Hello everybody! Today, I’m really pleased to be part of the blog tour for City of Rust by Gemma Fowler, and to get to share Gemma’s answers to some questions about the book. Onto the post!
Tell us a little about City of Rust
Of course! City of Rust follows the story of engineer Railey and her bio robotic gecko Atti, as they get ready to compete in the semi finals of the drone races in the great recycled city of Boxville. But, everything changes when they’re chased out of the arena by a bounty hunter and are forced to seek shelter with a group of fearsome Junkers that mine the band of rubbish orbiting the Earth called the Soup. It’s here they discover something sinister hidden inside the impenetrable ring of waste, something that threatens to destroy the world and that only they can stop. It’s a knock-your-socks-off, action-packed adventure with an ecological theme at its core…or, as I like to call it, a bit of a rubbish mystery (ha, ha, ha… blughh).
Was there a shift in how you approached writing City of Rust, a middle grade novel, compared to you debut YA novel Moondust?
I had a bit more fun with this book! The adventure style story really suited me and I loved creating the cast of characters that we meet in Boxville and up in the Spheres. I also made a conscious effort to pack the book with as much action as I could – I love writing action scenes – and making Railey and Atti’s relationship like that of a brother and sister, lots of bickering, but lots of love too. Did lockdown affect your writing schedule?
What is your normal writing routine and how did it change?
Oh it completely demolished it! There was one point, early on, when I was juggling my day job, looking after a toddler, and doing a round of structural edits at the same time. It was a nightmare, but the team at Chicken House were really understanding and we got there in the end! I’ve never really had a proper writing routine as life always seems to get in the way, but I’m always writing or thinking about writing in some way – even if it’s just jotting scenes or ideas into the notes app on my phone during my commute (remember commutes?).
What research did you do for City of Rust? How did you do the research?
I read a lot of science magazines and blogs about my subject (which this time was space junk, recycling, and the landfill problem) whilst I’m coming up with the plot and structure of the book, then I leave it totally alone until the copy edit. I want the science to inspire and inform the story, but not dictate it, so after my initial fact dump at the beginning of the process, I let my imagination take over. Once the book is almost complete, I’ll go back through and check any facts in the dialogue or the descriptions of real machines or objects that feature in the story.
Are there any skills from previous or current employment that help with your writing?
I’m a copywriter working in the Advertising industry so it helps a little, but books are very different to tag lines! Though I do think it has given me the discipline to write all day, every day (when deadlines approach), even when the pressure is on!
Where there any fun/surprising facts that you uncovered?
I found out that there are lots of strange things rushing around in the space debris above our heads. Things like frozen rocks of astronaut wee that were jettisoned from old space missions, and the ashes of Gene Roddenberry, the creator or Star Trek, who wanted his body to ‘boldly go where no one has gone before’. I also discovered that geckos can drop and then eat their tails when food is scarce. That bit didn’t make it into the story though. Gross.
When did your fascination with space begin?
When I was eight years old my dad gave me an old telescope to put up in my room. It was useless, only good enough for looking at the moon, but it started a fascination with space that’s never gone away. I find space absolutely mind boggling because we still know so little about it! It really is the final frontier, and I’m so excited to be alive to witness Mars missions and a moon base (hopefully!). It feels like proper sci fi stuff.
CITY OF RUST by Gemma Fowler is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)
Follow Gemma on Twitter: @gemmarfowler | Find out more: www.gemmarfowler.com and www.chickenhousebooks.com
Thank you so much for reading! Is this book on your TBR? Do you have any sci-fi recommendations to share? I’d love to hear in the comments!