Friday, April 27, 2012

'Stealing Time' With C.K. Garner

If it wasn’t for online friends like C.K Garner, I would probably stop writing. As mutual supporters of the writing sisterhood—she has been the best! I used to be shy online, until I started meeting some of the greatest, kindest, most talented people I’ve ever had the fortune of meeting—and it wasn’t even in person.  What’s even cooler is to see the process of writing develop in someone who has just begun and is already running at full tilt. If steampunk is your cup of literary tea—then you absolutely must read C.K.’s work, and pay attention: This girl’s imagination is on fire!

An interview with C.K. Garner, Author of Stealing Time (Musa Publishing, August 2012)

Q. You define ‘Stealing Time’ as steampunk and speculative fiction genres. In your view, what is steampunk?

Garner: Oh, that’s a tricky question as there are a lot of conflicting views out there about Steampunk. For me Steampunk represents an alternate historian’s Victorian Era world of fictional, though often plausible technological inventions similar to those in the works of classic Sci-fi, and speculative fiction authors such as Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and works of William Gibson. Other essential components are common travel by airship, or dirigibles, alongside other “path not taken” early technology like altered onset of pseudo-physics and mad science colliding with true science.  Steampunk is constantly evolving, embracing Dieselpunk, World Wars I& II Eras, as well as Steamgoth, and Clockgoth, possibilities and clockworks abound, so the definition is hard to set in stone.

Q. Most authors are asked two questions in every review: “When did you decide to become an author?” And, “How did you do it?” So, what’s your author story, C.K.?

Garner: I wrote my first story back in first grade; it was supposed to be a nice tale about Easter. I’ve always leaned toward a dark point of view, even as a kid, so I wrote a story about a giant rabbit that lives in a cave and comes out to eat little children once a year. Lol! Got an F grade and a phone call home for that one! As a teen, I bought a book about how to write romance novels, but got so much flak I abandoned ship, even though most of my friends still insisted I should be an author, because I was forever saying, “Oh hey, I’ve got this great scene in my head, listen…” In my twenties, I promised myself to become an author by age 46.  Two years ago, my writer’s block broke when I followed the advice of my best friend Christina to write a single sentence each evening.
     Soon, the tales were flowing like Niagara Falls; it was like being in a writing deluge; with me in a barrel going over the edge. Then came blogging, followed by hosting an amusing little horror group on a steampunk blog, where I became friends with author, Nishi Serrano, (oh, hey, that’s you!).  Nishi told me if I wasn’t writing a book yet, I should be. However, the real push to go from private writer to publishing my stuff, came when I chanced across Ariel Gore’s book, “How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead: Your Words in Print and Your Name in Lights”. She says to submit your work before you think it’s ready, so you won’t miss the boat on getting published, i.e. take the risk, don’t wait forever. I wanted to send mine in after the manuscript was perfect, but instead, I gave myself a pretend deadline of two weeks after reading the Ariel Gore book, to have my manuscript ready to go. On the goal date, come hell or high-water, I’d submit it! So I did, and that’s my story.

Q. What writing advice do you have for fledgling writers and authors?

Garner: Read. A lot. Read the authors that you like, and try to emulate their style. Read the rubbish-heap stuff too! There can be something gleaned from even the poorest written of novels. Next, experiment by playing with the characters of each novel: How would the character of the great novel handle the situation in the rubbish heap title, and vice versa. Write it down. It’s a fun way to get your creative juices going, and come up with original ideas for your own manuscript. Learn to speak in each voice, or more accurately write in each hand, especially when trying to get the flavor of a certain time period; of course, the idea in the long run is to develop your own style.

