I am delighted to bring you another fabulous steampunk author today as part of the Steampunk University Lecture Series. Margaret Fox, author of Prince of Hearts will release her second novel in the series, A Dark Heart, on Amazon on November 26th. Please enjoy an interview with her protagonist in A Dark Heart, Inspector Elijah Drexler.
SteamU; The Steampunk University Series
Today’s Lecture by SteamU Professor: Margaret Foxe
Author of: Prince of Hearts (The Elders and Welders Chronicles, Bk. 1)
Further Discourses Available: Amazon
An Interview With a Vampire
by Margaret Foxe
(AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is a newspaper interview I “unearthed”, featuring the hero of my upcoming book, A Dark Heart (The Elders and Welders Chronicles, Bk. 2), which is out on Amazon Nov. 26th. Many of my readers have already met Inspector Elijah Drexler in Prince of Hearts, where he was one of the supporting characters. He had his own story to tell, but getting him to tell it has proved difficult, however, as you will plainly see by the futile efforts of the 19th century interviewer below, who had no idea he was badgering a very cranky, very dangerous vampire, by the by. But don’t worry. This vampire eventually learns to open up and find love in A Dark Heart – eventually being the key word.)
London, April, 1897:
Last week, this author was fortunate enough to gain an interview with the infamously elusive detective, Inspector Elijah Drexler of Scotland Yard. The Inspector had made a name for himself early in his career for his dedicated crusade against the Black Market that has held London’s East End in its thrall for the past few decades. However, after single-handedly apprehending the vicious criminal known as Jack the Ripper nearly a decade ago, Inspector Drexler retreated from his rising celebrity under mysterious circumstances. He is rarely seen in public these days.
His mission to clean up the London stews has continued unabated, however, as was evidenced by the state in which I discovered him for this interview in his small basement office: unshaven, with blood staining a suit that had long since seen better days. He informed me it was from a murder suspect he’d had to “subdue” before hauling him into the Yard.
This author must admit to a bit of trepidation upon discovering him in such dishabille, for despite his apparent infirmities, one senses that this is not a man to cross in a dark alley. Owing to a childhood accident, one of Inspector Drexler’s legs was crippled, and an eye was lost forever. Thus he wields a cane to accommodate a noticeable limp, and stares out at the world from behind a Welder’s brass-fitted eyepiece. However, this author cannot decide which is more unnerving: the goggle-like Weldling automata covering the right side of his face, or his one remaining human eye, so brilliantly blue and shrewd that it seems just as unnatural.
Or perhaps it is the scar streaking down his cheek underneath his Weldling eye that creates the general air of menace surrounding this man. That or the Inspector’s scowling reticence to all of my inquiries. But one thing has become unerringly clear to this author: if I ever doubted the rumors he brought the Ripper’s severed head to the Chief Inspector on a platter nine years ago, just like the biblical Salome, I do not any longer. This man seems capable of anything.
Anything except accommodating a newspaperman, it seems. Here is the brief interview I managed to squeeze out of him, such as it is:
Me: It is well known you were an orphan mentored by the late Earl of Llewellyn. Would you care to comment on your relationship with him?
Inspector: There is nothing much to say that has not been said before on that subject. He took an interest in me when I was a lad and funded my education. He was a philanthropist. That was what he did. I was nothing special.
Me: That isn’t exactly true, now, is it? You were more than a charity case for him. And you have remained close with his heir, the current Earl of Llewellyn, and his sister, the socialite Lady Christiana Harker. Care to comment on that?
Inspector: I’m not close with anyone, certainly not nobs like the Earl or her Ladyship. I’m from Whitechapel, not Mayfair.
Me: But the Earl would call you a friend. You would not do the same?
Inspector: I don’t have friends. [sighs] I thought this was about police business. If you’re looking for gossip for the society page, you’ve come to the wrong bleeding place. [He gets up from behind his desk as if to leave].
Me: Your reaction makes me think you have something to hide. Perhaps you carry a tendre for Lady Christiana and don’t wish to betray yourself?
Inspector: [Sits back down, and glares at me with such venom I admit that I break out in a sweat. After a painfully long silence in which I begin to fear he’d put my head on a platter, however, Drexler speaks.] What man in London doesn’t? Your own rag called her The Most Beautiful Woman in London. She is beautiful to look at, I’ll admit. But other than that, I can’t say. I don’t know her that well.
Me: I’ll take your word for it. What I’m really interested in are the reports some of my sources have been bringing me from the East End about strange creatures haunting the streets at night.
Inspector: What’s new about that?
Me: Well, perhaps the fact that these strange creatures seem to be leaving behind bloodless corpses?
Inspector: I have no comment.
Me: Do you have nothing to say about Nick O’Connor’s alleged connection to these nighttime activities? Your nemesis has been busy in recent years, consolidating the Black Market’s power in East London, despite your best efforts. Should we be worried about these latest rumors?
Inspector: [still glaring] I don’t know anything about bloodless corpses. But I know this. Anything bad that happens in London can be laid at that b-—‘s feet.
Me: So your quest to bring down Nick O’Connor continues, even after all of these years?
Inspector: I may be destined for a place in hell, but I’m taking that son of a b—- with me when I go.
Me: Brave words, Inspector.
Inspector: True words. And you can print every one of them. I want him to know I’m coming for him. [With that, Inspector Drexler ends the interview abruptly.]
Of course, my editors have forced me to leave blank some of the Inspector’s more colorful language in regards to Nick O’Connor’s person, but I heeded the Inspector’s request to publish his latest declaration of war against the Black Market leader.
Despite his deflections, this author believes the Inspector knows far more about the disturbing reports currently circulating throughout the city concerning the new terrors stalking the streets at night. Not since the early days of the Ripper’s reign of terror have Scotland Yard and other official sources been so reluctant to talk to members of the press. Should the general citizenry be worried? Absolutely. Bloodsucking creatures or no, with men like Newgate Nick O’Connor out there, one should always worry.
But with men like Inspector Drexler to stand up to the villains – men nearly as fearsome as the villains themselves – this author feels perversely reassured. My instincts tell me that if I had to choose between facing Nick O’Connor or the Inspector in the boxing ring, I’d choose the former if I had any desire to leave the ring alive.
- From The London Post-Dispatch, 1897.
About the AuthorMargaret Foxe is a professional musician from Tennessee. She has lived in several countries and travelled from Costa Rica to Cairo. Her crowning transcontinental glory was ascending Jebel Toubkal in the High Atlas Mountains with her best friend, a mule, a Berber guide named Omar, a bota bag, and lots and lots of orange Fanta. She is currently working on her master's degree in piano performance in between writing steampunk mash-ups. Her debut novel, Prince of Hearts, combines all of her favorite things: historical romance, steampunk gadgets, a touch of fantasy, and a canine sub-plot.
Margaret has graciously gifted a giveaway for my December 4th release party for Chasing the Star Garden. Please join us for our Steampunk Fete and Chasing the Star Garden release party on Facebook! With more than 30 prizes and more than a dozen steampunk writers donating to the event, it's sure to be a blast!