Dawn Vogel is another of my sisters in Broad Universe, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.
Dawn’s academic background is in history, so it’s not surprising that much of her fiction is set in earlier times. By day, she edits reports for historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business, co-edits Mad Scientist Journal, and tries to find time for writing. She is a member of Broad Universe, SFWA, and Codex Writers. She lives in Seattle with her husband, author Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. Visit her at http://historythatneverwas.com or on Twitter @historyneverwas.
Her steampunk series, Brass and Glass, is being published by Razorgirl Press. Here’s how Dawn describes the first volume, The Cask of Cranglimmering:
In the windy skies of the Republic, it’s not always easy to chart your own course. When Svetlana Tereshchenko, captain of the airship The Silent Monsoon, catches wind that a cask of mythical Cranglimmering whiskey has been stolen, she and her crew of outcasts fly off in search of it. With the promise of a reward worthy of the cask’s legendary lineage from both the Heliopolis Port Authority and the head of the Kavisoli crime family, Svetlana and her renegade crew embark on a breathless chase that takes The Silent Monsoon from one end of the Republic to the other.
What Svetlana assumes will be an easy search and recover mission quickly becomes more complicated as each step she takes uncovers secrets and lies about the cask and its contents. Now, with an ethereal Ghost Ship haunting their path, friends reveal themselves as enemies and alliances develop with the most unlikely associates. The lives of her crew hang in the balance as Svetlana makes the crucial choice of whom she can trust and whom she should fear.
Did something in the real world inspire Brass and Glass?
I don’t know that it was in the forefront of my mind, but the whiskey found in the Antarctic several years ago was probably floating around somewhere in my mind when I set out to write about a lost cask of whiskey.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
About midway through Brass and Glass, Captain Svetlana Tereshchenko’s crew has dressed her up, complete with two corsets, to attend a fancy party. Said dressing up is very much not her thing. At the first available opportunity, she asks a gentleman acquaintance to help her get out of her clothes. And while she means it entirely innocently, things get a bit steamy as the scene progresses.
I really loved writing this scene because it’s absolutely loaded with layers of nuance and emotion. It does a lot to establish the relationship between Svetlana and Lar.
What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?
Brass and Glass began life as a short story, but everyone who read it thought it read like the beginning of a book. So while I was on a writer’s retreat, I crowdsourced some REALLY random ideas from my friends, and then cobbled together an outline from those pieces. I finished the first draft a few months later and set it aside for a bit. After a few rounds of my own editing and some beta readers, I found a small publisher interested in publishing the book. Of course, one of their first questions to me was “Are there sequels?” And now, two years later, yes there are. (Book 2, The Long Cursed Map, came out in April 2018, and book 3, The Boiling Sea, is slated for spring 2019.)
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
I did a local author event at a nearby bookstore, where there were about 20 authors promoting their books. It started with all of the authors taking a turn to talk about their books and other writing, along with some trivia and other games. The whole time we’re sitting there, there was a young woman in the front row with both of my books at the top of her stack. She hurried over to me as soon as it was time for autographs. She had come to the event especially because I was going to be there, and she was so excited to get my books and autograph! That was a fantastic moment for me. It was the first time I’d met a fan who had started out as a stranger to me!
What do you have planned next?
I still have the third book of the Brass and Glass series to edit, but I’m currently writing something completely different—a post-apocalyptic novel about recovering from past traumas and finding a new place to belong. After that, I’ve got a young adult novel and a middle grade novel in the earliest planning stages.
You can get a copy of The Cask of Cranglimmering at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2EddpR4
Or check out the whole series on Dawn’s Amazon page: https://amzn.to/2EarcYG