Interview with Ava Morgan

In the last of this group of interviews with steampunk authors, I found out a bit more about Ava Morgan, author of The Lady Machinist: 

Is there something you never leave the house without – be it a specific item from your wardrobe or an accessory, or something less tangible than that?

I don’t know if I would call myself a steampunk lifestyler, but I love the aesthetic of it so much that on most days, I will wear a steampunk-inspired jewelry or clothing item. My favorite go-to piece right now is a miniature brass spyglass necklace that I purchased at a recent convention.

What does a refined lady such as yourself drink?

I like to have my coffee or tea in the daytime. I do get picky with my selection of beans and tea leaves, respectively. The taste of the brew depends on the quality of the ingredients. At night, I do prefer to relax with a glass of smooth merlot.

Are you a cat person, dog person, or other, and why?

Definitely a dog person. I am the proud mommy of furry children. I cannot have cats because of allergies. Also, I think my personality is more suited to keeping dogs. They bring me calmness and joy.

What is the most exotic place you have been?

I do wish I could say something like Bali or Cambodia, but alas, I have not had the pleasure of traveling abroad extensively yet, unless you count Canada, lol. I have hiked in canyons, mountains, and deserts out west in the United States. I suppose one could liken the scenery to something surreal and otherworldy, especially the rock gardens and foothills surrounding the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Tell me about an incident you were involved in that is so funny or shocking, it cannot possibly be true, yet is.

I enjoy ballroom dancing. One time I was at a Lindy Hop (1940s-style swing dancing) and a gentleman I was dancing with had a seizure. The paramedics were called and he was ok, thankfully. But this happened again five days later when I went to another dance, and a different partner had a seizure. He was ok, too, but for a while, I thought I should do the public a service and not dance for a while.

Word association: I say “steampunk”, you say…?

Unleashed creativity.

Tell me about your book: 

The Lady Machinist is the first story in my Curiosity Chronicles series. It follows the journey of Lydia Dimosthenis, a brave young widow of Greek heritage who is striving to protect her home from pirate raids as well as deal with the memory of losing her husband at their hands some years before. She pours herself into her work, which consists of crafting automatons that can defend her country. Her work and way of life takes a radical turn when she crosses paths with Rhys Cartret, an ambassador from New Britannia who shows not only an interest in the automatons, but also in their inventor.
Blurb from The Lady Machinist: 

A romantic steampunk tale of clockwork soldiers, persistent pirates, and political intrigue.

Book One of the Curiosity Chronicles

1837: Lydia Dimosthenis detests pirates, especially those of British ilk. The lady machinist will do anything to protect her island home of Aspasia from the scurvy knaves, even if it means crafting seven-foot clockwork soldiers to drive intruders away. When her automatons catch the eye of a charming yet stubborn ambassador from New Britannia, she is given an offer that she truly cannot refuse. But that doesn't stop her from trying.

Rhys Cartret, ambassador and agent for the Cabinet of Intellectual Curiosities, didn't count on having a strong-willed, attractive inventor thwarting his every diplomatic move. It's hard enough keeping his pirate past a secret from Lydia. Matching wits with her is the last thing he needs, especially since New Britannia's rival France is racing to get the automatons before he does. 

Intrigue, romance, and striking bargains abound in this curious tale of clockwork soldiers, ruthless pirates, and steam-powered ships.

With which character do you most identify?

There are three books currently out in the Curiosity Chronicles series now. I would say that I identify most with Lydia and Abigail, the heroine of the second book The Armored Doctor. Both women have a strong work ethic and stay true to their core values. They have also suffered deep losses, but they do not become broken and embittered by them. Lydia takes a stand for what she believes in, even if it requires some self-sacrifice on her part. Abigail displays compassion towards those who are perceived as different or are ostracized from society. These traits are what I aspire to cultivate in my own daily living.

Is there a particular character you love more than any of the others?

Hmm, well, if I’m forced to choose, I would go with Lydia. She’s a strong woman, but she doesn’t hide her vulnerability. In a 19th century Victorian world filled with rigid societal structures and gender roles, she holds her own as a lady of substance and intellect. She is adaptable, but she doesn’t change her core being to please others.   
What do you hope readers take away from your story?

I want readers to be entertained, first of all. I write stories with romantic elements and whimsical, adventurous plots. But I also want readers to feel like they are all welcome to come into my little steampunk world. My characters come from different walks of life just like we do. Celebrate culture and diversity with me. Happy endings can be for everyone.

Why don’t you wrap this up by telling me about your upcoming projects and where we can find you!

I’m working on releasing two short stories and a fourth novel for the Curiosity Chronicles series later this year. The short stories will let us peek in the lives of some of the characters after the events of books 1-3 take place. The fourth novel, The Aether Alchemist, will feature what I like to refer to as a film noir detective for the 19th century. For more updates on my projects, you can find me on my website at I’m also on Twitter and Facebook.

Author Bio:
Ava Morgan loves history, retro style, and reading everything she can get her hands on, especially steampunk, fantasy, and old pulp fiction. The Curiosity Chronicles series came from her affinity for the romance of history as well as its quirky anachronisms. When Ava isn’t planted in her writing chair, she can be found sampling mead and turkey legs at a Renaissance Festival alongside her husband or running up a tab at the local coffeehouse. 

~Steampunk Snark~ 

“How frightfully challenging it must be to have to dress yourself,” Verti said.  “Still, admitting you need help is the first step.” -- The Daemon Device

 ~Next Episodes of Sounds of Steam~

May 12, 2014 - The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, with Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
May 19, 2014 - Common Courtesy - Is it Dead?
May 26, 2014 - Steampunk Survivalist - Adapting to an Apocalypse

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