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AJ Sikes – Guest Post

After my review of his dieselpunk novel Gods of Chicago, Aaron Sikes was so kind as to write a follow up article about how this sotry was born and what his plans for hte future of the series are.


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Thank you, Sarah, for offering me a spot in The Old Shelter today. Gotta admit, I love the name of your blog.

You’d asked for my thoughts on the story world in Gods of Chicago, and I’m more than happy you did. The setting was the first and most compelling piece of the novel for me, until I got inside a few of my characters’ heads anyway.

A while back, I blogged on The Undercover Soundtrack about how the story world occurred to me. Like a lot of my crazy ideas, it started with an instrumental number by Joe Satriani. The story world that evolved from listening to his song, Time Machine, felt necessarily mechanical, and gritty, oily, smokey, full of grime and rust but also sleek machines and airborne vehicles. There’s a loftiness to Satriani’s melodies, something that suggests flight and speed and freedom.

With all those details, it might be tempting to say I should have written Gods of Chicago into a Steampunk ‘verse, but my sensibilities and tastes run more to the tune of 20s-40s era jazz, swing, and especially crime noir. I love a good horn section blowing loud and clear with a piano behind it. I prefer the clean, spare, and flashy style of Zoot suits and wingtips over the ornamented leather and lace that shows up in a lot of Steampunk. And what’s better than a murder in a dark alley and coppers and mobsters who have their own agendas?

The moods and manners of the interbellum years also hold more fascination for me than do those of the Victorian age. I get to write and explore characters with an eye for hard life and easy money, and everyone gets a chance to play their hand at subtlety. More than anything, it’s what goes unsaid in a noir story that I find truly fascinating, and I tried my best to have my characters employ subtlety at every opportunity.

Gods of Chicago is the first in a planned trilogy, though I’m writing shorts in the story world as well. These shorts go out to my newsletter subscribers, and a few of them are slated for publication in the coming months, the first of which is the backstory for a youth in Gods of Chicago, a guy named Peter “Digs” Gordon.

For the trilogy, I have a rough aim for the series. Whereas Gods of Chicago was all about conspiracies and what goes on behind the scenes, the next book, Gods of New Orleans, is about what it means to belong: to a group, a community, a family, or a society. I’m working on the book now with a planned release date of Memorial Day Weekend 2015.

Author Bio: Aaron Sikes has been writing and editing full-time since 2011. Gods of Chicago is his first full-length novel and he has previously had three stories published in anthologies by independent presses. Find him on Twitter @SikesAaron or visit his website

Thanks so much for this insight into your world, Aaron. It sounds very interesting. I can’t wait to read the new instalment in the trilogy.

Hey, dear reader, if you liked this article as well there’s a few things you might want to do

  1. leave a message to Aaron in the comment box below, just to say hello and how much you liked the story
  2. pay a visit to Aaron’s site, you’ll find the link above
  3. tweet an appreciation to Aaron, again link is above
  4. have a look at his book

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