Friday, October 14, 2011

Meet The Contributor - Brad R. Cook

I am proud to introduce Brad R. Cook,Fantasy and Historical Fiction Writer and another contributing author at The Writer’s Lens. Brad wrote his first book in elementary school and credits those works with starting his love of writing. After serving since 2008 as Historian of the St. Louis Writers Guild, one of the oldest and largest literary organizations in the Midwest, he recently became their President. Studying the past has given him a deep love of history. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife, cat, and plants. He loves to read books that are over a hundred years old and writes during the witching hour when his muses are most active. He is the author of The Iron Horsemen, a young adult Steampunk adventure set in a world of airship pirates, secret societies, iron mechanics, and the exciting myths of history!

The Iron Horsemen Blurb:
The year is 1881 and Alexander reluctantly finds himself in Eton College, a place he doesn't fit in. Far from his friends and home in America, when his father is kidnapped by a mysterious man half-covered in bronze plates, Alexander teams with Genevieve, a baron's daughter who constantly defies Victorian convention. Along with her feisty little bronze dragon, and an eclectic crew of Sky Raiders, they run from the fog-cloaked cobblestones streets, to the skies above the Mediterranean, as they save London from the four Iron Horsemen.

Far from his father, his home, and everything he's ever known, will Alexander be able save his father, and discover the mysterious secrets of Genevieve's family as he struggles to deal with an offer he never expected - to become an Iron Horsemen!

I recently had the opportunity to visit with Brad and he answered a few questions about his writing.

What do you like about reading and writing Steampunk?

A passion for history helps, but really it’s about the possibility of what might have been. I love that Steampunk is a juxtaposition of opposites. In my case it’s about fantasy I am an avid researcher and all my work is historically accurate,but the fun part is extrapolating where technology could have ended up.

You’ve written a book for young adults and one for middle grade. What difference do you find in writing for the two different age groups?

It was greater than I first thought. When you are writing for kids one of the big things to remember is that there is a huge difference in age, even a single year can have many implications. Young Adult is about emotion, the internal struggle of finding out who the character is turning into and where they fit in their world. Middle Grade is about that first sense of self discovery. Middle Grade is also more heavily focused on dialogue which for a playwright has never been a problem. However, both will always be about telling an exciting story.

What challenges do you find in writing children’s literature, for young adults and middle grade?

The biggest challenges, but one I enjoyed solving, are the fight scenes. In Young Adult you aren’t really limited, but I like to keep the action high and the body count low. However,Middle Grade is tricky. Even though I was a Fencer at thirteen fighting men in their twenties, in a book it’s difficult to have two kids battling each other.Yet at the climax of my Middle Grade there had to be a final battle. That’s where being creative is a necessity, in my case I solved the problem using lacrosse.

As a writer what are the similarities and differences between Steampunk and Urban Fantasy?

They’re not that different from each other, unlike hi-fantasy (another genre I adore) which has completely different settings, plot choices, and characters, Steampunk and Urban Fantasy are both set in ‘modern’ cities. Sure there is a difference in the level of technology, but I truly believe that if it exists today, I can find a plausible way for it to exist in the Victorian Age. It surprises me how much of today’s hi-tech was envisioned over a century ago. The real difference – in the Victorian age everything was more elaborately decorated than today where we strip our architecture, technology, and clothing down to the barest essentials.

What is your upcoming release? Your WIP?

Right now, I am looking for an agent to represent my Y/A Steampunk and Middle Grade Arthurian Urban Fantasy novels. This month, one of my scripts will be performed at Voices of Valhalla and I have two pieces in the St. Louis Reflections anthology. Later this year, I'll have an e-book of short stories, it’s a WWII spy thriller with a Diesel punk influence.My current WIP is an adult Urban Fantasy. I write a lot.

For more on Brad R. Cook please visit his Website
Please post comments or questions and you will be entered in the weekly contest.


  1. My first attempt at reading steampunk failed. We won't mention the title or author. ;) So I'm curious to try again... Brad, I need a link to your book!!!

  2. I wasn't a fan of steampunk at first either, but the more I dabble my toes in the engine oil, the more I'm liking it. It helps that I've only read good stuff, so far! Stories that push the envelope far wider than hetro, white, Victorian London.

    Is it possible for these 'meet the author contributor' posts to have a 'how we all met and decided to create this blog' from each author's perspective?

  3. hmmm... widdershins, you ask a good question. My post is yet to come, so I'll try to give my view on how the blog came together.

    Re: steampunk--I'm a huge Firefly fan and grew up on Jules Verne, who seems pretty Steampunky to me. I've been privileged to be Brad's critique partner, and can tell you the Iron Horsemen makes steampunk action-packed, historically interesting and lotsa fun!

  4. Ah...thanks TW. Widdershins, you have a great point, I have journeyed with TW and David Lucas down this crazy publishing road for years, Dianna, Ansha, and Cornelia are new friends (connected to others I'm sure you'll learn more in the coming weeks) but I'm suprised I haven't known them all along - great people.