Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Feature: Greaveburn by Craig Hallam

 A HERO MURDERED. A GIRL ALONE. A CITY OF VILLAINS. From the crumbling belfry to the citadel's stained glass eye, across acres of cobbled streets and alleyways that never see daylight, Greaveburn is a city with darkness at its core. Gothic spires battle for height, overlapping each other until the skyline is a jagged mass of thorns. Archduke Choler sits on the throne, his black sealed letters foretell death for the person named inside. Abrasia, the rightful heir, lives as a recluse in order to stay alive. With her father murdered and her only ally lost, Abrasia is alone in a city where the crooked Palace Guard, a scientist's assistant who is more beast than man and a duo of body snatchers are all on her list of enemies. Under the cobbled streets lurk the Broken Folk, deformed rebels led by the hideously deformed Darrant, a man who once swore to protect the city. In a darkened laboratory, the devious Professor Loosestrife builds a contraption known only as "The Womb". With Greaveburn being torn apart around her, can Abrasia avenge her father's murder before the Archduke's letter spells her doom?


Craig Hallam

By day, Craig Hallam is a Nurse. In the afternoons, he studies English Literature with the Open University.

But by night he writes works of Speculative Fiction. Tackling short stories since late 2008, his tales have graced the pages of the British Fantasy Society, Misanthrope Press, Pill Hill Press, and Murky Depths. He has managed to avoid winning a single award in this whole time and has decided to take that as an accolade in itself, whenever the tears stop falling.

His debut novel, Greaveburn, a Gothic Steampunk tale, is out now from Inspired Quill Publishing.

His short story collection, Not Before Bed, is also available HERE.


Craig, thanks for letting us feature your book! Could you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?Sure. I'm a qualified Nurse working in elderly rehabilitation. Since a young age I've always loved reading and that sparked off a vivid imagination. My main goal has always been to write a book and get it in a shelf so where and thanks to Inspired Quill I've been able to make that come true. The only problem is that I'm now bitten by the bug and just can't stop writing!

It looks like a lot of your writing background rooted is in horror and paranormal stories. What made you decide to develop steampunk?

It was a total accident. I had always loved the Victorian aesthetic and loved watching movies such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. I really wanted to use that at some point and the first time I wrote about Loosestrife, it just came out.

Afterward someone said it was Steampunk and I was like "what the hell is that?" Since then I've become addicted.
I loved the world you built, how Greaveburn seems to be an island unto itself without another city close by. Was that an intentional setting or did it come about organically?

In order for Greaveburn to work with such a claustrophobic atmosphere whole maintaining a grand scope, I had to come up with a balance. So, the city may be massive, ancient and crumbling, but there's nowhere else to go, so people are forced to stay. Cue mayhem!
Loosestrife. Where did this deliciously-mad scientist come from? He may be one of my favorite characters in the book.

He's a bit bonkers isn't he? The idea for Greaveburn was really about the grey area between good and evil. How good men can be driven to insane acts and how madmen can seek redemption. Loosestrife was my vision of a "classic" villain. Someone without any scruples whatsoever. In that way, I had a lot of fun writing him. That probably shows, now I think about it.

Will we be seeing more of the Greaveburn cast in the future (like Corwater? He’s…pretty awesome)?
Ooooh good question. I always said that I'd hate to get stuck writing a trilogy for the sake of it, and that Greaveburn would stand alone as a statement piece. But, God help me, I love that place. I have an idea for a sequel but it will be far from what you might expect. More on that in the future...hehe

There were a couple of unexpected character deaths (okay, several). Did writing these deaths affect you? One of them was pretty major.
This is the question I get asked most: "Why did you kill (whoever), they shouldn't have died!"
The answer is: "That's life"

My idea for Greaveburn was that there are no heroes, only normal, selfish people with their own agendas. I wanted the reader to look at every character and get that in a different way so that they could decide who to root for and get a different experience each time.

As for me writing the deaths, it just seemed right to do it that way. I hate stories where you'll know who will survive, who won't. That comes from my love of horror movies. And hopefully no one expects what happens with the Greaveburners.

What do you envision as a future for Chintz, Brigit, and Narelle? For Darrant?  
For Darrant, I think his story is over. He has had enough to go through without me hitting him again haha. As for the Broken Folk, you'll have to see in the sequel (if I ever get a solid enough vision for it). I'd hate to spoil anything :)

If you’d been caught in the middle of the Broken Ones war with the aristocracy, what would you have done? Joined them? Sided with the upper crust? Watch idly and take bets?
I'm a coward, really. I like to think that I'd join the Broken Folk, but probably in a quiet rebellion. Perhaps as Corwater's helper. I'm certainly no hero haha.

Anything you can tell us about future projects?
My next novel is currently being read by Inspired Quill. Called The Adventures of Alan Shaw, this time it's a more solid Steampunk story revolving around the eponymous character as he grows up from a street urchin in Victorian London having various mis-adventures along the way. Once again, the hero isn't quite as you'd expect. There is some elements of romance but only in a truly realistic way rather than sweeping fantasy love. Poor Alan is going to be run through the mill!
This project was going to be a single book but as I wrote it I got so into it, and had so many ideas for adventures, that its ended up as a two volume epic. Who knew? I really can't wait to see what you think of it.

Looking forward to it! Ooooh, I hope there's Corwater...

Greaveburn is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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