The Blogger Girls: Heather and Nikyta first met Rhys Ford at GRL 2012 in Albuquerque. For those who don’t know her, you are definitely missing out because not only does she tell some wickedly hilarious stories but she’s an awesome person who just loves chatting with her readers. We are extremely excited she was willing to let us interview her and even was willing to answer a few some-what personal questions! What personal questions, you ask? Well, keep on reading and you’ll find out 😉
Q&A with Rhys Ford
TBG: Hi, Rhys! Welcome to The Blogger Girls!
Rhys: First, thank you for having me here! Really appreciate it!
TBG: Okay, let’s get the ball rolling. Where did you get the inspiration for Clockwork Tangerine and how did that influence your naming of the book?
Rhys: The inspiration for Clockwork Tangerine? Oh man, no idea. I was probably lacking sleep and brushing my teeth or something. Apparently the bathroom is where I have most of my ideas. I should just move a computer table in there. Storylines come to me while I’m washing my hair. Go figure.
The story originally started off much shorter and with the intention of being in a steampunk anthology but after I submitted it, the decision was made over at Dreamspinner Press to turn it into a novella—for which I am grateful because it allowed me a larger word count so I could go in and explore some things at greater depth. While I didn’t have time for a full length novel, it was good to be world building and try to produce something within a novella framework.
I actually named the book outside of the story itself. One of the main themes from Clockwork Orange is Order in Society versus Freedom of Choice, which I knew I’d be exploring in this yet unnamed and half-written novella. Robin came out of the idea of a discarded toy, one abused by an uncaring child then handed to another child then finally tossed away. He was a thrown out teddy bear whose fur was used to soak up the tears from nightmares but too many people felt he actually represented those nightmares and had to be destroyed.
Marcus serves as a symbol of not so much redemption but hope and trust. He’s rather an arch-angel of sorts—at least for Robin. Robin didn’t need saving as much as he needed protection from the storm around him. Marcus has a choice of being the man his father wanted him to be or the man the ton expects him to be. No one would blame him for demonizing Robin Harris. After all, the man killed Marcus’ father in a fashion.
Robin would continue as he was with or without Marcus. Marcus’ character would be determined not only by his actions but his lack of action. It was an interesting angle to write.
TBG: Wow, that’s really deep and insightful. Do you have plans for anything else in this world?
Rhys: I would love to. It all depends on how this does and if I have time. Writing a full length fantasy-ish novel takes a hell of a lot more time than practically anything else. Go figure. You’d think it would be easier. But then I guess, my brain’s just wired off. Okay, time to move into that bathroom!
TBG: Haha. Okay, you’ve written contemporary mystery. You’ve written ghosts and steampunk. You’ve even written an urban fantasy. When are you going to write Heather a historical? And Nikyta wants a Sci-Fi.
Rhys: Funny you should say historical. Something came to me while I was in the bathroom today. No seriously. I would love to have the time to write it. It was all so clear. Victorian London even. So much research and the language changes but oh, so much fun.
Sci-Fi? Oh man, wow. Shit. Hell. I dunno about that one. Maybe a short.
Nikyta: Whaaa?? A short?! THAT’S IT?! How rude! LOL
TBG: Back to the urban fantasy genre, when do you plan to give us another Kai Gracen story to follow up Black Dog Blues? I know he is self-pubbed and harder to write…but he has fans too!
Rhys: Kai. I have no intentions of abandoning Kai. I plan on writing his adventures in serial format… maybe 40K each or so. He also takes a bit of time and brain. I might have to break my cardinal rule of not writing two things at once in order to get more Kai done. But yes, I do have one started.
Now on to the more personal questions.
TBG: Hehe. We know you love your fur-babies, you’ve even made Neko famous. What’s the weirdest pet you’ve ever owned?
Rhys: A boyfriend? Um… wow. Oh! I had a pet crayfish! We’d bought a bunch of them…they were alive… to use in a crab boil and he escaped then fought off the tongs. So, I bought him a fish tank and he lived in it for three years. Which apparently is a good long time for a domestic-raised crayfish. He shed his shell a couple of times and scared the shit out of me because it comes off all in one piece! It was like.. suddenly two crayfish! He knew when you were close to the tank because he would wave his claws. This would get him food. Should have named him Pavlov. He was by himself in that tank. Anything else would have been food.
