Congratulations to author Evangeline Denmark upon the publication of her YA steampunk fantasy novel, Curio. First off, look at that cover. Isn't it absolutely gorgeous? We think so! Reader Girls are excited to spotlight this author and her novel (which we are reading). For today the author is sharing a Guest Post on when she conceived the idea for her novel (a topic we're always interested in learning about). There's also links to get the FREE prequel novella to Curio and a giveaway, so please enter and tell your friends. Thanks for spending time with us.
Curio (Curio #1) by Evangeline Denmark
YA fantasy steampunk
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Blink
Grey Haward has always detested the Chemists, the magicians-come-scientists who rule her small western town. But she has always followed the rules, taking the potion the Chemists ration out that helps the town’s people survive. A potion that Grey suspects she—like her grandfather and father—may not actually need.
By working at her grandfather’s repair shop, sorting the small gears and dusting the curio cabinet inside, Grey has tried to stay unnoticed—or as unnoticed as a tall, strong girl can in a town of diminutive, underdeveloped citizens. Then her best friend, Whit, is caught by the Chemists’ enforcers after trying to protect Grey one night, and after seeing the extent of his punishment, suddenly taking risks seems the only decision she can make.
But with the risk comes the reality that the Chemists know her family’s secret, and the Chemists soon decide to use her for their own purposes. Panicked, Grey retreats to the only safe place she knows—her grandfather’s shop. There, however, a larger secret confronts her when her touch unlocks the old curio cabinet in the corner and reveals a world where porcelain and clockwork people are real. There, she could find the key that may save Whit’s life and also end the Chemists’ dark rule forever.
Novella Prequel (FREE!)
Mark of Blood and Alchemy (Curio 0.5)
by Evangeline Denmark
YA steampunk fantasy
eBook, 112 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Blink
In this novella prequel to Evangeline Denmark's YA fantasy novel Curio, Olan Havardsson flees a devastating plague that took his family only to be saved by a mysterious group of "magickers" with healing powers. But as he accompanies his rescuers to their alpine enclave, mysteries arise surrounding their potions and powers of alchemy. Questions mount when Olan observes a deep division forming between those who seek to defend the purity of the healing alchemical work and those who would wield it as a powerful weapon.
Olan is thrust into the midst of this dissention after he discovers he is somehow special--chosen as a guardian like the enclave's founder. As he spends time with two of his rescuers--Auriana, a clever and captivating inventor, and Alaric, a brooding young man wrestling with his father's cruel beliefs--Olan realizes he may have the power to direct the course of blood and alchemy.
Introducing readers to the fantastical world of Curio, this novella is wrapped in adventure, romance, and intrigue.
About the author
Evangeline Denmark cannot sing. The tragic discovery of this unavoidable truth led to bouts of angst-ridden poetry writing in her teens, several ill-advised relationships with literary characters, and the compulsive creation of her own fictional worlds. Having found her true voice, Evangeline now writes fiction with hints of whimsy, glimmers of fantasy, and strokes of the supernatural. Her Young Adult novel Curio releases January 2016 from the HarperCollins Blink line. She has also co-authored two children’s books, The Dragon and the Turtle and The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari (Waterbrook Press.)
find the author here:
The birth of a story
I remember the exact moment of origin for my novel CURIO. I was driving home and the word curio popped into my head. I fell in love with the word instantly. I really hope this happens to other people; otherwise, I might need to look into therapy for my logophilia.
A curio is an object of value or interest, such as a figurine or antique knickknack. Obviously the word curio and curiosity are cousins, so it didn’t take me long to include curiosity in my word crush musings. I imagined a world where curios came to life—where porcelain figures walked, talked, and developed a society. Then I asked myself, “What would those curios find curious?” The obvious answer to me was a human. And that’s how I came up with the concept of a human girl trapped in an enchanted cabinet.
Everything followed from that one moment of inspiration, but I had a lot of work to do. Although I’d written books with elements of magic in them, I’d never developed a fantasy world and for CURIO I needed not one but two. The world inside the bespelled cabinet was in some ways easier to craft because I had the fundamental concept in place. I asked questions like “What would living porcelain creatures value above everything else?” and decided the answer was beauty. Then I wondered how they would treat beings they did NOT find beautiful. The conflict between the exquisite Porcie people and the clever Tocks—clockwork citizens of Curio—followed naturally.
But for the cabinet world to exist there had to be another world that caused it to come into being. The outside world, where my human heroine Grey Haward comes from, took some serious thought and countless hours of jotting down notes and questions for myself and digging into my imagination to find the answers. Grey’s world of Chemist rule and daily struggle for survival in a western turn-of-the-century mining town is meant to offset the glittering, extravagant lifestyle of the Porcies.
Imagine how strange it would feel to go from a bleak town where citizens are dependent on a daily potion to a land where beauty is the most celebrated quality. Reviewers have said that CURIO has a bit of a Wizard of Oz feel to it, and I love that comparison because I grew up on the Oz books.
But don’t be fooled when Grey lands in the luxurious estate of Curio’s ruler, Lord Blueboy, for danger lurks behind a Porcie’s smile just as it does a Chemist’s green-tinted skin. But Grey Haward is a heroine for both worlds with strength to resist the Chemist Council, wits to navigate the cruel Porcie upper class, and a power she’s just beginning to understand. With the help of the mysterious Mad Tock, Grey unlocks a secret that will change both worlds forever.
We are able to offer one winner a hardcover copy of Curio, courtesy of HarperCollinsBlink. Sorry, contest is open only to residents of the US and the winner must be US resident (no PO Boxes). Enter below. Giveaway ends on