Welcome to my second installment of Nerdy Notes. I was lucky enough to grab Deb Howell author of the new Steampunk Fantasy “Healer’s Touch” to talk with me. I’ve just started reading this and it is a dandy. So without further ado, take it away, Deb.
Tell us a bit about your book. What kind of audience will this book appeal to?
Healer’s Touch is a fantasy tale centred around a girl who can heal herself. Unfortunately, her power comes with the consequence that in order to heal, life-energy must be transferred from something (or someone) else…
It’s a tale about her trying to deal with these consequences, while those who would use her power for their own benefit track her down.
This is the bit where I admit to being a terrible author. I’ve read all the advice that says “Know your audience”… I just never followed it. When I started writing “Healer’s Touch” (originally titled “Weapons of War”), I was writing it for me. It started as a way to entertain myself (a female in her late 20s, at the time) between answering phone calls at work (I was temping, I got the easy jobs). It was only as the tale started to develop that I started to share it. I didn’t know who would want to read it, so I just put it online and let people stumble upon it. Funnily enough, a couple of my friends did… and they loved it. One was a guy, the other a girl and both were younger than me. Over the years I’ve had a wide range of ages read it, from teens to adults a decade or two older than me, and both male and female… I’d love to be able to say everyone will love it, but that would be a touch naïve, wouldn’t you say? It has the potential for cross-appeal. But there will be people looking for pure Fantasy, or pure Steampunk, etc who will likely be disappointed.
What were some of your inspirations for this book? What gave you the idea for this story?
At the time I started writing Healer’s Touch, I had been watching a lot of The Young Riders. If you recall, this was a TV show about a group of young men riding for the Pony Express… and so my love affair with the wild west was reignited.
I started writing with no intention of bringing magic into the story, until one day I just decided it would be much more fun if I did… and so, I “stole” the power I’d endowed a character with when I used to write for my friends at high school. The difference was, back then my healer/drainer was a very fit and attractive young man – as you do – this time it’s a girl. Eventually I developed other supporting characters (and you can imagine the re-writing the tale has gone through as I discovered the characters and story!)…
Where there any inspirations for your characters or did you just make them up out of thin air?
Oh yes, there are inspirations. Those who know The Young Riders well will recognise my “base models” that I started with. I’d like to think the characters themselves have evolved, though. Basically, I started with mannerisms and certain general archetypal features that I liked (for instance, the tough on the outside, soft and marshmallowy on the inside seemingly alpha-male). Obviously, I developed my own background stories and the characters are in different settings, dealing with different problems than those original models did…
In your book Llew has the ability to heal herself. If you had the ability to heal yourself what kind of crazy thing would you do?
Hmm… Well, this is tricky. I’m fairly pain averse. And Llew still feels pain! And I wouldn’t want to hurt myself too badly, because I like the environment, and I like people/animals, so I would hate to transfer my injury on to them.
You know what? Doing cross-country or endurance horse-riding would be my thing. I’d love to be adventurous… but with a horse! Yeah…
Some of the characters in your book have super abilities. If you could only have one superpower what would it be?
Right now, I think having the magic ability to totally shut out the rest of the world would be great! There just seems to be so much going on all the time. Noise, things to read, someone wanting something… A little peace and quiet for a whole hour or two would be… bliss!
In Healer’s Touch, Braph is a tinkerer. Is there anything that you like to tinker with in your scant free time?
Clothing. I’ve never been a fashionista, or anything, but I’d love to have a unique wardrobe of quirky (probably somewhat steampunk-ish) clothing that fit me just right. I’ve started working on it. But, while I do find pleasure in hand-sewing, lacking a sewing machine is a bit of a handicap.
There is a lot of action and adventure in Healer’s Touch. What adventure do you have on your bucket list?
Also, seeing Our Lady Peace live… whether that means getting to Canada one day, or somehow convincing them to come play in New Zealand, I don’t care!
Okay, it’s time for the time for the Nerdy Lightning Round. I’ll give you two things and as quickly as possible you must chose one or the other. Don’t over think it. Just go with your gut reaction. Are you ready?
Wolverine or Conner MacLeod
Wolverine…. Now, if you said Duncan MacLeod, I might have hesitated… (Well, up until season 6… it was good until then). Still, Wolverine would probably win in a fight.
Rogue or Black Widow
Chocolate or Vanilla
Firefly or Starwars
Clint Eastwood or John Wayne
Um… Clint Eastwood
HG Wells or Jules Verne
Before you leave us give us some links where we can cyberstalk you
My blog: http://deberelene.com
My facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/deberelene
My Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6576139.Deb_E_Howell