Scriptology, Science, and Fantasy | The Inspiration Behind Ink, Iron, and Glass

POSTED ON February 14, 2018 BY Austine IN Blog Tour, Guest Post

Scriptology, Science, and Fantasy | The Inspiration Behind Ink, Iron, and Glass

Good morning, my fellow book lovers! Today I’m excited to host Gwendolyn Clare, author of the upcoming debut Ink, Iron, and Glass out February 20, 2018! She’s here to talk about the inspiration behind this new YA fantasy that y’all definitely need to put on your TBRs!

About Gwendolyn Clare

Gwendolyn Clare earned her BA in ecology, BS in geophysics, and a PhD in mycology. She is a New Englander transplanted to North Carolina where she cultivates a vegetable garden, tends a flock of backyard ducks, and practices martial arts. Ink, Iron, and Glass is her debut novel.

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Behind the Scenes with Ink, Iron, and Glass

I loved the Myst video game series as a kid, but revisiting them as an adult I discovered some pretty strong parallels to colonialism that younger-me hadn’t been aware of. This got my writer-brain churning, so I set out to craft a story about an artificial world that would explicitly address those parallels. What would happen if colonial-era steampunk technology included the ability to write new worlds into existence, and then someone figured out how to create an inhabited world?

Thus, the science of scriptology was born.

I call it a science — even though it’s pure fantasy — because that’s how the characters view it. You need the right tools, the right technique, and a precise understanding of structure and syntax, not unlike a handwritten computer program. I draw a lot of inspiration from my day job as a biologist, and I especially wanted to portray a main character who’s a young woman of color with a sharp mind for science. Often in steampunk, the mad scientists are villains instead of characters the reader might relate to. (I blame Mary Shelley, as much as love Frankenstein.) So I pushed the mad scientists to center stage.

Scientists tend to have an obsessively passionate relationship with their chosen field. One of my favorite real-life mad geniuses is Rudolf Diesel, who nearly killed himself in a laboratory explosion while trying to invent an ammonia-based combustion engine. After such an accident, a saner person might have lain in bed thinking, “Golly, that was a close one. Perhaps I should retire from this futile and dangerous endeavor.” But not our Diesel. It was during his year-long convalescence afterward that he envisioned the petroleum-based engine which changed the world.

But there’s the rub: science can change the world, and the Europe of 1891 was a world in need of some serious changes. Do we use technology to solve inequity, or to perpetuate it? What happens when the justifiably displeased residents of a scribed world begin, themselves, to study scriptology?

Watch out — Elsa’s got a fountain pen, and she’s not afraid to use it.

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Scriptology, Science, and Fantasy | The Inspiration Behind Ink, Iron, and Glass
Ink, Iron, and Glass (Ink, Iron, and Glass #1) by Gwendolyn Clare
Published on February 20, 2018 by Imprint
Pages: 336
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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Can she write a world gone wrong?

A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother—a noted scriptologist.

But when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative 19th-century Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones—young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy or scriptology—and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.


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