I have the distinct pleasure of taking part of the blog tour for Mr. Arthur Slade, the author of an outstanding YA Steampunk series of novels titled "The Hunchback Assignments". For this visit in of the tour, Mr. Slade outlines the intricacies of developing the counter to the protagonist of any good novel (and especially Steampunk novels) - that of creating a Steampunk villain...
The Joy of Creating Steampunk Villains
Villains make or break a book. When it came time to create the villains for The Hunchback Assignments series, I wanted to draw from a few of my favorite Victorian novels. The first villain is the mad Dr. Hyde. Obviously, I chose the name because the novel is influenced by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I wanted readers who recognized the reference to wonder: is he more Jekyll or is he more Hyde? I hoped my doctor would be an ode to all the mad scientists in all the books and movies I’d consumed in my lifetime. Actually, I felt like I was channeling them--the cackling, the need to work long hours into the night to perfect serums, and the bad hair. Yet, my Dr. Hyde is not completely evil. He is obsessed with melding flesh with clockwork, that’s all. Is that such a terrible goal?
The second villain (or villainess) is Miss Hakkandottir. This unstoppable redhead lost her hand in a sword fight and has had it replaced my a metal hand. She literally rules these books with an iron fist. Every time I have to write a chapter with her in it, I quake. Because she is relentless and has no pity, I fear what she is going to do to my poor Hunchbacked hero and his companions. My inspiration for Hakkandottir comes from the women who were brave enough to become pirates. And I also drew from the the Old Norse sagas, specifically Hallgerdur who refuses to let her husband Gunnar use her hair for his bowstring, thus ensuring his death. That’s the type of person Miss Hakkandottir is.
In the latest book, The Dark Deeps, I went back to The Invisible Man by HG Wells. It’s such a lovely story--a man turns himself invisible and goes mad with the power. For my purposes, I wanted a younger invisible man. I named him Griff, in honor of the original invisible man but I gave him a different story: his parents died in a shipwreck and he was raised by Dr. Hyde (who performed experiments on him from an early age). He is infatuated with Miss Hakkandottir and follows her orders mindlessly, always hoping to impress her. Just imagine a petulant teenage boy full of hormones and blessed with the power of invisibility. That’s my Griff.
For me there has been a real fan-boy joy in bringing these characters to life. My chance to, in a way, say thanks to those wonderful Victorian-era authors who put science fiction and fantasy on the map. And to think, I get paid for this!
Additionally, there are two shorts providing a bit more background on the thematic build of the story - including its more villainous aspects!
In addition to his stop at the Tribune today, he had made numerous other visit on his tour, covering a variety of topics at the following locations...
Friday, September 17th - Artslade.com
Saturday , September 18th - Cynsations
Sunday, September 19th - Free the Princess
Tuesday, September 21st - Stemapunk Tribune (ah, that's just above)
Future visits by Mr. Slade...
Wednesday, September 22nd - Suvudu.com
Thursday, September 23rd - The Steampunk Scholar
Friday, September 24th - Through the Looking Glass
The series has been very well received and reviewed, and the latest installation is sure to continue this trend! To learn more about The Hunchback Assignments (or order a copy), please look to:
Goodreads.com : The Hunchback Assignments
Goodreads.com : The Dark Deeps (The Hunchback Assignments 2)
Amazon.com : The Hunchback Assignments
Amazon.com : The Dark Deeps (The Hunchback Assignments 2)
Indiebound.com: The Hunchback Assignments
Grab a copy of both and do enjoy!
(My thanks to Mr. Slade for his endeavor and Miss Jessica for the coordination efforts!)