I'm so happy to be helping take part in the Canadian blog tour for Scott Westerfeld's Goliath today! Set during an alternate history of WWI, Keith Thomson's beautiful illustrations within also perfectly complement the novels as well. Goliath, the final novel in the steampunk trilogy, will be hitting shelves next week! Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada, I was able to ask Scott some questions...
Alek and Deryn are aboard the Leviathan when the ship is ordered to pick up an unusual passenger. This brilliant/maniacal inventor claims to have a weapon called Goliath that can end the war. But whose side is he really on?While on their top-secret mission, Alek finally discovers Deryn's deeply kept secret. Two, actually. Not only is Deryn a girl disguised as a guy...she has feelings for Alek.The crown, true love with a commoner, and the destruction of a great city all hang on Alek's next–and final–move.
1) Who was your favourite character to write about in Goliath?
Of the two leads, Deryn was probably the most fun to write. She's the least introspective character I've even written, preferring action to though any time. So all her scenes have a wonderful momentum to them. She solves problems instinctively, which leads to a very clean writing style. I didn't second-guess myself as I wrote, because Deryn never would either.
2) I've always enjoyed learning more about history and seeing the twists you've brought to WWI has been a lot of fun to read! What was the most challenging aspect of alternating history to your own advantage in the Leviathan novels?
When you're changing huge parts of history, adding living airships and walking armored vehicles, it's important to get the little things right. So Keith and I spent a lot of time researching the details of clothing, manners, and food. For example, I spent a long time to figure out how far the technology of zippers had spread in 1914. (Did working-class people have them? Or only the wealthy? Were they on boots? Trousers? Luggage? And did the Ottomans have any at all?) Because I wanted to get that stuff exactly right, if only to make up for my changing the entire history of biology.
3) Steampunk is still a relatively unknown genre for many people. What do you like about writing in this particular genre... as opposed to a dystopian world, like your Uglies series, for example?
Steampunk is a lot more exuberant than most science fiction. For one thing, it's hardly limited by technologies being feasible or practical. The era which steampunk is set in is one of boundless technological optimism, and it's fun to be caught up in the invention of it all. Of course, I've set the Leviathan series during World War I, when all that optimism came crashing down. So in a way, I'm writing about a world that's tipping over into a dystopia, into realizing that machines aren't as much fun once you have machine guns.
My wife (novelist Justine Larbalestier) and I have an office on Broadway in New York, in an old iron-frame factory building. So I head there after breakfast, when the coffee is still coursing in my veins, and write for four hours or so. Then I have emails and tweets and blog posts and business stuff to attend to. I go to the gym three times and do Pilates once a week to keep my back from packing it in. It's all pretty sedate from the outside, I suppose, but I make up for it while on tour, meeting a few hundred people a day and flying all over the place.
5) With the Leviathan trilogy wrapping up when Goliath is released, can you tell us anything more about what you're working on next for readers to love and enjoy?
I'm working on a graphic adaptation of the Uglies series. It's in a manga style, and tells the events of the trilogy from Shay's point of view. It's been great retelling that story from another perspective, because I'm discovering all sorts of stuff that was hidden from Tally, and so never made it into the novels. (Uglies: Shay's Story comes out next May from Del Rey.)
Thanks so much to Scott Westerfeld for answering my questions! And don't forget, Goliath is out in stores on September 20th!
You can also check out these earlier stops on the Canadian Goliath blog tour:
Monday, September 12 - Steampunk Canada ~ Interview & Giveaway to Win a Complete Set of the Leviathan Trilogy!
Tuesday, September 13 - Emilie's Book World ~ Interview and Review
Wednesday, September 14 - He Followed Me Home... Can I Keep Him? ~ Interview & Giveaway to Win Goliath!
And if you haven't read the novels yet, why not check out the book trailer for Leviathan below? It just might convince you to join the adventure!