How do you feel being the main character of a book?
It is rather embarrassing. I worked hard at not drawing attention to myself so I could secretly carry on my work of fighting villains who take advantage of those robbed of hope. But Phoebe Moore Campbell discovered me in the most remarkable way and asked me to join the Alexander Legacy Company.
Who is the most interesting side character you’ve met and why?
Oliver Twist is both a delight and a puzzle to me. His absent-minded manner must be partly due to his absorption in his scientific projects. His ability to do without sleep is enviable. And his rebounding from the brutal attack he suffered, which may have been helped by my humble words of comfort and counsel, but was in truth God’s doing, staggers me.
Do you think anyone in your world is crazy? How do you deal with this?
People have said I am mad for leaping off the roof of the country house after the stealth glider and for flying it to London in the dark. You must be the judge of that. Zambo declared Twist mad when he tried to climb out the window of the hotel penthouse to collect pieces of the ruined glider after my crash-landing, but he has always thought him so.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I have been up before dawn to see Doctor Mackenzie Campbell off at the docks. I have visited Uncle Vanya‘s coffee shop well after midnight. The criminals we seek do not keep schedules.
Why did you choose your current profession?
I became a tobacconist with a small private club because I sought to provide an enjoyable place for fellowship and relaxation. It also assists me in my other career as a seeker of justice by giving me insight into London life on many levels. My second career is simply unavoidable because I cannot see the helpless or even fools taken advantage of.
How long did it take you to explain your predicament to the author?
Sophronia Belle Lyon is the most obdurate meddler in existence. She had no respect for my privacy — Look at her brazen communication of my difficult history in Bohemia! She may have permanently destroyed Ambassador Newsome’s career. My desire was to remain obscure. My only consolation is that her bringing me into this odd association with this strange group of people has allowed me to expand my ability to seek out evildoers and bring them down. Acting alone is not always the best plan, as I have learned through Madame Phoebe’s wise guidance. These people have taught me to value friendship and cameraderie again.
If you could work in any profession outside of what you’re doing now, what would it be and why?
It would be pleasant to spend more time repairing pipes and choosing fine tobaccos for my patrons. I would even wish to indulge the interest I have developed in these devices Doctor Twist and Sluefoot Sue create, but duty calls.
If you could change one thing that the author wrote (or told) about your life, what would it be?
Perhaps she should not have been so quick to have me propose to my little vessel, Kera Mion. As much regard as I have for her, there is so much danger, so much wrong to right, it may have been a hasty decision to engage her promise. She is so much younger than I and has had so little chance to be free.
What is your favorite pastime?
Repairing pipes, hunting, and eating Uncle Vanya’s breadballs. I beg your pardon. That was three past-times, but I cannot establish a hierarchy.
What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to do, but just didn’t have the guts, courage or strength to follow through with?
Perhaps one day I shall take Tod’s place in the pilot seat and fly the airship myself.
What’s your greatest strength?
Since you have been courteous I will try to answer. I am loathe to speak of my own abilities, but the strength I believe I bring to the Alexander Legacy Company is the ability to think quickly and put together pieces of information. I specialize in making a whole picture out of bits and ends. It permits me to offer a solution while others remain puzzled.
What’s your greatest failing?
I tend to act hastily, and to act alone. Those who tried to aid me in the past were harmed by our association. I thought it best for a time not to have associations. I still struggle to be one with the members of the Legacy Company.
Who is your favorite relative and why?
Oh, that I could see my little sister Sophia again, with her violet ribbons tinting the family gray eyes. We were all to each other once. She must be fully a woman now, and perhaps my mother’s poisoning her against me has not fully taken root.
How do you overcome life’s obstacles?
Prayer and the study of the Word of God emboldens me to push on, whether I overcome or not. His is the victory and His the glory for any success.
Do you have any pets? If not, which pet would you choose to own if you could?
I once had a fine pair of hunting dogs. I miss them. Would that I could hope to some time again possess a dog.
If you could change one thing about another character in the book, who and what would it be?
Spring-heeled Jack must one day discipline himself to learn to speak clearly and plainly, instead of making street-cant riddles of everything.
What makes you happiest?
My little vessel Kera Mion being filled up with the joy of the Lord.
What annoys you most?
That leopard of Mowgli’s will sniff me as if I were a dead animal each time we must work together. One cannot teach an animal manners, even when it lives in a five-star hotel.
Can we look forward to reading about you again anytime soon?
Madame Lyon is determined to make a series of the Alexander Legacy Company’s exploits. I am told I am to be included but that the future books shall have different characters relate the tales. That is most agreeable, since I never sought the limelight. She has now completed The second book, The ‘Pprentices, the Puppets, and the Pirates, and the narrator mantle has shifted to Oliver Twist.
Is there a secret you’d like to let readers know about you? One that isn’t in the book perhaps?
You have presumed upon my good nature too far, sir/madame, but, with great reluctance, I shall state clearly what the book implies but does not spell out. I admit I had more than just admiration for Madame Phoebe early in our association. When we thought her husband would die … well … for a moment … just a moment, mind you, my baser nature rose at the prospect of this magnificent, angel-voiced, brilliant woman being … alone.
Where can readers find your book(s)? (links)
The ‘Pprentices, the Puppets, and the Pirates
~About the Author~
Sophronia Belle Lyon grew up in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, reading HG Welles, Jules Verne and other classics. She dressed up and acted out scenes with friends much like Louisa May Alcott‘s beloved “Little Women,” and got to be a cauldron spirit in Macbeth in fourth grade. She traveled to Italy by way of Iceland and Luxembourg. She’s taken apart her share of clocks to study the gearworks and feels well-prepared to enter the Steampunk genre. Hundreds of cat friends informed her about Bagheera’s attitudes and manners. Oliver Twist’s oblivious, eccentric habits came from the Science-absorbed men in her life, and her love for weapons translated into the well-armed members of the Alexander Legacy Company. She travels widely, shoots when she can, collects swords and knives, but is so far too shy to be photographed.
This series melds some better and lesser-known characters of classic literary fiction: A literary dream team of crime fighters including nods to Dickens, Stevenson, Alcott, Austen, Kipling, Doyle, and other writers across the pond, with plenty of homages to great books sprinkled throughout. Prowl the foggy London streets on the track of a ruthless enslaver of souls. Travel the Thames in a Giant Catfish. Soar over London in a stealth glider, and witness true redemptions and restorations no one ever imagined.