FAQ

Q: How do you pronounce your name?
A: “Cherie” is pronounced like the beverage “Sherry.”

“Priest” is pronounced like a man in a cassock. But I also answer to “Cherie” pronounced the French way (shuh-REE), because hey – let’s be honest: That’s how it’s spelled, and it’s not a far leap nor a ridiculous mistake.

Q: What’s up with Clementine? Why is it short/out of print/with a different publisher?
A: Circumstance.

Subterranean Press wanted to produce a one-off set in the Clockwork Century universe, and I wanted to let them. However, I have a first-refusal clause in my contract with Macmillan – which stipulates that Macmillan gets first look/first pass on anything over X amount of words. Therefore, I had to keep Clementine under that word count, in order to make sure that no noses were tweaked.

Clementine came out in a hardback limited edition, which sold out very quickly. This is why it has become rather difficult to track down and/or why it’s so expensive if you do locate a copy. However, it will be re-released in a trade paperback format sometime early in 2012, and it is presently available in ebook form as well – through the usual providers. Check the sidebar on the right of this page for links to Nook and Kindle editions.

Edited to add: Recently Clementine has been released as an audio book through Audible.

Edited once again to add: Hooray, there is a paperback edition! Click here for details.

Q: Is Boneshaker suitable for Young Adults?
A: I think so. But you be the judge (see below).

Boneshaker is a story with two main point-of-view characters, Briar Wilkes (aged 35), and her son Ezekiel Wilkes (aged 15). So there’s lots of good, solid, young-protagonist-adventuring going on. And generally speaking, this book does not contain the sorts of things that might upset your average parent.

To wit: (a). There is no sex in this book; (b). there is very little swearing, and this minimal swearing is relegated to variations on the word “damn” and the occasional four-letter word for poo, because let’s be honest, that word has been in use for a really, really long time (as have other, more ire-raising words, but those do not appear); (c). there is some violence, but it is largely zombie-on-zombie violence — or people-on-zombie violence (with a little bit of people-on-people violence thrown in, especially towards the end, I confess).

So although this is definitely an adventure book with a great deal of excitement, mystery, threat, undead menace, and whatnot … on the whole it’s actually pretty clean, if you want to judge “clean” by the standard of “naughty bits hanging out and/or highly alarming language.” If you want to judge it by “how many zombies get shot and/or how many pirates attack each other while airships crash and mad scientists cackle wickedly as they blow things up” then that’s another standard altogether, and I regret to confirm my failure to meet it.

Q: What about Dreadnought, Clementine, and Ganymede?
A: Ditto, pretty much

Obviously this will vary from young person to young person. Judge the constitution of your young person accordingly.

Q: Is Dreadnought the sequel to Boneshaker?
A: Sure.

Dreadnought happens after Boneshaker, and some of the same characters swing by. (You’ll find out what happened to Briar and Ezekiel, if that’s what you’re wondering.) Of course, by this rationale Clementine is a sequel too, because it also happens after Boneshaker and features some of the same characters. (In that one, you’ll learn what happened to Croggon Hainey and the crew of the Free Crow.)

Q: Do I have to read these books in order?
A: Nope, not really.

It’s probably helpful if you read Boneshaker first – but it’s not a deal-breaker. And yes, I’m aware that Clementine is hard to come by these days. You definitely don’t have to read it before reading either of the other two books. It was deliberately written as an independent one-off.

Q: Are there any other Clockwork Century stories of which we should be made aware?
A: Yes

The novelette Tanglefoot (which has been reprinted in Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded), and the short story “Reluctance” (which can be found in The Living Dead II anthology). “Tanglefoot” ties loosely into Clementine, and “Reluctance” ties loosely into Dreadnought.

Q: Why is your world setting so chock full of inaccurate history?
A: It isn’t inaccurate, it’s alternate.

To be clear, I’m well aware that the Civil War ended well before 1880, that Seattle never had a big wall around it, and that neither King Street Station nor the Smith Tower were built until the 20th century. Furthermore, contrary to a few reviews and reports, I know good and well that in the 1860s Seattle had virtually zero population density, and that the mere survival of Stonewall Jackson would not have saved the Confederacy.

Likewise, I’m pretty sure that the Confederacy never had any war dirigibles (though both sides did, in fact, employ balloons); the Klondike gold rush happened much, much later than I said it did; and there’s no such thing as a sonic zombie-stunning weapon (to the best of my knowledge).

This is not to say that the Clockwork Century is wacky and senseless, because it isn’t. I would like to think that even the wilder, weirder things about this world setting meet a certain standard of logic. Sometimes warped logic, yes — but none of it is random. All of it springs from little tweaks — little changes, here and there … dropping stones into the pond of history and watching to see where the ripples go.

Q: Who does your cover art?
A: Jon Foster
did the artwork for the first four books: Boneshaker, Clementine, Dreadnought, and Ganymede. But the cover art for The Inexplicables was composed by Cliff Nielsen. I don’t know exactly why there was a change; it’s just one of those things that authors don’t control.

Q: Can I write stories set in the Clockwork Century?
A: Hrrm. You’re asking about fanfic, and this is tricky.

Realistically speaking, I cannot prevent fan fiction; and honestly speaking, I am disinclined to try. Yelling at people on the internet does not seem like a super-productive use of my time.

So here’s my official stance on the subject: If you do feel moved to write Clockwork Century stories of your own, please don’t try to sell those stories or publish them anywhere — and please don’t send them to me. I’m not allowed to read them, and you’re not allowed to make money off them. We could both get into legal trouble, me and you, whoever you are.

Otherwise, knock yourself out.

Q: This sounds like it’d make an awesome movie. Will there be a movie?
A: Looks like it might!
No, I’m not kidding. Click the link! The rights were optioned to Cross Creek late in 2011, and now Cross Creek is teaming with Hammer Films on a production … or so we hope. This being Hollywood, things can fall through at any time, and for no reason; but for now, things are looking pretty good. Keep an eye on this page for new information as it becomes available.

Q:Did you really once say that “Steampunk is what happens when goths discover brown”?
A: Yes, BUT.

I was quoting my friend Jess Nevins, who said it first.


Got any more questions? Drop me an email at cherie.priest@gmail.com, or post it here in a comment. I’ll do my best to give you a proper answer; and if enough people are wondering the same thing, I’ll add your query and my response to this page.