“Writing is harder for writers than anyone else.”

Author Steve Turnbull’s creativity has taken many forms over the years. After watching a BBC TV adaptation of Cider with Rosie, which contained some nudity, hormone-driven, teenage Turnbull decided to read the book. He found it interesting, but not in the way he expected. “I was swept along by the beautiful prose and I discovered language could be so much more than just words on a page.”

This revelation changed his outlook on English and his school marks. He wrote his first two novels while still in school; although he claims they weren’t very good. This is common for many writers. It takes awhile to find not just our voice, but also our confidence. He also wrote endless poems; more than your typical teenage angst. “At university I wrote the lyrics for my band and discovered the improvisational storytelling that is table-top roleplaying games.” Turnbull also does screenwriting.

Turnbull had his first glimpse into the publishing world as the editor of a computer magazine. It not only helped him to become a disciplined writer, but also to work with different creative departments and individuals. This, however, is not why he chose to self-publish. Self-publishing is quicker than traditional publishing and it also gives you more control. It also has the added bonus of allowing you to set the price. “As a self-publisher you can make a living as an author that nobody has heard of, writing and releasing books at a high rate. That’s not possible otherwise.” To help save money, Turnbull offers the following advice:

Stay far far away from the so-called “Self-publishing companies”; they are the new face of vanity publishing. Hire your own editors, layout people and cover designers, it will cost less, and you keep all you rights and profits.

Some of Turnbull’s writing is a mix of steampunk and dieselpunk. He explores an alternate-history, usually from 1843 to about 1911. “History isn’t the cut and dried thing people like to imagine it is. It’s fuzzy,” says Turnbull. He also has one short story that he describes as Teslapunk (a new term to me).

Q: What intrigues you most about the subculture?
A. I can’t deny I like dressing up and going over the top – I’ve done table-top and live-action role-playing for years. This time I was getting to create it too. The people are slightly crazy and I approve of that. Too much serious is bad for you.

Q. What is your favourite element of steampunk?
A. From a writing viewpoint I find the horrendous bigotry of the Victorian era, along with the enthusiastic belief in the future, to be the perfect mix for stories I want to write.

Q. Why do you think steampunk is so popular?
A. For all its faults (and it had many) it was a time of hope when people cared about the quality of their creations. It was a simpler time but nostalgia ain’t what it used to be and steampunk is growing up.

Books:

  • Maliha Anderson Mysteries (Books 1-3)                     Steampunk mystery/thriller
  • Wind in the East (Maliha Anderson Book 4)                Steampunk mystery/thriller
  • Thunder Over the Grass (Maliha Anderson Book 5)     Steampunk mystery/thriller
  • Under the Burning Cloud (Maliha Anderson Book 6)     Steampunk mystery/thriller
  • Harry Takes Off (Iron Pegasus, book 1 - 3)            Steampunk action-adventure
  • Frozen Beauty (books 1-3)                                         Steampunk action-adventure
  • Broken Vows (Maliha Anderson, side-prequel)        Steampunk love story
  • Journey Into Space, 1874                                         Steampunk
  • The Faraday Cage (multi-author anthology)             Steampunk, shared universe.