I had the pleasure of chatting with Cathy at AWP about her book, New Orleans, Stephen King, Anne Rice, and some chilling encounters with the spirits beyond the veil.
Here is what she has to say about the world she created in this book. Enjoy!
Cathy T. Colborn: Madame Lola’s Marvelously Amazing Medicine Show was my thesis for my MFA at Rosemont College. The early beginnings came up in Novel Workshop, the semester beforehand, when I was trying to figure out what I was going to write to pass this last class. We were learning from the 90-Day Novel, by Alan Watt (and a few other workbooks). The set-up for this class, to be successful at writing this spontaneous novel (or at least getting a good start to a work), was writing straight through without corrections. At the time, I was simultaneously reading (for the second time) Ubik, by Philip K. Dick in another class. I started putting blurbs like the advertisements for Ubik, under each of my own chapter numbers for Lola’s products, because I had no idea what was coming next.
Bonnie, the brave female inventor, was who I thought I wanted to follow around the closest in the story, but Lola kept pushing her way to the front. I mean, I dreamt about Lola at night. She would not leave my mind from my morning coffee to my late night tea rituals. Not knowing how to even begin seeing through a French-Creole woman’s eyes in a steampunk/chempunk universe, I relied on one part history and one part chapter blurbs, to make some impossible dreams come true for the both of us. I guess, with a steampunk world and a few trips to Madame Laveau’s haunts in New Orleans, I started to piece more and more crazy wonderful ideas together.
If it wasn’t for my best friend, Jessie Jane, dragging me all over New Orleans for the last ten years (to figure out when she was going to make her permanent move), Lola may have been from Philadelphia or Florida or maybe chugging her way through the Pine Barrens in NJ. Her pet aboard her train even became my Jersey Devil and the rest is Madame Lola steam history.
Cathy T. Colborn was born in Philadelphia but believes she was once a New Orleans resident in another life. She is the author of two steampunk novels: Madame Lola’s Marvelously Amazing Medicine Show (available through Amazon and Kindle) and Tierney and the Trailblazers (Spring 2017) from Wragsink Publishing. She is the creator of Philly Flash Inferno, a flash literary journal with the ongoing theme of “The Seven Deadlies.” Because of her unique voice, Catt loves to post audio recordings and work as a voice-over actress. She is currently teaching English Composition 102 at Camden County College and working as the poetry editor at The Bookends Review. Catt loves anything steampunk, Southern, or supernatural.
Author’s Website: https://www.facebook.com/cathytcolborn/
Madame Lola’s Marvelously Amazing Medicine Show: https://www.facebook.com/Madame-Lolas-Marvelously-Amazing-Medicine-Show-642053892551347/
Lit Journal: phillyflashinferno.com