TBG: Ummm. Wow, okay. Moving on lol. Some may not know that you have a certain love for tattoos, you even wear some of your own art. Do you mind sharing with us if you have your next one planned and what will it be? (Ignore question if it’s too personal)
Rhys: I would absolutely love to get an Alice in Wonderland themed tat. I also need to finish up the peony along my shoulder. I haven’t planned anything per se. Usually the idea for one hits and I ruminate on it before sketching something out. Or looking for something. All but one of the pieces on me is my own art.
The one that isn’t is a custom design done for me by Rob Benavides who owns Flying Panther down here in San Diego. He asked me one day—after inking me for 15 years—when I was going to let him put his art on me. We were in his shop to make appointments for my sister and her friends and fell into talking. I told him sure, let’s do it. I needed to work on my trust issues and if anyone was going to put their art on me, it should be Rob since well, he’s my guy.
Blew him away. Fifteen years and now I say yes? He was all… fuck. Shit. Now it’s gotta rock. He gave me a hapa dragon—both Eastern and Western—done in traditional style. Long sessions on it. It goes from my right knee up to my hip. Hurt like a fucking bitch but I’d do it again.
TBG: Jesus. That sounds intense! Now, you promised Nikyta and Heather to a Korean dinner at GRL 2013 in Atlanta, instead they got fried chicken and waffles, although they say it was scrumptious. They even forgive you for getting them lost…mostly. Please give us a quick and easy Korean for Dummies recipe…something even Jen couldn’t screw up.
Rhys: I wasn’t the one with the directions, if you recall. *grins*
Easy? Okay. Go here: http://www.asianfoodgrocer.com/category/noh-quick-easy-seasoning
Look for Korean BBQ Mix and buy some. Follow the directions. They sometimes go out of stock but it’ll be back. If it is out of stock, grab some char siu mix. Or even the kimchee mix. Really. Best dollar and change you’d spend.
I will have to write down recipes because I cook by feel and taste. Hell, I have no idea what proportions things are. I had to break down the fried rice recipe for people. I’ll promise you one later.
TBG: We’ll hold you to that promise! Okay, one last question: What does your workplace where you write look like? Are there any weird or interesting things you surround yourself with? Any quirks you have that gets the inspiration flowing?
Rhys: My work place is my living room. Usually I’m fighting to keep Yoshi the cat off of my computer table and wow, mostly I surround myself with quiet. The house tends to be quiet when I write. I take the dogs out in the morning, stab the cat (he’s diabetic and needs insulin), pour some coffee, brush my teeth and then start the writing after I’ve done cleaning out my emails.
Inspiration usually is music. I cannot write without music. It helps me focus and drowns out anything else in the way. Usually what I’m listening to depends on the mood for the scene. I have a pretty wide range of tastes and have playlists. Most of Fish and Ghosts was written to dance, electronica and Gorillaz. It all varies.
Coffee. Coffee is always good.
TBG: Yes, coffee is ALWAYS good! Thanks so much for stopping by!
Rhys: Thank you for having me! I said that. Yeah I know. Heh. But really, thank you. Smooches and please really, try the kal-bi mix from Noh’s. They rock and it is so easy!
About Rhys Ford:
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats, a black Pomeranian puffball, a bonsai wolfhound, and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a red Hamilton Beach coffee maker
And at the Starbucks down the street. No really, they’re 24/7. And a drive-thru. It’s like heaven.
My books can be purchased, folded and first chapters read at Dreamspinner Press.
The British Empire reigns supreme, and its young Queen Victoria has expanded her realm to St. Francisco, a bustling city of English lords and Chinese ghettos. St. Francisco is a jewel in the Empire’s crown and as deeply embroiled in the conflict between the Arcane and Science as its sister city, London—a very dark and dangerous battle.
Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood, stumbles upon that darkness when he encounters a pack of young bloods beating a man senseless. Westwood’s duty and honor demand he save the man, but he’s taken aback to discover the man is Robin Harris, a handsome young inventor indirectly responsible for the death of Marcus’s father.
Living in the shadows following a failed coup, Robin devotes his life to easing others’ pain, even though his creations are considered mechanical abominations of magicks and science. Branded a deviant and a murderer, Robin expects the viscount to run as far as he can—and is amazed when Marcus reaches for him instead.
Clockwork Tangerine releases tomorrow, February 19th, 2014 at Dreamspinner Press and is currently available for pre-order so make sure you buy your copy now! Also, check out Nikyta’s review to see what she thought of this little steampunk short.