Wednesday, August 8, 2012

~Questions and Answers with Philipa Ballantine~

Last April I received an email from my book dealer (basically my drug dealer, because books are my crack), John, recommending a new series that everyone was raving about. John has very rarely been wrong so he sent me the first book in the new Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Series, Phoenix Rising. Needless to say I adored the first book as you probably noticed because it received one of my rare five stars... or at least, they seem rare to me these days. Instantly I had to read all the short stories and the second book and was very happy to read in my email that "we're hard at work on book three". When I was devising Steampunk Summer, Philipa (Pip) Ballantine and her husband, Tee Morris, where up there at the very top of a short list of dream authors I hoped would participate.

Thanks to their combined love of pioneering media, podcasts, blogs, epubs, I was lucky enough to friend them through goodreads and lure them into participating in my summer event. They also love cats, but that's a whole other level of awesome. Not only that, but two lucky winners have a chance to win signed and personalized copies of one of their two books! It goes without saying I'm more than a little jealous of my followers who have the chance to not only have these awesome books, but signed ones at that! So make sure you go and enter to win, and then come right back and read what Pip had to say to some of my silly questions! Or better yet, read and then go enter!

Question: What is the definitive Steampunk book for you?

Answer: Even though they weren't called steampunk, and don't actually involve steam, I would always go with Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. It has the sense of wonder and amazement that I feel is inherent in the genre.

Question: What drew you to this genre?

Answer: The style. The history. The people. The gadgets. There are so many wonderful things going on in steampunk, but if I had to pick one alone, it would be the history. I've always liked messing about with the past, and steampunk lets me wander far and wide. In the Janus Affair for example I take one of New Zealand's prominent suffragette and give her a steampunk make-over.

Question: How do you take your tea?

Answer: Milk and sugar- especially if it is Earl Grey. If not then as it comes.

Question: Must have sartorial accessory?

Answer: So hard to choose one! Personally I love to have a quirky, shiny, pretty necklace. No matter if you are wearing an evening gown or an engineer's overalls, a necklace makes a statement.

Question: Sartorial leaning: Street Urchin, Tinker, Explorer or Aesthete?

Answer: I tend to lean towards the Explorer. I love a good pith helmet, bandoleer, and ray-gun.

Question: Top hat or bowler hat?

Answer: I am definitely a bowler hat chick—when not wearing previously mentioned pith helmet.

Question: Subgenre you most identify with: Boilerpunk, Clockpunk, Dieselpunk, Gaslight Romance, Mannerspunk, Raygun Gothic or Stitchpunk?

Answer: It like to skip lightly over sub-genre. I just love adventure, exploration, and interesting characters to travel with me there.

Question: If there was one thing that could truly exist from the world of Steampunk what would it be?

Answer: I would love to have an automaton manservant. I hate housework, but realize it is important (with five cats, if we did not do it, we'd be buried in fur in mere weeks). The idea of someone else doing it and casting no judgement on my housekeeping skills is bliss!

Question: If there was one element in the Steampunk genre you could remove forever what would it be?

Answer: I don't think anything should be removed. Everyone has something to say about different aspects. Some folk like to explore the dark side (sexism, colonialism, and racism) while others like the adventure. I think there is plenty of room for everyone in the genre.

Question: Favorite movie or television series with Steampunk elements?

Answer: The Prestige. David Bowie as Tesla. I don't think I need to say more.*

*No she doesn't!

Question: Preferred mode of transport: celestial, aether, terra firma or aquatic?

Answer: Actually I am rather partial to train travel, but unfortunately transport by steam train is not as easy to come by these days...

Question: Favorite Queen to have had a diamond jubilee, Victoria or Elizabeth?

Answer: Victoria! No, insult to Elizabeth II. Mum is quite nice, but Victoria has so many interesting blips in her personality and reign.

Question: Victorian or Wild West?

Answer: Arghhhh....can't pick. In The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences we have done both—or are planning to.

Question: Would you like an automaton butler or ladies maid, considering that it might be the first step in the robotic apocalypse?

Answer: As I mentioned above, yes I want one. I would trade in the chance on the apocalypse for someone to scoop the kitty litter...

Question: If The Doctor showed up at your door, where would you go?

Answer: So many places! But I think I would pop in on some of my favourite writers and poets. I would love to meet Byron, Keats and Shelley. They'd probably freak me out, but it would be awesome and worth it!

*Ok, so technically, this picture is of Shelley, Byron, and Coleridge, but, I'll take every chance I get to showcase this picture from one of my favorite episodes of Blackadder!


Also, totally didn't plan it, but Happy Birthday to PIP!

This was a fun read! I kinda like this Pip. :)

ahaha, I love this interview! You asked such insightful and pertinent questions, they were so fun to read and really helped me get to know the author better. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks Scarlett and Moxie (posting under one of her many aliases)! Scarlett, be sure to enter the giveaway, cause you could win her books.

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