#OWSCyCon2019 Author Spotlight
As part of the build-up to OWSCyCon2019, I want to introduce you to some of the amazing volunteers and authors taking part in the event. If it wasn’t for the volunteers, there could be no CyCon, and I’m grateful to every single one of them for giving up their time to make this happen. But by the same token, without the authors taking part in the event, we wouldn’t be able to bring you the amazing events that we have planned. So without further delay…
Meet Phoebe Darqueling
Genre Manager For Science Fiction
Phoebe Darqueling is the pen name of a globe trotting vagabond who currently hangs her hat in Freiburg, Germany. In her “real life” she writes curriculum for a creativity competition for kids in MN and edits academic texts for non-native English speakers. She loves all things Steampunk and writes about her obsession on SteampunkJournal.org. During 2017, she coordinated a Steampunk novel through the Collaborative Writing Challenge called Army of Brass, and also loves working with authors as an editor. In addition, she’s the genre manager for the Science Fiction track of OWSCyCon.
What Genres Do You Write In?
Why Don't You Start By Sharing A Little About Yourself
I’m an equal opportunity Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly fan, but my favorite pastime is riffing on terrible old movies a la Mystery Science Theater 3000. After a “quarter life crisis” I started on my path of bouncing back and forth between the US and Europe as my historian husband followed the siren song of academic grants and projects on his way to finishing his PhD in Ancient History. I’ve had a couple odd jobs in addition to my curriculum writing, like being a drama teacher and doing my best not to choke on glitter while working at a craft store.
Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?
No Rest for the Wicked is historical fiction with a supernatural twist. It all takes place in real (and thoroughly researched) week in 1871, but the main character can speak to the dead. Vi is kind of like a female Han Solo in the old West at the beginning. She’s clever and jaded, but not so hard as she thinks she is. This is the first book in the Mistress of None series, which will take Vi across gaslight America in the autumn of 1871.
Who is your intended readership?
Adults, especially people who like a complex female heroine at the center of the story. I chose a protagonist who was in her 30s because it felt like an age that doesn’t get written about often. I found myself feeling bored with the teenager coming of age plotlines when reading, so I created something more mature with a character who has had time to do more living (and make more mistakes).
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’d been feeling depressed, though I didn’t fully realize it until I was injured on the job and had to go through surgery. The only thing that was bringing light into my life was the story that was pouring out of me, so I decided it was time to make a change and committed more fully to pursuing writing and editing as a career.
Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?
Neil Gaiman is definitely an influence of mine, but I also credit Kurt Vonnegut as being my “gateway sci-fi author.” I read Slaughterhouse 5 for a class, then immediately read his entire canon within a few months.
What advice would you give beginning writers?
Assume from the start that you will need to do some rewriting. So often, writers need to work things out on the page. That doesn’t mean what you did first was “wrong”, just that it wasn’t what you needed it to be in the end. Also, there can always be more stories. I see a lot of new writers getting really hung up on how their book is a way to bear their souls, but if you are planning to write 20 books in your life from the start, it helps build in some perspective when receiving and acting on feedback.
Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?
My mom has always read everything I wrote. School papers, short stories, my novels – she was eager to read them all. My dad, on the other hand, was always supportive of my pursuits, but didn’t really read what I wrote. Then, he read No Rest for the Wicked and immediately asked me when the sequel would be ready (and continues to ask from time to time). I think I glowed about that for a couple days afterwards. Don’t worry, Dad! The sequel is underway 🙂
What do you like to do when you're not writing? Any hobbies?
I had to leave most of my craft supplies in storage in the US when we left for Germany, but when I don’t have restrictions I do a lot of paper art. I think the term paper engineering is probably the most apt, but I also don’t fit into that term exactly either. I make what I call 2.5 dimensional objects out of paper, meaning the come out of the canvas but are no full 3D. You can see some of my altered canvasses on my website: https://phoebedarqueling.com/original-artwork/
I also sew little felt animals, such as dinosaurs and goats you can hold in the palm of your hand. I designed the patterns myself which is another fun craft engineering type problem to solve. So I love crafting, but especially if there is an intellectual component as well as it being fun.
What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?
I’ve got two solo books on my to-do list for 2019. The first is the sequel to No Rest for Wicked, which will take Vi down the Mississippi on a riverboat. The onboard entertainment suffers a series of accidents, and she steps in to solve the mystery. The other one I’ve got plotted is about a horror movie crew filming on location in the Black Forest and the lesser known Grimm’s fairy tale monsters they awaken.
"No Rest For The Wicked"
Other people just think they’re “haunted by the past.” In Vi’s case, it’s true.
Clairvoyant Viola Thorne wants to forget about her days of grifting and running errands for ghosts. The problem? Playing it safe is dull. So when a dead stranger begs for her help, Vi jumps at the chance to dust off her hustling skills. The unlikely companions are soon tangling with bandits, cheating at cards, and loving every minute.
Then she finds out who referred him, and Vi has to face both a past and ex-partner that refuse to stay buried. Though she betrayed Peter, his spirit warns her of the plot that cost him his life. Vi’s guilty conscience won’t let her rest until she solves his murder. Though she’s spent her whole life fighting the pull of the paranormal, it holds the key to atoning for the only deception she’s ever regretted—breaking Peter’s heart.