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Behind the Book: Specters in the Storm

The (mostly) true story behind the writing of the book.

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Welcome to another edition of my Behind the Book series, in which I interview myself about the writing of one of my books. Today we’re taking a look at Specters in the Storm. But first, up, let’s look at the blurb: 

Specters, Automatons & Evil, oh my!

The Great Storm of 1900 changed Ernest Warren’s life. 

Destroying Galveston, Texas, the storm took the lives of thousands of people—including the love of his life. Vowing to steer clear of love and devote his life to saving the lives of others, Ernest sets out in his steam-powered airship with his trusty automaton crew, determined to unravel Mother Nature’s deepest secrets. 

But when strange and disturbing storms begin to brew in unpredictable places, Ernest must face his grief head-on. Reluctantly, he accepts the help of inter-dimensional time traveler, Prudence Pinkerton. Together, they must act fast, as time is running out. But trusting a woman might even be more impossible than fighting the storms for a man like Ernest. Clocks are ticking faster than usual as the world is on the cusp of a life-altering change. Can Ernest and Prudence conquer Mother Nature and weather the storm together?

Pauline Baird Jones’ is known for writing smart, quirky, funny fiction. Check out her venture into a steampunk time-bending paranormal detective story with Specters in the Storm.

And now for the interview:

Me: How the heck did this story happen?

Myself: It is kind of complicated.

Me: Make it simple for us, please.

Myself: Snarky. Fine, I’ll try. So, I got interested in steampunk some while back and wrote Tangled in Time, which some readers love and one thought I wrote while drunk. I did piles of research for that novella and decided that I’d write a steampunk novel that was more steampunk and less science fiction romance. I started playing with the story, that I wanted to set around the time of the Great Storm of 1900. Hubs and I were living in Houston and had taken several trips to Galveston Island, which was devastated in that storm. Okay, we’d been living in the South for 30+ years and I’d accumulated a lot of research on storms and such. 

Me: But something happened on the way to writing that novel.

Myself: A lot of things happened, including the market influences. Steampunk was “popular” but as a very small niche. I wasn’t sure I could pull in enough readers to make it an economic use of my time. But I had created these characters that I liked. I set it aside, thinking I’d pick it up when I had some time (because in the future the days would get longer than 24 hours). While it was sitting there, a friend of mine put out a call for an original paranormal story for a boxed set she was organizing. I thought about my little bit of story and its characters and thought, I could turn that into a paranormal story. Probably. So I reached out to her and she said, yes. 

Me: This is where it gets interesting.

Myself: Well, challenging might be a better word for it. I had these characters that had been meant for a novel that had to be novella length because I didn’t have a lot of time to write it. So I plucked the hero and the bad guy out of the story and added in a new heroine, based on the original but with a twist. She was a time-traveling Pinkerton. 

Me: You just had to go there, didn’t you?

Myself: Apparently. Lol I’d also been dying to write a story set around a lighthouse and this one seemed made for it. I almost got lost researching lighthouses, looking for just the right one for my story. That was so fun. If it weren’t for hurricanes, I’d want to live in a lighthouse. 

Me: And then you added the specters. 

Myself: Well, it was a paranormal story. 

Me: Where does the octopus fit in?

Myself: LOL I did a workshop with a friend about octopuses and my brain went, why not?

Me: It does that a lot. A scientist, a time traveler, and an octopus walk into a lighthouse…

Myself: And you end up with a paranormal, science fiction romance, time travel, horror, adventure story.

Me: Not exactly a punch line, but we think it is a fun read.

Myself: Why yes, we do. And thankfully some readers agree. Lol We hope you’ll check it out!

Me: Until next time…

Perilously yours,

Pauline

P.S. Be sure to read the Monday excerpt! 

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