10 Questions and Answers: Captain Tomahawk and the Sky-Lion

All the iterations of the book so far. Well, all the proofs anyway... If only it took a dozen tries to make a book!

All the iterations of the book so far. Well, all the proofs anyway… If only it took a dozen tries to make a book!

Again, I want to start my post by saying thank you to all the people who have been so supportive for me and my novel. Saying it means the world to me is not justice. I’m so excited for everyone to read it.

Many of you have sent questions via e-mails and Facebook posts/messages for the last couple of weeks as I’ve been doing book-a-day giveaways. First, thank you for your interest! Second, let’s get some answers, shall we? 

Question 1: Is the book illustrated?

No, although there is a beautiful black & white sketch of Captain Anna on the inside cover. I know some of you wish I made a graphic novel, I didn’t do that. BUT if you really like the story when you’re done, feel free to make your own illustrations. That’d be cool, and I definitely want to see if you do.

Question 2: It’s Y/A, right?

Yes? Compared to most Y/A books popular in the market today, it’s probably going to feel on the younger side. As a poet, I can assure you that there are some bigger metaphors and themes woven from start to finish that older readers will pick up on. That said, it’s a very easy read.

Question 3: Is it romantic/sexy?

This question makes me smile. No, but there is a lot of heart. It’s not a romance. It is an adventure. There’s no sex and, while we’re at it, the language is kid-friendly. (Unless you count custom steampunk curses like “What the crank?” and “Every steamin’ day.” amongst your offensive phrases.)

Question 4: Why steampunk?

About four or five years ago I learned about steampunk, and from that day on I have wished the world was like that. The clothes, the technology, the elaborate every day objects. No two steampunk things are alike, it breaks away from the uniformity of so much of our culture. Steampunk, even as it gets more and more mainstream, is still different every time you see it. I also liked the idea of pairing the limited technology with advanced creatures. I figured if steampunk is cool for people, then how cool would it be if talking animals had that technology?

Question 5: Where did you get the idea for the book?

An improv class. Yes, seriously. A few years ago I got involved in improv comedy at The Second City in Chicago. Through that process (I was mostly writing poems at the time) I got the idea to write a play that I could cast some of my new comedic friends in. That didn’t pan out… But the great news is that I ended up turning that idea into this novel.

Of course, the idea evolved a great deal since I started making this book (almost 3 years ago now). When I started I was aiming to be funny, by the end, I was aiming to be hopeful. I think that’s why I love comedy. Comedy helps us remember that no matter how bad it gets (like, even if you’re a small girl stranded in a dangerous desert and you have to fight a giant dung beetle to get home), you can still laugh, and you can still be a positive influence on the world. When the world looks at you and says, “You can’t, because…” fill in the blank, because you’re too young, because you’re not pretty enough, because you’re too poor, because you’re too old, too fat, too skinny, too sad, too weird, too goofy. You can. If you’re willing to fight for what’s right (I apologize for that rhyme…) you can do a whole lot of good, and through that choice to be good and positive, you can find joy. Even when it’s really difficult and everyone doubts you, you can find joy. The book is ultimately about finding something to believe in that gives you the perseverance to keep going, about realizing, that, yes, this might be bad now, but it’s not going to be bad forever. That’s a really hard thing to believe sometimes. And I think we need to be reminded constantly. I know I do.

Question 6: Do you ever want to be a pilot?

If I could be the pilot of an airship like the Sky-Lion, definitely. But airplanes and helicopters and what not? No, I don’t think I’d make a very good pilot. You have to stay in the lines too much when you land.

Question 7: Why did you pick a girl for your hero?

Wait, what’s wrong with girl heroes? In honesty, I picked a girl as my hero with a particular friend in mind. My friend Elizabeth inspired Captain Anna’s weird, goofy-confident attitude. My wife inspired Anna’s name and her disposition to people–both my wife Anna and my Captain Anna like everybody, which is a wonderful character trait whether or not your fictional.

Question 8: Is this the start of a series?

Nope. Stand alone novel.

Question 9: Who is publishing your book, Marty!?

Me. And my wife. And my friends. And my family. And you, because you’re here and interested and that’s all there is for writers. Readers. So thank you. Technically it’s called “self-publishing,” but I don’t like the term, because I’ve had a team of friends help me for a long time to make the book what it is today. So, us. We are publishing my book.

Question 10: Where can I buy it? Will it be on Kindle?

On September 5th you’ll be able to buy it right here on my website. It will also be available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million (B.A.M.) and a whole host of other online book retailers. Pretty much all of ’em. You can also request it from your local bookshop, which would make me extremely happy, even though I’ll get, like, $0.15 per book that way. 🙂 And yes, it will be available on your Kindle and Kindle apps too.

If you have more questions, write me!




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