Monday, September 9, 2013

Author Interview - Sophronia Belle Lyon

Today, Sophronia Belle Lyon was nice enough to spend some time chatting about her book A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Sophronia Belle Lyon travels widely, reads 1800's classics voraciously, shoots handguns when she can, and grew up sketching and exploring in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. She dressed up and acted out scenes with friends much like Louisa May Alcott's beloved "Little Women," and got to be a cauldron spirit in Macbeth in fourth grade. She traveled to Italy by way of Iceland and Luxembourg. She has taken apart her share of clocks and vented more than one steam valve. Hundreds of cat friends informed her about Bagheera's attitudes and manners. Oliver Twist's oblivious, eccentric habits came from the Science-absorbed men in her life. She collects swords and knives and her love for weapons translated into the well-armed members of the Alexander Legacy Company.

2. How long have you been writing?

Since Junior High, over 40 years.  

3. What is A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist about?

I am writing The Alexander Legacy Series. It’s Steampunk Literary Tribute Christian Adventure/Suspense. Characters from Alcott, Dickens, Stevenson, Kipling, Doyle and more combine “What-if?” steam and gear technology with families, friendship, faith, and fortitude as Oliver Twist and others join forces to fight human trafficking and prove that no one is beyond redemption. Why does a Bohemian prince accepts a kiss from a poison maiden? How can a celebrity singer probe a web of deceit, debauchery, and domination? Multicultural, multinational heroes bring along families and four-footed allies from around the world. No one’s too old to preach a challenge or too young to fix a flying machine. No one’s too innocent to be safe from kidnapping ,slavery, and violence. 

4. How did you come up with the plot?

I was inspired by the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie, but I thought I could make a series that was more true to the spirit of the authors and characters I loved. I love mystery, scifi, and historical fiction, and Steampunk blends them all.  

5. Tell us about Florizel of Bohemia.

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote about this character in a series of short stories called “The New Arabian Nights” or “The Suicide Club”. These stories portray Florizel as a man of the world, and adventurer, but a strongly moral crusader for the hopeless and helpless. In my book he is driven out of Bohemia by his power-hungry uncle and joins the Alexander Legacy Company as one of the few members already experienced in fighting evil.

6. What do you feel sets your book apart from others of the same genre?

Most steampunk has a strong feminist bent and an anti-traditional morality strain. The “experts” claim the genre is about upsetting Victorian repression of women and sexual freedom. My books are designed to uphold strong morality, family and married love, and yet still give women strong roles as leaders and warriors in partnership with men.

7. Did you have any specific goals when writing A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist? Any themes or ideas or concepts that you wanted to get across to the audience?

Never-say-die courage, love of a married couple for each other and their children, Multiculturalism without racist overtones, and the dangers of trying to upset moral and social normalcy.

8. How long did it take you to write A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist? Did you hire any outside help such as a cover artist or editor?

The idea began 10 years ago but I only seriously began to work on the book in 2012, so it took less than 6 months to write.

9. Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing aspirations? How do they support you?

My husband and my daughter. Hubby got our first real computer – a Coleco Adam, with a ridiculously loud daisy-wheel printer and modified audiotapes for data storage, until we got one of the few existing 5 1/4 inch floppy drives back in the 1980's.

10. As I'm sure you know, many readers like to find their favorite authors on social networking websites like facebook and twitter. Do you have any social network or website links
you'd like to share?

Facebook page:

11. What do you feel are the most important aspects of a great book?

Characters you love (or love to hate), a story that’s more than just entertainment – something with a message – and a high moral tone.

12. Have you ever sat down to write a scene only to have the story take you in a completely different direction than you had planned?

This book is the first one I actually outlined and wrote a detailed summary for, since I’m usually a pantser and just write as I go. The original storyline had several different characters, Phoebe’s husband Archie dying and she and Florizel marrying. My Indian Poison maiden was originally going to be a Geisha, and the climax was to take place on a rusting freighter, instead of the rooftop menagerie of the Bronze Cascade Hotel. Boy, can a story change. 
13. And just for fun, what's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?

We travel the 48 states while hubby drives tractor trailer, and I love photographing the scenery. I also make soft sculpture, Native-American-inspired Scripture wall hangings, puppets, and costumes.

Thanks for stopping by!  Best of luck to you!

Purchase A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist by clicking any of the following links!


Book II: The ‘Pprentices, the Puppets, and the Pirates

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