Juno Books

Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti

[ Read an Excerpt ]

Clockwork Heart

"...a fascinating, fast-paced and delightful novel in Clockwork Heart. The setting is intriguing and unique, melding the best of steampunk with the wonders of high fantasy, and is peopled with a rich blend of characters from all walks of life...Pagliasotti has brought forth a terrific novel, one that embodies a bold new direction in the fantasy genre. For those who enjoy the work of China Mieville or D.M. Cornish, here is another name to seek out on the bookshelves."--SFRevu

ISBN: 978-0-8095-7256-4
392 pages, $6.99
Publication Date: March 2008

Flight is freedom--
but death hangs in the skies

Taya soars over Ondinium on metal wings. She is an icarus, a courier privileged to travel freely across city's sectors and mingle indiscriminately among its castes. But even she cannot outfly the web of terrorism, loyalty, murder, and intrigue that snares her after a daring mid-air rescue. Taya finds herself entangled with the Forlore brothers, scions of an upperclass family: handsome, brilliant Alister, who sits on Ondinium's governing council and writes programs for the Great Engine; and awkward, sharp-tongued Cristof, who has exiled himself from his caste and repairs clocks in the lowest sector of the city. Both hide dangerous secrets, in the city that beats to the ticking of a clockwork heart...

Clockwork Heart is one of the most enjoyable fantasies I have read in a long time; I didn't want the book to end. Clockwork Heart has everything you might want in a book-a strong girl hero, romance, intrigue, mystery, suspense, great humor, believable characters, strong writing, all in a fantasy setting....Clockwork Heart has just the right mix of fantasy and romance, with sprinkles of mystery and intrigue. There is so much to enjoy, here. For an entertaining, absorbing read, one you won't want to end, pick this book up. Clockwork Heart is the best YA fantasy-the best book-I have read in a long time."--Teen Book Reviews

About the author

Dru Pagliassotti teaches at California Lutheran University and has been running her webzine, The Harrow, for over ten years. Some of her favorite things are hardboiled fiction, weird fantasy, costume parties, horror, Raymond Chandler, power metal, Mac computers, manga, anime, tabletop RPGs, simple living, and tall ships. She enjoys traveling, adores iguanas, and canpit fix any of her four broken pocket watches. Visit her at drupagliassotti.com.

We've been calling CLOCKWORK HEART "steampunk romance", but worry folks won't know what we mean. Author Dru Pagliassotti calls it:

  • Fantasy murder mystery.
  • Fantasy suspense.
  • Romantic action-adventure.
  • Romantic suspense.
"I think it will appeal to both male and female fans of fantasy and, possibly," she says, "soft science fiction (steampunk is kinda sci-fi, kinda alternate-world)."

Dr. Pagliassotti is a professor of communication theory and research at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. "Just "communication professor" is sufficient. Over the last few years I've been tracking the introduction and spread of boys' love manga and fiction (yaoi) from Japan to the West; my current project is a survey of boys' love publishers to learn about the particular marketing and distribution challenges the genre poses."

(In case you've never heard of yaoi, it is, the good doctor explains it is "a genre of male homoerotic stories written primarily by heterosexual women for an intended audience of other heterosexual women. It's big business in Japan and rapidly expanding in the U.S.")

Pagliassotti was an Air Force brat. "You either love that lifestyle or hate it -- I loved it. I spent my high school years in Naples, Italy, when my father was assigned to NATO, and from there the family traveled over Europe and the UK. Since then, I've made world travel one of my top life priorities, and I try to see other countries whenever I can wangle a conference trip or save up for a vacation.

"As is pretty obvious from my last name, I'm of Italian descent, and I've gone back to Italy three times -- while Eurorailing in college, for a week to attend the Great Jubilee in 2000, and for three months' sabbatical in Venice in 2006. Venice is my all-time favorite city, and living there over Carnevale was fabulous. The only problem is that my so-so Italian gets very rusty when I only visit the country every six years or so!

"In 2005 I visited Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands -- I just had to see the marine iguanas! Am I the only person in the world who finds them cute? This January I returned from three weeks in India. The university class I was co-teaching traveled all over north and south India visiting religious and historical sites. I particularly enjoyed visiting Varanasi and Jaipur.

"This summer I'll be going to Wollongong, Australia, for an academic conference, and I plan to spend a few extra days in Sydney while I'm there. I admit, I've started choosing conferences with an eye toward interesting locales -- last year I attended conferences in England and Canada. You can present a paper just about anywhere, so I figure you might as well present it someplace interesting!

"My next big trip is likely to be Japan in 2010; I'm saving up for it now. But in the meantime, my sister and I are hoping to take my thirteen-year-old Jerimy to Mount Rushmore sometime soon.

Pagliassotti's other passion is writing: "Like most writers, I've wanted to write since I was a child. For years I assumed I'd work for a newspaper, since that's what I was told writers did to support themselves. (Nobody ever suggested that I'd be able to support myself writing fiction -- probably a good thing, too!). After working on the college daily as an undergraduate, however, I decided newspaper deadlines were too stressful and had to choose between working for other kinds of publications or becoming a professor. I've held a number of editorial positions over the years -- one of the more entertaining jobs I had was to write about roleplaying games for About.Com. I even appeared in its TV commercial for all of a split second. However, teaching won out as my paying gig, and now I'm a tenured associate professor in the communication department of California Lutheran University.

She didn't abandon editorial work entirely, though. Pagliasotti's been the editor-in-chief of The Harrow (TheHarrow.Com) for 11 years now. The Harrow has issued two print anthologies, Fear of the Unknown through Echelon Press and Midnight Lullabies through The Harrow Press.

"Right now we're gearing up for another anthology, Day Terrors; it will be our first for-profit publication. I've run The Harrow as a hobby for years, but I'd like to see if we can make The Harrow financially self-sustaining."

The Harrow, a webzine of horror and fantasy fiction and poetry is modeled on academic journals. "It uses a double-blind review system, so that each story is read by someone in our reviewer pool -- the author and reviewer do not know each others' identity, so there's no favoritism involved. The reviewer then makes a recommendation to the editor, who makes the final decision."

Pagliassotti wanted to recreate the old pulp zines of yesteryear with the The Harrow. "Editors took the time to mentor promising young writers in those days," she explains. "After eleven years, I no longer take the hands-on approach with writers that I once did, but The Harrow's still a zine where new writers are given the same consideration as anyone else and get real feedback, instead of just a form letter, from the editors.

"Everyone on The Harrow's staff is a volunteer; they work their behinds off for nothing but a thank-you! Still, they've done some amazing things, including growing The Harrow from a simple HTML website to a database-driven publication using Open Journal Software, starting up The Harrow Press, and putting out two illustrated print anthologies. Although I pay for The Harrow's normal operating expenses, a number of my editors have donated their own money to fund The Harrow's special projects -- I'm blessed with a fantastically dedicated staff. There's no way The Harrow would be what it is today without them."

Along with the anthology and The Harrow, Pagliasotti is currently working on other novels and in the process of pitching a nonfiction book proposal for an academic volume she'd be editing with two other scholars.

Dru Pagliassotti
Juno Books
copyright ©2008