Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Steampunk Rendezvous

Totally Sane Interviews with Vampires, Hobbits, and Talking Toads
An Interview with Jesse...and Remy
by Alexandra Shostak
Welcome to the second post of the Character Interviews series, an ongoing series of interviews/chats between fictional characters and their creators.

On that tinkling note, I'd like to introduce you to today's guest blogger, Alexandra Shostak, a brilliant up-and-coming steampunk author (you may have already come across her magnificence on Twitter or elsewhere). But you might be surprised to discover that Alexandra writes, in particular young adult steampunk, breaking--as in all things--the mold. If you're not familiar with steampunk, I urge you to check out Alexandra's succint description of the genre from her guest post, "An Introduction to Steampunk," on Sara McClung's writerly blog The Babbling Flow of a Fledgling Scribbler.

A little something about Ms. Alexandra Shostak
Here's what she told me to tell you: "Alexandra Shostak is a YA fantasy writer and creative writing major in her junior year of college, currently hunting for an agent." Well, okay Miss Emily-Dickinson-totally-downplay-your-abilities-in-every-way. Here's the expanded truth: Alexandra is a brilliant writer--seriously, you should check out her blog, The publication follies of miss Alexandra Shostak . She writes in a very heartfelt, very honest manner--she's totally no-holds barred. Weeks ago, Alexandra posted photos of her scribbled-upon arms and legs, which she'd used as notepads when paper was lacking. Isn't that totally rockin? What I love most about her: she's one of the most supportive writers around. I've never met her personally, but she offers her encouragement as if we'd been meeting for coffee every Friday since the last winter Olympics. And let me tell you a little secret...shh...this girl is gonna be big. So check her out.

A personal note from Alexandra about her characters
Jesse Phoenix is one of the main characters of my steampunk novel MEMENTO MORI, and Remy Daae is the leading lady of PHANTOM BEAUTY, my novel based on Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast. I promise, they’re not this abrasive in their respective manuscripts. Er… well, not quite, anyway.
Anyway, thanks Carol/Carolina for letting me post an interview! It was a lot of fun to write!

Meet Jesse, the devilish outlaw, and sullen Remy, a most cheeky opera singer
Alexandra: So Jesse, maybe you can tell everyone a little about how you became an infamous outlaw?

Jesse: I was better than the rest of them. (Laughs.) Everyone else got caught by the government, but even as a teenager I came home with stolen gold every night. My brother and I—

(Someone coughs. Alexandra and Jesse look, but no one is there.)

Alexandra: Sorry, Jesse. Go on.

Jesse: We started off with—

(Another cough. Alexandra looks around, and rolls her eyes.)

Alexandra: Yes, Remy?

Remy: Forgive me, but I cannot comprehend what made you choose him for this interview.

Alexandra: (dryly) instead of you.

Remy: Well, yes.

Jesse: Who exactly are you?

Remy: You don’t recognize me? How can you call yourself a citizen of Valo and not recognize me?

Jesse: Well, I don’t recognize you. But come to think of it, why don’t you recognize me?

Alexandra: Jesse Phoenix, meet Remy Daae.

Jesse: Wait. You’re dead.

Remy: Do I look dead?

Jesse: But you’re in that stupid opera—the historical one about the Phantom from years ago. You’re the main character. Gods are you annoying.

Remy: Excuse me?

Alexandra: Yes, Jesse. Remy was born over a hundred years before you. So I really don’t know what she’s doing here right now (fixes Remy with a pointed glare.)

Remy: I’m saving your interview. This boor can’t possibly be as interesting as I am.

Alexandra: I think I’ve got it under control.

Remy: I think you should start over.

Jesse: Maybe you should go back to being dead.

Alexandra: You two do realize that you’re screwing up the entire spacetime continuum of my world by meeting each other, don’t you?

Jesse and Remy: Your world?

Remy: Which one of us is the best opera singer in the country?

Jesse: I’d like to see you steal an entire trunk of gold from a moving train.

Alexandra: Okay! That’s it! (Opens up a word document. Narrates as she types.) Remy Daae was the most beautiful mute to ever—

Remy: Hey! Don’t you dare add that to the manuscript!

Alexandra: Will you let me interview Jesse like I planned?

Remy: (sullenly) Yes.

(Remy stalks off, but when Alexandra looks around for her outlaw, he’s gone off to rob a bank.)

Holy cow, Alexandra has gone and shaken up the interview experiment by having characters from different books collide in the author's world! Pretty cool, huh? No, not just cool--Steampunk FABULOUS! Love it! So, we've got outlaws, opera singers, magic, fantasy worlds...steampunk in all its glory. But poor Alexandra was left all alone at the end of the interview! Wonder how she'll exact her revenge? Hmm....

Oh yes, and my friends call me Carol. So please, call me Carol. Carolina is my birth/author name, which I can't seem to grow into. If you would like to submit a character interview, just let me know! Please be sure to refer back to my post on character interviews


  1. Ha! I love that a character from one novel busted in on the interview with a character from another. Great opportunity for lines like, "Maybe you should go back to being dead."

    Well played, Ms. Shostak!

    (And if I come up with a character I want to interview, I'll letcha know, Carol. :)

  2. How tantalizing!! I have to confess: I really haven't read much (any) steampunk. But these guys are so charming I just might have to make that venture.

    Thanks for sharing them with us!

  3. This was awesome :) Alexandra so knows how to influence people into wanting to read steampunk! I think this was so particularly clever because Alexandra recently posted that (if memory serves) her novels all take place on the same world - but years and years apart in time. What a creative way to bring the characters together :) Alexandra - I am completely looking forward to the holidays (you know why!)

    Carol - Thanks for the heads up about your name! Now I've got 3 more letters space on twitter messages! (haha jk - but I have been meaning to ask you about it bc of the name of your blog!)

  4. Wow, that was SO funny! I was laughing so hard throughout!!!! Wonderful post!!! :-)

  5. Simon, I would LOVE to have you guest post an interview. I thought Alexandra's approach was so creative, as well.

    Jenni, you're a doll, and I totally heart you. I'm missing Abigail aleady! And yes, I'm totally starting to get into steampunk now with the aid of one Miss Alexandra Shostak!

    Sara, between #amwritingparty and #weekofseriouswordage I think we will all need to truncate our names for tweets! Hehe.

    S.J. Maas, thank you for stopping by. I was delighted to have Alexandra guest post, and got a pretty fantastic laugh out of it myself.

  6. Ahahaha. I love it when characters from different books collide. :) Wonderful interview.


  7. So fun! I love these interviews!

  8. Eeeee thank you guys! I'm glad you like it and don't think I'm totally insane. And thank you Carol for asking me to do this! I can't wait for you to post more of these, it's such a great idea! :)

  9. Manifesta and Sherrah, thank you for stopping by! It's been such a pleasure to share Alexandra's interview on my blog!

    Alexandra, you rock, girl! Thanks for bringing Jesse and Remy by for introductions. I hope you will bring them back to visit, or perhaps introduce us to more of your friends ;)

  10. What a fun post!! I've had to check out Alexandra's blog too :)

  11. Jemi, so glad you enjoyed it! Lucky me, I got to be the host of it!!


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