In nine weeks, my new novel Gidion’s Blood and my short story collection The Deadlands: And Other Stories will come out. Among the stories in the collection will be my first voyage into the world of steampunk, Crossfire.
I’d only just started reading steampunk. My small sample included Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker and The Greyfriar by Clay & Susan Griffith. While steampunk is a specific genre within science fiction and fantasy, I’ve come to appreciate how versatile it can be.I decided to avoid writing in Victorian London. Instead, I went for a future London with steampunk elements to it. Having never written steampunk, I knew I was out of my element, so I took an old friend there with me. The main character of this tale is named Davin Cross. Readers had never met him, but by that time, Davin had chased bad guys in my head for more than a decade. Unfortunately, he’d been trapped in early efforts where I lacked enough skill to make the story work or aborted attempts at novels. Davin is a determined counter-terrorism CIA agent who started as an analyst. You might think of him as a sci-fi-turned-steampunk version of Jack Ryan. Crossfire gave me the chance to explore Davin before he got the green light to go into the field.
Every writer has a story they want to tell but scares them, and the big story I one day want to write with Davin Cross is the story that scares me. Years after writing Crossfire, I still straddle the fence on whether to keep the future steampunk setting for that story or to treat this tale as apocryphal. Fortunately for my inner cowardly lion, I’m blessed with a lot of projects that legitimately demand my time and attention, but one day, I’ll return to Davin Cross and reel in this big fish.
I recently released this short story as an ebook and designed the cover myself. Part of the reason I opted to make this cover and not pay someone else to do it was because I already had a picture of Buckingham Palace. I took that picture (and many others) during a 2010 trip to London with my wife. Part of the story takes place just a few buidings down from the palace in a place called Lancaster House. I’m no slouch at graphic artwork, but cover art is its own beast. That said, I knew I nailed it with this cover.