Today, join me in welcoming author Viola Carr! Viola is here to celebrate the release of THE DASTARDLY MISS LIZZIE, which releases on Wednesday, and to subject herself to the Preternatura Q&A. I’ve had the chance to meet Viola at a couple of conferences and she’s awesome! You can also win a copy of the first two books in her Electric Empire series or a Book Depository credit if you’re outside the U.S.
About the Author: Viola Carr was born in Australia, but wandered into darkest London one foggy October evening and never found her way out. She now devours countless history books and dictates fantastical novels by gaslight, accompanied by classical music and the snoring of her slumbering cat. She likes steampunk, and thought it would be cool to investigate wacky crimes with crazy gadgets…just so long as her heroine was the creator of said wacky gadgets: a tinkerer, edgy, with a dash of mad scientist. Links: website: Twitter; Tumblr; Facebook.
ABOUT The Dastardly Miss Lizzie: An Electric Empire Novel Crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to share a life with her rebellious second self, Lizzie Hyde. But being two people in one body isn’t easy, not when Eliza has a professional reputation to protect and Lizzie is veering headfirst into a life of debauchery and crime with an increasingly demented Mr. Hyde. Not to mention the difficulty of making a respectable marriage with Remy Lafayette—Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope–while Lizzie enjoys her own dubious romantic entanglements. And with England on the brink of war, Remy’s secretive mission in sorcery-riddled Paris grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is Eliza finally going mad?…Now, she’s confronted by her most baffling case yet: an evil genius with a penchant for theatrics is murdering eminent scientists in the most inexplicable ways. Her investigation uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories and bleeding-edge science punishable by death–and a shocking connection to her father’s infamous experiments. Desperate to learn the truth about her past, she must infiltrate a cabal of fanatical inventors bent on a discovery that will change the world–or destroy it….With London under attack by sorcery-wielding terrorists, and the Royal Society’s enforcers determined to bury her evidence for good, Eliza needs all the friends she can get if she’s to thwart the killer and keep her head. But when Lizzie’s criminal shenanigans get Eliza fired from the Metropolitan Police, and Remy is implicated in an act of bloody vengeance he didn’t commit (or did he?), she’s on her own….Except for wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie. But Lizzie’s got her own life now. And she’ll do anything to keep it. Even if it means attempting the unspeakable and finding her own body. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn…
Now, let’s hear from Viola!
Give us the “elevator pitch” for your latest work?
THE DASTARDLY MISS LIZZIE, in which Dr. Jekyll hunts serial killers in a steampunk Victorian London, while fighting misogyny, evil French spies and her own predatory dark half. It’s a female steampunk Jekyll & Hyde, with murders.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
I always enjoy writing scenes where Eliza Jekyll and her dark half, Lizzie Hyde, are fighting or trying to embarrass each other. They have the best arguments. Sometimes they get into a fistfight, or worse.
What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile?
I’m reading ANGELS OF MUSIC by Kim Newman. I am in awe of Kim. Sometimes I suspect he gets his ideas from other authors’ ‘too-hard’ baskets – oh, you don’t want that? Can’t hack it? That’s a shame. Do you mind if I…? – and then he just casually nails them and walks off whistling.
Favorite book when you were a child:
THE STRANGE DISAPPERANCE OF ARTHUR CLUCK featured a lost baby chicken trying to get back to his parents. It had me gripped. I borrowed it from the library so many times that my Dad ordered me a copy from the local bookstore, who had to get it in from overseas (this was the seventies, people, it was a big deal). I still have this book, which my Mum covered in plastic for me.
Book you’ve faked reading:
I don’t think I’ve never actually claimed to have read a book I hadn’t. But I’ve nodded and smiled as if I knew what I was talking about when people discussed 50 SHADES OF GREY, which I couldn’t finish. “Uh huh. Red room of pain. Yeah. I know, right? The feels.”
Book that made you say, “I wish I’d thought of that!”
See above on Kim Newman. Honourable mention to THE HEROES by Joe Abercrombie. I’ve always wanted to write a book about people who do the right thing for the wrong reasons, or vice versa. Now I don’t have to.
Book you’ve bought for the cover:
THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES by Scott Lynch. Granted, I’d read the series and wanted the book anyway, but the cover would have sold me in any case.
Book that changed your life:
Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. Back in the day this was a big deal: monsters can be people too.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I would like to read A Song of Ice and Fire without knowing anything about it. It’s kind of a cliché now, but back in the day, when Eddard Stark got killed my head exploded. Twenty years of reading epic fantasy had made me believe this does not happen. Kind of like when Tom Skerritt gets killed in the movie Alien – what? The woman is the hero? (Like I said: the seventies! This was a shock.)
Most horrifying moment while reading a book:
This is a hard one. I love horror, but these days books are slow-build, like THE STRAIN. That’s a creep-fest. Or OUTPOST and JUGGERNAUT by Adam Baker. The late Richard Laymon is an author who can make me jump in my seat. Pulpy horror, sure, but he can actually scare you the way a slasher movie does, with axe murderers leaping out from behind doors and stuff like that. Hell of a technique.
Favorite book about books or writing:
My most-used writing craft books are THE BREAKOUT NOVEL series by Donald Maass, SAVE THE CAT! by Blake Snyder and WRITING SCRENPLAYS THAT SELL by Michael Hauge. My favourite novel about books is THE NAME OF THE ROSE – it’s a rollicking murder mystery, yes, but it’s also about what happens when we fight to preserve outdated and harmful ideas that should rightly be consigned to the scrap heap.
Messing about with some new stuff. I don’t quite know what yet. Stay tuned…
Set of the Previous 2 Electric Empire books (US only)
Second giveaway, open worldwide: Leave a comment here and get in the running for the first book in the series or your choice of book from Book Depository. Which do you prefer—have you read the original STRANGE CASE OF DR. JECKYLL AND MR. HYDE by Robert Louis Stevenson? I must admit I have not!