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Sharon Gosling

Sharon Gosling began her career in entertainment journalism, writing for magazines in the science fiction and fantasy genre, before moving on to write tie-in books for TV shows such as “Stargate” and the ‘reimagined’ “Battlestar Galactica.”

  • Your heroine in The Diamond Thief is the star of a circus. What made you choose that particular setting?
There’s just something very exciting about circuses, especially during the era that this book is set. I think it’s the sense that the people who performed in them somehow had something special – like Remy, for example, who is almost supernaturally good at working on the trapeze. I loved circus stories when I was a kid myself, and so being able to create my own character for that environment was a lot of fun.

  • The trapeze action and Remy’s movements feel so real. Have you ever been a dancer or acrobat?
I think I had ballet lessons when I was very, very small, but no – I’ve never been either! I’ve always wanted to be able to ice skate properly, as people who can dance on ice always seem so incredibly elegant. Also, my parents met on an ice rink, so I find ice skating kind of romantic! I’ve got quite good balance but sadly I don’t think I’ll ever be very good.

  • Victorian England really comes alive in your novel. Did you have to do a lot of research on the era?
I did do quite a lot – one of my favourite resources was a book called London: A Pilgrimage. It was published in 1872, written by Blanchard Jerrold and illustrated by Gustave Doré. It took them five years to produce, mainly because Doré engraved all of his illustrations rather than drawing or painting them. They’re captivating images, particularly his depictions of life in the East End – dingy, dark, crowded and hectic. My husband and I are lucky enough to have a first edition, so I spent a lot of time poring over the huge old pages to really set the images in my head.

  • In The Diamond Thief, precious stones are great energy sources. Where did this idea come from?
I’ve always been fascinated by gemstones – I think it’s the fact that they are so ancient and eternal. Precious stones never age, decay or tarnish – they always keep their beauty and shape. There are numerous myths and legends attached to every precious stone, and one of the constants is that they all thought to be very powerful. So I began to think about what could happen if it was possible to harness that power. The stories in The Diamond Thief and The Ruby Airship grew out of that.

  • What sort of books do you read for pleasure? What sort of books did you read as a teenager?
I do read – and have always read - all sorts. In the pile beside my bed at the moment I have poetry by Adrienne Rich; a biography of the painter Dora Carrington; a book about ghost stories local to the area where I live; and several books of fiction, including one book of Star Trek Voyager short stories (I’m such a geek!). I love crime and thrillers, too. Most writers will tell you that it’s important to read as widely as possible. I still find I don’t read enough, though - there can never been enough books! Even when I was a child, I always went for the adult section of the library. I remember one librarian being very reluctant to let me borrow a book about Jack the Ripper when I was about ten…

  • Did you have a favorite book or favorite author when you were growing up?
I loved Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’ very much, and of course all of his other books, too.

  • Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Only in terms of wish fulfilment! I would love to be Remy – she’s so brave, so talented and so graceful. Whereas I generally look as if I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards and often have trouble not falling over things that aren’t even there. That’s why I’m much safer staying at home, making things up.

  • When did you start writing?
I think I’ve always written. When I was a kid, I used to say things like, ‘I want to be a firefighter’ or, ‘I want to be an astronaut!’ and I’d always end up making up stories about those things. So I guess actually ending up as a writer was kind of inevitable! I was first published when I was 16 or 17, though – I started writing book reviews for a magazine, and that grew into writing articles as well.

  • What inspires you as a writer?
I’m honestly not sure. Anything and everything – I guess I’m a bit of a magpie. Images, landscapes, words – they can all conspire to conjure up ideas.

  • Why do you think steampunk literature appeals to young readers?
I think probably because youngsters are so good at being able to imagine the world as other than it actually is. Sadly, a lot of adults lose the ability to accept the fantastical when they get older – but for kids, imagination is second nature. Steampunk taps into that, as it’s all about saying, ‘Well, the Victorians managed to create steam power… what would happen if they added laser guns to that? What if they built space ships?” Steampunk is a really fun representation of ‘what if…’ – and kids are great at that kind of thing.

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