wild West. They have an inventor friend who creates and maintains the unusual weapons they use to find and hunt down demons, shapeshifters, ghosts, vampires and the like. My youngest brother rides a mechanical clockwork horse. Applying the Steampunk aesthetic to my book made it so much better! It was like finding the missing jigsaw piece that made the whole thing work.
What are your favorite fantasy research books, and why?
My favorite standby is The MacMillian Illustrated Encyclopedia of Myths & Legends by Arthur Cotterell. It’s got so much from so many different cultures that it’s a brainstorming gold mine.
Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?
Probably my favorite character is Marley. I know it should be my heroes and heroines, but there’s just something about him that’s just very amusing to me. He’s like an 1880’s version of James Bond’s Q. Quirky, eccentric, and very dedicated. He’s got a story that keeps coming out in little bits with each book, and I can’t wait to find out the whole truth about just who he really is and how this British inventor came to be a hermit out in the American West.
Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research and world affect your character development?
Yes. How’s that for an answer? LOL. Really the first thing I do is run numbers on a character’s name. It gives me a sense of what truly motivates him or her, how they see themselves and how others react to them. Then I start digging (sometimes by means of interviews) to find out more about what their background is, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. The hardest part of writing of writing this trilogy is that I tried something different. All the books have a scene or two that intersect with one another and happen at the same time. Keeping all the brothers and secondary characters straight on a timeline is a huge challenge. I have to know not just what’s happening in one book, but in all three books so that it will all make sense when they are read together. I hope readers have fun reading those scenes from the other brother’s points of view.
How do you go about building your world? Do you use maps, charts or drawings?
I look at historical maps of rail lines, maps from the 1880s of Europe and other places in the world to get things correct. I’ve also been to many of the places I write about, so that helps too. Most of what I do however is from my computer if I need to find a particular herb or find out exactly when a telegraph line came into being or electric street lights came into use.
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
Plenty! I adore James Rollins. No one knows how to craft better action adventure blended with science than he does. Yasmine Galemorn and Cherry Adair were inspirational in how they’ve crafted their stories about siblings. And of course J.K. Rowling for her world building.
What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
Sounds silly, but the big banner I had made with vistaprint.com has gotten the most comments. I’ve used it at each conferences I’ve gone to and my book signings and it always gets noticed.
What do we have to look forward next?
Actually, I’ve been really busy! I’ve got a dark urban fae e-novella out this month titled Shadowlander, out with Entangled. In March 2012 the next vampire book in my Sons of Midnight series will be coming out from Harlequin Nocturne, and then in April will be Winchester’s book, The Slayer. Starting in January I’ll be writing on the third book in the Legend Chronicles trilogy, which is Remington’s story.
To celebrate her book release, Theresa Meyers is offering a free book of The Hunter to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)
She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...
The progeny of a slightly mad (NASA) scientist and a tea-drinking bibliophile who turned the family dining room into a library, Theresa Meyers learned early the value of a questioning mind, books and a good china teapot. A former journalist and public relations officer, she found far more enjoyment using her writing skills to pen paranormal novels in the turret office of her Victorian home. She’s spent nearly a quarter of a century with the boy who took her to the Prom, drinks tea with milk and sugar, is an adamant fan of the television show Supernatural, and has an indecent love of hats. You can find her dabbling online on twitter at www.twitter.com/Theresa_Meyers
or at http://www.theresameyers.com/
Want to read an excerpt of The Hunter online?