For those who are not familiar with my trilogy, the Young Inventors Guild books take place at the turn of the last century. They engage intention and images of the early 1900s and have been embraced by the steampunk genre. The books have been included in lists of steampunk literature, I have spoken on steampunk panels, and been invited to sign books at steampunk conventions. I even contributed to an academic book on neo-Victorian literature. I love it! I will continue to love it and participate. It is a pleasure having books that are part of the steampunk movement.
However, my newest book is not. The book was inspired by a private tour of the Egyptian museum by my dear friend and world-famous Egyptologist, Salima Ikram. She is truly brilliant and amazing and unique. I imagined what it would be like to have her as a mother, just as she began to regale us on methods of mummification. Could get sticky if you were, say, an adolescent boy and she was explaining this in front of your friends. So Salima and I embarked on an adventure together, creating Fun Things to Do with Dead Animals.
And the book is decidedly modern. And ancient. The protagonist is the son of a famous Egyptologist, a scientist who makes her son’s life a balance between amazing adventures and a series of horrific embarrassments. These characters are contemporary people working in an ancient world. Not steampunk. How does that make me feel?
It will be strange to step out from under my trilby and goggles and participate in events that do not include a steampunk aesthetic. But I am excited for this very silly book and a chance to spend time with Salima. I get to learn about ancient Egypt and modern Egyptology.
As we find ourselves writing in a neighborhood, either YA, MG, steampunk, mystery…it is sometimes hard to imagine ourselves anywhere else. But it is good to explore. It is never good to get too comfortable and complacent. Even if what we write does not end up out in the world, stretching the limits of our sensibilities can only strengthen our sense of style and what we most love to write.
I urge you all to explore and experiment. Does this mean an end to steampunk for me? Absolutely not. There is so much of the past I am ready to bring into my future.