Behind the Book Interview: Kicking Ashe | Pauline Baird Jones

Behind the Book Interview: Kicking Ashe

PE-5-webThe (mostly) true story behind the writing of Kicking Ashe

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Not long after finishing my second or third book (I forget), I started a tradition of interviewing myself about the process of writing my latest book. It's the story behind the story that only I can know--and only I can coax out of myself. It's a little weird, but it helps me capture the things about the story that I'm sure I'll remember forever, but forget when I start the next book. So, without further fanfare, here is the Interview:

Me: This is, for now at least, the last book in your Project Enterprise series. How do you feel about reaching the end?

Myself: It's an odd mix of relieved and sad. When I wrote The Key, the book that launched Project Enterprise--not to mention my turn into writing science fiction romance--I had no idea it would grow into five novels and two short stories (in Dreamspell Steampunk and A Death in Texas anthologies). Nor did I suspect I would end up mixing up steampunk with my science fiction romance along the way. 

Me: It has indeed been a strange journey, one that almost made our head explode.

Myself: Several times.

Me: There does seem to be a pattern emerging. What elements caused the near head exploding, do you think?

Myself: Duh. The time travel. And the steampunk mixed into the SFR. 

Me: The duh was uncalled for. Ahem, it is true you had some concern about both, did you not?

Myself: Duh again. Since they almost made my head explode. And I wondered how readers would react to the steampunk.

Me: Since many of them had never heard of steampunk, it was a valid concern. What were some other problems you dealt with while mixing your steampunk into your SFR?

Myself: Researching fake science is, of course, always challenging. And just dealing with the whimsy and humor of steampunk proved challenging.

Me: Could you explain why?

Myself: Well, take the names. Someone has commented that my "transmogrification" machine sounds very Calvin and Hobbes, but it is actually a real word that means "to transform." In my real research of Victorian times, I noticed that inventions got kind of whack names, so I wanted to carry that into my characters' fictional inventions. It had the added benefit of being hard to pronounce with any dignity and I use that as a sort of running joke in the books that follow Tangled in Time, where the machine is introduced. I did realize that some readers might have trouble with my mix of genres.

Me: And that has never stopped you mixing them up before, has it?

Myself: (a bit sheepishly) No. 

Me: Let's talk specifically about Kicking Ashe. 

Myself: This is where you want me to confess that it was supposed to be a novella, right?

Me: They say confession is good for the soul. 

Myself: Whose soul is it? Me, myself or I?

Me: Mine, of course.

Myself: Mine is here?

Me: Focus. In the past, you've written what have come to be known as the BABs (big ass books). This novella what wasn't, you call it….

Myself: The mini-BAB, because its about 68,000 words. Too much for a novella, but seriously shorter than a BAB. Happy now?

Me: Why yes, yes I am. (nod to Phineas and Ferb!)

Myself: I'll just pretend you asked and add that this book tells readers what happened to Ashe who got left in a precarious position at the end of Steamrolled.

Me: And there is another familiar character, is there not?

Myself: You know it. Vidor Shan, the semi-bad dude of Girl Gone Nova gets his chance to make some better, more heroic choices. I had not intended this, but got several requests to boost his heroic profile. 

Me: Is this book another SFR/steampunk blend?

Myself: While some of the steampunk elements litter this story, it is primarily a science fiction romance adventure tale. And there is probably enough space action to qualify it as space opera, too. 

Me: Any last words before we turn our attention to the next novel?

Myself: I hope that readers will feel satisfied with this series wrap up and enjoy Kicking Ashe  more than, well, Ashe, cause she did get her tush kicked. 

Me: Do we have a release date?

Myself: Is "soon" a release date?

Me: Perhaps we'll update this interview once we have something a bit more firm. In the meantime, I have posted the first excerpt of Kicking Ashe for your teasing pleasure! Hope you enjoy it and stayed tuned for release updates and contest news!

If you enjoyed this interview, you might want to check our more Behind the book interviews!

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