Sign up for our 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge and tackle your ever growing pile of books!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Blog Tour: Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear (Interview + Giveaway)


Genre:
Adult, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Publication.Date  February 3rd 2015
Pages:352
Published By:  TOR Books
AuthorElizabeth Bear

Karen Memory on Goodreads


Where to get:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765375249/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0765375249&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/karen-memory-elizabeth-bear/1119439456?ean=9780765375247&itm=1&usri=9780765375247&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201 http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780765375247




“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I'm one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It's French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, beggin sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the old west with a light touch in Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.

(Goodreads)

Interview with Elizabeth Bear

1) Hi Elizabeth! It's a great pleasure to have you stopping by Bookish today! Huge congratulations on your new release, Karen Memory! How would you describe it to those who haven't heard of it yet?

Hello! It’s great to be here!

Karen Memory is a steampunk thriller set in the American West. It’s the sort of thing you might call a Weird Western. It takes place in the fictional Gold Rush town of Rapid City, which is loosely inspired by the cities of that era in the Pacific Northwest, notably Seattle and San Francisco. It involves derring-do, brave lawmen, high adventure, dirty politics, mind control, mecha-fights, and a bordello full of women who are nobody’s fool and who aren’t about to take injustice lying down. 

2) Who or what inspired you to write Karen Memory?

Seattle, Vancouver, and San Francisco really captured my imagination when I visited them! And then there’s the history of the area. There was a real Seattle madam named Mother Damnable, for example. She’s not my Madame Damnable—and my Rapid City isn’t Seattle—but there’s definitely inspiration there. The girls at the Hôtel Mon Cherie grew out of a period photograph of the ladies of a similar ‘parlor house,’ also located in Seattle. Merry Lee is inspired by several heroic Chinese women of the period who rescued themselves and their sexually enslaved sisters—and sometimes had to save themselves from well-meaning Christian workhouses that were little more than prisons, after they got away from their pimps. 

There’s one real historical figure in the book, too: my favorite Western lawman, if you discount Doc Holliday. But I won’t say who he is, just that he’s been widely mythologized—and in the process, the real and far more interesting man behind the legends has been utterly obscured.

3) Your book features a cast of strong female characters, were any of them inspired by women you know in real life?

I wouldn’t say that any of them were modeled on personal friends or people I’ve met. I borrowed a turn of phrase from the legendary Serena Powers for one of the gunfights—writers are notorious magpies, after all—but honestly, I didn’t set out to write “strong female characters.” Just women. A whole house full of women, every one with a bigger personality than the next.

Women do, in fact, tend to have pretty big personalities when given half a chance. And it’s always the quiet ones who surprise you most with the depth of what they see and feel.

4) What were the challenges in bringing this story to life? Did you have to do any research for your book?

Oh, piles and piles of research. Travel—everything from a trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown to a tour of the Seattle Underground—starting in 2003 or so. I started actually writing the book in September of 2009. You never know when something’s going to gel creatively, so the only solution is to shovel in life experiences wholesale every chance you get and see what shakes out. Reading: books about frontier history, U.S. Marshalls, Western prostitution, Western slang, Rutherford B. Hayes, Western slang, Victorian architecture and paint schemes! Everything. Anything.

And there was the challenge of balancing reasonable social mores of the day with modern expectations, which was pretty tricky. I didn’t want Karen to be a modern girl—but I also didn’t want her to be a Victorian stereotype. And people have always been a lot more complicated and varied than we tend to give them credit for.

5) Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I’m not so much a message writer. I think there are some thematic arguments, but I’ll leave it up to the reader to decide what they are. 

6) What are some of your literary inspirations? Favorite books/authors?

Oh goodness. Emma Bull. Nalo Hopkinson. Octavia Butler. Kurt Vonnegut. Peter Beagle. Roger Zelazny.

The problem is that most of the amazing writers I’m reading these days are friends!

7) What books are on your January TBR pile?

Let’s see. I have a preview copy of Max Gladstone’s next Craft Series book, Last First Snow. I have Kelly Link’s Get in Trouble and Jim Hines’ Unbound. I’ve started Karen Lord’s The Galaxy Game and just finished Monica Byrne’s The Girl on the Road, which is a widely hailed stunning debut that actually is pretty darn stunning. And I have the new Holly Black, The Darkest Part of the Forest, and the new Jo Walton, The Just City.

A pretty good spread!

About the author:
ELIZABETH BEAR was the recipient of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2005 and has won two Hugo Awards for her short fiction along with a Sturgeon Award and the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Now she returns after the conclusion her highly-praised Eternal Sky trilogy with a Western steampunk set in a reimagined 19th century Seattle in KAREN MEMORY (A Tor Hardcover; $25.99; On sale February 3, 2015), the unforgettable story of a plucky heroine risking her life for friendship.

“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I'm one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It's French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Set in the late 19th century—when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, begging sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, and who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the old west with a light touch in Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.
Giveaway:

1 Winner will get a copy of KAREN MEMORY! (Thank you, TOR Books and Ardi!)

Ships in US/Canada Only Must be 13+ To Enter

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goodreads Instagram Twitter Facebook Page YoutTube 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...