George: The Bells of Prosper Station (Hallowmas I) is clearly based on the history of Victorian Petrolia, Mrs. P-V, but why did you choose to write it as historical fantasy rather than regular historical fiction?
Mrs. P-V: I was with a creative writing group at your high school, George, where the students were so into fantasy that they inspired me to try it for myself.
George: Did you need to familiarize yourself further with the fantasy genre before you began?
Mrs. P-V: Most certainly. Along with reading lots of it, I researched fantasy subgenres including steampunk, gaslamp and urban – all set in Victorian times. When I discovered the existence of historical fantasy, it clinched my decision to set the story locally.
George: Because then you could use authentic home-grown details of life in a Victorian-era oil town – specifically our own town.
Mrs. P-V: Exactly. And the more information I acquired from interviewing townspeople and delving into archives, the more enthralled I became about life here in those earlier times. It was amazing to contemplate the elegant buildings, the genteel lifestyles of wealthier citizens, the rough and tumble lives of hard oilers, the long hours worked by servants, the distractions offered by hotel bars and ladies of the night…
George: Was it difficult incorporating fantasy?
Mrs. P-V: Only minimally. I got thinking about nineteenth century oil gushers bringing rivers of oil, devastating fires and nitroglycerine explosions. Could the resultant fumes cause some citizens to develop extrasensory powers, I pondered? Could some of these fumes evolve into timeriders, psychic vampires or guardians?
George: Awesome. You make it sound easy.
Mrs. P-V: In hindsight it was, especially since the local library provided the perfect access point into the past.
George: Sure, since at midnight, with Hallowe’en approaching, it morphs into its original train station form.
Mrs. P-V: So naturally, when Azur Moonstorey and her companions exit onto the railway platform, a Victorian-era steam engine snorts and hisses on a track that no longer exists.
George: Naturally! Well, this book was fun to read, Mrs. P-V, and it seems you had fun writing it.
Mrs. P-V: I did, George. Are you ready to see the book trailer?
George: Eager and waiting.