Interview with Ramsey Isler, author of Clockworkers

Publication Date: November 20, 2013

Book Links:  Amazon

Synopsis: Samantha Chablon is a self-proclaimed “gadget girl”. She runs the family watch repair shop while her eccentric old father spends his days researching fantastical stories of elves. Sam loves her father, but his odd habits have always been a mystery and a burden on the family. But that all changes after her father dies, and she discovers what he left for her. 

Sam has inherited a real elf. 

Piv is his name, and he is far older than his boyish face and personality would imply. But he's also wise, and as an elf he is gifted with a preternatural proclivity for making things. Sam's father taught Piv everything he knows about making watches, and he works faster than human hands could ever move. Sam, being much more enterprising than her father, sees opportunity in Piv's talents. Soon Piv is not the only elf working for Sam as she goes about building a luxury watch empire powered by secret elf labor. 

But the elves have remained hidden from humans for good reason, and it's not easy to keep a factory full of territorial elves secret in the middle of a metropolis. One night when someone attempts to break into the factory, the elves take matters into their own hands. The incident gives Sam a glimpse of a dark and twisted side of elves that no fairy tales ever mentioned. Samantha will soon discover that great ambition often comes with great risk, and although her elf partners have agreed to work without pay, there are other costly consequences involved in striking a deal with elves.

Interview: Q. Please tell us about the inspiration for your current release.

‘Clockworkers’ is one of those ideas I’d had in my head for a while. I’ll be honest; I like elves. I’m a gamer, and whenever an RPG game offered a playable elf character, I always picked them. Like most Tolkien fans, I had a fascination with the elves he created. But European folklore dominates what we think of as "elves", even though almost every culture in the world has stories about magical "little people". In my younger days I stumbled upon a book of Native American folklore tales, and a surprising number had stories of magical small folk. Part of my motivation for writing ‘Clockworkers’ was to bring that fact to light, but I also just love creating modern folklore, and elves are a topic I've always wanted to reinvent. This book puts a brand new perspective on elf tales, and it has a cast of elves in every color of the ethnic rainbow.

Q. How did writing this book affect you?

This was my first time writing a female protagonist, and at first I was pretty worried about it. I always strive to have a diverse cast in my books, but I didn’t feel comfortable with writing a female lead until I got a few novels under my belt. As an artist you have to go out of your comfort zones so your art can grow, and I think I’ve definitely learned a lot from this experience.

Q. Is there anything you haven’t written about that you would like to in the future?

I have yet to write any space sci-fi. I love the genre, but I find it difficult to do it accurately and in new ways that haven’t been done to death already. But I’m sure at some point I’m sure I’ll give it a shot.

Q. Which of your characters would you want to be and why?

I’m pretty happy with my life as it is, but if I had the ability to be a fictional character for a bit, I’d pick Piv, the lead elf in ‘Clockworkers’. He’s wise, but irreverent. He’s kind, but mischievous. He’s ancient, but still has a childlike quality. He wants for nothing, but is delighted by everything.

Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Make a living writing these book things. It’s hard!

Q. What are you currently reading?

When I can find time between work, writing, and holiday craziness, I read a few pages of ‘Tears in Rain’ by Rosa Montero. It is essentially Blade Runner fan-fiction, but it’s well-written for the most part and tells a story from the perspective of an Android. I’m also re-reading parts of ‘A Storm of Swords’ because I just need a Game of Thrones fix while waiting for the new season on HBO to start.

Q. All of the books you’ve read, which book has impacted you the most?

‘Work as a Spiritual Practice’ by Lewis Richmond. It’s heavily influenced by Buddhism, although not really a Buddhist book per se, and it really inspired me to do work that had meaning. We all spend so much time at our jobs; we should make sure that the time we spend at work creates more value for us than just a paycheck.

Q. What gives you the most joy in life?

Writing a story that people enjoy.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Being an author is oftentimes a lonely, frustrating, depressing experience. There’s a reason why so many of the “great” authors had substance abuse problems. But it’s all worth it when a reader says “I loved your work”. That’s the most powerful thing in art, right there. I can’t thank you all enough for joining in on the adventures that came out of my head.

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