MFT Guest: Interview with M.K. Hobson and Giveaway of The Hidden Goddess and a hand made fan bag.

Today we have M.K. Hobson, the author of The Native Star and The Hidden Goddess on for an interview.  Mrs. Hobson is not only a very talented writer, but she’s quite the accomplished seamstress.  The dress she’s wearing to the left there is made by her! Isn’t it beautiful?!  She’s also giving away a copy of The Hidden Goddess and a hand made fan bag which is long pointy drawstring bag that you can carry a fan in (very handy at cons!).  I suspect it will be quite lovely!
  Thanks for joining us today for My Favorite Things and the week of all things Steampunk!

Thank you for having me!

When you started writing The Native Star did you already know the direction it would go? Was it all planned out ahead of time, or did it reveal itself more as you wrote?

When I first started writing THE NATIVE STAR I wasn’t the obsessive outliner I am now. I just started off with an idea — pretty much just “magic in 1870s America” — and felt my way along from there. Unfortunately, this approach gave me nothing but troubles. Without having a plan in advance, I had big problems with continuity and pacing. And fixing those problems meant I had to to tear out and rewrite stuff I’d already done, and I just hated that. I hate wasted effort. I greatly admire efficiency.  So, I swore I’d never write another book unless I knew exactly what was going to happen in advance. THE HIDDEN GODDESS was the first book I completely outlined before writing it. I knew all the major plot points, the themes & resonances that I wanted to put in. The actual writing of the prose went very quickly and smoothly on that book. But it’s a trade-off, because it takes so much longer to write the outline!

What made you decide to write with Steampunk elements and in this time period?

Of course, when I wrote THE NATIVE STAR (around 2002) the whole “Steampunk” thing wasn’t as much in the mainstream consciousness as it is coming to be. I’ve always loved the 19th century, but like anything else I believe it’s better with magic. I think I was most fascinated about the similarities between the late 19th century in America and some of the political and social trends we see today. I do think we’re living in a new Victorian age in many ways, and I guess I was trying to call attention to that in some very small way.

Before you wrote The Native Star were you into Steampunk and Victorian style clothing and costume making, or did that come after, or during the process of writing?

I’ve been interested in Victorian manners, jewelry and costuming since middle school, so that’s what, 30 years now? Gee whiz! Anyway, some of the writers I was reading at that time included Dickens, Oscar Wilde, and H.H. Munro. I was enchanted by the feeling and flavor of the era, and of course the dresses were fantastic! When I got to high school I got to indulge my passion for costuming in the theater department, and then later in college when I was (briefly) a drama major. But my costuming efforts have pretty much always been restricted to others. It wasn’t until after the book that I really started costuming for myself … and I’m loving it!

What are some of your most favorite Steampunk authors and/or books?

Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books)Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)Gail Carriger, of course, is an absolute hoot, and I hardly need to mention Cherie Priest. Some authors who are a bit less well known (but no less incredible) are Ekaterina Sedia and Genevieve Valentine. Sedia’s “The Alchemy of Stone” is utterly brilliant and a must-read for any serious student of Steampunk. Valentine just came out with a gem of a debut called “Mechanique: a Tale of the Circus Tresaulti” which hits some very elegant gothic notes.

What is your favorite aspect of Steampunk?

Of course I love the costuming aspect, but more than that I love being around people who are as fascinated by history and social details as I am. When you’re around people who are active in the Steampunk community, you can feel pretty confident that if you talk about the language of flowers or black-bordered calling cards or Isabard Kingdom Brunel was, you won’t get a blank stare in return. That’s really quite nice.

How did you come up with the names for your characters?

You know, I’ve been asked that a lot and I always have to say I can’t really remember! I know that I wanted Emily to have a pretty standard “Victorian heroine” name, and those usually have both the first and last name start with the same letter. And for Dreadnought … his name had to be pompous without being precious or prissy … I mean, readers still had to be able to take him seriously! So coming up with the right name for him was a bit harder. Maybe I should start saying that it came to me in a dream, that makes for a much better answer.

How many books do you have planned for The Native Star series, and do you have any other books planned outside this series?

