Emilie P. Bush!

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Writer, editor, and journalist, Emilie P. Bush is a quintessential Do-It-Yourself steampunk. She has stories suited for adults as well as children, her fashion is impeccable if unpredictable, and her tea dueling skills are something to be feared.

In April, she will join us at the International Steampunk Symposium, but she has answered a few questions to tide us over until then.


Me: As a bestselling, self-published author, you’ve hosted entire panels on – well – self-publishing a bestseller. Literally. So let’s approach the subject from a different direction: what is the appropriate sleep-to-coffee ratio for a functional convention, and does this ratio tangentially apply to the diving velocity of a red-tailed hawk?

Emilie P. Bush: Define “functional”? Coffee is coffee. It is the necessary basis for all life on this planet, either directly or indirectly, as you well know. The key to a functional con in consistent application of creamer. For a millennium, frequent flier cardholders have known that the proposition of creamer is dicey at best in hotels. Will it be the powder goo? Little cups? and how old is that anyway? No. This is too important to leave to chance, so the writer on the go knows that the only way to keep the cream acceptable and predictable is to bring your own! In recent cons, I have discovered the perfect, never-spoil, churn the words through the night, perfect elixir of brown joy is St. Brennan’s Irish Cream. Code named “weekend coffee”, it relates better to Wild Turkey than to red-tailed hawk.

Me: You are a regular convention-attendee, and you dress for the occasion. Your costumes, however, are exceptionally varied. How and why did you assemble such an eccentric wardrobe?

"My good opinion, once lost, is unfortunately lost forever." ~Mr. DarcyEmilie P. Bush: I’m a woman of a certain age. I wear what suits my mood. Giddy (Airship Brownie) , sexy (Bordello-5-0h), silly (sailor suits), dominant (Mr. Darcy). I pace myself with corset wearing, I like to play with gender, culture, etc. That’s what Steampunk is – play and subversion. I’m not a Victorian reenactor. I am a imagineer of potential future pasts. Once there are rules to this game, I’m outta here. So, what looks good, feels good, and fits good this weekend? Let’s wear that.

Me: When you read aloud, do you “do the voices?” Even if the main character is a duck? Or Steamduck?

Emilie P. Bush: Funny thing, I do “the voices” more in my novel readings (for grown-ups) more than I do for kid readings. I never noticed that before. I tell you, I’ve seen the best voice my characters, and I now leave it to the professionals! The Greenville Symphony and Children’s Theater did a staging of Steamduck Learns to Fly! last year, and it was one of the best out of body experiences I have EVER had. My words and characters were alive! And I got to watch! The kids really enjoyed the musicians and actors. So, yes, the characters are better in voice, but maybe not MY voice.

Me: What is the most unexpected creative breakthrough you’ve ever enjoyed and/or suffered?

Emilie P BushEmilie P. Bush: Hmmm… That’s a tough one. I guess the big breakthrough was realizing that I could just go ahead and lie. I had a hard time flipping that switch from journalism to fiction. I sold my first piece of writing when I was 19-years old to NPR news. That hooked me. I became a professional writer of news – on and off – for the next 15 years. I stopped writing everything for a year and then that horrible feeling crept over me – that one that ALL writers get at some point: If I don’t write a novel, I will die a horrible DEATH! So, I wrote the stories that were in my head, about the essence of my dorky friends, my experiences (but with a series of embellishments and names changed to protect the innocent). I learned not to force the muse – you get bad musings. I learned the value of a good editor. I learned that a deadline is better than an idea. I’m still learning….

Me: If we suspended the laws of time, space, and physics, what person/place/object from your stories would you choose to bring into the real world? Or would you choose to send something from reality into fiction?

Emilie P Bush and FoxEmilie P. Bush: Oh, I think Candice Mortimer from Chenda and the Airship Brofman would be the first one. She’s my peer I think. And my two boys from that novel, I would love to see two people that connected. And let’s face it — Fenimore and Verdu are HAWT!  I think that there are some places in Coal City that I would want to visit in person. Funny. Coal City is part of all the books I have published at present, kid and adult. I guess I need to be more specific about that. Which Coal City? The busy cartoonish town filled with birds in bowlers? or the city where Chenda and her companion begin an adventure!? Maybe both.

Me: You have new work coming out soon. How soon is soon, and do you have any hints, whispers, or teases for us?

Emilie P. Bush: I am working on the last of the Chenda books, and am in the middle of a new urban fantasy series that MAY see print this year. I know William Kevin Petty and I will be doing more books now that we have landed in the same city. We have two stories there and perhaps a new coloring book, too.

For more about Emilie P. Bush, be sure to check out her Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.


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