Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Tea Machine

January Blog Hop

The Tea Machine.

cover_the-tea-machine_500x800I started this book two years ago and kept lifting it up and setting it down, dipping in and out of it. I can have several books on the boil this way and it helps me cope with writer’s block. If I am really stuck with a plot point or a stubborn character I walk away and do something else. It clears my head and things soon fall back into place while I work on other projects.  It’s sort of like training puppies, manuscripts soon come running to heel when you ignore them.
The Tea Machine really began with a kernel of a thought, something my history teacher said eons ago that stuck. She was one of those teachers that make the subject they teach come alive. She pointed out that if the Romans had used steam as a source of power, the way, say, the English industrialists had, like George Stephenson (the father of the locomotive steam engine) for example; then we would probably all be living on Mars now, such was the enterprising nature of the ancient Roman people. Isn’t that an amazing idea? That a small fragment of technology or engineering deposited at a certain point in time could skewer what we assume to be a normal developmental rate. What if we, as a species so out of step with our planet and the nature around us, were the result of a gene accidently dropped on a Neanderthal?  Next plotline simmering perhaps?
The other thing that fascinated me was H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. A book I read as a child (the Morlocks scared the wits out of me). I liked that the Time Traveller was never named, his story is related by a narrator who is his friend. This meant to me that the Time Traveller could be anyone. Any Victorian gentleman, like Hubert Aberly, for instance. And this gentleman could have an inquisitive, intelligent, and engaging sister, like Millicent Aberly. And Millicent was obviously going to casually examine her brother’s latest invention taking herself and her cup of Darjeeling off to this other Rome – the one that never declined or fell, the one that discovered steam power out of context and went on and on and on, past Mars and into the forever of space.
So that is the premise. The coming together of a few unrelated but intriguing (to me) ideas that kindled 97k words and two years of my life down the Swannee.
I like it because it is more than girl meets girl, or in this case, Victorian spinster meets futuristic Roman woman centurion (that old pairing). It’s the old me through my history teacher and a childhood book meets the current me who happens to write lesfic and was mulling over old memories.
If you look carefully you’ll see references other old favourites, like Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, Moby Dick, Oscar Wilde, She, and Spartacus. All jumbled up and having fun together in my head and now on the page. If this grabs your attention, then The Tea Machine can be purchased at: http://ylva-publishing.co.uk/product/the-tea-machine-by-gill-mcknight/
But much more exciting than my book is that next on the Ylva blog hop is Fletcher DeLancey who will be blogging tomorrow at: http://www.chroniclesofalsea.com/blog/
Go over there and give her hell for cliffhangers.