Friday, November 1, 2013

Interview with Richard Ellis Preston Jr's Romulus Buckle

Today I'm hosting fellow 47North author Richard Ellis Preston, Jr! However, I've got a spin on his "author interview"--I'll be speaking directly to the protagonist of his novel, Romulus Buckles & The City of the Founders, which you can find on Amazon, here. The second book in the Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin series, Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War, is coming out on November 19th.

Hi Romulus. Can I call you Romulus? Glad to have you here today.

The honor is all mine, Madam Holmberg.

To start us off, I want to get to the guts of your story. You risk an awful lot for the sake of rescuing your leader, Balthazar Crankshaft. Did you have a strong relationship with him?

Balthazar Crankshaft is my father. I am adopted by him, you see, along with my sister, Elizabeth. I have few vague memories of my natural parents but Balthazar is the only father I have ever really known. He is the leader of our Crankshaft clan and a true lion among men. We all know that a war is coming and without Balthazar we would be lost, like walking into a duel without one's pistol. There was no debate on what had to be done. I volunteered to lead the rescue mission because Balthazar is my father, yes, but of greater importance is that fact that he is the father to all of us. And under no circumstances shall one of us be left to the enemy.

Oh... that's intense. Can you share details about this impending war?

The Founders clan is powerful and there are many rumblings about them gearing up for war. They once held a vast empire and it appears they are seeking a return to their former glory. The smaller clans, us among them, are scrambling to form a Grand Alliance and assemble a united fleet before the Founders can destroy us piecemeal.

What would the Founders clan's return to glory mean for you, personally?

It would be a catastrophe for myself and every other man, woman and child in the Snow World. The Founders are tyrants, running a totalitarian state disguised as some sort of benevolent parliament. Their record of enslaving other clans and cruelly exploiting their resources is long and dripping with blood. If I were to survive a defeat of our forces in a war I would be executed for my role in the resistance, along with every other member of my crew. Also, my beloved sister, Elizabeth, was apparently kidnapped by the Founders, and I am willing to sacrifice everything to ensure her safe return.

You and your crew engage in a lot of... horrific stuff. Alien monsters, poisonous wastelands, forgewalkers... and all in frigid temperatures. Can you share with us your worst experience on this journey?

Well, it was rough-and-tumble all along, so I unfortunately have a considerable list of difficulties experienced. Falling off of one's zeppelin, referred to as the "Cerulean slip" in the airship business, was a bit of a pill for me. A captain should never fall off of one's ship. I was fighting a tangler at the time. The tanglers are flying beasties that look like old-style pterodactyls in many ways, and they are big, vicious and relentless predators.  We had quite a scrap on the way down. I'd also have to say that plunging into the noxious mustard fog bank was also quite unsettling, in a primitively emotional kind of way; it is frightening to be sealed up in an oxygen mask while the cabin you're in fills up with dense poisonous gas. One certainly hopes that one's helmet has no leaks in that situation.

That's a downer. Does all that trauma affect your dating life?

I can't say I had ever considered such an effect.  I suppose not, now that I think about it.

Ohhhh... so does that mean you've got a lady-friend somewhere in this ripe mess of a world? (Or a man-friend, if you swing that way...)

Currently I have no... permanent lady friend. There is one crew member in particular I am extremely fond of, but she and I have an understanding as to the casual nature of our relationship. As for men, they do not fall into romantic categories for me personally.

So dry, Romulus! Does anything besides the war get a rise out of you? Any pet peeves or estranged passions?

Witnessing the abuse of animals or children will always get a rise out of me, as it would with most people. I have stepped into several brawls over such things. My pet peeves include slacking, incompetence and negligence... any attribute which could bring an airship crashing down. Crewmen in the crow's nest who do not espy hazards before I do, now there's one that really gets my goat, and they hear about it. If the world was different, if there were no wars and all was at peace, I would have loved to have been an explorer of the far corners of the globe. I wish I was a good painter. I am also rather put out by a cup of cold tea.

What do you consider your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness?

I have long been told by my father, sister and various elders that my great weakness is my impulsiveness. I can tend to leap before I look, at times. As for my greatest strength, well, I cannot speak to that with authority. I see flaws in most every part of my existence. I would state for the record that I am loyal to my friends, and that my word is ironclad.

Any final words of wisdom for our readers?

Life is difficult. If you expect it to be easy, get over it or you will be disappointed almost all of the time. Also, keep your powder dry.


Richard Ellis Preston, Jr. is a science fiction writer who loves the zeitgeist of steampunk. Although he grew up in both the United States and Canada he prefers to think of himself as British. He attended the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, where he earned an Honors B.A. in English with a Minor in Anthropology.  He has lived on Prince Edward Island, excavated a 400 year old Huron Indian skeleton and attended a sperm whale autopsy. Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders is the first installment in his new steampunk series, The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin. Richard has also written for film and television. He currently resides in California.

Connect with Richard:

Twitter: @RichardEPreston
Facebook: Richard Ellis Preston, Jr

1 comment:

  1. "A captain should never fall off of one's ship" - truer words may never have been spoken.