Name: A.L. Davroe
Who is A.L.? A wife, with a love of steampunk, cosplay, cats and corsets.
Books: Salvation Station, The Alchemist Perfect Instrument (City Steam #!), The Krie Seekers (City Steam #2), and For Your Heart (Hill Dweller-Retellings #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction & Fantasy and Romance
It is Motif Ink’s honor to present our readers with an interview with A.L. Davroe author of the City Steam series. Interviewd by Tania Lasenburg, Davroe explains her love of all things steampunk, how she is able to balance YA with adult maturity and what the difference between Steampunk and Cosplay is. Her books can be found on Amazon. ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
What is it about Steampunk that drew you in? Is it the vintage aspect of it or is it because Steampunk seems to be a growing theme in the literature world?
My initial interest in Steampunk dovetailed off of an interest that I had in Gothic Neo-Victorian costuming. I’ve always been a fan of the Victorian Era and it was the costuming aspect of Steampunk that initially drew my attention. I loved how Steampunk redefined Victorian style and sensibilities while somehow managing to retain the positive aspects of that era. It was like Neo-Victorian costuming in many ways, only way cooler. Once I became interested in Steampunk, I started reading Steampunk literature and becoming heavily involved in the Steampunk community. So, long story short, it was the vintage aspect that drew me in first.
What is your thought process when writing a book that is influenced by Steampunk? Are you interacting with those heavily involved with Steampunk and that lifestyle so to speak?
Steampunk is a new genre and it’s difficult to define. I think that, in many ways, it will never be easily defined because the “punk” ideology that makes Steampunk what it is allows for Steampunk to remain fluid. I’m very involved with the Steampunk community. I have lots of friends who are writers or costumers and we go to Steampunk conventions all the time. When asked to define Steampunk, each one of us will probably tell you something different. Yet, we still all somehow manage to look and write something that retains that Steampunk feel. For me, Steampunk has to have a punk or challenging aspect paired with a heavy Victorian Era background. You can add an invention or fashion from another era; however, you have to have a good explanation for why it’s there and you need to make sure that mostly everything else around it (or about it) rings true to Victorian. To me, Steampunk’s not about slapping gears or steam power into any ear that you please, it’s about redefining and working within the confines of the Victorian Age. In my case when I started working on the City Steam series, the Empire retained the bulk of British colonial aspects but then I gave them Alchemistry which provided for the development of unique weaponry. I also took the chance to revamp the women’s social movement by putting a female on a throne that controlled all these newfangled airships and chemical weapons.
On your website you state you enjoy cosplay, how does that compare to Steampunk? Are there differences that can be spotted in your novels or are they similar?
To me, Steampunk costuming is a subset of cosplay. Cosplay (literally “costume play”) is all about dressing to represent a character or idea from popular media. I suppose a lot of people only think of cosplay as dressing like a specific person from a comic or a book, but dressing to a literary theme is also acceptable to me because…what else would you call it? It’s certainly not historic reenactment. As for the differences between Steampunk and cosplay in my novels, in my Steampunk work, the characters in Dormorn are actually living that life, so how they dress in the book is literally their everyday wear. Someone in our current era (like, for example, Jeanette from my YA book FOR YOUR HEART could choose to dress like they are from Dormorn or choose to play one of my characters when they go to a convention and that would be cosplay.
There seems to be a bit of a fine line between the two and most adult now a days are comfortable reading YA books because there is a bit of a mature adult in them. How are you able to satisfy that reader who wants a YA book but with maturity.
Well, my YA books tend to be for upper YA readers. Like Maggie Stiefvater and Melissa Marr, I push the envelope a little bit with what I allow my characters to do. There is sex and violence in my books, so that automatically tends to draw adult readers. I also think I tend to write more complex books that often touch on politics, religion, and deep mythologies, so that’s also a draw for older readers. I don’t mind putting these things into books because I think we grossly underestimate how intelligent our children can be. They get things. I’m also not naive enough to believe that kids aren’t doing these things in high school (or even middle school for that matter). I don’t think it’s wise to sweep it under the rug and not talk about some of the darker issues teens face. Because even if they aren’t facing it, they know someone who is and even adults can relate to that. But, in order to make it appropriate for my younger readers, I try to write without too much of the detail and I try to really explore the initial feelings and consequences for certain actions.
Finally, what made you want to become a writer?
I have no clue. Seriously. I used to do my writing assignments in school and sometimes my mom would read what I’d written and say, “This is really good,” but I never really thought about becoming a writer. I didn’t even know that I enjoyed writing until I got to high school and one of my anime fan friends convinced me to start a fanfic (fan fiction) with her. She liked what I wrote and I liked writing it. A few weeks later, I finished my first Tamora Pierce book. I was waiting to get picked up from school and it wasn’t my turn to write in the fanfic (fan fiction), but I really wanted to write something like Pierce’s book. So, I just started writing my own story. I worked on that series throughout high school and part of college. I still hope to one day get it published, but it needs a lot of work, I’ve grown a lot as a writer since then. When I was a sophomore in college, I got the idea for the first Dark Covenant book. I spent the next five years writing the book and by the last year, the need to write it possessed me so fully that I had to quit one my jobs so that I could focus on it. Once it was written, I had this overwhelming desire to share this amazing concept with other people. That’s when I decided that I’d try to get it published and started trying to find an agent. Since the completion of the first Dark Covenant book, I’ve finished six other books. Every day I’m more and more driven to put stories to paper and my stories want to be told. I think that’s what makes a real writer, someone who is possessed by the story; not the other way around. I can’t even think of myself as anything but a writer now.
To know more about A.L. Davroe and her books there are a few things you can do:
Follow her Goodreads here
Follow her Twitter here or
Her website here
If you are interested in having your book reviewed or having a Quick Five© with Tania, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org