Hello & Welcome to The Electrical Menagerie Blog Tour!
Joining me today is the illustrious author herself, Mollie E Reeder, for an interview in which all of her deepest darkest secrets shall be revealed. Well, perhaps not…but on my blog, you never know!
About the Book
The Electrical Menagerie, one-of-a-kind robotic roadshow, is bankrupt.
Sylvester Carthage, illusionist and engineer, has the eccentric imagination the Menagerie needs to succeed creatively — but none of the people skills. Fast-talking Arbrook Huxley, meanwhile, has all the savvy the Menagerie needs to succeed commercially — but none of the scruples.
To save their show, Carthage & Huxley risk everything in a royal talent competition, vying for the chance to perform for the Future Celestial Queen. In this stardust-and-spark-powered empire of floating islands and flying trains, a shot at fame and fortune means weathering the glamorous and cutthroat world of critics, high society, and rival magicians —but with real conspiracy lurking beneath tabloid controversy, there’s more at stake in this contest than the prize.
Behind the glittery haze of flash paper and mirrors, every competitor has something to hide… and it’s the lies Carthage & Huxleytell each other that may cost them everything.
Welcome Ms. Reeder, first of all, your drink order: tea or coffee?
Plot twist! I love coffee and tea (of all kinds – black, green, herbal) equally, but I only drink decaf. (Caffeine totally tweaks me out). Since Huxley lives on coffee, perhaps today I’ll take a black coffee in honor of him.
Gotcha, no caffeine, wouldn’t want you to tweak out during our interview. *wink* Tell me, when did you first start writing, and why?
I’ve been making up stories to entertain myself my whole life. I think that being an author (or any kind of storyteller/entertainer) is a socially acceptable form of never growing up. I get to play make believe every day!
I also think that imagination is one of the most important things we have. It teaches us empathy and lets us explore real problems … and real solutions. Writing books, for me, is a way of inviting others into my world where we can imagine something together — and then maybe take what we learn back into the real world.
Hear, hear to never growing up! Tell me, what inspires you?
History, definitely! I love history, and I draw a lot of inspiration from it, especially for worldbuilding. The Celestial Isles is a pseudo-19th century setting, but it owes a lot to several other historical touchstones, including the Golden Age of Hollywood, polio epidemics, and the Red Scare.
What kind of music is on your writing playlist?
Music is a big part of my writing ritual, and I like to make a custom playlist for each new project. For The Electrical Menagerie, I had some soundtracks from Disney movies and BBC period dramas, and I wrote the entire finale to Hans Zimmer’s “Absurdity” from The Lone Ranger. If The Electrical Menagerie were going to be a movie, I think I’d want Zimmer to write the score.
Where did you get the idea for The Electrical Menagerie?
I’ve wanted to write a steampunk series set on floating islands for some time. I had also been really wanting to write a story set aboard a train. None of my ideas really come together until I have characters, though.
This one started as an “odd couple” buddy story about two friends in the entertainment industry who had all kinds of misadventures. From there the world quickly pieced itself together from other ideas I had in the back of my mind.
Do you share your writing with your family & friends?
Yes, actually! I am very grateful to have supportive parents, and I do share my writing with them. My dad really doesn’t like reading fiction, and he hates science fiction/fantasy, but he was sweet enough to read the book anyway — and he ended up falling in love with the characters, even the robot! Maybe we will make a SF/F convert out of him yet. 😉
I’m also grateful to be surrounded by friends I can share my journey with. That hasn’t always been the case, and writing without a support system can be terrifying and lonely. I feel very blessed, in this season of my life, that I’m not going at it alone.
Having a support system cannot be highly rated enough.
I’m always curious about the processes of other writers. What is your favorite time of day to write?
I try to be a (mid)morning person, but I’m a night owl at heart. I’d say I’ve had some of my most productive writing between 10pm-2pm.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Jennifer Nielsen for the delicious court intrigue in The False Prince. I like stories that have complex layers of character motivation, relationships that drive conflict, and a sense of mystery that keeps you guessing. I was sure I had that book figured out, but she still managed to surprise me. I haven’t finished the trilogy (and I know I’m late to the party) but I recently read that first book and it immediately became one of my favorites.
