Author Answers with Devon Monk

cold copperThe Word Nerds are pleased to welcome Devon Monk (@devonmonk) to the blog today. We wish her a “Happy Book Birthday” as her latest “Cold Copper” hit bookstore shelves yesterday!


WN: What kind of reader will like “Cold Copper” and the Age of Steam series?
MONK: Anyone who likes adventure, magic, gunfights, gears, airships, old west, steampunk, and a good dollop of fantasy.
WN: What’s different about writing steampunk and gunslingers than Allie Beckstrom’s urban fantasy world?
MONK: Cold Copper takes place in a nineteenth century America that’s still a little wild and undiscovered. Magic, machines, and myth are on a collision course. I have great fun throwing my heroes into the fray to try to make sense of it all.  The pure adventure of airship fights, shootouts, and steam-powered chases mixed up around bits of real history and strange inventions I get to dream up makes it a joy to write.  Also, I love the old west-y slang, tone, and manners I get to play with.

The Allie Beckstrom books are set in modern day Portland, Oregon where magic and technology are well established. Magic is something everyone can use, but if you use magic, it uses you back and the price you pay is pain. I have a great time contrasting magic against our everyday world and seeing the results. Turns out an awful lot of people have deadly plans for magic, including Allie’s father, who happens to be possessing a corner of her mind.

WN: You’ve fictionalized Oregon in both your series… what’s it like to twist a place you know well in two different ways?
MONK: Fun! The modern magical Oregon in the Allie books is based off the real modern Oregon, so I can throw in landmarks, and businesses, and street names and add a twist of magic to all that. The historical steampunk Oregon is informed by historical facts, but I do change it up a bit more, adding in all sorts of fun stuff like rigid airships that harvest the rare, valuable “glim” high above the mountain ranges.
WN: You’re also a knitter. How does this other kind of art help you as a writer?
MONK: Knitting gives me a way to create that’s fun, without deadline, and has almost zero consequences if I botch it up. On top of all that, just the physical act of holding still and letting the beautiful yarn slip through my fingers on its way to becoming something fun or useful or lovely is relaxing and gives my creative brain some downtime.
WN: What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a writer? How has it helped you?
MONK: There has been a lot of advice I’ve been given that has helped me: “Dare to be bad”, “Write faster”, “It doesn’t have to be good, it has to be done”,  but I guess the one thing that I return to over and over is a quote from Ray Bradbury: “Step off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.”  It reminds me to be brave, and to not fear the uncertainty and challenges that writing and life can sometimes throw your way.
WN: What’s next for you as a writer? 
MONK: HELL BENT comes out this November. It is Shame Flynn’s book, a spinoff from the Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy series, and takes place about three years after the last book in the Allie series. It follows Shame and  Terric and their friends as they deal with the fallout from the events in Allie’s books. Book #2, STONE COLD comes out April 2014.  And after that? I have a new series coming up that I’ll announce soon.
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