Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the wonderful and magical Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare! Gwendolyn was kind enough to answer a few questions I had, but before you read her answers, here is a little bit about the book:
Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare
Series: Ink Iron and Glass #1
Published by Macmillan on February 20, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Can she write a world gone wrong?
A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother—a noted scriptologist.
But when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative 19th-century Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones—young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy or scriptology—and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.
This is your debut (congrats!). Is there anything about the publishing process that has surprised you?
I’m a “do your homework” kind of gal, so I’ve kept myself fairly well informed about what to expect throughout the publishing journey. It definitely helps to have a stellar agent on your side, to keep you sane with regular reassurances that, yes, all this is normal. That feeling when you’re sending out query letters and hearing crickets for weeks? Yeah, that never entirely goes away — the publishing industry runs on endless cycles of hurry-up-and-wait.
I suppose it’s true, though, that nothing can really prepare you for what it feels like the first time you hold a physical book in your hands… and it’s got your name printed on the cove
In Ink, Iron, and Glass, Elsa can create worlds through her writing. What kind of world would you create if you had the same power?
If I were Elsa, I’d probably give a snarky reply like, All you have to do is read the book to find out. But that’s not actually true! Authors create worlds full of tension and injustice and conflict, because otherwise there wouldn’t be a plot. I think you’ve got to be a little bit of a sadist to invent imaginary people and then make their worst nightmares come true. So the worlds we write definitely aren’t ideal worlds.
If scriptology were real and I could literally create new worlds, I’d probably create habitats for endangered species. Or grow a bunch of crops off-world and solve the global food crisis. The environmental applications would be pretty much endless.
Fantasy authors have a variety of ways that they approach world building, ranging from keeping notebooks to writing character profiles, etc.. What approach do you use, if any?
This isn’t a strategy that I’d advocate for others to use, but to be honest, I keep a lot of that information organized in my head instead of writing it down. If I write down worldbuilding ideas, I sometimes feel too locked down into that idea, and then I have trouble making room when a better idea comes along to supplant it.
With Ink, Iron, and Glass in particular, I did a fair amount of historical background research, which became the foundation for the novel’s worldbuilding. As much as it is an alternate history, I first needed a working understanding of both the history of Victorian-era technology and the Italian unification movement… and then I could figure out what to keep and what to change.
What was your favorite book world to escape into when you were a kid?
Definitely Anne McCaffrey’s Pern. Hands down, no contest. I never got into writing fan fiction, but as a teenager, I participated in a text-based virtual reality (a MOO, for those old enough to know what that means) based on Pern. I even coded baby dragons to imprint on other users’ characters. I don’t apologize — it was awesome.
Thank you so much for answering my questions! Ink, Iron, and Glass is available on February 20th!