Interview with Steampunk September Founder Penelope Bartotto

An exciting interview with Steampunk September founder Penelope Bartotto awaits within this airship message! And remember, the #steamlit novel sale is still going strong!

Author and Steampunk September Founder Penelope Bartotto is a veteran book reviewer and avid reader. She’s been reviewing books since the late 1990s, and happened to contact me a while ago to invite me to join her Steampunk September event. Now in it’s 3rd year, Steampunk September highlights genre authors and their works, as well as providing authors with a wonderful outlet to meet new people, expand their readership, and hear about tips and tricks from other authors. From her website…
Many think they know what the genre is about, and many have no idea. Our goal is to bring the genre to the attention of the Universe and beyond. Featuring authors, illustrators, artisans, and more; we aim to bring you into the world of steampunk, literally.

So enjoy the interview, and I’ll be proud to join her in the events during Steampunk September, which will feature both Brass Legionnaire and Copper Centurion!

How did you get started writing? 

I started writing at a very young age, I actually had a book about Paul Bunyan published by the school distract when I was in the fourth grade, that still graces a few of the elementary school libraries in the city. My father wrote poetry and I followed in his path with my creative pursuits. I often drew pictures and than wrote a story to go with them. Once I had children I found a new opportunity in writing informational articles on parenting and home education and spent over a decade writing nonfiction. I am now embracing the world of fiction and loving the many doors that have now been opened for me.
What has been your biggest success so far?

While being accepted for an anthology and having my first fictional story published was marvelous, I feel my biggest success was writing for Oxygen Media for two years.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?

Myself! I am my own worst critic and have doubted myself with story ideas so mush so, I have deleted files. I have learned not to do that, but I tend to doubt a story so much that I place it on the back burner and don’t always go back to it.

What is the best advice you would give beginning writers/authors?

Trust in yourself. Write and write some more. Let the story tell itself. Then hire an editor, do not expect the reviews of a family member to be enough, an editor is a necessity.

When it comes to genres, we know you love steampunk. Why do you enjoy steampunk so much?

Steampunk blends history, which I love, and fantasy into one delightful morsel of entertainment. I love the dynamic characters that many of the genre’s authors are able to create. I am fascinated with the unique worlds that are developed to provide a story that draws you in and keeps you interested to the very end. I also love the additional aspect that people are cos-playing the genre, bringing their favorite characters to life, or inventing their very own characters.

Do you have a favorite sub-genre (I.E. retropunk, futuristic, etc)?

I am a traditionalist and tend to enjoy a more Victorian sub-genre, and retropunk. I will admit that I wish the sub-genres would get along. I recently joined a group dedicated to cyberpunk and they attacked the other sub-genres so much I left the group. In general the community is welcoming, but when people object they tend to do it very loudly and rudely.

Paranormal Anthology with a TwistHow can authors get involved in Steampunk September? 

We’re now taking sign up for participation via the following page:

Authors, Artisans, and more can enter to be added to the calendar for the event. We are also looking for donations so that we can do a big giveaway at the end of the event and potentially a weekly giveaway. In the past I have given away signed books, but I would love to give a unique piece of art away this year and will need funds to make that happen.

Do you need additional books/resources from authors for it? 

As this is an annual event, there is never a time that I am not looking for authors and books to feature within the event. I am also looking for people who would like to do guest posts during the event. The more the merrier is my opinion.

Have you ever thought of creating a convention eventually? (That’d be cool!)

Actually I have. I would like to bring Steampunk to my area of Wisconsin. Many people attend Teslacon in Madison, but the event has grown so large that the state could use a few more conventions, I believe. I would have to find a larger crowd of Steampunk fans in the area to bring the convention to life. I am in discussions to turn my annual horror event into a convention, so once I have that out there, who knows, I just might bring Steampunk September to life as a convention.

Finally, if you could visit one place in the world as it looked in the past, where would you go and why?

Only one place, I hate having to narrow it down to just one…with that in mind I would say Ancient Egypt. I have always been intrigued by it, even as a youngster. I am actually writing a story that dips into the culture and the gods, not a steampunk one though, I am not sure if I can write the genre as much as I love it.

Special thanks to Penelope for her interview! Also, go out and check out her own writing – Paranormal Anthology with a TWIST – available everywhere!

Author: Daniel Ottalini

Author of the Award-Winning Steam Empire Chronicles Series

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