Happy Thursday! Today, we're really excited to have Rod Duncan, author of The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter, here to answer a few questions. The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter is out next month from Angry Robot and we're really excited to read it.
Before we get to the interview, here's a little information about Rod and his book!
About the Book!
Title: The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter (Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #1)
Author: Rod Duncan
Publication Date: August 26, 2014 (US/CAN/ebook)
4 September 2014 (UK)
Cover Art: Will Staehle
Cover Art: Will Staehle
Synopsis: Elizabeth Barnabus lives a double life – as herself and as her brother, the private detective. She is trying to solve the mystery of a disappearing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines. In her way stand the rogues, freaks and self-proclaimed alchemists of a travelling circus.
But when she comes up against an agent of the all-powerful Patent Office, her life and the course of history will begin to change. And not necessarily for the better…
UK Print & Ebook
North American Print & Ebook
About the Author!
His background is in scientific research and computing, and he lives in Leicester.
You can find Rod online at www.rodduncan.co.uk and follow him @RodDuncan on Twitter.
I enjoy watching movies and playing board games with friends and family. I also like to spend time walking. The walking is also important for my writing. When I walk, I can figure out answers to plot problems that might otherwise elude me.
What made you want to write an alternate-history fantasy?
The short answer is, I write about things that interest me.
I didn’t do well with history in school because I could not hold on to the kind of facts we were being asked to remember. But the ideas behind history always fascinated me. For example: are trends in history an unstoppable tide? If not, can individual efforts change the course of history? We see apparently contradictory interpretations played out in Asimov’s Foundation series and in Robert Harris’s Fatherland.
In The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter, I start to play with such ideas. Later in the series, this theme will ripen.
If you could only use three words to describe The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, what would they be?
Do you currently have any books on your nightstand?
I have a pile of books on the floor next to the bed. It is haphazard to say the least. A quick glance at the topmost layer reveals Rose by Martin Cruz Smith, Kraken by China Mieville and, somewhat poetically, a non-fiction title - A Perfect Mess: the Hidden Benefits of Disorder by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman.
Which author, alive or dead, would you like to spend an evening with?
Voltaire would be a great person to talk to. Unfortunately, I don’t speak French. Dorothy Parker at her best would be ideal, but she had her ups and downs and if I caught her on the wrong day it would not be so much fun. That leaves me torn between Douglas Adams and Mark Twain. Either would be wonderful. But if pressed, I’d go with Twain.
What is your favorite thing about going to the circus?
I’m interested in the way that travelling communities are often seen as ‘other’ by the settled population. That adds significance to the act of stepping into a travelling show or fairground. As to what particular act I would like to see – definitely conjuring. Preferably a mentalism act.
Where would you want to be stranded for a year? Why?
Somewhere in China. I lived in Taiwan a few years ago. But my Mandarin is now so rusty that it I could barely introduce myself. I’d like a year to immerse myself in the language again. It is very beautiful.
Who, or what, inspired you to become a writer?
I have always made up stories. But literacy came late and reluctantly to me so I never thought of writing any of them down. The first time I remember being aware of authorship as distinct from a story was when listening to the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on the radio back in the 1970s. But I had to wait for the 1980s before the word processor started to dissolve some of the barriers I had previously experienced. That’s what started me writing.
What is one book (or a couple books) that you recommend to everyone?
I hesitate to suggest any book would suit absolutely everyone. But if pressed, I would offer Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome. It is still as fresh and funny as it was in the Victorian age when it was written.
Are you currently working on any new projects?
I’m spending much of my writing time carrying forward the story from The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter. The series is called the Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire. It promises to keep me busy for some time to come.
If you had a book club, what would it be reading – and why?
I teach creative writing, so I am always on the lookout for books that showcase interesting techniques. If I had a book club it would probably be focusing on that kind of thing.
One of the last books I read was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It is interesting from a writing point of view because it is a first person narrative in which the reader understands more than the protagonist. A book club could have some interesting discussions about that, as well as a discussion of whether or not the author misrepresents Aspergers syndrome.
Thanks for asking such interesting questions. I’m hoping that you do actually have a time machine and that I will be able to spend that evening with Mark Twain. I wonder if he had any theories about history.
[Unfortunately, we don't have that time machine... but good luck finding one! If we hear of one, we'll be sure to let you know ;) ]
Thanks to Rod for stopping by to answer some questions, and thanks to you for taking the time to read the interview! :)
--Ashley & Paul