We are at it again! Kicking off the year with a brand-new campaign: Full Steam Ahead!
This one is unique in that A Cast of Crows, one of the collections being funded, has been created in conjunction with a first-year steampunk event called Tell-Tale Steampunk Festival, in Hunt Valley, MD. Excerpts from all of the stories in the book will be used for an interactive scavenger hunt at the festival. We hope you’ll check out both the Kickstarter and the convention. Many of the authors will be in attendance, some of them coming from as far away as New Mexico!
The other two books funding through the campaign are Grimm Machinations – the sequel to Gaslight & Grimm, bringing you even more steampunk faerie tales; and Grease Monkeys: The Heart and Soul of Dieselpunk, our first foray into dieselpunk.
Over the course of the campaign, we will be featuring these spotlights so you can get to know our authors—and the projects—better.
eSpec Books interviews Jessica Lucci, contributor to Forgotten Lore Volume One: A Cast of Crows, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail.
eSB: This collection is unique in that it is a key part of the upcoming Tell-Tall Steampunk Festival, a first-year event kicking off with a Poe theme. What challenges did this present when choosing what to write?
JL: Poe is a master in the genre of horror and the macabre, and I have always admired his poems. As a poet myself, I wanted to honor Poe by integrating poetry into my story. This presented a challenge as I blended the prose and the poetry together, and it was a lot of fun!
eSB: As an author, what drew you to participate in a collection of Poe-inspired steampunk?
JL: As an author, I have read and studied Poe for his ability to concisely tell a story. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to write my own Poe-esque tale.
eSB: Did you base your story on your own previous literary setting or did you embrace the Poe connection? Or hey, did you do both?
JL: The story I wrote for this collection is “Annabel Lee.” I had a vague remembrance of Poe’s version being a tragic story of a woman and the sea, so I derived inspiration from that. I was wary of accidentally copying the storyline though, so I did not re-read Poe’s original until after my story was completed. “The Tell-Tale Heart” played a part in my story as I tried to achieve a sense of impending dread.
eSB: Are there any interesting details that you incorporated in your story to harken to the historic aspect of the genre? Are you the kind of ’punk who reveals in the period-appropriate technobabble, or do you dig deep into the research to include period-accurate touches?
JL: In my “Annabel Lee,” I mixed a sense of history, such as a steamship carrying wealthy travelers from the United States to Europe, with more whimsical steampunk attributes, like an automaton orchestra. I enjoy my fantasy with a touch of historical realism.
eSB: Is this your first time writing for a themed anthology? If so, how did you find the experience? If not, what draws you to them?
JL: This is the first anthology that has included my work, and I am thrilled to have my story featured along with other authors in the steampunk community. I relished the feeling of working independently while contributing to a team effort.
eSB: What other events are you doing this year—steampunk or otherwise?
JL: I will be at Jewelry City Steampunk Festival, New Hampshire Renaissance Faire, and Midsummer Fantasy Renaissance Faire, along with other events, both in person and virtual. My full calendar can be viewed on my website, http://www.JessicaLucci.org
eSB: What are some of your other works readers can look for?
JL: I am best known for my Watch City Trilogy, which follows a cast of found-family characters on adventures by land, sea, and air. “Subton Switch,” of this trilogy, was a Finalist in the 2019 Lesfic Bard Awards. My witchy steampunk novella, “Salem Switch,” is very popular among readers who enjoy a snappy page-turning reading experience. My latest book of poetry, “How Can I Steal a Purse,” has received attention in the local poetry scene, and has been accepted into the Grolier Poetry Book Shop, the oldest poetry book shop in the United States!
eSB: What projects of your own do you have coming up?
JL: “Triangle House” is a work of historical fiction. Jane, a wealthy orphan during the Industrial Revolution, seeks a sense of purpose. Her lover, Stella, is a socialite who can’t understand her need for meaning. Then Jane meets Rozett, an immigrant living in the working poor section of Tracksport. Together, the three women must come to terms with the forces of love and lust they share, seek refuge for Jane’s new philanthropic project, all the while outsmarting the domineering politician Mr. Powers who is persistent in his intentions for Jane. Lives are at stake and love is on trial in this historical fiction novella that will transport you to a world that very well could have been.
I am also preparing a new, gloomy, macabre book of poetry, “Graveyard Shift,” which will be out in October.
Another project I am working on is a collaboration with fellow author Bert Gevera Piedmont, investigating worlds inspired by Tarot.
Jessica Lucci is a poet and steampunk fantasy author who writes about modern issues while maintaining historic integrity. She makes her home in Waltham, MA, USA, with her time-traveling budgie, Lamarr.
Her poetry has appeared in The Edible Anthology of Poetry Greatest Hits, edited by Peter Payack, and also in Lucidity Poetry Journal. Her steampunk novel Subton Switch was a finalist in the 2019 Lesfic Bard Book Awards for science fiction. Other works include Waltham Watch, Gustover Glitch, Salem Switch, Steampunk Leap Year, Steampunk New Year, and Steampunk Pride.
Learn more about Jessica Lucci here:
Website * Blog * GoodReads * Amazon Author Page
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