Today Polly and I are talking with Barbara Russell, author of Heart Collector: Auckland Steampunk Series, Knight in Distress, The Boy Who Killed Santa Claus, Arabian Days, and more.
I was honored to receive an advanced reader copy of Heart Collector, and to sum it up: I can’t wait to read more. The good news is, she’s already working on the 7th in the series!
Heart Collector is a romantic steampunk mystery that doesn’t disappoint. The characters are warm and quirky, the stakes are high, the Auckland setting is fabulous, and the story pace kept me swiping through the pages. I highly recommend it.
While other aristocratic, nineteen-year-old girls spend time dancing and partying, Isabel trains hard to become an agent with Military Intelligence Seventh Division, MI7, a crime fighting squad run by Supernaturals.
As a serial killer dubbed the Heart Collector starts slaughtering Supernaturals, Isabel tries to recruit Murk, a dangerous Supernatural man who can turn himself invisible.
Being an empath, she senses other people’s feelings as if they were her own. Anger, lust, love, worry—souls have no secrets for her. If Murk wants to attack her, his feelings will broadcast his intention, and she’ll be ready.
What Isabel isn’t ready for is to meet the man who will collect her heart and to fall in love with him.
Release date February 6. Available for preorder:
Barbara, tell us about blending steampunk and supernatural elements into a Victorian Era setting. What inspired the story?
I’ve always loved steampunk stories. The first I read was a steampunk/futuristic novel set in Italy by Stefano Benni. A rarity since the majority of the steampunk novels are set in Victorian London, and I fell in love with the genre because it’s always a bit funny, has some sci-fi elements, and there’s usually a mystery. I’m a sucker for mysteries. I read everything by Agatha Christie and Conan Doyle. So I thought, why not setting a steampunk novel here in Auckland? This gave me the opportunity to add a bit of Maori culture in the story
What is your favorite scene in the Heart Collector?
I think all the scenes with Trigger, the orphan Isabel—my main character—takes care of. He’s fun to write and I don’t have to worry about typos because he uses very bad grammar, lol
It’s a powerful start for a series, how many more stories do you anticipate to complete the series?
I’m currently writing book 7 of the series. The first three books are in Isabel’s point of view. Then next books are written with others POVs.
Will future books feature Isabel and M17?
Isabel will always be present, in the background. She’s the protagonist of the first three books, then I’ll leave room for others characters.
What is one of your hobbies and how has it enriched your writing?
Trekking and climbing! I love hiking with my dogs. Forests are the best places ever to think about plot holes and characters’ developments. Not to mention that a good trekking recharges me. I need to get out of the city and its noises now and then and be surrounded by trees and nature.
What advice would you give budding writers?
Read everything, from memoirs to sci-fi novels. I love fiction, but true stories are amazing. There’s a lot to learn from non-fiction books as a writer, and you never know what might inspire you.
Thanks, Barbara, for the wonderful read and the opportunity to get to know you better. I’m looking forward to the next Auckland Steampunk story. Oh, and you won Polly over with your love of hiking with dogs. She’s ready to go!