Today I am interviewing Kyle Richardson, author of the new fantasy novel, Beast Heart, first book in the Steambound trilogy.
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DJ: Hey Kyle! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Kyle Richardson: Hi DJ! Thanks for having me. A little about myself? Let’s see … I’m a Hawaii-born author who now lives in snowy Canada, an oft-bumbling husband, a father to two little rascals, and I’m still waiting for my superpower origin story (which I’m hoping will result in a traditional power, like telekinesis, rather than something bizarre—like the ability to tickle insects, or something).
I’m a traditionally published writer of flash fiction and short fiction, have worked as an assistant editor and co-editor, and now I’m making my novel-length fiction debut with Beast Heart.
DJ: What is Beast Heart about?
Kyle: This is a question that appears so simple, yet strikes fear into the hearts of writers everywhere. Oh, the challenges of summarizing an entire story in a paragraph or two! 😀
We follow two strangers, Gabrielle and Kemple, as they navigate their youths (and, later: their teenagehood) along the fringes of Iron Bay, a city full of carriages, airships, clockwork beings, and creatures that go bump in the night.
Their two lives will inevitably intertwine, in the most explosive of ways, but neither of them knows it … yet.
DJ: What were some of your influences Beast Heart and the series?
Kyle: I didn’t write with any specific influences in mind, though I’m sure the book owes a lot of its ideas to the various stories and films I consumed growing up. Looking at the finished product, I can definitely see a lot of Bubblegum Crisis in it (a cyberpunk Anime from the late 1980s, following a team of young women in mech-suits who fight monsters to protect the city), along with a healthy splash of American Werewolf in London.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Kyle: Gabrielle wants, more than anything, to be normal. But with a hand made of steam, normalcy is pretty much off the table for her. Her mother tries her best to help, as any caring mother would, but Gabby is strong-willed, and a bit self-destructive. She blames the world for her situation, and perhaps, on some level, she’s right. But she needs to find a brighter path, before her anger consumes her.
Kemple is more of an optimist, even though life hasn’t given him many reasons to be so. For him, there’s always another road to take—a path to a better future. But the roads in Iron Bay are treacherous, and draped in shadow. And it certainly doesn’t help that he’s slowly turning into a monster.
DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why?
Kyle: Viola is a particular favorite of mine—mostly because of what I have in mind for her, further down the line. She’s a clockwork being, and a bitter one, at that. Though, she has her reasons. And redemption could very well be just around the corner …
DJ: What is the world and setting of the Steambound trilogy like?
Kyle: Iron Bay is what I’d call “Victorian-Lite”. A Victorian-esque atmosphere, without going all the way. The vehicles run on steam. The devices are clockwork. Everything has a cold, damp, gray feel to it—that unique London aesthetic that serves the Steampunk genre so well. The characters, however, speak and behave in a more modern, North American manner.
At first glance, Iron Bay seems … functional. But there’s a monstrous epidemic plaguing the city just beneath the surface, one that both Gabrielle and Kemple come to face firsthand.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Beast Heart?
Kyle: Probably the alternating perspectives between the two main characters. They’re both opposites, in a lot of ways, so the act of jumping back and forth between their conflicting headspaces was a lot of fun.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Kyle: Hopefully they’ll be eager to find out what happens to the characters next!
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began the Steambound trilogy? Beast Heart is only the first book, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Kyle: When I write, I mostly try to explore themes, rather than convey a particular message. In Beast Heart, I play with the notions of fate, redemption, loneliness, and forgiveness. Though the great thing about fiction is how readers will, inevitably, find their own messages in the story. And those, I’d argue, are even more valuable than whatever the author intended.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Beast Heart that you can share with us?
Kyle: I feel that these two quotes boil Gabrielle’s (and Kemple’s) contrasting worldviews down into bite-sized pieces:
From Kemple: “There must be an answer, somewhere. There’s always an answer, if you look hard enough …”
And from Gabrielle: “Monsters never come back from the brink. Beasts don’t turn back into boys.”
DJ: Now that Beast Heart is released, what is next for you?
Kyle: Finishing Book 2, of course! 😀
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kyle-Richardson/e/B00RPV1NYE/
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Beast Heart and the Steambound trilogy that we haven’t talked about yet?
Kyle: The Steambound Trilogy is meant to be the starting point of a larger, shared story-verse … but I don’t want to give too much away about that, just yet. 😛
DJ: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Kyle: I hope readers will enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Kyle: Thanks, DJ! The pleasure was all mine. 🙂
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***Beast Heart is published by Meerkat Press and is available TODAY!!!***
Buy the Book:
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About the Book:
When the girl with the clockwork hand meets the boy with the beast heart, sparks fly in this poignant, adventure-filled debut.
Book 1 of the Steambound Trilogy. When Gabby’s hand turns to steam, her mom hires an engineer to build her a clockwork glove. It’s the last thing Gabby wants—if only she could be normal. But when her mom is attacked by something monstrous, normal is no longer an option. Now the only person she can turn to is a grizzled detective, who promises to help her become something … more.
Meanwhile, Kemple’s foster dad treats him like a slave. And the beatings are getting worse. So when a rebellious girl named Josephyn arrives—with a plan to escape to the city—he doesn’t hesitate. But there are creatures in Iron Bay whose slashes are worse than skin-deep. And as Kemple evolves into something inhuman, his search for a cure begins.
They are strangers in a city where carriages rattle, airships rumble, and where their own dark pasts continue to haunt them. Soon their paths will collide, and the girl who slays monsters will come face to face with the boy who is becoming a beast.
About the Author:
Kyle Richardson lives in the suburban wilds of Canada with his adorable wife, their rambunctious son, and their adventurous daughter. He writes about shapeshifters, superheroes, and the occasional clockwork beast, moonlights as an editor at Meerkat Press, and has a terrible habit of saying the wrong thing at the most inopportune moments. His short fiction has appeared in places such as Love Hurts: A Speculative Fiction Anthology and Daily Science Fiction.