Blog Tour: The Spiritglass Charade

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of reading and reviewing The Clockwork Scarab, the first book in the Stoker & Holmes series by Colleen Gleason. And today I'm pleased to introduce the second book in the series, The Spiritglass Charade, on the first stop of the blog tour!

Colleen kindly spent some time answering questions I had for her based on my experience reading The Clockwork Scarab, which touches on a few of the reasons I enjoyed reading the first Stoker & Holmes book! I also have some important news about the blog tour and two excerpts for you at the bottom of this post. 

Q: The two main characters are exceptoinally talented in their own ways (being the niece of Sherlock Holmes and the sister of Bram Stoker) which makes them fascinating characters. And I noticed that both young women experience some pressure with living up to expectations others have for them and their abilities. Why did you decide to write a mystery story featuring relatives to their more famous counterparts?

A: One of the traditional elements of steampunk is the juxtaposition of literary characters with that of real elements of history—characters, events, settings, etc. In fact, steampunk is exactly that: a fascinating mash-up of alternate history and technology and literature. So it seemed like a good place to start when I was dreaming up the concept for this book.

Being a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes (in all of his iterations, both classic and current), I wanted to begin with a female version of the brilliant detective. And when I learned that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Bram Stoker were actually friends, the idea of melding in a vampire element made a lot of sense—especially since I’d also written a series about a female vampire hunter during the time of Jane Austen.

Q: Evaline and Mina are very different young women, and you make that clear in your writing, but do you think they are more similar than readers might realize at first glance? Do they have anything in common?A: Most definitely. They both have just as many commonalities—albeit beneath the surface—as differences. Both are saddled with expectations that come from being part of an exceptional family, both are social misfits—Mina is awkward, and Evaline dislikes being sought-after in Society—both are stubborn and determined to do things “their” way, and both are brave, loyal, and lonely.

Q: One of my favourite parts in The Clockwork Scarab was the inclusion of a secret society. Secret societies are so interesting to me! Did you do any research on secret societies? Why did you choose to include a secret society in this series?

Secret societies are indeed the stuff of which books (and movies!) are made. They allow for such creative license in developing a plot. I’ve done a lot of research on secret societies over the years for a number of projects. They were (and still are) quite prevalent, and I love the whole idea of clandestine meetings, the opportunities for cloak-and-dagger sort of communication and sneaking around. It’s just fun to build a story around a group of people who are secretly connected and must secretly communicate.

Q: Since the Stoker & Holmes series is a story about a mystery and two female detectives, did you plot out the entire mystery arc before you wrote the books? Or has the mystery changed as you've written the series?

A: I’m more of an organic writer than one like, say, J. K. Rowling who had much of her arc plotted out before writing the Potter books. But I do know certain things about the over-arching mystery—who the Ankh is, what’s going on behind the scenes, and other basic elements. As for the mystery in each book, the particular episode…I don’t really know the entire storyline. It becomes revealed to me as I write the book, and sometimes things change as the scenes evolve. I might think I know whodunnit and why, but that might shift as the story goes on. It’s a mysterious experience for me as a writer!
Q: While the Stoker & Holmes books are very exciting all on their own, I'm curious as to whether there is any sort of overall impression or experience you'd like your readers to take away from reading your books?

A: Thank you for asking. It’s my hope that readers of all ages will read about the experiences of Evaline and Mina and see themselves reflected in one or both of the characters’ difficulties—in their awkwardness, challenges, personalities, and relationships—and somehow feel as if they are not alone. It’s my hope that readers come away with an impression that partnerships and relationships between two people—whether they are business or love or familial—aren’t easy, aren’t simple, aren’t smooth, and yet are rewarding and necessary for a fulfilled life. And that two people can seem very different on the exterior, but have so very much in common where it matters: on the inside.

Thank you for having me here on your blog today! 

And thank you for taking the time to provide my questions with such detailed answers, Colleen! I'm particularly interested in the fact that you already know who the Ankh is - that's one secret I'm dying to know! 

I also find the answer to my last question particularly insightful and a great idea to explore in books. Relationships can be so tricky to navigate, but they're absolutely worth the time and effort. 

Make sure you follow along with the upcoming blog tour stops! There are more fun features and giveaways coming up!

Wednesday, October 8th 

Thursday, October 9th

Friday, October 10th

Saturday, October 11th

Sunday,  October 12th

Monday, October 13th

Tuesday, October 14th

Wednesday, October 15th 

Thursday, October 16th

Friday, October 17th

"After the Affair of the Clockwork Scarab, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are eager to help Princess Alix with a new case. Seventeen-year-old Willa Aston is obsessed with spiritual mediums, convinced she is speaking with her mother from beyond the grave. What seems like a case of spiritualist fraud quickly devolves into something far more menacing: someone is trying to make Willa appear lunatic using an innocent-looking spiritglass to control her. The list of clues piles up: an unexpected murder, a gang of pickpockets, and the return of vampires to London. But are these events connected? As Uncle Sherlock would say, there are no coincidences. It will take all of Mina's wit and Evaline's muscle to keep London's sinister underground at bay."

Check out the Stoker & Holmes tumblr

Colleen Gleason is a New York Times bestselling author with more than two dozen novels in print, including the international bestselling paranormal romance series The Gardella Vampire Chronicles—about a female vampire hunter who lives during the time of Jane Austen.

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