Author Interview: Shelley Adina

Please join me in welcoming Shelley Adina, the prolific author of the Magnificent Devices series and many other books for both young adults and adults. Welcome to Damsels in Regress, Shelley!

Thank you—and what fun to be here!

1. Lady Claire Trevelyan has become quite a strong character by the second book, Her Own Devices. How did her story come about?
The “fish out of water” story has always been interesting to me, probably because I felt that way every day in high school. So when the urge to write steampunk finally got too strong to ignore, I thought, “What’s the worst kind of ‘out of water’ experience a young Victorian lady could have?” Well, if she’s brought up to wealth and privilege, the absolute worst would be homelessness. And then I got an image of a girl getting mugged outside a Whitechapel train station … and that was the flash point. The story just came.

2. Tell us about your interest in steampunk, including what kind of research you did.

I’ve been a fan of steampunk since I was a kid watching “The Wild, Wild West” on TV in the sixties. The research is absolutely the most fun part. I mean, in how many other careers can you go to Comic Con or Fanime and have it be tax deductible? Here in Silicon Valley one of the coolest events of the year is the Maker Faire, where “makers,” or DIY folks, come together with all the devices, clothes, processes and so on that they’ve invented. Just looking at what other people have created can spur your imagination to go one step further and put that cool raygun in a scene.

Of course, the world you build also has to be grounded in what people know, so my 1889 London features real streets and bridges, real neighborhoods, and real fashion.

3. I know you’re an accomplished seamstress. Did you make any of the costumes that appear in the books?

One of my favorite things about writing steampunk is the ability to go to booksignings and speaking events in full costume. I’ll be teaching at Clockwork Alchemy 2012 in May, and you can bet I’ll be dressed to the teeth. To answer the question, though … there is one costume I describe that I have the pattern, fabric, and trims for. It’s just a matter of carving out the time to make it before May.

4. How many books will there be in the Magnificent Devices series?

My original plan was for three books about Lady Claire’s adventures, but then I was browsing on Deviant Art and saw a picture of a girl who is a dead ringer for the grown-up version of one of the Mopsies (10-year-old twin orphan girls in Lady of Devices). So it seems clear that Lizzie and Maggie are going to become teenagers and have their own stories. And then there’s Peony Churchill, who is running loose in the Canadas with dreams of being an aviatrix … that sounds like three more books to me, don’t you agree?

5. Absolutely! When will the next book be available?

I’m hoping that book 3, Magnificent Devices, will be available in September. The artist who does my covers,, sent me an image for book 3 that was just an experiment she wanted to show me … and it was so spot-on perfect that I bought it on the spot. Be prepared to swoon.

6. What kind of novels did you read as a teenager? Any favorites?

I come from Canada, which back then was heavily influenced by British writers. So I grew up reading Elizabeth Goudge, Enid Blyton, and Lucy Maud Montgomery, all of whose novels feature strong, interesting female leads who are appropriate for their time period. I think those fictional girls were Lady Claire’s literary ancestors.

7. What are you working on now?

I’m working on the last of my contracted novels for Hachette, which are Amish women’s fiction written under my Adina Senft pseudonym. Called the Amish Quilt trilogy, these books are about three Amish women who are working on a quilt together, and working through life issues with each other’s help. The first one, The Wounded Heart, is out now, and the second, The Hidden Life, is coming in June. The Tempted Soul will be out in March 2013.

Sounds great. Thanks for chatting with us!

Thanks so much for letting me come over—it was fun!

To find out more about Shelley and her books, check out the following websites. – Magnificent Devices – Amish Quilt – Moonshell Books & Editorial
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