Tag Archives: The Clockwork Dagger

The Clockwork Dagger

Beth Cato -- photograph by Corey Ralston PhotographyMy friend, Beth Cato, just released her first novel so I invited her to answer some interview questions for my blog. Beth’s novel, The Clockwork Dagger, was actually released last week, but she was all over the internet then, so I decided to save my interview until now. I hope you enjoy it… and her book. You do have a copy, don’t you? 🙂

I’ve been lucky enough to read an advance copy of The Clockwork Dagger but for everyone who wasn’t so lucky, can you tell them a little bit about it?

Sure! It’s fantasy steampunk about a gifted healer who is caught in a violent tug-of-war between her government and terrorists. There’s murder, espionage, and a dash of romance.

Because we’re friends, I know you feel a strong connection to healer characters and healing as a theme in your books, would you mind talking a little bit about that for those people who don’t know you as well?

I’ve been obsessed with healers since I was about 12, soon after my grandpa died of terminal illness. To me, there’s nothing more profound than the power to cure. It has always frustrated me that healer characters in video games or books are always the supporting character, never the full hero. I wrote the kind of book I always wanted to find.

I really like Octavia and Alonzo, of course, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that one of my favourite characters, and the one who stole my heart, was Leaf. C’mon! How awesome is he?

It amazes me how much everyone loves Leaf. He wasn’t even in my original outline! He just kind of showed up, and draft by draft his role grew. I’ll make a selfish confession: I really hope people do fan art of Leaf.

He’s your favourite too, isn’t he? You can admit it, I won’t tell anyone…

I’m pretty fond of the little gremlin. He’s inspired by my cat Palom who has since passed on, so yeah. He’s like my chaotic furball, with wings!

Which one of the characters from The Clockwork Dagger is most like you?

I think anyone who reads this is going to say Octavia resembles me in a lot of ways. I’m not devout like she is, but I’m an all-out goody-two-shoes like her. I’m a rotten liar. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Which do you wish you resembled the most/were more like?

I admire Mrs. Stout. She’s quite tactless a lot of times, but she’s an older woman who has endured a lot, and in a major way she doesn’t care what people think of her anymore. She dyes her hair in bold colours and she’s rather brash, but I love her.

I’ve noticed a lot of advance reviews*, already. Are you reading them?

Selectively. My husband is screening my Amazon reviews and shows me the really good ones. I glance at the star rating on Goodreads but try not to scroll down. Sometimes it’s hard to dodge the bad news, though, because people use my name on Twitter or it dings the Mention app. I can’t expect everyone to like the book, but I really need to stay positive or I’ll go bonkers!

You and I are both on Twitter, so tell us, in 140 characters or less — why should we buy this book?

“Leaf the gremlin.” I think you’ll agree with that, Rhonda!

I totally agree. Leaf rocks 🙂


The Clockwork Dagger is available at all the usual suspects:

~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Powell’s ~ Books-A-Million ~

About the Author:

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

Beth’s short fiction can be found in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and many other magazines. The Clockwork Dagger is her first novel. The sequel, The Clockwork Crown, will be released in 2015.

Follow her at www.BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.

*I conducted this interview before the book came out LoL

A Confession Regarding Zombies

The Clockwork DaggerBeth is one of my favourite people as well as being one of my favourite authors. Her steampunk novel, The Clockwork Dagger, is scheduled for release in September (Not to brag but I’ve had a sneak peek — you’re going to love it!). Just check out that cover, then click on it to add it to your ‘To-read’ shelf on Goodreads. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Doot doot.


Good. Now go ahead and read Beth’s confession regarding zombies…

A Confession Regarding Zombies
by Beth Cato

I recently spoke to middle graders about writing. I opened my talk by summarizing my writing in a way to get their interest–“I write about a hundred different ways to end the world, and a few ways to save it.”

This caused a boy to raise his hand with the desperate need to speak about, as he termed it, “his favorite apocalypses.” He asked for my top ten and then had to talk about his all time top five. At the top of his list: zombies. “There’s just something about the walking undead,” he said, his eyes shining with delight.

Meanwhile, I was trying to hide my shudder.

I have a confession to make: I’m a speculative fiction writer who is completely squicked by zombies.

I will not watch The Walking Dead. I try to avoid most zombie movies. I rarely read zombie-themed books–and when I like it, that means it’s a pretty big endorsement on my part. (Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines is one from the past year that I definitely recommend: it’s post-apocalyptic Los Angles with superheroes AND zombies. Great stuff.)

That said, I haven’t ignored the trend entirely. I’ve made a few contributions to zombie lit–“Brains for Breakfast,” which is in Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Presents Flush Fiction and a poem, “What Remains,” in a zombie-themed issue of Penumbra. But that’s it.

I’m not bothered by the undead in general. Liches? Awesome. I love the idea of undead wizards. Mummies are nifty, especially if they are intelligent. Really, I don’t mind animated bodies that retain some cognitive function.

That’s really the key. The thing that perturbs me about zombies is their mindlessness–no memory, no awareness, no sense of self. To me, that’s the worst fate possible, to become an empty vessel.

It’s a very real concern for me. My paternal grandfather died because of Alzheimer’s. We’ve been told, “This might run in your family. You just have to wait and see.”

I wasn’t close to that grandfather. I lived in California; he lived in Alabama. I only saw him a few times in my life, and only once after his diagnosis. It was a very sad meeting, especially for my dad who wasn’t recognized at all. My grandfather stared into space, his eyes vacant. He drooled. I never had the chance to know him, and I never would, and now he didn’t even know who I was.

And I’m left to wonder… will my own brain betray me in this way? Will I see my dad’s consciousness slowly fade from his eyes?

Zombies are the horror genre to me. The real deal. But maybe that’s exactly why people are attracted to zombies, and why they are indeed at the top of so many people’s favorite apocalypse lists. People want to understand their deepest fear. Maybe that’s why I can’t help but write about zombies sometimes, too.


This guest blog is part of a series of posts this month featuring zombies. I’m focusing on zombies for the month of June to celebrate the release of my book, Waste Not (And Other Funny Zombie Stories)