Q. You mentioned having writer’s block. How do you handle it now, and what advice would you give?

Garner: Two things: First, step away from the keyboard and grab a piece of paper and a pencil. Writing by hand increases brain activity, and it really works for me to break down the writer’s block wall. Next write a single sentence, just thoughts, even if it’s only, “Alpha to OMG, I cannot write a thing!” The idea is to start, then keep it up for at least 20 minutes. Do it every night until the brain-juice gets flowing again. Hmm, on second thought, you don’t want to pull a “Shining” fiasco ala Stephen King’s character Jack Torrance, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, all work and no play makes jack a dull boy, all work and…” Lol!  You get the picture. Second, play the “What If Game”, (also attributed to Stephen King): Look around your room, or take a walk. See a lady putting on lipstick at her desk? Make her a killer, patiently waiting to poison her next victim with a kiss. Did your boss scream at you today? Change his name in a story, alter his description, and now he’s the crazy man in your what if getting hauled away in a white straight jacket. See that beautiful lady with the bright red hair? Take her home to bed! Okay, just in your story, right? You’re the writer; you have lives to ruin, people to raise up as zombies, or turn into heroes!
Q. What is your next project?

Garner: I’m currently working on the sequel to Stealing Time, as well as a Victorian murder mystery and a fantasy novel.

Q. Where and how can we find Stealing Time for purchase?

Garner: Stealing Time is scheduled for release August 31, 2012 as an E-book from Musa Publishing’s Urania Sci-fi and Spec-fi imprint. It will be available for download as an E-book on Kindle and Nook, as well as PDF for PC’s from Amazon, Smashwords and directly from the Musa Publishing website at

Q. How can readers contact you?

Garner: You can visit my blog at  or feel free to Tweet me at  


Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hello! Nisha Serrano and C.K.Garner...
Great interview, humourous and it's very interesting with a lot Of great tips to get writer writing.

C.K. Garner, I know you by your [Steam-punk] user name and I wasn't aware Of the fact, that you are a writer too!
Tks, for sharing!
deedee ;-D

C.K. Garner said...

Hi Deedee and Nishi,

I haven't been as involved in the Steampunk Empire for a few months now...needed to spend that time focused on writing Stealing Time, but I guess the word is out! Madame Nishi and I met through the Empire in a quaint little Victoria Mansion called Widow's Walk. The Widow Next is so pleased to hear from her fellow members of the Empire! Now, Nishi, will you pour or shall I?


C.K. Garner (aka The Widow Kate Next)

Anonymous said...

Ah, Nishi, how do I love thee...I give you one raven's feather to pen magic as you write, and here's a brace of gargoyles to keep guard in the night, an ogre with three eyes to better watch the Fates, a four leafed purple clover to charm all through your world, and last my hand in friendship, a five fold shield of gold.

Nishi, you are a rare gem, and I'm so glad to have found you and call you friend.

C.K. Garner

Peter Lukes said...

Great interview C.K.! I'm relatively new to reading steampunk but I think your story will make me a full blown fan of the genre. Can't wait to read it. Best of luck!

Peter Lukes said...

Great interview C.K.! I'm a relatively new reader to steampunk but after I read your story I have the feeling I'm going to be a full blown fan of the genre. Good luck!

Sharon Ledwith said...

Hey, C.K.,if that was your experiment, then I'd say you did great! It's nice getting to know authors of different genres and about their roots. Well done and cheers to Nisha!

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

Enjoyed the interview, ladies. I'm a fan of steampunk now, but until recently I didn't even know what it was. Hope you have huge success with your book, C.K.

Cordelia Dinsmore said...

Thanks for a great interview, ladies. I wish you huge success with your steampunk, C.K.

Dusty Crabtree said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing your story. :)

Joanna Fay said...

Very nice interview, ladies! I didn't know what steampunk was until joining a critiquing group with a member who is currently writing a steampunk trilogy. Her work inspired me enough to try my hand at a couple of steampunk/fantasy crossover short stories and it's great fun.
I'll look forward to reading your novel, C.K. :)

Nishi Serrano said...

You folks are the bestest in the world! Thank you C.K. for the wonderful charms (I shall use them wisely), and a hand in friendship is the most important of all :)