Publication date: December 1st 2015
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
Publication date: December 1st 2015
Genres: Steampunk, Young Adult
Jacob, a tinker’s apprentice and sometime thief, has lived his entire life in the mountain city of Ancora, protected by the city walls. These towering barriers keep the Deadlands creatures at bay, but the monsters move higher into the peaks every year. More and more, they breach the defenses of the Lowlands while the Highlands rest easy.
A swarm overruns the walls and wreaks utter devastation on the Lowlands. Charles, the old tinker, suspects the attack may not be natural. With help from Jacob’s closest friend, Alice, and Samuel, one of the city’s elite spider knights, Jacob and Charles will uncover a terrible darkness at the heart of their city.
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They waited a minute in the wind and silence at the top of the wall. Another gust of wind caught the old man’s beard, and the largest grin Jacob had ever seen on Charles’s face lifted his beard even higher.
Jacob nodded. He put one foot up on the rampart and then stepped backwards, shaking his head. He took a deep breath.
“Go, go, go!” Charles said.
Jacob hopped up onto the ramparts and shouted, “Cock-a-doodle-doo!” He launched himself into the air before he could decide it might not be such a good idea. Jacob tilted forward slightly as the earth fell away beneath him. The cold, solid stone no longer held his weight, and he screamed in pure joy as his heart dropped into his stomach.
“Now!” he heard Charles shout from above him.
Jacob pulled the lever. He felt the backpack shift when the leathery wings snapped out and stretched to their full span. The brackets shook as they locked into place, and a gust of wind caused Jacob to tilt to the north when he meant to go south. He slid his arms up into the loops on the wings and carefully tilted them, changing his flight path over the streets below.
Jacob turned his arms, and the next gust of wind took him higher. He heard his name, only a distant shout. Far below him someone waved, and then the faces on the street all turned up to see what Samuel was yelling at. Jacob laughed and pulled the wings in, diving closer to the astonished crowd below. He spread his arms and twisted, soaring around the chimney of one of the highest roofs in the Highlands as he angled for the gatehouse.
“Come down farther!”
Jacob barely heard the words over the howl of the wind, but he saw Samuel running along the ground beneath him, diving and weaving through the crowds. The switches in Jacob’s wings whirred and clicked as he dropped his altitude low enough that he could touch the roof of every home he soared past. Jacob streaked into the courtyard.
“Clear the way!” Samuel shouted.
AUTHOR Q & A
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’ve loved reading since I was very young. Filling out those little maps the library used to hand out as a “reading challenge” was one of my favorite summer activities between school years. At some point in time, I’m not sure when exactly, I would to wonder as I read ‘Wouldn’t it have been neat if they’d done this, or a character had this ability, or if the rules of the world were just a little bit different?’ It eventually led me to write stories and that led me to write my own books.
What is your favorite book that you wrote and why?
It seems the latest book I write is always my “favorite.” Hazards of our creative minds, I suppose. Steamborn is definitely near the top of the list. I love the balance between plot, characters, and … umm, stuff I can’t mention without spoilers.
If you could be best friends with one of your characters, who would it be?
Charles. The things he’s seen, and the stories he must have.
Who or what inspired you to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed making up stories. I had some fantastic teachers in high school that always urged me to pursue writing. I wasn’t really into the idea at the time, as I was still convinced I’d be a rock star. Let me tell you how well that worked out … ;) It wasn’t until about 2005 when I realized I really wanted to sit down and write an entire novel.
What books have most influenced your life?
I will always owe thanks to Robert Asprin for his Myth Adventures series. They are such a wonderful blend of humor and adventure that I loved when I was a kid. Northworld by David Drake single handedly turned me into a huge fan of military science fiction.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Right now, at this moment, my favorite author is Neil Gaiman. What has always struck me about his work, ever since The Sandman, is the flow of the story and the flow of the prose. Everything is clean and the visuals are stunning.
What book are you reading now?
I recently finished the Scorched series by Mari Mancusi and Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman. Completely loved them both. Before that was Hit and Follow Me Boy by Delilah S. Dawson. If you haven’t read her work, it’s a must! I’m currently reading The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher.
What do you prefer paperback, hardcover, or ebooks?
Yes! That’s probably my collector mentality coming through a bit. :) I love the wonderful convenience and portability of ebooks. Of course, I also buy the hardcover releases of all my favorite authors, or paperbacks if they aren’t available in hardcover.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would like them to know how much I appreciate them taking the time to read these books. Being able to share these stories with other people who enjoy them has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
1) Tell us about yourself – where you live, your family, and those sorts of details.
I live in the suburbs of Saint Louis. My family has been in the area for as long as any of us can remember. I think the furthest any of us have lived from Saint Louis is about an hour and a half. I guess you could say we’ve put down some roots.
2) How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing casually since high school. It was 2005 when I decided I wanted to write an entire novel. I spent a year writing an excessively long space opera. Then I read it! It was terrible, but what a great learning experience.
3) Do you have a favorite place to write?
I have my own little office in our house filled with things I enjoy, and occasionally hoard. Just outside the door is our reading nook that houses two barrister bookcases with signed and hard to find books by our favorite authors. It’s inspiring to me, having those books close by, and is one of the reasons It is by far my favorite place to write.
4) Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I tried that once … insert Grumpy Cat meme. That’s a definite no. I do multiple drafts to clean things up a bit, but Laura Matheson--my editor--is my saving grace. I’ve found if you try to edit your own work, your brain will fill in what it thinks should be there and you miss a lot of simple typos.
5) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’ve long been a gamer. My spare time growing up was spent as a mallrat in the local arcades and bookstores. Outside of games, I read, play the cello and guitar, and collect Transformers toys.
6) Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Oh yes, I try to read quite a bit! C.S. Friedman is always at, or at least near, the top of my favorite authors. The Coldfire Trilogy, starting with Black Sun Rising, has been my favorite series for a rather long time now. Neil Gaiman, David Drake, Tad Williams, and Patricia Briggs are also perennial favorites. There are many more, but that would be a very long list.
7) When writing a book do you find that writing comes easy for you or is it a difficult task?
The first draft usually comes quite easily, but then the editing starts. Editing really refines the story and firms up all the plots and subplots that creep into a novel, so it’s not surprising to me when editing takes longer than writing the first draft.
8) Do you have any little fuzzy friends? Like a dog or a cat? Or any pets?
I’m allergic to just about every kind of animal imaginable, so instead I have a Worrible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric is a former bookseller, guitarist, and comic seller currently living in Saint Louis, Missouri. A lifelong enthusiast of books, music, toys, and games, he discovered a love for the written word after being dragged to the library by his parents at a young age. When he is not writing, you can usually find him reading, gaming, or buried beneath a small avalanche of Transformers.