In the Spotlight feature kicked off in April 2015 and is an opportunity for authors, editors and publishers (basically anyone in the book industry (yes, even bloggers!)) to connect with fans. There is an option to do an interview, guest post, feature a book sale or book release or a cover reveal. Best of all, it’s free! All you need to do is click on the image to reserve your spot!
Now on with the show!
In the Spotlight with Scott Tarbet
Welcome to Second Run Reviews, Scott! Thank you for being In the Spotlight. I appreciate you stopping by and answering a few questions. So let’s get things started.
In a tweet (140 characters or less), tell us a bit about yourself.
Speculative Fiction author Scott E. Tarbet sings opera, cosplays Steampunk and Elizabethan, and slow smokes tons of Texas-style BBQ.
Oh, I wish I had known about the cosplaying! I would have asked for pictures!!
Please tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author. What’s been the best things about it and the worst?
I’m a late bloomer. I wasn’t published until I was in my 50’s, and when it happened it grew out of a flash fiction exercise that blossomed into the novelette-length story “Tombstone”. I submitted it to an anthology competition with Xchyler Publishing, a small, independent purveyor of paranormal, fantasy, and steampunk. To my delight, they published it.
That story got me in the door, and got Xchyler to take my novel projects seriously. I have several under contract with them. They have also published several of my other short stories.
You can see that the first part—the finding a publisher part—is atypical. I started with a success, and didn’t start building up my nice, thick file of rejection letters until afterward. As I have grown in the craft, I have learned tons that I wish I had known before. Maybe the biggest thing I wish I knew earlier is that I should have started earlier.
But, better late than never, right?
I’m sure many readers and fellow authors are jealous of your success in finding a nice publisher so quickly. That is atypical.
Tell us a bit about your latest release. What inspired you to write it? Why should fans of Second Run Reviews consider reading it.
I have two loves: Steampunk, and Shakespeare. My debut novel, A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk, is a natural melding of those two loves. It sets the story elements and characters of the Shakespeare play in the summer of 1899, around the evening of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
The genesis of the idea comes from the simple thought, “What if the ‘rude mechanicals’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream were actually mechanical. Working class heroes, wounded veterans of Her Majesty’s Imperial Wars, are fitted with industrial prosthetics. They come to the aid of a young genius inventor, daughter of the Artificer to the Queen, who unintentionally becomes involved in the international intrigue between the Queen and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.
I had wonderful fun peopling the novel with real figures from history, and turning the fairy magic of the play into the industrial magic of the blossoming Industrial Revolution.
Sounds intriguing. I do love Steampunk and I do love Shakespeare. However, next to Hamlet, A Midsummer’s Night Dream is one of my least favorite plays. I just don’t get it.
What types of books do you enjoy reading the most? What three books do you find yourself recommending to your fans over and over?
I read (and write) a lot of science fiction. I love how the genre takes the societal and technological trends we see around us every day, extends them into the future, posits new ones, and makes them the backdrop for the struggles inherent in the human condition.
Since I am around gifted children and young adults a lot, I find myself recommending Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game over and over. I have given away more copies than I can count.
To fans who tell me A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk is their first foray into Steampunk and ask me for recommendations in the genre, I recommend Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy. It was my introduction to the literary side of Steampunk, courtesy of my lovely and very literate wife.
I thought I was one of the few people who read Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy (I hear more about his Uglies series). The Leviathan trilogy is one of my favorites. I even have a book of the machines in the series that I found at Half Price Books. You should check out the first book in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. It deals with the same unusual incident in Russia that Leviathan does.
What is one question you wish I would have asked, that I haven’t? And is that by any chance connected to your current obsession?
I am currently obsessed with Dragon Moon, my forthcoming novel release. It is a long-simmering obsession, and has been gestating for the last ten years. It is the story of a new space race between China and the rest of the world, and the race to avert a new world hegemony.
Following Dragon Moon are more stories in the A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk universe, and my first foray into outright historical fiction.
Please do come back and let us know when Dragon Moon is being released, Scott. I hope you’ll be able to tell us more about this foray into historical fiction. That is one of my favorite genres to read.
Any last thoughts or wise words you want to pass along?
Steampunk keeps gaining popularity because, unlike our modern climate of cultural division and frightening technological problems, it harkens back to a time of manners, civility, and a future rife with all sorts of exciting possibilities. I think it represents a hunger a lot of us have for a cheerier, more hopeful outlook than we’re presented with in our rapidly-changing media environment.
Similarly, other genres of speculative literature have become too saturated of late with the dystopian, ‘burn everything to the ground and start over’ mindset. A repeated theme in my stories is the strong, moral heroine, in any number of cultures, with good triumphant, and bad that reaps its own rewards.
That is wonderful insight into the world of speculative fiction, Scott. And it sounds like A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk will appeal to a number of different types of readers based on what you’ve shared here today.
Thank you for being In the Spotlight, Scott. I do hope you’ll return soon and tell us more about your future projects.
Synopsis: When a priceless invention is stolen half a world away, four unlikely adventurers are caught up in an international intrigue that could cost them their lives. Only Pauline Spiegel, a gifted young engineer and artificer, possesses the knowledge to maximize the weapon’s potential. With the help of the man she loves, the soldier she is supposed to marry, and her best friend, she must see its schematics to safety. Their only obstacle: a gauntlet of asylum inmates long on “modifications” and short on conscience, who will stop at nothing to deliver both Pauline and the plans to Kaiser Bill.
At Pauline’s side fight a ragtag group of semi-mechanical veterans, and an army of jewel-encrusted micro-mechs who have swarmed London to retrieve the device with the power to control the world. Immerse yourself in this Steampunk retelling of a Shakespearean classic, replete with the newfound wizardry of alternative Victorian technology, mistaken identities, love triangles, and deadly peril, set against the backdrop of Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and a world bracing itself for war.