Train of Thought
The train journey from Carlisle to Shoreham-by Sea takes around 5 hours. There's two changes – Crewe and London – before the train finally eases itself into the tiny station at Shoreham.
I'd been blessed with a table seat. For anyone who has ever ridden on a Virgin train will know that a seat with a huge table is like hunting for unicorns. They're few and far between and if you get one it's like winning the lottery. Curled up at this table and travelling down to Crewe, I wrote a short paragraph for a friend to illustrate.
The train pulled into Crewe and, loaded with luggage, I hopped off and onto the platform. Crewe railway station was completed in 1837. When it was built, Crewe was a small town of just 70 people (that's exploded to to nearly 70,000 now) and the station is considered one of the most historic in the world. A monument of steel and brick, you can see the Victorian influences throughout the station. With twelves platforms, it's by no means the largest but it is one of the most inspiring. With dark corners and smoke covered brickwork, you could spend hours idling there, debating what's passed through and what is to come.
Cradling a cup of coffee, I mulled over the station. It's typically Victorian, all steel girders and high arches. Except that a number of those arches have been blocked off. Sitting on a bench, I stared at them and began to wonder... What goes on behind those bricked up arches? What's happening that we don't know about?
Back on the train, I began to write and the short paragraph became the prologue to the book. Over the following days, while sitting on Brighton beach, the story was added to. Eighteen months later, it was finished and I began sending it off to publishers. There was a great response and I eventually settled on the wonderful Torquere Press.
One of the primary topics of the book is a gay relationship between Cedo and Erus. Why did I choose to write about this? At the time, it felt entirely natural (and still does as it's spawned another two books, with more to come! Sarah Waters' books are a great exploration into lesbianism in the 1800's.). There are now several LGBT Steampunk titles, but at the time there were none. I wanted to explore such relationships in the time of Queen Victoria, how it affected people, what they thought about themselves and how they dealt with it. The Victorian era was filled with both prudish attitudes and a sense of freedom. A new era was being born and people felt as if they could be themselves. Obviously, at that time, homosexuality was still a crime. It wasn't until 1861 that homosexuality was removed from the list of crimes which could put someone under the penalty of death. It was both an exciting and risky time to live. Interestingly, UK laws never barred sexual relations between women, just between men.
The book gave me the chance to explore the thought processes behind someone who is just discovering who they are, who is finding out what they like and dislike in the world. Over the course of the book, Cedo fights against all that is wrong with his lover, while trying to maintain a sense of what is right. As the story eases from Book 1 to Book 2, things begin to change and his morals are challenged by an impending war.
Book 2 has now been signed with Torquere Press so hopefully, fingers crossed, it'll be with us soon. We had a blast putting together a huge party for the release of Mars on the Rise. We hosted it in a small theatre with bands who fitted the themes of the book. Everyone dressed in Steampunk outfits and we handed out traditional boiled sweets. If you're interested in what we did, search You Tube for “The Cogkneys on the Rise” and you'll see the performance they wrote especially for the night. Hopefully we'll be doing it all over again! If you'd like to come and join one of our parties, feel free to pop along to the Facebook pages. All details are released straight to there. It would be great to see you!
Rae Gee: www.raegee.co.uk
Rae Gee on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thequeenofsteam
Mars on the Rise, a tale of sex, drugs and steam power, is now available from Torquer Press and all good retailers.
All ebook formats: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index....roducts_id=3564
Kindle and Print (Can be found on all Amazon sites): http://www.amazon.com/Mars-on-the-R...35802351&sr=8-1
Crewe railway station: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crewe_railway_station