Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Steampunk, Orphan Train, Boxcar Baby, and Easter Eggs




Today I'm delighted to welcome J. L. Mulvihill, author of the steampunk novel, Boxcar Baby, to my blog. If you're wondering what steampunk means, or where the name came from, you're in the right place, because J. L. Mulvihill is just the person to ask. You'll find out about Easter eggs too, and some fascinating details of American history, all in one post. So, over to you, J. L., and thank you so much for visiting my blog:



Sheila, thank you for having me here, I am so excited about my new series, Steel Roots, and the first novel just released, The Boxcar Baby.  The Steel Roots series is not just another steampunk adventure but something a bit more real for young adults to read.  But let me back up her a minute in case there are some who don’t know what steampunk is so I will explain it the best way I can.

Steampunk is a genre label born from a novel called, Morlock Night by K. W. Jeter.  In this wonderful novel the reader is taken on an adventure that very night that H. G. Wells’ Time Machine has left England, but then it returns and with it are the Morlocks determine to take over London and then the world.  It sounds cheesy but it’s not, in fact far from it.  Some of old England’s favorite legends and folklore is brought into the story and the mix of all this makes this novel a real page turner.  Other than the fact that this author did an amazing job of writing this novel, they used the phrase steampunk to describe the type of genre this novel fit into because nothing else could quite describe it.

Though the phrase may have been cornered by this book, steampunk has been around for a very long time in such literature written by H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, L. Frank Baum, and the like.  I believe most people may describe steampunk as “Victorian Science Fiction” however, since the stories don’t always take place in merry old England, I like to say “it’s an alternate history written in the age of steam.”

With that being explained I will go on in saying that my story holds more than a fantasy adventure to escape into, though I certainly don’t mind that you do escape into it.  The character AB’Gale starts out as a typical teenager, not totally oblivious to the goings on in the outside world, but content to let sleeping dogs lie, until the problems affect her life.  Once Abby’s life is thrown into turmoil she has to learn to survive the best way she can.  She is also very loyal to her family, thus the adventure where she must find her Papa and try and save him from whatever fate has befallen him.

What I have tried to show through my characters and writing is that sometimes things just happen that we have no control over and how we react to the situations teaches us.  Sometimes we may not learn from the experience but when we do it strengthens us and builds our character.  Abby is a determined young lady and tries very hard to do the right thing, but sometimes in her own mind it doesn’t seem like she has.  Her heart weighs heavy at times with the burdens she must carry, yet her main goal is putting her life back the way it was.

When I first started writing this I had good intentions of a great adventure but as with every story I write I learn from the characters themselves that there is always much more to it than that. The characters tend to take the story away from me and I find myself trying to keep up while they lead.

The Boxcar Baby is not like “No Promises in the Wind,” it is a fun adventure hopping on trains across America.  I do put in some historical items that, even though it is an alternate world, make it seem so real.  For instance I included the reality of workhouses which really did exist and were a lot worse than my descriptions.  I also threw in a little tidbit on Orphan Trains which is situation that really occurred in our nation where the government took children from the east coast and shipped them around the country placing them in homes to get them off the streets.  As nice as that may sound some of these children actually had families and were separated from them; to this day you can look up the website and find these people still trying to connect.

Whenever I do research for my writing I find myself easily sidetracked by stumbling upon these interesting facts.  I feel like I need to incorporate them because then it makes the story all the more believable.  As you read The Boxcar Baby, be on the lookout for lots of little Easter eggs which have been planted for your enjoyment and some as key elements to the next book.

Well I hope I have peaked your interest in the Steel Roots series.  I am currently working on the second book and though we have no title yet, I feel it will be just as exciting as The Boxcar Baby. I hope that you enjoy reading The Boxcar Baby and when you have finished feel free to let me know your thoughts on the Steel Roots Facebook page.  If you are interested in obtaining a signed copy of the book my next event will be taking place in Louisville, MS at the Backwoods Comic Festival.  After that event I am scheduled for CONtraflow in New Orleans October 18-20 and then November 15-17 I will be attending the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention.  Also don’t forget to check out some of the other amazing titles that Seventh Star Press has to offer.

Thank you again for having me and until next time, keep reading so I can keep writing.
J L Mulvihill


Thank you J. L., and I shall certainly carry on reading. The Boxcar Baby is rapidly climbing to the top of my to-read pile.


About J.L. Mulvihill: 
Born in Hollywood and raised in San Diego, CA, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the past fifteen years. Her debut novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter of Easa, an engaing fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of steampunk, published through Kerlak Publishing.
J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication, among them “Chilled Meat”, a steampunk thriller found in the Dreams of Steam II-Of Bolts and Brass, anthology (Kerlak Publishing) and “The Leprechaun’s Story”, a steampunk urban Fantasy found in the anthology, Clockwork, Spells, & Magical Bells (Kerlak Publishing).
J.L. is very active with the writing community, and is the events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the Magnolia-Tower.  She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the Arts Council of Clinton, and the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.


About The Boxcar Baby: Born in a boxcar on a train bound for Georgia. At least that is what Papa Steel always told AB’Gale. But now, fifteen years later, the man who adopted and raised her as his own is missing and it’s up to AB’Gale to find him. Aided only by a motley gang of friends, AB’Gale train hops her way across the United States in a desperate attempt to find her papa and put her life and family back the way it was. Her only guide is a map given to her by a mysterious hobo, with hand written clues she found hidden in her papa’s spyglass. Here is the Great American Adventure in an alternate steampunk dystopian world, where fifteen-year-old AB’Gale Steel learns that nothing is as it seems, but instead is shrouded in secrets and mysteries … and that monsters come in all shapes and forms. The Boxcar Baby is the first book of the Steel Roots series.



Explore these Author Links to find out more:

Or Follow the Tour:
9/23    Come Selahway With Me  Contest
9/23    The Flipside of Julianne  Top Ten List
9/24    Jess Resides Here  Guest Post
9/24    Beagle Book Space  Promo Spotlight
9/25    Sheila Deeth  Guest Post
9/25    Spellbindings  Promo Spotlight
9/25    Lost Inside the Covers  Review
9/26    Azure Dwarf Promo Spotlight
9/26    Rachel Tsoumbakos Character Interview & Review
9/26    A Daydreamer’s Thought Author Interview
9/27    Armand Rosamilia, Author  Guest Post
9/27    Kayla’s Reads and Reviews  Promo Spotlight
9/28    WTF Are You Reading? Review
9/28    Bee’s Knees Reviews   Guest Post
9/28    Word to Dreams  Promo Spotlight
9/29    The Cabin Goddess  Interview
9/29    Illuminite Calginosus  Promo Spotlight
9/29    Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews  Character Interview
9/29    JeanzBookReadNReview Guest Post

And Find the Book here:

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3 comments:

Bearman said...

Love the cover...sounds interesting

sgzimmer said...

Good post! Thanks for having J.L. today!

Sheila Deeth said...

My pleasure. I really enjoyed the post. And now I shall have to look for a copy of Morlock Night too.