Sean M. Locke is a family man and independent author living near Boulder, Colorado. He took his bachelor’s degree in creative writing, which led him (quite obviously, of course) to a career in information technology. Sean’s day job keeps his computer in good repair, which enables him to write fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories. His debut novel RECIPROCITY launches on Amazon on December 1, 2018.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
High school teachers and counselors had always praised my writing ability, but I didn’t catch the bug until my introductory composition class in undergrad. It was there that I felt I had permission to write a story because I wanted to, and so I did!
How long does it take you to write a book?
Shorter and shorter each time I do it. My first novel probably took a good five years to get a reasonable first draft, and another two years to do rewrites and revisions. My second novel took probably 18 months for a first draft, and I expect I can make it legible given six months. Someday I hope to nail down a book-a-year cadence, straight from first draft to Hit Publish!
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m definitely a weekends-and-evenings writer, since my day job and family obligations require my time and attention otherwise. I’ll snatch a half hour while waiting for ballet class to let out, or luxuriate in a two hour session when the fates allow.
Where do you tend to write the most?
I’m probably most productive away from home–a coffee shop, a library, a bar. The home, while comfortable, offers a staggering array of distractions. Anyone can tell when I’m hitting a block, because the house is spotless.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Invariably from other media I consume, but am just a little unsatisfied with. My debut novel RECIPROCITY came from an abiding love of classic crime noir fiction, but dissatisfaction with how those classics treated women characters or queer characters. So I set out to write a story that had the same hard-boiled aesthetic but treats women and queer characters the way I think they’d like to be treated.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
If I had to call it, I’d say that I finished major drafting of RECIPROCITY when I was 38, and completed its edits and zeroed in on a “final draft” just this year, at age 41. (They say it’s “never too late,” and by gosh I hope they’re right!)
What does your family think of your writing?
My family is very supportive! They give me time and space to write, and they graciously put up with me holding forth on story structure when watching TV or movies with them. My daughter in particular is a special inspiration to me: she writes like a demon on Wattpad, and I could stand to learn some of her passion and discipline.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I’d always thought it strange when authors would say that their characters “didn’t behave” or “changed the plot.” After all, isn’t the author the master of those characters? Isn’t it a bit odd to think the characters have a life outside of the author’s brain? Yet after writing a bit, I found that anthropomorphizing the characters in this way feels completely accurate. Yes, they are figments of my imagination, but they are definitely real, in their own way.
What do you wish you had known before you decided to write your first book?
I wish I’d known to keep track of the dates I started and finished! It would make interviews like this a good deal easier. ^_^
What advice would you give a novice writer who wants to take on the task of writing their first book?
You don’t have to write every day, but it certainly makes things a lot easier. Do what you can to develop a habit of writing, like you have a habit of brushing your teeth. You don’t usually have to ask yourself “do I need to brush my teeth today?” You just do it, on schedule, every day. Work toward developing a writing habit like that too!
What advice would you give a novice writer who is about to edit their first draft?
Think of yourself as a mentor/senpai/older sibling, and the past-you that wrote the first draft as a different person, someone who deserves kindness. Be gentle to your younger self, and have patience with their mistakes.
All Kaeri Hawen wants is a peaceful life in the Lower Terrace. No more collecting debts. No more breaking kneecaps.
But then the Boss’s loose cannon of a son massacres a dozen rival gangsters with a single pull of the trigger. Kaeri’s quiet retirement is off the menu—for now.
Kaeri knows she’ll get no rest if this looming gang war erupts into the streets. If she wants out of her life of crime, she’ll have to stop Kasper and his devilish weapon first.
Maria Cantabile is a clever young noblewoman with a penchant for tinkering and a devastating right cross. She’s descended into the Lower Terrace to retrieve two precious possessions: her delinquent little sister, and the stolen prototype of her reciprocating repeater carbine.
Kaeri knows just where to find both—the girl and the gun sit in Kasper’s greedy, bloodied hands.
The deadly noblewoman and the gold-hearted gangster will have to work together to stop a city-wide bloodbath. They’ll have to break their own rules, and betray their own families. They’ll have to risk falling in love. Do they have what it takes to save the Lower Terrace, and save each other?
This dieselpunk crime fantasy is perfect for readers who enjoy the hard-boiled noir fiction of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, but want to see more LGBT romance and airships. If that sounds like your shot of whiskey, check out RECIPROCITY!
- Genre: Fantasy, generally. Dieselpunk crime noir fantasy, more specifically
- Number of Pages 316
- Print Format: Ebook and paperback
Is your book a part of a series? If yes, how many books are going to be included in the series? And where does this book stand (what number)?
A future series, I hope! #1 in the Terraced City Stories
Who are your favorite character(s) and why?
This is a hard one! I’m going to have to say Maria Cantabile, the secondary protagonist. She’s very Silk Hiding Steel–quite glamorous and socially adept but knows how to throw a mean right hook when she needs to.
I like this little flirty bit of dialogue
I opened the icebox and looked inside. Anything to avoid her eyes. “Sorry. Maybe it’s obvious, but I crack jokes when I’m nervous.”
“Do I make you nervous?”
“If you don’t mind,” I said lightly, “I’m going to avoid that question by chipping at this ice block and making us those drinks you wanted.”
Any other tidbits you would like to share.
The cover was designed by the crew at vividcovers.com. I fell instantly in love with the illustration they produced, and honestly, I can’t stop looking at it!
Where can your book be purchased?
Is your book listed on Goodreads?
What makes your book stand out among the other books in the genre?
Not a lot of crime noir stories feature a woman protagonist, nor much in the way of queer romance. Nor airships!
What would you tell a potential reader (teetering on the fence) to sway them to read your book?
I think the chemistry between the POV character Kaeri and the secondary protagonist Maria is just really solid, if I can toot my own horn. Theirs is the kind of romance I like to see.