Last Thursday I finally finagled my energy to pick up “Boneshaker” and finish it. I had been reading it for the past few months, until something expected happened. I got a case of The Shinies. Something glorious and new and sparkly caught my attention which caused “Boneshaker” to sit upon my nightstand, collecting dust. I cannot remember what was so amazing to put a steampunk zombie novel on hold as it was very engaging and chock-full of adventure.
Was it a knitting project?
Perhaps a quick short story idea which needed to get written STAT before I forgot?
Or did I succumb to the hypnotic, thrumming purrs of Jameson to where I slipped into a pleasant coma?
I suppose it’s not important. What is important is I finally finished the novel! And Friday morning I learned the author, Cherie Priest, was going to be at our local Powell’s to do a signing! How synchronicitous! And, wow, Spell Check does not recognize “synchronicitous” as a legit word. Scary.
Friday afternoon I camped out at Powell’s with two knitting projects in tow and waited. I met up with Tanuki and MartianMoonCrab and before long, a petite pixie with vibrant blue hair appeared. It was none other than Cherie Priest herself.
All I can say about the author, well I cannot simply say ONE thing, so I shall just rattle off what is impressive about her:
1. Cherie Priest’s bubbly attitude is infectious. Perhaps being a former goth, she might take a slight comedic offense to the word “bubbly”, but she had every right to be bouncing all over the place. She just received an email from George R.R. Martin (yes, THAT one) regarding a project they’re working on together. He had written how much he LOVED her storyline ideas and Cherie was simply beside herself. She was practically giggling out of her skin. “I am so holding back the urge to bounce around this store yelling, ‘G.R.R. Martin doesn’t think I’m a moron!'”
2. The author has seriously done her research. Seriously. The world she created for “Bonshaker”, called The Clockwork Century, is so wonderfully detailed and has so many branches, I was in awe. She knows her Civil War history and she shows no remorse in pushing up the Klondike Gold Rush if it allows her to have 50,000 zombies in 1880 Seattle, rather than 5,000.
3. Digressing is her most polished skill, as she so cheerfully admitted. There was no such thing as a “Yes” or “No” answer.
4. The author can totally pull off blue and aqua green hair.
This photo was taken with my ancient camera phone, and with her permission, so I apologize for the lack of quality. Regardless, Cherie Priest was very charming, very personable, and very inspiring as she joyfully signed everyone’s books. Upon my turn, I had mentioned I found her through Kyle Cassidy’s LiveJournal. She laughed and started regaling stories of her cat and how he would try, without much luck, to take a photo of her.
As I left the book signing, I was reminded how success can be quite the tease for some authors. One can get it right out of the shoot on the first try. Cherie, on the other hand, this was her seventh book and, like a perfect storm, it happened to hit pop culture at just the right time we needed some steampunk. To date “Boneshaker” is what truly put her on the map.
I felt encouraged, not dismayed, by this thought. Cherie finally found what she loved to write. It took her seven novels (a few Southern Gothic) to find it, but she did. And I will too.
My signed copy of “Boneshaker” now sits upon the inspirational shelf of my library. Right next to signed copies by David Sedaris and C.E. Murphy. Tomorrow night, Patricia Briggs will be added to my growing collection of authorial motivation.