Kidderminster-based Steampunk fiction author Jon Hartless certainly revved up Walsall Writers’ Circle’s enthusiasm for the genre at their first meeting of the new 2017-18 season last night, when he visited the group at the Broadway Centre to talk about his recently-published alternate history motor-racing novel, Full Throttle, which is aimed at a young adult readership.
The book, published by Accent Press, is an exciting but also thoughtful steampunk (Victorian/Edwardian science fiction) tale which transports readers to a world which in many ways mirrors our own, depicting an alternate Edwardian timeline where over-privileged toffs with stiff upper lips race powerful steam-powered cars to win – at all costs. Standing against them for her family and for social equality is a one-armed working-class girl, Poppy, whose father is a wizard with the ‘lower-class’ and looked-down upon motive power of the internal combustion engine.
Mr Hartless, who is based in the Birmingham area, was warmly welcomed by WWC members, including Secretary Dawn Rhind-Tutt, and was introduced by Stuart Williams.
With twenty or so shorter works to his credit, some under the pen-name Arabella Wyatt, Jon has been waiting a while for his big break, and through sheer hard work and persistence, the new book could well be his breakthrough to bigger things.
The publishers describe Full Throttle, which is available both as a paperback and e-book:
‘In a world that refuses to let her move forward, can Poppy stay ahead of the pack?
Sixteen-year-old Poppy Orpington seems destined for a life of poverty until her father perfects a petrol-fuelled engine. Their success allows Poppy to get a new prosthetic arm, giving her the mobility she’s longed for all her life.
But can a working class family crack open the aristocratic world of motor racing? Can Poppy overcome prejudice as she fights to find a place in the world? Or will the ruling elite crush her only chance of a better life?’
Apart from the book itself, Jon imparted useful advice about writing, publishing, and most important of all, persistence – something which every writer needs to succeed.
At the end of the evening, after a round of applause several members purchased books and Mr Hartless was presented by the Secretary with a gift from the Circle – plus the group’s hearty thanks for a very entertaining evening. Walsall Writers’ Circle wishes him every success with Full Throttle.
For more information about Jon Hartless and his work, see his Amazon author page, his Facebook page and his Goodreads page.
Pictured Jon Hartless (dressed in black) with members of Walsall Writers’ Circle holding Full Throttle.