I write historical westerns under the name Cindy Holby and Scifi under the name Colby Hodge and was thinking about branching out into another genre. Steampunk was a logical fit because of the historical setting and the addition of gadgets. I was giving serious consideration to a story when the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster occurred in WV on April 10 2010. 28 of 31 miners were killed by an explosion.
This disaster struck close to my heart because both of my grandfathers were miners and my mother’s brother was killed in a mining accident which indirectly led to the death of his daughter who was only 2 days younger than me.
I wanted to pay tribute to the miners and the life they lead, especially after hearing my grandfather talk about how my uncle knew he was going to die in the mines even before he went into them. And he went into them because it was the only job available to him.
That’s when Wren was born. I saw her, lying on her back on top of a building, looking up at the dome. The dome came from a Star Trek episode called The World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky. For some reason that line stayed with me my entire life.
Wren MacAvoy came to me as a full character. Her wants and her failings were all wrapped up in a neat package and our journey began. I had no intention of writing her story in first person present but that’s the way it came out and her words were so strong that I chose to keep it that way.
You never know what’s going to inspire you and where the ideas come from. Our stories are a result of our experience. Who knew that a show I watched when I was in middle school would stay with me this long and inspire me to write about it.
I am also very grateful that I got to honor my uncle and cousin in such an