Storypunks interviewed steampunk author Jon Messenger, whose Magic & Machinery series explores the tension between science and magic.
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Show Notes: What You’ll Find in Episode 11
This week, I continued working on my outline (which I use as a double-check more than a planning tool) for the “Super Saga” I’m writing–lesser-known figures from Norse mythology meets the British Regency era (early 1800s) with steampunk, mannerpunk, and urban fantasy.
Since mentioning this last week, I’ve had some listeners contact me about a blank template version of my outline, so I’ll be working on getting a shareable version all cleaned up, and I’ll announce where the download is when it is ready.
As always, I’d love you feedback on what I’m working on! If you’re interested in beta reading this Super-saga Peacock Lavine and the Aetherian Fates of Nott, you can sign up here.
Interview With Steampunk Author Jon Messenger
Jon Messenger is inspiring not only for his Magic and Machinery series, which he describes as a steampunk “Sherlock Holmes in a world of magic”, but also because he balances writing with a full-time military career.
In this episode, we talk about how his service has informed this steampunk series, including how PTSD and other aspects of military life affect how he writes about relationships, themes, character development, worldbuilding, and other storytelling topics.
Here’s a list of questions I asked him:
- In this show, we discuss “the punks”, and today we’re talking about steampunk. Since everyone has their own take on the term, how do you define it?
- For anyone who has not yet jumped in with your Magic & Machinery series, can you give us an overview and share what listeners can expect?
- Can you also give us an overview of your other, non-steampunk books?
- You serve in the United States Army, and on your site, you make this observation: “I’m now an Army Major with multiple combat and humanitarian deployments. I’ve found a balance in my writing between the realism of war (as seen in the Brink of Distinction series), difficulties of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (as seen in Rage), and the complexities of maintaining relationships (which is prevalent in all my writing).” So, did you find similar resonance along these lines when writing the Magic & Machinery series, or was that a different experience?
- What advice do you have for writers who are balancing military service, along with all of life’s other responsibilities?
- On your website, JonMessengerAuthor.com, you mention that you’ve “found a cathartic passion in artistic endeavors.” You describe how you tried your hand at painting (“which ended when my “moon” was fondly compared to a 2-year-olds version of the Death Star”) and woodworking (“at which point I realized I should not be allowed around power tools”), before finally settling on writing. I just love your descriptions and that progression, because I think a lot of creatives can relate. So, what was it about the mechanics or experience of writing that ended up making it a good fit for you?
- From Twitter: @ArcadeRhetoric asks: “Jon, what growth would you like to see in this genre?”
And by the way, when I responded that I loved this question and it would be on the list for sure, @ArcadeRhetoric elaborated: “Thanks Cindy! It’s just that Steampunk, at least in the mainstream, has mainly been defined by its aesthetic and not its unique story themes. I’m curious about what place those narrative themes will hold in the future. Cause they’re more relevant now than ever.”)
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