Book Fox Chit Chat with Author Kenneth A. Baldwin

Kenneth A. Baldwin recently dropped the second book, The Silver Currant, in his Gaslamp Fantasy trilogy. Some readers say that they enjoyed it more than The Crimson Inkwell, which has done well in its reader reviews so far. Fans of the series are saying amazing things:

 “I wish I would give this novel many more stars!!!! I highly recommend this entire series. Kenneth A Baldwin is certainly a talented storyteller. I am so excited for the third book.”

“Unlike many middle volumes of trilogies the author really moves the story along instead of just padding it out to turn what should just be a duology or maybe even a single book into a trilogy.”

“A colossal, uniquely imagined fantasy series. Book three could not come soon enough.”

If you’re at all interested in seeing how this series comes to a dramatic close, you’re not alone. Kenny took some time to answer a few questions for the Book Fox Blog:

Q: What was it like writing the second in a series and building off The Crimson Inkwell?

A: I found The Silver Currant to be much more finicky than The Crimson Inkwell. I was desperate to avoid the middle book curse that you often find in trilogies. The curse marks those books as just stepping stones, and they don’t leave the reader feeling like they won’t through a whole journey inside of the larger plot. I looked to some of my favorite middle stories to see what they did correctly. Why do some many people consider The Empire Strikes Back to be the best Star Wars film? Well, I have some ideas, and I hope they came through in my middle book.

Q: The Netherdowns seems like such an unusual place. What inspired you to come up with it?

I’ve always had the problem of chasing nostalgia, and it’s like trying to hold water in your hand. In my memory, there is a foggy field that is the most potent dose of nostalgia I can rely on. I wanted to inspect that feeling, which seems so solid and dependable. I’m always on the hunt for magic in life, and nostalgia is one of those types of magic I can never get away from. Hiding things in there is only natural, since it’s a place you only visit by yourself… well, until Luella comes along.

Q: Who is your favorite character in the series?

I have a soft spot for Rebecca Turner. I think that she is a very noble person, possessing many of the traits I consider most beautiful in a human being. I also really connect with Hirythe. I shouldn’t go into detail yet, but his strength has not yet shown itself.

Q: You use some real locations in this book. The first one just had fictional settings. What was writing that like?

This was purposeful. I love alternate history and historical fantasy. One of the best parts about making stories is coming up with your own world. I felt entirely uncomfortable pretending I knew a real city in west England as well as Luella would have after growing up there her whole life. But Dawnhurst-on-Severn borrows a lot of things from real neighboring cities. I look at Gloucester, also settled on the Severn River, as an example. In the second book, Luella ventures out into our recognized world, but I’m tired of English stories taking place in London. Reading and Oxford have rich histories, and I researched much more than was appropriate to fit in the book. Oscar Wilde spent time in Reading Gaol, for example, and penned one of his famous poems there.

Q: What do you love in a good fantasy?

I think the best fantasy stories explore weakness and limitation. It’s very easy to get overloaded as a visitor to a fantasy world, especially if everything is explained all at once. As an author, it’s easy to get carried away building worlds and magic systems, and forget that stories are about people. I love stories that use magic in unconventional ways. I think in life, magic is so rarely shown to us in black and white. It takes place behind the scenes, and we continually take it for granted.

Q: Do you have some favorite reads from the past year or so?

I finally got around to reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which became one of my instant favorites. It was just so fun. But I also enjoyed the Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, and (although this may be a polarizing title) The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins.

Q: Any hints you can give us for the last volume in the Luella Winthrop Trilogy?

At risk of spoilers for The Silver Currant, I ought to be careful here. I will say that I’m hoping to have it out mid 2021. You can expect more magic, more uncomfortable scenarios, and more gambits. Everything comes at a cost, and happiness costs the most of all. We’ll see if Luella has enough to cover the price.

Keep in touch with Kenny by joining his reader group. And, if you haven’t already, start with The Crimson Inkwell. Then get caught up on The Silver Currant before next year. We can’t wait!