What does all of them have in common? Well, you’ll find out during the next few minutes. Please, welcome M. Harold Page on my couch!
M. Harold Page is the sword-wielding author of Swords vs Tanks (“Holy ****!” – Charles Stross) as well as several other novels and short stories. He has pledged to put the Heavy Metal back into whatever adventure genres are foolish enough to stumble across his path. To keep track of his literary adventures, dive over to his blog at http://www.mharoldpage.com.
When he’s not writing, he studies, teaches and fights Historical European Martial Arts and has a sword scar. M. Harold Page likes Viking Metal, especially Turisas and Tyr. He’s also a dad and loves reading to his kids and gaming with them. His 8 year old daughter wants to GM…
1. Why Steampunk?
I wanted to do something over the top, and it let me throw in a Zeppelin. Plus I’ve written so many swordfights I wanted to use a little gunpowder.
2. Talking of gunpowder, what’s with the blackpowder engine powering your Zeppelin?
It’s real – well sort of. Go check Wikipedia! They tinkered with it in the 18th century but didn’t get far. I just figured a steam engine would be too chunky for the kind of lean privateer vessel I imagined.
3. On the subject of Zeppelins, just how many Steampunk/Fantasy tropes did you get in your story?
Um. Can’t list them without spoilers. In my defence, I’d done a lot of Historical Adventure tie-in novels and wanted to flex my fantasy muscles. I was mortified when my son pointed out I’d left out Werewolves — though Janet swears she would have stopped me putting them in.
4. What was the story about? I mean, underneath the mayhem?
How modernity is liberating because the technology is a leveller. Firearms mean victory doesn’t just go to the male professional warrior. Trade and Industry mean wealth no longer belongs to the feudal aristocrat. See? I do do themes.
5. Who are your influences that we won’t have heard of?
Harold Lamb, master of historical adventure and a contemporary of Robert E Howard. Also, a 1950s UK YA writer called Ronald Welch who wrote about competent heroes in tactical leadership roles. His Knight Crusader won the Carnegie Medal, but he’s unfashionable now. I also listen to a Steampunk band called Abney Park.
6. So what kinds of books do you write?
Anything with action and adventure in it. Some “indy”, some “traditional” published. I’ve done two Fantasy short stories, five historical novels — two Dark Age, two Wars of the Roses, one Crusader yarn — and one short. I’m working on a Space Opera project and my agent is trying to find a home for a Young Adult called I was a teenage space mercenary. I’ve even written a book on how to write from outline. Meanwhile I’m polishing and publishing a short series called Sword Versus Tanks (Charles Stross’s cover quote is “Holy ###!”)….
7. Are you going to do more Heroika stories?
I hope so. I enjoyed working with Janet, who is an amazing editor. I also read her High Couch of Silistra when I was a teenager (don’t tell her but it was a batter used copy from the 70s).
Thank you! It’s been a pleasure to have you here!