My goal has always been to write several more duologies that move the family saga on through history, following Emily & Dreadnought’s descendents through the changing American landscape. The next pair of books will be set in 1910 and will follow one of their sons. I’ve got the detailed outline (about written for Book 3, and I know the major emotional points I want to hit in Book 4. Once I have the outline done for that one I can start writing, and I am SO excited. The next two books are going to be darker — I expect each subsequent set of duologies will get darker as we approach the modern day — but in a really compelling way, I think. I hope. Fingers crossed.

 About the author: 

M.K. Hobson was born in Riverside, California, but grew up in Portland, Oregon. She attended theUniversity of Oregon, where she ran Catalyst Films (the campus film society), helped launch The Student Insurgent (a radical progressive ‘zine that’s still being published) and drove night-shift cab in nearby Springfield, Oregon. After graduating with a degree in English and Communications, she moved to Hiroshima, Japan to teach English. Returning to the United States two years later, she purchased The Northwest Neighbor, a community newspaper founded by legendary Portland mayor Bud Clark. She ran the paper for several years before moving on to a career in the field of corporate communications, working with Fortune 500 clients in the fields of retirement and healthcare.
Currently, she is one of the co-hosts of Podcastle, the acclaimed short fiction podcast. She lives in Oregon City, Oregon with her husband and daughter.

 About The Native Star:

It’s 1876, and business is rotten for Emily Edwards, town witch of the tiny Sierra Nevada settlement of Lost Pine. With everyone buying patent magicks by mail-order, she’s faced with two equally desperate options. Starve—or use a love spell to bewitch the town’s richest lumberman into marrying her.
When the love spell goes terribly wrong, Emily is forced to accept the aid of Dreadnought Stanton—a pompous and scholarly Warlock from New York—to set things right. Together, they travel from the seedy underbelly of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, across the United States by train and biomechanical flying machine, to the highest halls of American magical power, only to find that love spells (and love) are far more complicated and dangerous than either of them could ever have imagined.

The Giveaway:

She is giving away one copy of The Hidden Goddess and the hand made fan bag to one lucky winner.
This is open to US/Canada
Ends July 5th, 2011
You must be 16 or older to enter

To Enter:

Leave a comment about the interview, talk about steampunk, say something intelligent… Just leave a thoughtful comment please 😉 

For this one you can get a bonus entry by posting a picture of yourself in a Steampunk or Victorian costume, OR a picture of yourself with either of the books.  Email me the photo (leave a comment here letting me know) or post a link to the photo (twitter, facebook, etc) candace_redinger(at)yahoo(dot)com


This is just the beginning of this great event!  For the schedule of The Favorite Things event check out the schedule post.  And make sure you head over to My Bookish Ways to see what she has going on today as well!
Thanks for subscribing!


  1. Thanks for the interview and giveaway! Steampunk fiction’s not really my thing – I prefer sci-fi/fantasy that has a deeper societal message to it, which steampunk often lacks – but Hobson’s books look more unique and interesting than others I’ve seen, so I’d love to get the chance to read them!

    I do love steampunk clothes, and I find it interesting whenever people form groups for the purpose of dressing up in older-style clothing and reliving past eras (I’m a colonial/Civil War reenactor myself; I assume that the steampunk guys are just as crazy as we are :) ).

    susanna DOT pyatt AT student DOT rcsnc DOT org

  2. I’m still new the whole steampunk genre of books, but so far I’ve really enjoyed those that I’ve read.

    I’m really like the aspect of this series told in duologies, it sound slike a great way to keep the story moving, and fresh by bringing in more characters. :)

    The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

  3. Susie,
    Even if your not big into Steampunk I think you’d still like this series. It’s much lighter on the Steampunk then so many others. The magic plays a bigger role. Even if you don’t win I hope you’ll give them a chance!

  4. I have only read one steampunk novel so far and the elements of the otherness and automatons was certainly unique. It took me a while to figure out that this is what the steampunk was that everyone was talking about. It is always fun to find new worlds and when authors like Ms. Hobson share their vision it is so great. Thank you for the chance to win the giveaway.

