1) I loved the time period (1899) and way you set up this world. Steampunk is so very fun to read, and clearly there is a lot in here about the time period to really sink us into the time. Why this particular time period for Steampunk rather than another era?
Specifically for this novel I wanted a scene where the main character had been out celebrating the new year and the new “century” and people associate that with 1900. The sequel, A Priestess of Mars is being published shortly by Crimson Frost Books is actually set in 1907. For steampunk, the early 20th century is a great time. You get the maximum technical development you can use, without being too modern.
2) There was one tiny detail I was slightly puzzled about, and I hope you don’t mind clarifying. What exactly is a Colour Sergeant?
It’s a British military non-commissioned officer’s rank. He’s the battalion sergeant major in charge of the colours (the regimental flag and national flag)
3) How did you get the idea to use steampower to take us to Mars and form a colony? Where there any particular inspirations for this storyline?
It actually came from a game I run on-line, The Struggle of Nations, where we assumed Nikola Tesla invented an electric anti-gravity machine. The imperialist powers then did to Mars what they did to Africa. I’ve been running that play-by-e-mail game on-line since the middle 1990s, long before I started writing professionally.
4) I absolutely adore Mclaughlin, the protagonist. His disillusionment with priesthood and carrying the family line on were something I think many people can relate to, as well as his struggles to get anyone on his side in the face of absolutely horrid situations. And yet he perseveres for what’s right. Given everything he’s done on Mars, do you think he’d accept a longterm post there to continue to better things, or do you think he’d move on back to Earth?
I did a follow up short story set in 1916 during the Great War (published in Tales of the Talisman) that had him as an older colonel commanding the same regiment on the western front. They had to fight off an attack by a giant German diesel-powered mecha, something like the things you see in the Transformer movies but with a human crew.
5) What other projects are you working on? Anything related to The Queen’s Martian Rifles?
A Priestess of Mars will be published shortly by Crimson Frost Books. It’s a steampunk romance/adventure about a second try at destroying the Earth by the Martian priesthood. The only character in common with the first book is Crowley, reprising his role as a villain.
Set in 1907 in an alternate universe where Tesla invented a electric antigravity device that makes steam-powered spacecraft possible, it’s the story of a Martian priestess forced to choose between her ancient religion and the Earthman she loves. The fate of the Earth hangs on her choice. Asteroid miners have discovered ruins that pre-date human civilization. Two expeditions head to Ceres to explore them – an American expedition funded by a wealthy senator, and a German one organized by the Thule Society and led by Aleistar Crowley. But the Martian priesthood and their supernatural allies have infiltrated both and plan to discover the secret of the weapon that shattered the ancient world of Pentara in order to turn it against the Earth.
Can Crowley and his proto-Nazis find the Kaiser a world-dominating weapon? Will the Martians achieve their apocalyptic revenge against their colonial masters? Whose side is Lilith on? Her father’s? Crowley’s? Or does she have ambitions of her own? After the death of his beloved wife, will Bill Clark find love again? And who are the mysterious Ascended Masters?
Well, I certainly can’t wait to find out!
The author, M.E. Brines, spent the Cold War assembling atomic artillery shells and preparing to unleash the Apocalypse (and has a medal to prove it.) But when peace broke out, he turned his fevered, paranoid imagination to other pursuits. Designer of more than twenty sci-fi wargames and The Struggle of Nations play-by-e-mail game (all available at http://www.MEBrines.com) he spends his spare time scribbling another steampunk romance occult adventure novel, which despite certain rumors absolutely DOES NOT involve time-traveling Nazi vampires!
A member of the British Society for Psychical Research, he is a long-time student of the occult, a committed Christian*, and author of two dozen books, e-books, chapbooks and pamphlets on esoteric subjects such as Alien Abduction, Alien Hybrids, UFOs, Conspiracies, Mind Control the Falun Gong, esoteric Nazism, the Knights Templar, astrology, magick, the Bible, the spear of Longinius and Christian discipleship. His work has also appeared in Challenge magazine, The Traveller Chronicle, Weird Tales, Midnight Times, The Outer Darkness, Tales of the Talisman, and The Willows magazine.
The Queen’s Martian Rifles can be found at: