Monday, January 25, 2021

Elizabeth Chatsworth Interview - The Brass Queen

Photo Content from Chelsea Sedoti

Elizabeth Chatsworth is a British author and actor based in Connecticut. She loves to write of rogues, rebels, and renegades across time and space.

Elizabeth is a Writers Of The Future winner, a Golden Heart® finalist, a Pitch Wars alumna, and a member of the SFWA. She is the author of THE BRASS QUEEN (January 2021), an award-winning fantasy set in an alternate Victorian age.

When she’s not writing, Elizabeth works at the Westport Library and is also a voiceover actor. There’s a rumor she possesses the world’s best scone recipe. Contact her at to see if it’s true.


Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Storytelling is driven by our universal need for human connection. As a writer, I’m creating a world and characters that touch the reader emotionally. You feel what the characters feel – be it pain, love, despair, or joy. You live their lives, deal with their challenges, and become a more rounded person for the experience. In effect, you are widening your own perspective on how to live, how to be human.

Tell us your latest news.
I’m thrilled that my debut novel, THE BRASS QUEEN, will be published on January 12, 2021. The last month has been a blur of activity, from checking the final proof for any pesky typos, to deciding what I will wear to my virtual book launch party!

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
As a child, I loved the fantastical worlds of Diana Wynne Jones and J. R. R. Tolkien. Later, I was drawn to humorous speculative fiction writers including Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Douglas Adams. I adore the sense of wonder, adventure, comedy, and hope that winds through these writers’ fabulous works. These elements infuse the world of THE BRASS QUEEN.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Just this week, I received the first hardcover copy of THE BRASS QUEEN from my publisher. It’s an amazing experience to physically hold in my hands the book I’ve worked so hard on for the last six years. The Victorian-style cover and the gorgeous map of my fantasy world are just as I imagined them to be when I first started writing this story. I couldn’t be more excited to see them in real life!

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope my readers will truly enjoy this madcap adventure through a steam-powered world. Join flawed characters as they face invisible assassins, villainous royalty, and inter-dimensional telepathic aliens. Escape from the everyday into a fantastical world of wonder and laughter, then close the book with a smile on your face and spring in your step. This is an escapist fantasy that is just the antidote to the winter blues!

Your debut novel is THE BRASS QUEEN. Can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
In an alternate version of Victorian England, the "Brass Queen" is the underworld alias of my fiery British heroine, Miss Constance Haltwhistle. The only daughter of a Baron, Constance has propped up her ailing family estate’s finances by designing and selling illegal exotic firearms across the globe.

When a greedy relative attempts to force Constance out of her home, she and her staff embark on a quest to save the estate. But fate has a wicked sense of humor, and Constance is pulled into a search for kidnapped scientists who happen to have invented an invisibility serum. As royal foes plot to start a world war, Constance and her newfound ally, the U.S. cowboy-turned-spy, J. F. Trusdale, must step up to become the heroes they never wanted to be.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
My biggest distraction is my Yorkshire terrier, Boo. Her daily routine includes a full schedule of playtimes, snacks, walks, and naps on Mommy’s lap. My writing comes second to Miss Boo’s demands!

What part of Constance did you enjoy writing the most?
I loved writing Constance’s banter with Trusdale, my hero. They are both opinionated, headstrong characters who wish to control any situation that arises. That inevitably leads to verbal fireworks!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d introduce Miss Constance Haltwhistle to Mary Poppins. They’re both English, eccentric, and tend to feel there is a proper way to do everything – namely, their way! Mary is downright magical, but Constance has science on her side. Between them, they would create enchanting adventures for all who chose to follow their lead.

What are you most passionate about today?
I’m enjoying delving into the history of my hometown of Sheffield in Yorkshire, England. This is the real-life setting for THE BRASS QUEEN. From stone-age settlements to Vikings, Normans, and the population upheaval caused by the Industrial Revolution, the city has been a hotspot for innovation and creativity. There’s so much to read and research, I believe I will be busy for quite a few years!

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Eat Battenburg cake! It’s the most whimsical of all cakes. For folks who haven’t had the opportunity to try it, Battenburg is a marzipan covered sponge cake held together with jam. When cut, the cake displays a distinctive check pattern of pink and yellow squares. The cake would fit in perfectly at Alice’s Wonderland tea party!

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Define crazy! I did travel to the Sahara Desert to visit the filming locations for Star Wars: A New Hope. I stayed in the troglodyte hotel that doubles as Owen and Beru Lars’ moisture farm on Tatooine.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
As a child, I spent months on bedrest in a hospital due to an accident that almost led to the removal of my leg. I received excellent treatment and eventually managed to walk again. Every day, I’m filled with gratitude for those doctors and healthcare workers that worked so hard to help me. Every time I walk my dog through the woods and fields, I thank those kind people who allowed me to live the life I have today.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
Skiing. That is how I had the accident referenced above!

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
It was the moment I received a call to tell me I’d won the Writers Of The Future contest with my short story, The Widow’s Might. It will be published in April 2021 in the WOTF Anthology Vol. 37.

  • The grass was always greener in another dimension.
  • “Your candor, Miss Haltwhistle, could kill an elephant at ten paces. Have you considered subtlety and guile?”
  • “My cousin Wellington reviewed my party invitation list and removed all known rakes, gamblers, and scoundrels—or as he prefers to call them—his closest friends.”
  • One should never schedule the assassination of one’s queen and host a major garden party in the same week.
  • “This is the true account of a man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
  • “Crashing was the easy part. Now, we run for our lives.”
  • “What manner of brute throws a polo mallet at a lady’s unicorn?”
  • Lucien rated the faint a solid three out of ten.
  • “Call me hysterical again. I dare you.”
  • “Pedal faster, Cawley. It’s time to open the void.’
Your journey to publication
(Give us the background on your journey to publish! Tell us where and when you started. What trials you may have gone through, what the best parts were. How did your family and friends react to the news of your publication; how did they help you or inspire you?)

I’d always been an avid reader, but I kept putting off writing my own stories. As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I decided it was now or never! I enrolled in an online creative writing class that was offered by famed sci-fi and fantasy author, David Farland. One of my first assignments was a worldbuilding exercise. I wrote the first draft of what would eventually become the first chapter of The Brass Queen as my assignment. David enjoyed my disastrous steampunk ball so much, he suggested that I turn that scene into a novel.

For the next year, I wrote approximately eight to twelve pages a week. That’s a slow pace, but as a beginner, I made the error of trying to perfect every sentence as I went along. In retrospect, I should have saved my editing until after I had completed the first draft. But, I didn’t know that at the time! As I wrote my novel, I studied other writer’s works and learned as much as I could about the publishing industry. The initial draft of the book was revised several times over the next couple of years, but the basic story didn’t change too much from that first worldbuilding assignment.

One I had finished my manuscript, I entered The Brass Queen into the Pitch Wars contest. I was lucky enough to win a spot with two mentors who helped me to shape the novel into a publishable format. After three months of revising, my novel was presented in the Agent Showcase. This is where you “pitch” your novel to a selection of literary agents. Here is my original pitch HERE.

I was delighted to receive ten agent requests, and I sent off my full manuscript with high hopes. I also emailed my query letter to various other agents. Four months later, I signed with Natalie Grazian, who has since left the industry. While we were together, we came close to signing with many publishers. It was a rollercoaster, and I was thrilled to eventually receive several offers. In the end, I signed with CamCat Books. The pandemic impacted my initial launch date, but my new publication date is January 12th, 2021. It’s taken six years since I wrote the first draft of the first page to reach this point!

In 1897, a fiery British aristocrat and an inept US spy search for a stolen invisibility serum that could spark a global war.

Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogue inventors. Selling exotic firearms under her alias, the ‘Brass Queen,’ has kept her baronial estate’s coffers full. But when US spy, Trusdale, saves her from assassins, she’s pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don’t, the world they know will literally disappear before their eyes.


"Chatsworth debuts with a fun, frothy blend of fantasy and romance . . . Fans of humorous fantasy and headstrong heroines will be delighted." 
Publishers Weekly

"With a satisfying bite, this steampunk venture includes an insightful twist on the British Empire, making frequent nods to Queen Victoria's bloodthirstiness and the era's inequitable treatment of women. Best of all, Constance stays center stage: a feisty, lovable heroine who is capable of rescuing herself, thank you very much." 
Foreward Reviews

"Chatsworth builds an intriguing alternate world, filled with sharply amusing dialog and lively characters. VERDICT A delightful gaslamp fantasy that will please readers of Gail Carriger and Kate Locke." 
Library Journal

"Rollicking fun and sharp as a brass tack, this book is everything steampunk should be." 
Cat Rambo, Nebula Award winner

"Lush, exciting, and endlessly inventive, THE BRASS QUEEN is a grand adventure of manners and espionage - perfect for readers who like a little magic in their retro science escapades." 
Cherie Priest, Award-Winning Author of Boneshaker

"THE BRASS QUEEN is at times wondrous, at times romantic, and very often gut-bustingly funny. Elizabeth Chatsworth isn't just a new author to watch for--buy this book, and she'll be one of your new favorites!" 
David Farland, New York Times best-selling author of The Runelords series

"A bright new talent, Elizabeth Chatsworth infuses her writing with humor, charm, and adventure. Themes of acceptance, friendship, justice, and personal strength weave themselves effortlessly through her narrative. I can't wait to read more." 
Rebecca Moesta, New York Times best-selling author & award-winning coauthor of the Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights series

"The Brass Queen thrills from the first page and doesn't let up. Razor-sharp wit and immaculate worldbuilding make this debut one to savor. With immediately charismatic characters and a fascinating premise, Chatsworth, with a bold and ebullient voice, has created a genre blockbuster in The Brass Queen. A non-stop delight!" 
Leanna Renee Hieber, award-winning, best-selling author of Strangely Beautiful and The Spectral City

"I loved The Brass Queen: hilarious, with a very tongue-in-cheek dry wit and delightful imagery. One of those books that you don't want to put down because they're just so much fun." 
Genevieve Cogman, author of the Invisible Library series

"You'll find yourself cheering for this heroic cowboy and his unexpected love for a jinxed red-head who is dead set on saving the world (as well as finding her place in it) all before teatime, of course... Stocked with whimsical gadgets, sky pirates, weird science, and mustachioed villains this race-against-the-clock adventure scratches the steampunk itch and leaves you wondering what will emerge from the aether next." 
A.L. Davroe, author of The Tricksters series

"Simply a joy to read!" 
James A. Owen, Best-selling author of Here, There Be Dragons

You can purchase The Brass Queen at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ELIZABETH CHATSWORTH for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Brass Queen by Elizabeth Chatsworth.


  1. "Do you shampoo first in the shower or soap?" I can't even think of any situation where this question makes sense! I'm not a savage! Obviously, in a correctly-lived life one takes bubble baths! And uses a bar of soap for a period of time. And then uses shampoo on one's hair (or what remains of it) and on one's beard (if you have facial hair).