Piia, you write about demons and other things that go bump in the Victorian night.
Why Victorian Gaslight Fantasy?
let’s start with history. I love the Victorian era, specifically the
time surrounding the Industrial Revolution. It’s full of fantastical
things, inventions and ideas. The old ways and the new ways bleeding
into eachother. I study it, from the big picture to the specific
subjects, and often it’s rewarding when something you find fits the
story exactly, but sometimes the information is so hard to find or so
obscure that I have to take artistic license not to break the plot.
For example, I have only a vague idea what opium smoke smells like and I
had to use what little information I could find and use my imagination
for the rest, because the only other option is to experience it first
hand and I really don’t need *that* habit.
When someone calls my series anachronistic, I take pride in that. It
means I’ve put the characters and the story first, historical accuracy
second, like it should be.
(DISCLAIMER: My books are NOT Historical Fiction, they are Fantasy.)
The Fantasy part of the equation comes naturally. My mind is always
looking for the magic. I like the kind of magic where, in a tight spot,
using it might be just as dangerous as not using it.
Where things that should not be, are, and they’re coming for you…
Combining the two was like chocolate and peanut butter. And now I’m hungry.
Is your fiction more physical or psychological in nature (ie, gore/slasher or mind freak)?
I would say psychological. I don’t actually like gore. Some is alright in movies, but strangely I don’t like it in books.
So while I do have some gruesome deaths in my stories, there is a well
defined line I don’t cross. I give enough of a visual so it’s clear what
we’re looking at, but I pick the details so that it doesn’t gross
anyone out too badly. I want the reader to supply the gore (in their
I do my best to creep you out, but never to gross you out.
Which dark fictional characters (not your own) have resonated with you, and why?
Terry does characters so well. I love Sam Vimes and Vetinari in
particular, and I would be lying if I claimed they haven’t influenced my
writing. Granny Weatherwax is my idol. She doesn’t take shit from
Then there’s Crowley from Good Omens, Bernard Black, Edmund Blackadder,
Arnold J. Rimmer, Hellboy, and every incarnation of Sherlock Holmes…
love these characters for their complete disregard for social norms.
They are arrogant and rude and awkward and funny and brilliant, and more
often than not, damaged on a profound level. They are who they are and
they do not apologise for it, and the world is richer because of them.
These are some of the characters that were stirred into the
primordial soup of my subconscious, from where Ikaros Crux later arose
like a grumpy, drunken Venus.
Which of your own characters intrigues you the most, and why?
The Hungarian-born Detective Inspector Leonid Sándor, occasional antagonist and a steadfast frenemy of Ikaros’.
is a good cop with principles and that cost him a lot in the past. He
clearly has a love/hate relationship with his job, and while the rules
are important to him, he knows that serving the law and serving justice
are two different things.
I think I accidentally gave him more facets than I intended originally,
but I’m really looking forward to finding out what they are.
What scary situation do you hope to never find yourself in? Do you have a plan in case it ever happens?
I’d like to think I’m savvy enough not to go investigating a strange
noise in the middle of the night, or venture outside looking for
somebody during a zombie apocalypse. I would never agree to split the
group to cover more ground, nor would I turn my back on a supposedly
dead villain, and if someone chased me I would run OUT, not UP (at least
not without a good reason).
But I’m afraid I’d still be un/dead very fast in most horror type situations. Let’s not put this to the test, ok?
Bio: I’ve been writing for about fifteen years now, graduated from Holly
Lisle’s courses and published some stuff. I write dark fantasy,
specifically Urban Fantasy and Victorian Gaslight Fantasy rife with
demons, half-breeds, rogue heroes, faeries, ghosts and all that jazz.