I’m so excited to be sharing today’s interview with you! I met Katy Haye through her editor, Romance Refined, and she has been a joy to work with on our new candle, Clara’s Workshop.
The inspiration for Clara’s Workshop came from the book The Clockwork War. Here’s a little intro to the story:
Imagine that Elizabeth I never ruled.
England and Scotland never unified.
It’s the 1840s, and the two countries are once more at war.
If you love alternate history/steampunk stories, this interview is for you!
Hi Katy! Thank you so much for joining me today!
I really enjoyed The Clockwork War. I have to admit it was the first steampunk book I’ve read. Have you always been attracted to this genre or was this a story that just presented itself to you? Or both?
My books usually start with a character, and The Clockwork War began in my mind with Clara in her workshop building a talking toaster (that became her mechanical assistant, Fetchitt). As the story evolved I realized it was a part of the steampunk universe. I suspect that might have been influenced by the fact that I live in Lincoln (UK), where we have an annual steampunk festival. The final weekend in August the city is thronged with steampunkers in fantastic costumes with lots of entertainment and stalls laden with steampunk goodies. It’s my favourite weekend of the year because steampunk is such fun and so good-natured that it’s like the entire city is in an especially good mood for three days. I love it, and I wanted to be a part of that.
In the story, England and Scotland are at war and our main character, Clara, is a tinker who is asked to help in the efforts for England to defeat Scotland. She faces a lot of interesting challenges and at one point questions her mission. What is it about Clara that makes her the heroine of this story?
Clara is one of my all-time favourite characters. If there’s one trait that rules her it’s duty – firstly to her family, and then to her country. I think that makes her quite relatable – especially as she discovers that “doing your duty” isn’t as straightforward as you might hope. I’ve really enjoyed writing Clara’s struggle to do the right thing – and to figure out what the right thing is in the first place. I think that’s what makes a hero (or heroine) – it’s doing what you believe you must, even when it’s difficult or brings about results you’d prefer not to have to deal with.
I loved the descriptive scenes you wrote about different places in the story. It felt like I was right there. We collaborated on Clara’s Workshop and the scent is definitely a great compliment to the story. What is your writing process and how do you know when a section of writing is “done”?
My writing process is deceptively simple: I start at the beginning and just blast through until I reach the end. I do plan beforehand, so I know roughly what’s going to happen at peak moments (although characters often have surprises up their sleeves!). After that, I leave the first draft for a couple of weeks, then read through on my Kindle (so I can’t mess with the file) while I make notes on what’s good and bad and where changes are needed. After a thorough revision it goes to my editor for a content edit (does the story make sense, and does it entertain the reader?), I undertake revisions with the editor’s feedback, and then it gets a second edit focusing on the small stuff (commas, apostrophes, repeated words, etc). Generally speaking, I decide a book’s done when I’ve gone over it so often I’m thoroughly bored with it and can’t bear to look at it any longer – not entirely scientific, but it seems to work!
I noticed on your website that you are an avid reader. Has this always been the case? Was your love of reading the inspiration for you to become a writer?
Hah, yes, I have always loved books. According to my mum, I decided I wanted to be a writer before I could even read. After she’d read me a bedtime story one time I announced I was going to write books “when I was grown up”. That ambition hasn’t wavered since.
The Clockwork War started life in a larger anthology of stories, Shattered Worlds. Tell us a little about that.
Shattered Worlds is a collection of 21 YA stories, spanning the sub-genres of fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk and dystopian fiction. It came about when a group of independent YA authors decided to work together to increase what we could achieve. We got some fantastic results – we reached the USA Today Bestseller list with the collection, as well as learning loads from each other about writing and marketing, and making new author friends.
Before we wrap things up, can you share a little bit about books 2 and 3 of this series? I’m excited to hear what’s next for Clara!
I’d love to share because I’m bursting with excitement. The series is everso nearly complete (book 4, last in the series, is with my editor as we speak) and I’m so thrilled about bringing it to readers. Book 2 is titled An Airship from Ashes, and I don’t want to give any spoilers, but can you guess what machine Clara might be tinkering with in that volume of the series?! And very shortly, The Tinker Queen and The Immortality Device will be rounding off Clara’s story. There are lots of twists and turns ahead and I’ve had such a blast writing Clara’s adventures – I hope readers will enjoy them, too.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today!
is inspired by The Clockwork Wars by Katy Haye.
The warm scent of heated metal in a smoky wood stove
What I loved about The Clockwork War:
Having never read a steampunk book before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Clockwork War sets a high standard for any I read after. Clara is a tinker who has a history that is sort of a mystery. However she’s gifted at her trade is brought in to help England with the war effort. The way that Katy Haye tells her story, you feel like you are in the tinker shop or walking through England at night or in the room when everything hits the fan. I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a YA steampunk story with a strong female lead.- Nalana @ Book Scents