A two-sentence summary:
Balma Walker is plain tired of Cazy Tipple’s cheating, especially now that it’s interfering with business. The moonshine ain’t gonna make itself and who has time to feud with ex-lovers, current sheriffs and make ends meet?
How did your characters come to be?
Once I name someone, I can think clearly about them. I start to see their personality form on the page. I wanted women who, even for their opposite natures, found solace in one another. Balma Walker became a sturdy, town educated woman and Cazy Tipple, a hard drinking rake.
Why this setting?
My father’s from Harlan, Kentucky and it’s a setting that I haven't written much in, but have plenty more to spill about.
You’re in an antho of lesbian steampunk stories. Obviously you are writing about lesbians. How does lesbianism fit in your setting?
This story is set in an alternate 1914 Kentucky. People live and let live. Folks think more on Balma and Cazy’s moonshine than they do on their bedroom. Unfortunately, what is acceptable to most, doesn’t mean acceptable to all. The town sheriff has an idiotic bone to pick with Cazy about his daughter... who is not Balma.
What was the funnest or hair-tearingly frustrating thing in writing your piece?
The best part of writing for me is always the research. This round I was able to call my dad and jaw for an hour. He told me piles of moonshine tales from when he was a kid in the ‘50s in Kentucky. I still need to write a few stories inspired from that conversation, like the drunken plane crash or the juke joint brawl or the tree-climbing spy.
The next best thing about writing Balma and Cazy's story was that C.S.E. Cooney* was sleeping on my couch while I was writing it. It was wonderful to live with another writer, not only to keep me on task, but to share in each other’s creative processes. Now if only we could actually make time to write the John Henry story we thought up while researching our Steam-Powered stories...
*C.S.E Cooney is ALSO in this anthology. Keep an eye out for her answers in the upcoming days!