As December counts down to Christmas followed by the end of 2022, I am looking forward to kicking off 2023 with the launch of my next book from Curious Corvid Publishing, Corsair and the Sky Pirates. My steampunk historical fiction is the first of its kind, for me anyway, that’s taken me more than four years to see published.
This all began as a short story for a steampunk writing contest through Crystal Peake Publishing. I was one of the contest winners, but writing it got the “gears” turning that I could take my short story and turn it into a full blown novel. So, from that humble beginning, Corsair and this brave new steampunk world came to life.
It was one of the more intense writing experiences I’ve had, and a lot tougher than a fantasy story. In fantasy, you can make things up as you go along. There are no real boundaries when it comes to world building, characters, etc. That’s not the same for a historical fiction. In research alone, I had to delve into multiple different languages, cultures, locations and actual historical figures. Yes, I took some creative and historical license with them, but I still wanted a semblance of accuracy. I spoke with friends and fellow writers on topics from Native American culture, aboriginal slang words, and socially acceptable language between the 1900s and today.
You see, I wanted to use my book to talk about corporate greed, environmental responsibility, racism and inequality in the world today. Since it was set in the early 1900s, I could use that to my advantage as there was a hotbed of issues from that era, especially racism. So, I made the sky pirate crew quite diverse—a African-American engineer, a half-Asian first officer, an aboriginal pilot, and a Native American medic. That led to encounters with people who had a lower opinion of them. This of course, led me to demonstrate the strength of diversity in our own humanity, and I hope I did that. At the same time, I wanted to make sure I didn’t write anything that might offend someone.
For example, in that time period, people would use the “N” word frequently, but I am not comfortable with that. So, I tried to find other means of expressing their indifference. It’s not easy when your trying to show the ugliness of racism while at the same time showing how we can overcome it through strength, unity, and perseverance. I hope I did the various people and their race, culture, and creed justice in my writing.
While the cover is in progress (reveal coming soon) I did want to show off the great interior art by my friend Dennis Saputra (@elangkarosingo on Instagram). He is a talented artist from Indonesia. We were introduced through a mutual friend and I have used his work for many of my books. He did a great job in imagining the Galeru, Corsair’s airship, for my title page. He also did the chapter art as well. Dennis is a wonderful artist and I love his work as well as supporting him in his artistic pursuits.
I hope to have some early reviews for you as I have already sent out my steampunk novel to some ARC readers for a test read. I am waiting with baited breath to hear what they have to say, although I can disclose that the editor (Corbeaux Editorial Services if you’re looking for a great editor to work with) thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the story as whole. Hey, if you don’t impress your editor, then you need to pack it up for a rewrite. In the meantime, I will be announcing the cover reveal shortly, hopefully it’ll be an early Christmas gift for all of us.
And I’ll be kicking off 2023 to debut Corsair and the Sky Pirates at the Williamsburg Book Festival, February 4, at the Stryker Center in Williamsburg, VA, followed by my first steampunk event of 2023, the Telltale Steampunk Festival, April 1-2, in Baltimore, MD, with more steampunk festivals to be added to my calendar of events as they come in. Stay tuned for more “gears and goggles” in 2023!
Mark Piggott is an award-winning independent author of several fantasy/steampunk novels and short stories. A 23-year U.S. Navy veteran, his stories will take you from the shores of eternal Avalon to a dystopian steampunk future and other worlds.
The Forever Avalon fantasy book series—including Forever Avalon, The Dark Tides, and The Outlander War—is available online at Amazon and other booksellers. His fantasy steampunk novel, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart, is available through Lulu and other booksellers.
Cross over The River of Souls in my first fantasy novella from Curious Corvid Publishing. Coming in 2023 from Curious Corvid—the steampunk historical fiction, Corsair and the Sky Pirates, and The Last Magus: Dragonfire and Steel. Stay tuned for more new fantastic stories from the imagination of Mark Piggott.