Interview With Octavia Pye

Jack Fletcher, Hero of STEAMED, Interviews Octavia Pye, Heroine of STEAMED, by Katie MacAlister

Steamed

Octavia Pye Interview
By Jack Fletcher

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

“Octavia, my little squab of delight—”

“Mr. Fletcher, really! I will not be addressed in public by such terms.”

“No? You didn’t mind last night, when I had you spread eagle on my bed, and touched you right there.”

“I am not a squab. I don’t resemble a squab in any way, and I reject your attempt to distract me by touching me there. And there. Jack, stop it! Someone will see!”

“All right, we will do this properly, since it’s got your corset strings in knots. Let’s see…How did you first come to meet me?”

“You know very well how I met you!”

“Sweetheart, you aren’t getting into the swing of things. This is an interview we’re doing here. I ask questions, and you answer them. That’s how an interview works.”

“Yes, but you know how I met you. It’s silly of you to ask that.”

“I know how we met, but they don’t.”

“They who?”

“Them. Right out there. See?”

“Oh. Good heavens. Do you think they saw your hand on my bosom?”

“No. Absolutely not. Maybe. So how did we first meet?”

“Ahem. Good people of Jack’s Interset—”

“It’s Internet, and it’s not actually mine…never mind. Go on.”

“I met Mr. Fletcher in most unusual circumstances. My lovely, if a bit outdated, airship Tesla was wending its windy way across the battle-torn frontiers of Europe.”

“Nice alliteration.”

“Thank you, I try. As I was tending to the many detailed and highly complicated duties common to a Southampton Aerocorps captain-”

“I thought you said you were talking to yourself at the time?”

“Hush. As I was tending to varied duties, I was informed by the bosun’s lad, Dooley, that two bodies had been found in a forward hold. I was aghast, naturally.”

“Naturally. Ow! I don’t think that deserved a pinch.”

“When I went to investigate this strange occurrence, I discovered the body of Mr. Fletcher and his sister, Miss Norris.”

“Let’s fast forward to the part where you fell madly in love with my rugged good looks and manly naked chest.”

“Jack, I refuse to allow you to bring my interview down to the level of…did you say your naked chest? Oh, I do like your chest…ahem. Where was I?”

“Madly in love with me.”

“I took one look at Mr. Fletcher, and knew then, good people, that my life was soon to be filled with trouble. And so it was.”

“You loved every minute of it. Next question: what do you think of steampunk?”

“I still don’t understand what it is, so I can hardly have an opinion, other than you seem to feel we are living in it.”

“Right. Moving on…how did you get to be a captain?”

“I was promoted from first officer.”

“No, I mean how did you get to be in the Aerocorps to begin with?”

“Jack, is this really necessary? I hardly feel all those people care how I came to be in the Corps.”

“OK, but my next question is about all of your previous lovers.”

“I joined the Aerocorps when I was sixteen. My foster father was a captain in it, and I loved flying in the airships so much, it just seemed natural that I should join the Corps as well. It took another sixteen years before I rose to the position of captain.”

“Gotcha. Now, about those old boyfriends-”

“Jack.”

“Hmm?”

“I’m tired of answering questions.”

“Oh? What do you want to do…holy crap! You’re not going to…nrnng.”

END OF TRANSMISSION

Jack Fletcher, Hero of STEAMED, Interviews a “Muse”, by Katie MacAlister

Interview With a Muse
By Jack Fletcher

TRANSMISSION BEGINS

“So, you’re a muse.”

“Yes, I am. You want to make something of it?”

“A fairly aggressive muse, I see. No fists! I’m not going to fight you. I just need to ask you a couple of questions.”

“Hrmph. All right, but if you make me miss Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, I’m going to be really ticked off.”

“You…er…watch reality TV shows?”

“You want to make something of that, too?”

“No, no, not at all. Er…maybe we should get started. Tell me, muse, how did you get into the business of writing?”

“Eleven years ago I accepted employment to work on a non-fiction project. It was boring as heck, dealing with software, plus the book’s editor absolutely would not let me put in any sort of jokes or action scenes. Honestly, I don’t know what he was thinking, because what isn’t made better by jokes or action scenes? But no, I was forced to stick to dry, dull software facts. The second that book was sent off to the editor, I told Katie, my typist, that I wanted to write something fun, something exciting, something with romance and mystery and lots and lots of dialog. So that’s what I did, and oh, was it fun. So I decided to stop writing non-fiction books, and just do the fun things.”

“I’m sure you get asked this all the time, but I’ve always wanted to know–where do you get your ideas?”

“From an online muse shop run by two Bulgarian ex-secret police named Miffy and Booch. They’re a bit pushy in that they give you only what they want to give you, not what you want, but that’s life, you know? They take Paypal now, if you’re interested. Just don’t ever refuse to use an idea they send you—the things Miffy can do to kneecaps would make you shudder.”

“Er…yeah. Moving on. What’s a typical day of musing like for you?”