  5. Great interview! We just got The Native Star and are looking forward to reading it.

    I also have always admired Victorian era styles and decor. I would love to learn to make costumes and to join the local steampunk community.

  6. I enjoyed the interview. I’ve heard quite a bit about Native Star, but haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet. I do enjoy steampunk, I’ve read most of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, except Blameless which is on my shelf to be read next.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  7. I love the costuming in Steampunk. It’s usually lush and elaborate for women, and very professional for a man.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  8. I’m very interested to read how the author parallels Victorian America and where we are today. Thanks for the giveaway!


  9. Can my thoughtful comment be fangirl squeeing about NATIVE STAR? I adored the first book, simply loved it, and have been very annoyed that I haven’t had the $$ to pick up the newest book.

    I love steampunk costuming and have for ages. I was at Norwescon last month and omg, the amount of steampunk costumers was amazing. I wish I could pull it off but I have not the patience. >_>

  10. This book looks perfectly delightful. I love steampunk so much that my sister-in-law and I are writing a story by sending letters back and forth pretending to be friends in a steampunk world. Her character is quite talented when it comes to “mechanicals.” :)

  11. I have never been able to try a steampunk novel yet, I think I will enjoy them though :) Thank you for this giveaway! edysicecreamlover18ATgmailDOTcom

  12. I love the whole idea of steampunk. The regurgitation of parts pieced together to create something unique is fabulous. Plus, who doesn’t love the clothes. I mean, you really can do just about anything. And you get to wear knickers….which is fun to say :)

    I wish more was being developed in this genre. It has some amazing standouts, but not enough!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  13. Big confession here I have never read any steampunk. I know I know I should and plan to but you know how it is the TBR pile grows and you can’t catch up for the life of you. I will one day though. Promise.


  14. Great interview! I’ve only read a couple of steampunk books, but they were great. Iron Duke by Brooks was awesome. I have several in my TBR pile to read.

  15. I have been hearing so many good things about steampunk that I can’t wait to read this book! I’ve only read Clockwork Angel, but I loved the whole feel of the book, and I can’t wait to read more of the genre. Thanks for a great interview and a great giveaway :)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  16. I’m pretty new to the Steampunk genre but I love Victorian settings with the steampunk elemenst. Not to mention that dress, she did an amazing job creating it :)

    withinpages @ hotmail dot com

  17. What is it about the Victorian era that has inspired the genre?

    Is it influenced by HG Wells’ “Time Machine” or the writing of Jules Verne?

    I have not read a steampunk novel but I may as well start with Ms. Hobson’s works. Enter me, please.


  18. I love that dress she’s wearing. Steampunk has amazing dress and I think it’s probably my favorite aspect of steampunk!

    twilightforever.edward at gmail dot com

  19. Amazing interview guys. I started Steampunk because I just love the look and magic of all. Had nothing to do with how mainstream it is getting. But I also think another reason I am intrigued by it is through the inventions. I am sort of an electronic junkie so crazy inventions are sort of a weak spot for me LOL! I am really itching for this, so sign me up and thank you guys again for the post :)

    drharleyquinn87 (at) gmail (dot) com

  20. I think Steampunk is the best trend that’s happen to genre books in a long time. It’s alt history, sci fi, fantasy all rolled together. Not to mention the fashion. I’m not a fashion person, but I love the Steampunk costumes at Comic Con; they just might be my favorite part of the con.

    ldaflynn at gmail dot com

  21. I am new to steampunk, but the genre in general sounds interesting. I like the blending aspects. I have Native Star in my tbr pile to read very soon (its like number 2 lol) so would love to win book 2.

    pams00 @

  22. I very recently got hooked on Steampunk and I need to say I’m glad I did, so I’m trying to gobble up all the Steampunk books I can get my grubby little hands :) so I’d love to win this book.


  23. Thank you for introducing me to M.K. Hobson. I love her dress! I often wondered if authors outlined the entire novel before sitting down to write. I have recently been introduced to “Bustlepunk.” I think M.K. Hobson may qualify for this genre. So, “Hidden Goddess” been added to my reading list.
    Thanks for a chance.


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