Sunday, September 19, 2010

Steampunk Sunday: Reviews and Interview with O. M. Grey…

Today, although a little late, Steampunk Sunday features reviews of O. M. Grey’s Avalon Revisited and her short story, Of Aether and Aeon, as well as a short interview with Ms. Grey.

 About O. M. Grey:

O. M. Grey currently lives in Texas with her husband. She holds both a BA and MA in British Literature. Although she doesn’t have a drop of British blood in her veins, she claims that her entire heart is British. As an amateur Anglophile, her dreams of the dark streets of London have finally found their home on the pages of her books.

She prefers to live in the cobwebbed corners of her dark mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist.

When she’s not writing, she’s reading or tending the garden or drinking a hot cup of tea.

Just two drops, please. (From www.http://omgrey.wordpress.com/)

 

Interview:

I have to be honest; Arthur leaves me baffled. He’s fascinating. There’s something almost Dorian Gray-like about him. How did his persona come about?

I know what it's like to be alive for forty years. I can't imagine living for 350, so I wanted to take all that middle-aged cynicism and intensify it. Couple that with his royal upbringing, and you've got one highly arrogant, cheeky bastard.

One of my favourite parts of the novel is all the references to the Arthurian Legends, the Tudors, and folk lore. How did all of this merge together? Did you have it all plotted before you started writing, or was it something that developed on its own?

It was always part of the plan. That's why I wrote this book. I love the Tudors, and I especially loved how Henry VII named his first son Arthur so he would become Arthur II of England. Perhaps the reason he died just adds to the Arthurian Legend, as if there will never be another Arthur until the true king returns from Avalon.

Why did you choose Arthur Tudor and not Arthur Pendragon for your novel?

I actually have a fascination with both Arthurs, but so very much has been done with King Arthur (Pendragon). Very few people have even heard of Arthur Tudor, whereas everyone knows his younger brother Henry VIII. .

Would you tell us a little known fact or secret about Avalon Revisited?

It attracted a fabulous NY literary agent. Score.

In reading the reviews to your short story, I have wondered if when you wrote Of Aether and Aeon, was your intent for it to be longer or was it written as planned?

My intent was for it to be a short story. I've seen some of the reviews about the length and it surprises me. I teach a college course on analyzing short fiction, and most short stories are between 2,000 and 5,000 words. 20,000 words is a novella, not a short story. "Of Aether and Aeon" is actually longer than my favorite short story "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut. I wrote "Of Aether and Aeon" as an exercise in short, concise storytelling. I wanted to write something that made the reader think. The ending, which is quite tragic,

What has surprised you the most about becoming a published author?

That people actually like my work enough to keep it on the Amazon Gothic Romance top 40 for nearly 3 months.

What’s the one question you wish you’d be asked when doing blog interviews and what would your answer be?

Q:  My best friend is a reviewer at the New York Times, and he's been looking for a book to feature. Can I give him your number?"

A: .......

Reviews:

Title: Avalon Revisited

Author: O. M. Grey

Publisher: Blue Moose Press

Date of Publication: March 25th, 2010/April 22nd, 2010

ASIN/ISBN: B003E7F2T0/9780981994956

Summary:

Arthur has made his existence as a vampire bearable for over three hundred years by immersing himself in blood and debauchery. Aboard an airship gala, he meets Avalon, an aspiring vampire slayer who sparks fire into Arthur's shriveled heart. Together they try to solve the mystery of several horrendous murders. Cultures clash and pressures rise in this sexy Steampunk Romance. (From www.amazon.com)

I remember reading about Avalon Revisited a few weeks before it was published. My immediate response was “omigod I have to read this!” As a lover of all things vampire, and supernatural, who wouldn’t want to read a book with words like “blood and debauchery” in the product description? And thus I bought the Kindle version on the day it was published, which means this review is long overdue.

I’m a novice when it comes to Steampunk as a literary genre, but I love the idea of mixing genres like Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy (unfortunately, these two genres have become synonymous with each other, but I won’t start a rant about that). Adding a supernatural or unnatural aspect to an already otherworldly genre gives it an extra kick.

Avalon Revisited surprised me in more ways than one mostly in good ways, but also a in a couple of bad ones. After reading the first sentence, “I was to be the King of England”, my inner Anglophile did a happy dance, I thought it was Arthur Pendragon. To my joy I soon found out it was Arthur Tudor (I have a fascination with the Tudors that boarders on an obsession). I like the idea of authors putting historical characters into their books and giving them their own spin of history, while still staying true to actual facts. When it comes to vampire mythology in literature Ms. Grey stays true to facts but puts her on twist on it. All who have read Stoker’s Dracula know that vampires can walk in sunlight, but their powers are weakened by it, which Arthur can as well. A few of the twists in Avalon Revisited are that vampires have a reflection, yet it deteriorates as the vampire age and that they can actually consume human food.

I feel rather ambivalent when it comes to Arthur. I can’t figure out if I like him, hate him, or feel sorry for him. Instant gratification seems to be the name of the game when it comes to him, he is a vampire after all, and his ways of gaining this are more sinister than in any other book I’ve read of this genre. I don’t want to give too much away, but the chamber of horrors scene at Madam Jeffries’ (also a real historical character) brothel and the scene in the lab made me cringe. Arthur battles with his urges after meeting Avalon not only because she’s a vampire hunter, but also because she is the spitting image of his late wife, Catherine of Aragon. But he isn’t the only one, Avalon struggles with her feelings as well, but eventually comes to terms with them…one way or another.

The different side characters add a delicious zest, humor, and not to forget an unexpected jaw-dropping moment.

I’m a sucker for details (no pun intended); in every chapter there were notable things which made Avalon Revisited worthy of a few rereads. Sometimes I paid more attention to the details than the plot. To me that isn’t a bad thing, it goes to show a good deal of research has been put into a book and makes it all the more enjoyable.

Title: Of Aether and Aeon

Author: O. M. Grey

Publisher: Blue Moon Press

Date of Publication: August 7th, 2010

ASIN: B003YRIRA6

Summary:

In the midst of war, a beautiful young officer finds love aboard an airship.

Author of the critically acclaimed novel AVALON REVISITED, O. M. Grey takes the reader on a Steampunk journey through tragedy and romance. Short Story. (From www.amazon.com)

Of Aether and Aeon was not what I thought it to be. I thought it would, like Avalon Revisited, contain a supernatural aspect, but it doesn’t which, honestly was quiet uplifting. Like a lot of readers, I wanted it to be longer. I wanted to know more about the people of the store. I wanted to know their pasts. I think, as readers, we are more than often indulged when authors, especially within the fantasy/SF spectrum, write novella length short stories and therefore expect to be treated to this whenever we see the label “short story”. Once again, O. M. Grey pulls out her bag of unexpected tricks, and within a very short amount of space, manages to convey a sad but touching story with a surprising end.

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