Gordon Korman for making me laugh. Nobody can make me laugh like Gordon Korman.
Michael Hoeye for inspiring me when I was a young reader. I read his series over and over again, just to taste that world one more time. And for inspiring me again as a new author — I recently learned that his first book was self-published in the 90’s, long before self-publishing was as easy or accessible as it is today.
The False Prince is a truly excellent book, I highly recommend it.
All right, it’s the obligatory island question; You get to take one book with you to a deserted island, what is it?
Absolutely my Bible. It’s the only book that has ever truly changed my life.
For those that don’t know, all of my interviews include a ‘who wins in a fight’ question in which I pit two fantastic creatures against each other in an epic battle.
Ms. Reeder, please tell me, who wins in a fight; a griffin or a hippogriff?
My knee-jerk response was the griffin. But then I scienced it out, and I think the only thing the griffin has to its advantage is paws/claws. They both have wings/beaks, and the hippogriff is likely larger and can kick/trample with its hooves. I’ve heard stories about horses fending off attacking cougars — which normally won’t even attack horses unless they’re already weakened — so my money is on the hippogriff!
Good choice on the hippogriff! What’s next for you, any new projects in the works?
I’m actually already working on the second Celestial Isles book, Circus of Disasters! The Electrical Menagerie serves well as a standalone adventure — it was important to me to give readers a “complete” story. But the adventures of Carthage & Huxley are far from over, and I’m really excited about diving back into their world… there are many secrets I have yet to share!
Some things that inspired Circus of Disasters include Walt Disney, the World’s Fair, the life of J.M. Barrie (whom Carthage was partly based on)… and a major historical event from the turn of the century, which I can’t list because it would be a massive spoiler. 😉
I love that you point out the similarities to Barrie, I can definitely see that. Also, one of the things I really love about The Electrical Menagerie is that it can standalone. Though, now that you mention it, I’m terribly curious about Circus of Disasters…
What is the one thing you wish people knew about The Celestial Isles Series?
All the cool stuff I couldn’t fit into The Electrical Menagerie!
Which means, I suppose, that I will just have to keep writing… and you’ll have to keep reading!
Wonderful, and I plan to! Thank you so much for joining me today, Ms. Reeder, and I very much look forward to seeing more of The Celestial Isles.
Folks, keep reading below for more information on an exciting giveaway!
Also, check out my review of this novel on Goodreads.
About the Author
Mollie’s first job was with a major theme park, where she operated a roller coaster, fixed parade floats, and helped Scooby-Doo put on his head. Now, Mollie is a movie producer and the author of character-driven science fiction/fantasy novels for adults who never outgrew imagination. Her favorite things include Jesus, dinosaurs, and telling cinematic stories that blend glitter and grit.
Explore the world of The Electrical Menagerie by entering to win this Celestial Isles prize pack, which includes: “High Victorian” playing cards by luxury playing card company Theory11, handmade galaxy mug by DeVita Designs, Science & Engineering Themed Pocket Notebook Set by CognitiveSurplus, and a tin of Electrical Menagerie themed tea (over a $50 value)! (US only.)
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, June 4th
- Book Spotlight – Sarah Ashwood’s Newsletter
- Author Interview – New Authors Fellowship
- Review – Finding Kat Heckenbach
Tuesday, June 5th
Wednesday, June 6th
Thursday, June 7th
- Review – Inspired Chaos
- Guest Post – L. Mbewe
- Review – Scriblerians
- Review – The Bibliophile of Beaverton
Friday, June 8th
- Author Interview – Bethany A. Jennings
- Guest Post & Review – The Elven Padawan
- Author Interview – Shannon A. Hiner
Saturday, June 9th
- Author Interview, Character Interview & Review – Katelyn Buxton Books
- Review – M. Carroll, Author – fun, fantastical escapes
- Character Interview – The Book Sprite
Monday, June 11th
- Blog Tour Wrap-Up –Unicorn Quester