Inspired by #steampunk and a vivid imagination | Author @JLMulvihill shares #writinginspiration

The Steel Roots story is inspired by my love for steampunk and a vivid imagination.  While stuck in traffic one day, I saw a train go by and imagined I was in the open boxcar riding like a Hobo.  As I watched the train I suddenly had the vision of a young girl in the industrial revolution era riding a steam engine train across America. I did some research and found so many old train routes and the stories behind them. Some of the train routes were laid for specific reasons and then ceased to run after that event was over. I discovered that a lot of the trains ran for mining towns which led me to more of a plot for my story. I wondered why I needed to take my characters through mining towns and how this would blend with the story.
Another obsession of mine is Tesla and his inventions. I had been watching a documentary about the man and became fascinated with his life and his incredible inventions.  I read how a lot of his ideas had been shot down and disregarded simply because Thomas Edison managed to discredit his name. I wondered how life would be different if half the inventions Tesla thought up came to fruition.
I imagined a different history for America, one where the country became secluded from the rest of the world without any further influences of other cultures. So I built a wall around America and decided that it would be run by a business man. I did this with Edison in mind considering what a shrewd business man he had been discrediting his opponent.
All of these thoughts and ideas swirled around in my head until I had a story. I created the story of young girl named AB’Gale Steel who just lost everything to the government system after her father disappears. She must escape from the workhouse she has been thrown into and train hop across America to find her father using a map given to her by a mysterious Hobo.  AB’Gale’s name derived from a real company in England called A B Gale Logs. I found an old photo while doing research which showed a boxcar with the name A B Gale Logs painted on it. Suddenly I was on an adventure with this girl.
The fundamentals of the adventure are from books I read as a child that inspired me and my own experiences when I was young and visited my grandparents in Red Bluff California. The steampunk elements are from my fascination with the genre and the era of invention. I love how people can take random object, and make amazing working machines or art out of it. I also love steam engines and I think they are the most beautiful manmade beasts I have ever seen.
Another component I incorporated in the story is an aspect of fantasy. This tends to confuse some people as they are not used to genres blending. However, to me writing is like cooking and if you put just the correct amount of each ingredient you come out with the most amazing flavors. If you really think about it Steampunk is an element of fantasy anyway.  The author K. W. Jeter coined the phrase Steampunk, and used aspects of fantasy in his novel so I thought I would take a page from the master.
So there you have it, I have a strange mind and I just took all my weirdness and put it in some books that I love to write and apparently people love to read.  I am now working on the 4th book called End of the Line. I hope I don’t disappoint as I step into a revolution with Abby and all her friends.
Thank you
J L Mulvihill
Changing the world one story at a time.

Book Synopsis for The Boxcar Baby:  Born in a boxcar on a train bound for Georgia. At least that is what Papa Steel always told AB'Gale. But now, fifteen years later, the man who adopted and raised her as his own is missing and it's up to AB'Gale to find him.
Aided only by a motley gang of friends, AB'Gale train hops her way across the United States in a desperate attempt to find her papa and put her life and family back the way it was. Her only guide is a map given to her by a mysterious hobo, with hand written clues she found hidden in her papa's spyglass.
Here is the Great American Adventure in an alternate steampunk dystopian world, where fifteen-year-old AB'Gale Steel learns that nothing is as it seems, but instead is shrouded in secrets and mysteries ... and that monsters come in all shapes and forms.
The Boxcar Baby is the first book of the Steel Roots series.
Available on Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book Synopsis for Crossings: Bishop Steel is still missing, so AB’Gale must follow the map continuing the search for her papa. Her quest leads Abby down dangerous paths that threaten to get her captured by the System. Danger lurks at every turn of the road, on every doorstep and every train.

Finding it difficult to know who to trust when she discovers she is now wanted for crimes against the System, Abby travels under the guise of a young boy. Conflicted with the desire to rid her world of the unjust or find her papa, Abby finds few friends amid hobos, air pirates, and entrepreneurs.

Abby finds that real friends will never abandon you, nor will they allow you to give up on your convictions. A true awakening to internal conflict and the desire to put right what is wrong, this is the great American adventure ringing with the sound of freedom along the steel routes.

Crossings is Book Two of the Steel Roots Series.
Available on Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book Synopsis for Rails West: “The System Regulatory Unit has determined that the responsible parties of last week’s explosion in Downtown St. Louis are none other than the notorious Abigail Steel and her band of pirates. She is wanted for questioning regarding numerous acts of rule breaking against the System. She is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached but informed upon at once.”
Not only is her name misspelled, but the System has her description all wrong because AB’Gale Steel is not a criminal. She just wants to find her papa and now she feels she is so close, but will the System catch her before she finds him? And what about the marks on the map the old hobo gave her? What was Papa doing in all those places? Why is the System so concerned about Bishop Steel and his daughter? Are the people of America seething with frustration? And is there an insurgency boiling beneath the surface?

All the answers lie within Rails West.
Available on Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the author: 
A California native born in Hollywood, J.L. Mulvihill has made Mississippi her home for the past seventeen years. Her debut novel was the young adult title The Lost Daughter of Easa, an engaging fantasy novel bordering on science-fiction with a dash of Steampunk, published through Dark Oak Press in 2011. The sequel to this novel is presently in the works.

Her Most recent novel, The Boxcar Baby of the Steel Roots series, was released in July 2013 through Seventh Star Press. Steel Roots is a young adult series based in the Steampunk genre and engages the reader into a train hopping heart stopping adventure across America. Book 2, Crossings released December of 2014.

She is also the co-editor of Southern Haunts; The Spirits That Walk Among Us which includes a short story of her own called Bath 10, and a fictional thriller involving a real haunted place. Her poem, The Demon of the Old Natchez Trace, debuts in Southern Haunts part 2, Devils in the Darkness.

J.L. also has several short fiction pieces in publication, is very active with the writing community, and is the events coordinator for the Mississippi Chapter of Imagicopter known as the Magnolia-Tower. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Gulf Coast Writers Association (GCWA), The Mississippi Writers Guild (MWG), as well as the Clinton Ink-Slingers Writing Group.

Author Links:
Twitter: @JLMulvihill
Official sites:

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