Today I’m asking five questions of:
Karen J Carlisle!
1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how did you choose the title?
My latest book is The Department of Curiosities. This is the first book in a new steampunk adventure series. It’s set in the same alternative history world as my first series, but has a lighter feel.
I always had a fascination for Victorian curiosity cabinets, especially the ‘scientific’ ones. Back in 2012, I wondered what would happen if new scientific inventions were locked away in a similar fashion, then the title popped into my head. And then I wondered ‘what if’ they were locked away ‘for the good of the Empire’? ‘The Department’ sounds like a clandestine Victorian agency.
2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?
… 2 days later…
This is such a difficult question. There are so many factors. I decided to stick with actors:
Tillie is a newcomer, Sir Avery is handsome, cheeky and prefers to be known for his achievements, not his birthright. Harrow likes to hide in the shadows, and the General has presence…
My final decisions:
- Tillie Meriwether: Eleanor Stankiewicz (young and upcoming Australian actor. Okay, so she’s also a friend… )
- Sir Avery Allington: Henry Cavill
- Harrow: A young Alan Cumming.
- The General: Ian McKellen/ an older Lawrence Oliver
3. What five words best describe your story?
Steampunk. Adventure. Intrigue. Betrayal. Friendship.
4. Who is your favourite fictional couple or team?
The Doctor and Donna (Doctor Who):Theirs is a meeting of minds: education and street smarts. They complement each other, bring out the best in each other. There’s no sex involved. The relationship is like soul mates or close siblings/cousins. And there’s witty banter.
5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?
Well… um… (not meant to be a shameless plug, but…) The Gadgeteer was written specifically for my alternate steampunk world. Words: Karen J Carlisle/ Music: Richard Ryall. Performed by the Littmus Steampunk Band.
The Department of Curiosities series revolves around the acquisition (or lack thereof) of mechanicals (or gadgets). On one side there’s Queen Victoria who feels all mechanicals should be controlled, for the Good of the Empire. The Department of Curiosities is charged with collecting, archiving and preventing the illegal importation of mechanicals. Many feel mechanicals should be accessible by all, for the benefit of all. And the Gadgeteers are lobbying (by whatever means) to be able to freely sell mechanicals (for their own profit).
You can hear a sample here: https://karenjcarlisle.com/product/song-the-gadgeteer/
About The Department of Curiosities
The Department of Curiosities: a steampunk tale of adventure, a heroine, mad scientists, traitors and secrets. All for the good of the Empire.
Miss Matilda Meriwether has a secret. Actually, she has several. One of them has shaped her adult life. Another now controls it.
Her Majesty Queen Victoria has control of the Empire. She is the Empire, and creator of its secrets.
Sir Avery works for The Department of Curiosities – the keepers of secrets – especially if they are useful to the Empire.
When Tillie finds herself in the employment of The Department of Curiosities, she realises this is the perfect opportunity to uncover the truth she has been searching for.
But the Queen has other plans for her.
About Karen J Carlisle
Karen J Carlisle is a writer and illustrator of speculative fiction – steampunk, Victorian mystery and fantasy.
She graduated in 1986, from Queensland Institute of Technology, with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Optometry, and lives in Adelaide with her family and the ghost of her ancient Devon Rex cat.
Karen first fell in love with science fiction when she saw Doctor Who, as a four-year old. This was reinforced when, at the age of twelve, she saw her first Star Destroyer. She started various other long-term affairs with fantasy fiction, (tabletop) role-playing, gardening, historical re-creation and steampunk – in that order.
She has had articles published in Australian Realms Roleplaying Magazine and her short story, An Eye for Detail, was short-listed by the Australian Literature Review in their 2013 Murder/Mystery Short Story Competition. Her short stories have featured in the 2016 Adelaide Fringe exhibition, ‘A Trail of Tales’, and the ‘Where’s Holmes?’ and ‘Deadsteam’ anthologies.
She writes full-time and can often be found plotting fantastical, piratical or airship adventures, and co-writing the occasional musical ditty.
Karen has always loved dark chocolate and rarely refuses a cup of tea.
She is not keen on the South Australian summers.m
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