“I have a very strict schedule, one that mere mortals like you could not handle.”

“I’m actually a fictional…never mind. Go on.”

“I start my day with a brisk swim in a salt water pool—salt water is so refreshing to the pores, don’t you agree? Following that, I spend an hour with my masseuses, Raoul and Jorge, after which is my yoga time. Then it’s a light lunch, some quality time with my TiVo, and then comes the strenuous half hour of actual museage, the results of which I pass on to my typist. She types it all up in a neat document, after which I dismiss her and devote the rest of my evening research.”

“Research? What sort of research? Reading old books and that sort of thing?”

“Books? No, of course not. That’s what my typist is for! My research is the truly valuable kind—I research human nature. I research it at nightclubs, at the theater, and all sorts of gala events. It’s hard work, but I feel I owe it to myself to give my all to everything I do.”

“Altruistic of you.”

“I think so. Were there any other questions? If not, Raoul is beckoning me.”

“So I see. What’s that he’s holding–some sort of whip?”

“Of course not! It’s a birch. It stimulates the skin and makes it glow.”

“I just bet it does. I bet it also—”

TRANSMISSION LOST.

Jack Fletcher, Hero of STEAMED, Interviews a “Typist”, by Katie MacAlister

Interview With a Typist
By Jack Fletcher

BEGIN TRANSMISSION

“Hi Katie.”

“Eeeeek! What that… who are you?”

“I’m Jack.”

“Jack?”

“Jack Fletcher.”

“Good God! What are you doing here?”

“The people at Penguin asked me to do a bunch of interviews for them. You’re my last one, as a matter of fact.”

“But…but…how did you get into my office?”

“I’m not really here, only a projection of me is. Hey, Dooley, get the recording device going, would you? Thanks. So, Katie, I understand you are a typist.”

“I’m a what? Oh, you’ve been talking to my muse, haven’t you?”

“Maybe.”

“I just bet she said all sorts of things about how she does all the work, and all I do is type it up. Didn’t she?”

“Well…she said you typed neatly.”

“Gah! That’s so like her. Swanning around all day with her hunky boy toy masseuses, and jetting out to the coast to meet with Brad Pitt, and then it’s off to Rio for a party. I wash my hands of her, do you hear me? Wash my hands!”

“Wow, you’re really upset. I take it you two have kind of a contentious relationship?”

“If we do, it’s because she doesn’t take what I do seriously. A typist! Honestly! Have you ever heard a muse refer to her author that way?”

“No, but I don’t have much experience with muses. She told me that you guys started working together on non-fiction, and moved on to more fun books. Are you happy with that decision?”

“Oh, yes. I love writing romances. I’m a romantic at heart, and honestly feel that people do need a little more romance in their lives. And some laughs. Life’s too short to be serious all the time.”

“Gotcha. How hard is it to remember all the stuff you write about? Do you have to be really organized, or do you just kind of wing it?”

“I try to be organized and write everything down, so I don’t have to go back several months later and look up someone’s surname, or their physical description, but even that goes awry sometimes. Here, let me show you something…this is from a notebook I kept for your book.”

“It looks like a bunch of scribbles to me.”

“It’s a list of the crew I made when I started writing Steamed. You’ll notice that people’s names got changed, and I tried to make a note of it when that happened.”

“Heh. Al’s name was going to be Ogilvie? Gotta remember to yank his chain over that. This sheet is interesting, but it really looks confusing.”

“It can be. Hence the notes.”

“So what’s on the horizon for you? You’ve got my book just out…will there be more tales of the extremely lickable Octavia and yours truly?”

“Of course there will be. You and Octavia still have things to do, although I may let someone else tell the story of what you’re up to.”

“Hey! I don’t know that I like that. Why would you get someone else to tell our story?”

“It all depends on what the muse gives me to work with, so if you have a complaint or request, you’ll have to talk to her. Although I wouldn’t recommend doing that—she has a ton of hoops you have to jump through to put in even the simplest of requests. Truly ridiculous stuff, like a hard copy, fax, and e-mail copy of the five page request document, blood samples, background checks, and of course, the payment has to clear for ten days before she’ll even make an appointment for you to meet with the request official.”

“Maybe I’ll just leave it up to you, then. So what else do you have coming up?”

“This year is a busy one book-wise. A new dragon series is kicking off in May, and I’ve got a short story featuring Jim, a demon dog, in a Charlaine Harris anthology in the summer. And then in July comes an anthology with my paranormal novella featuring a character previously seen in one of my Dark Ones books, and finally, wrapping up the year is a much anticipated vampire book that concerns two characters who previously frolicked in a couple of young adult books.”

“Cool. And next year?”

“That depends on the muse. Speaking of which, I need to wire her the transfer needed to get the next book outline underway. I’d better get on the phone to the Swiss bankers to authorize that before it gets too late.”

“This concludes my series of interviews. Stay tuned for next month, when my guest host will be—”

TRANSMISSION LOST