I am delighted to announce the book launch of the steampunk novella Evangeline and the Alchemist by the Australian author, Madeleine D’Este. I met Madeleine through a wonderful writers’ group last year and her focus and support of other authors is an example of just how to do it right!
Have you always been a writer or was it something that came to you in later life?
I half-heartedly dabbled for many years but started taking my writing seriously in 2014. I was doing some soul-searching and admitted that writing a novel was my number one goal in life. I am currently querying a novel with agents and publishers but while I’m waiting I decided to self-publish a steampunk novella series. The first episode, Evangeline and the Alchemist is live on Amazon on 16 June 2016.
Do you write over multiple genres, or just one?
I write speculative fiction genre but have written a series of dystopian novels and this new series of steampunk novellas (The Antics of Evangeline). I’ve got other fantasy and cyberpunk ideas floating around my head too. But my writing is always female-led.
Are there any writers or poets who influence you? How so?
For my steampunk series, the key writing influence was Gail Carriger. Her novel Blameless sparked the idea for Evangeline and her adventures in a steampunk Melbourne. Carriger’s books are such fun, I wondered whether I could write a similar steampunk romp as a break from my more serious dystopian novels.
The character of Evangeline is also inspired by L.M. Montgomery and her wonderfully feisty and nutty, Anne Shirley.
My other writing influences span across genres including Octavia Butler, Michael Robotham and CJ Sansom.
Let’s talk about Evangeline and the Alchemist. What is it about?
Evangeline and the Alchemist is the first in a series of novellas of mystery and mayhem set in steampunk Melbourne.
In 1882, “Marvellous” Melbourne was flush with gold-rush cash and the British Empire’s second biggest city.
Evangeline, a seventeen year old reformed urchin and acrobat, is settling into a new comfortable life in Melbourne with her long lost father, Professor Caldicott. But learning to be a lady is awfully dull. Then one day, the police arrive, seeking the Professor’s expertise in catching an Alchemist.
Is this a chance for Evangeline to test out her new invention and save the day? With regular breaks for tea and cream buns, of course.
Other upcoming episodes in The Antics of Evangeline include Evangeline and the Bunyip – where Evangeline faces a mythical Aboriginal monster.
What is steampunk?
Steampunk is a science-fiction genre based in the Victorian era but with anachronistic technology, generally steam-powered.
Steampunk is an alternate world where Victorian innovations are taken to new heights and fun inventions are inserted alongside the Victorian clichés of parasols, whiskers and London pea-soup fogs.
What is your writing process like?
I am a plotter and for the Evangeline series, I used the Story Grid method. This involves creating a one-page outline covering key themes, plot points and emotional changes before I start writing. Then I launch into the vomit draft – just get the words on the page without editing. After my first draft is done, I use the Story Grid again to analyse the structure and begin the editing process. Then a round of beta reading, more editing and voila.
How do you go about promoting your book as a self published author?
My promotion is focused mainly on my blog and Twitter (my comfortable places). I opened the novella for pre-order on Amazon about one month early, then revealed the cover. A great cover is critical for any self-published book! I also commissioned book teasers and banners from my cover designer for use in my promotional activities.
I’m focusing my promotion by targetting different types of readers; steampunk fans, YA fans, short fiction fans and Australian readers. But it’s all just test and learn, so time will tell!
Is there any part of you that you recognise in your main character?
Evangeline is feistier than I am. I am nowhere near as brave. But as the novellas progress, I am drawing on some of my own angsty experiences as a seventeen year old.
Where can I find Evangeline and the Alchemist
Evangeline and the Alchemist is available on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited.