Today I’m happy (and lucky enough) to present a debut author and fellow lover of tattoos and the Japanese language. I was really impressed with her first novel The Girl and the Clockwork Cat. Don’t forget to checkout my 5/5 star review.
Bio: (taken directly from her website)
Rising author (and optimist apparently) represented by the fabulous Emily Keyes of Foreword Literary. Wine and tea lover. Slave to my cats. I enjoy horseback riding, kayaking, caving, cycling, gaming, good anime, etc. I am learning Japanese and Iaido because they enrich my writing and my world. Above all, I love to write. I live to write. I write fantasy and science fiction. Watch for my YA steampunk novel, The Girl and the Clockwork Cat in Spring 2014 from Entangled Teen.
Follow on Twitter: @Author_NikkiMc
Feisty teenage thief Maeko and her maybe-more-than-friend Chaff have scraped out an existence in Victorian London’s gritty streets, but after a near-disastrous heist leads her to a mysterious clockwork cat and two dead bodies, she’s thrust into a murder mystery that may cost her everything she holds dear.
Her only allies are Chaff, the cat, and Ash, the son of the only murder suspect, who offers her enough money to finally get off the streets if she’ll help him find the real killer.
What starts as a simple search ultimately reveals a conspiracy stretching across the entire city. And as Maeko and Chaff discover feelings for each other neither was prepared to admit, she’s forced to choose whether she’ll stay with him or finally escape the life of a street rat. But with danger closing in around them, the only way any of them will get out of this alive is if all of them work together.
Q & A
1. If you had to fight one of your characters who would you pick? Why?
Do I get a katana? I actually have training with that. If so, I’d be happy to take on a villain. Without it, I’d rather have a match with either of the boys. Neither Chaff nor Ash would be inclined to hit a girl without good cause and they’re both attractive.
2. If you could sum up your whole life into a single flavor, what would it be? What do you think your life would taste like?
Magic tea. Okay, it isn’t magic as in one sip and you can fly or anything, but the one time I forgot it and left it brewing for 10 minutes, it still tasted great. That’s magic enough for me. It’s a blend of chai oolong and chai maté teas with subtle spice and good complexity. It nicely represents the various experiences and emotions I tap into when I’m writing (and it often helps wake me up to do so).
3. How did you decide to use a half-Japanese character for the staring roll in a London setting?
This was one of those ideas that started with a character showing up in my thoughts who had a story to tell. She looked Japanese (which wasn’t too surprising given my interest in the culture), but it made more sense, once I started drawing out her story, that she wasn’t 100% Japanese living in London in that era. I did like that her appearance added one more challenge for her to face while trying not to draw too much attention living in the streets of London and also offered some conflict between the culture her mother brings to her life versus the London culture she’s grown up with.
4. If you personally had to pick between Chaff and Ash who would you pick?
That’s actually a little hard even for me. I really like both of them for different reasons. I might lean toward Chaff personally because he is self-sufficient, not coddling, and has a sense of playful humor about him. Ash has some great qualities as well, including those lovely eyes and willingness to learn along with the ability to recognize when he might have been wrong. As for which one I think Maeko would choose, well, that’s a different question.
5. Are you planning a sequel or will The Girl and the Clockwork Cat remain a stand-alone?
The book was never intended as a stand-alone (that would be a horrible way to end an only book). I’m currently editing book two and have book three partly plotted. It’s mostly a matter of getting it in front of my agent and publisher so we can make sure we are all happy with it. A recent move to a new house slowed me down a little, but I’m excited to be settling in and getting back on track.
6. How long have you been studying Japanese and why did you choose it?
I’ve been studying on my own for a couple of years. I’ve always enjoyed Japanese anime, cinema, and have discovered a recent love for some of the music and food, but studying the language came about because of a series I was writing (hope to get that one out soon too). My main character ended up in a situation where she needed to learn the language and culture of a neighboring country and I didn’t have a good concept of how hard it would be, so I decided to start studying a language. Given my interest in so many things Japanese, it was the logical choice.