Hello, my friends, fellow readers, and authors visiting the Author’s Lounge today! Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Christine Ries, C. M. Ries is my pen name.
My novel, FANTASTIC FITTINGS, is about a post-apocalyptic future where electricity has been banned worldwide for very good reasons. Of the survivors in the future, one is a young Black British woman named Sarah Peterson who is apprenticed to an artificer. She finds out her mentor is dabbling in illegal electrical experiments in his attempt to harness a body’s naturally occurring electricity to power wearable machinery. Sarah finds out too late that not only is she neck-deep in this activity but is also an early experiment subject herself!
Sarah can’t wait for the day when her contract with Mr. Goldstein will end since she never wanted it anyway, but promises are made to be kept and Sarah feels morally obligated to see his experiment through to the end. Things change, however, when she starts dating Kane, a wealthy trader’s son. She sees him as a possible future for herself, that is until she meets Ethan. He is brought into their laboratory after a horrific accident, as a test subject for Goldstein’s experimental biotech.
While Sarah and Ethan push each other’s buttons, things outside the shop are heating up. One of Goldstein’s fellow apprentices from when he was younger, creates a lot of problems when she attempts the same experiment he is working on but fails. The pressure is on him to complete his lifework before the law comes knocking on their door.
I won’t ruin your reading enjoyment by telling you more details than that.
I have always loved writing, even as a child. My first babysitting job earned me enough money to purchase an electric typewriter because writing by hand was far too slow. I’ve also always been an artist and earned a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in digital mixed media. Of the two, artwork is easier for people to compliment briefly, rather than take the time to read what I’ve written. The squeaky wheel gets the grease I suppose. So, my writing went on the back burner, and I focused on art, but stories always stewed in my brain, dying to get out. Fanfiction played a big role in my earlier writing practices.
When I discovered my love for Steampunk and all the wonderful quirks the movement inspires, I knew I had a story to tell. I love the aesthetic of the old but cannot live without the convenience of modern technology. FANTASTIC FITTINGS started out as a short story I wrote on a whim when a friend sent me a link for a Steampunk eMagazine. Mr. Goldstein’s Fantastic Fittings was published in the Steampunk online magazine. It was well received, so I continued to write in that world. After two more short stories hit the pages, I realized I had a much bigger story in my pocket. I withheld the rest of the stories from publication and began work on the novel. I wanted to tell a story based on true life events that are happening now, from the latest biomechanical technology to the unrest of climate change, plastic pollution, and the threat of war. I wanted to create a story where the use of steam power would be completely plausible and have a valid reason for the lack of electricity.
The Steampunk community is one of the most varied, creative, and kind people I’ve met. Everyone who comes together for their love of the retro-Victorian era, be it a hobby or a lifestyle, brings their own unique flavor to the table. Some make machinery out of antique clock parts and digital screens made to look like it runs on steam, others create the most elaborate costumes around their Steampunk persona. I wanted to add a new story to explore the ‘what-ifs’. I hope to spark a reader’s interest, whether it is their first encounter with Steampunk or if they are die-hard fans. Mostly, I want everyone reading my stories to feel they know the characters; to laugh and cry with them, and to mourn them if they die. (Sorry people, writers sometimes must kill off characters.) If you’ve ever cheered out loud when your two favorites finally kiss or the villain gets his due, then FANTASTIC FITTINGS is a story for you.
Hey, that rhymed.