Steampunk Month:Interview with Becket & Review of Becket’s Key The Steampunk Vampire Girl and the Dungeon of Despair

Amazon (Kindle)/ Amazon (Paperback)/Barnes & Nobles/Kobo/Goodreads

Fitting with both the Steampunk aesthetic of the book, along with the prevailing mood of the story, here is a techno-violin piece from independent musician/writer Emilie Autumn

Review:

With the deftness of a skilled storyteller, Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl  excels in having much to say, while being written first and foremost as a deeply entertaining fantasy tale, geared for readers of all ages. The story utilizes subtle writing, to carefully sculpt the feelings of all the colorful main characters and side characters that populate the creative, imaginative world that Becket skillfully molds in this story.

Separated from her parents and the warm, nourishing household they provided, the main character of this story Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl (an ordinary girl, before being turned into a vampire)  is thrown into a world of literal despair, or the underground kingdom, where the vampires of this world live. The emotional travails of the main character  Key is poignant and sensitively-expressed, and there is an ultimate cathartic arc for Key’s growth as a character, proving the skill of Becket as a storyteller to provide meaning and emotional depth to the story. Conversely, There is no comfort here unlike her family’s abode, and readers that may have faced feelings of alienation, separation from somewhere where they are loved unconditionally at some point in their livers will greatly empathize with Key’s characters at this stage, and learn about the deeper magic of strength-building tools we all have in our spiritual arsenal like perseverance.

Enhancing the writing of story are beautiful, detailed drawings by artist Raven Quinn, whose awesome Steampunk story art bring the crucial moments of Key’s tale to life. The drawings never detract from the dramatic flow of the story, rather they benefit the story by really enlivening the feel and texture of the story, giving it a powerfully surreal element that really adds to the dramatic tone that the story does a great job at delivering to the reading.

Also, there are moments of levity and downright brilliant wordplay that linguist nerds, like myself, will enjoy. Different names of places and of characters have a Dickensian feel to them, as the names themselves offer both a satirical and facetious dimension to the many vibrant places or eccentric characters that are a large element of this story’s success as a richly-layered,  entertaining tale.

Above all, the story has the mystifying, edifying magic of a true allegory, in that the story has both philosophical and ethical depth that will most definitely have a strong, sobering effect on the reader, forcing them to reflect on the different emotions they’ve felt during rough, taxing moments of their lives, and to be reminded of the deeper magic that lays buried within the deepest parts of our minds or lives, waiting to be discovered and work its healing magic on the reader. Becket is truly a skilled wordsmith, whose stories deserve to be read and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Key: the Steampunk Vampire Girl: Dungeon of the Despair comes with a very high recommendation from me. I cannot wait to start the sequel, and become once again transported to the vibrant, complex Steampunk world where Key and others reside.

Interview with Becket: (Author of the Key the Steampunk Vampire Books, and Assistant for Writer Anne Rice)

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1. BR:When did you first discover the Steampunk genre, and what do you think explains its popular appeal among so many people, especially within the next decade or so?
Becket: I think that the steampunk subculture has been building up for many decades now. I first noticed it watching reruns of the old television show The Wild Wild West when I was perhaps ten years old. I remember being incredibly influenced by all the gadgets used by James West and Artemus Gordon; and I even tried to make some myself and take them to school, but teachers confiscated them. I did not know that I had a love for steampunk at that time, because the term was probably coined around then, and I was too young to know it. But my love for it was further fueled by reading H. G. Wells and Mary Shelley, and other authors who basically wrote Victorian science fiction. It makes me wonder if readers centuries from now will look on our contemporary science fiction and consider it to be their own version of steampunk. For me, I see steampunk as a blending of Gothic romance and Victorian science fiction; and I believe that people are so attracted to it because it uniquely combines the rules and regulations of Victorian romance and science fiction, it also allows the reader to conceive of greater possibilities within those rules and regulations.
Property of Raven Quinn (artist of this work) & Becket
Property of Raven Quinn (artist of this work) & Becket
2. BR:What inspired the idea behind the novel, Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl?
Becket: I had always wanted to write a vampire story, ever since I first read Anne’s novels in my early teens. I fell in love with the vampire literature at that time, reading anything from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to Michael Romkey’s I, Vampire. Back then had a dearth of quality vampire literature; and I recall how I lamented that fact, as I strolled through the local Barnes & Noble, which was still a novelty then. Also, I have always been a fan of books for middle graders, such as books by Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll, or Norton Juster. Because I love the lightheartedness and imagination of that particular genre, I wanted to infuse it with my love for vampire literature and the steampunk subculture. The title of the book actually came to me after I watched an interview with Joss Whedon, explaining how he came up with the title Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He said that each word in the title was specific to describing the character. She was a slayer, so she had power; there were vampires, so there was danger; and her name was Buffy, which infused the character with that Whedonesque humor many of us grew up with, since the name Buffy was synonymous with being an airhead. Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl followed suit. She is a Girl to show her vulnerability; she is a Vampire to show her ferocity; she is Steampunk to illustrate the propensity of her taste; and her name is Key to show that she herself is the key to the answers in her own life.
Property of Raven Quinn (artist of this work) & Becket
Property of Raven Quinn (artist of this work) & Becket
3. BR:As the story is geared for the Middle-Grade Crowd (though appeals to a very wide audience), did you intentionally, or unintentionally set out to include a powerful allegorical core that is really important to the emotional effectiveness of the story?
Becket:First off, thank you for calling Key’s allegorical core powerful. I want everything I write to be meaningful, so I always set out to write a story that has heart, humor, and an important message. Sometimes, when I’m writing the first draft, in the same way that I have a vague idea of the whole narrative, I also vaguely see the potential it has to be a powerful allegory. But it is usually after the third draft that I clearly see the power my story has intrinsically. Once I see that, the plots in all subsequent drafts are shaped around it, but at that point there usually is not too much drastic shaping because the plots and the allegorical power are pretty tightly woven together by then.
Property of Raven Quinn (artist of this work) & Becket
Property of Raven Quinn (artist of this work) & Becket
4. BR: Do any more adventures lie on the horizon for Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl?
Becket: As a matter of fact, Key’s next adventure is titled KEY THE STEAMPUNK VAMPIRE GIRL AND THE FLOATING MANSION (due April 7, 2015). In this third installment of her adventures, she reunites with many of her old friends, including Mr. Fuddlebee, Miss Broomble, Tudwal the immortal puppy-wolf; and she also meets several other characters such as Tedric Tinker and the Tinker Family, as well as ARTH-R (A Really Thoughtful Help-Robot). Also, from Good the Goblin Queen, there is even a crossover character: The Clock Goblin makes an appearance toward the end to help save the day! This is one of my most favorite adventures of Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl.
Property of Raven Quinn (artist of this work) & Becket
Property of Raven Quinn (artist of this work) & Becket
5. BR:Is there anything else you wish to say for readers of A Bibliophile’s Reverie, who may be interested in reading this or your many other top-notch books?
Becket:If you enjoyed the first six installments of the Blood Vivicanti, several more will be coming in the fall this year, 2015. Mary Paige has a whole new adventure before her, and there are more steampunk elements in these new episodes of her story, as we see just how old the Blood Vivicanti can grow, just how powerful she can be, and just how wonderfully the whole world can evolve in the coming centuries!

Thanks so much Becket for your thoughtful,interesting answers for my questions, and for sharing your feelings on the steampunk genre/the development of Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl with your many fans that read this blog!!

If you are interested in learning more about Becket’s published works, be sure to visit either his Facebook Fan Page, or website

Be sure to checkout a review of Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl and the Tower Tomb of Time next week! 

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