27 Days to Midnight
by Kristine Kruppa
Genre; YA Steampunk Adventure
Release date: May 3rd 2016
Giant Squid Books
Summary from Goodreads:
Everyone in Dahlia’s world knows when they’re going to die. Except her.
Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father died to protect…and the time research that could bring him back to life.
Then she meets Farren Reed. She should hate him. He’s an enemy soldier, a cowardly deserter, and the most insufferable man Dahlia’s ever met. Still, she needs all the help she can get, and Farren is the only chance she has to find the man who murdered her father. But Farren has only twenty-seven days left on his watch.
In that time, Dahlia must recover her father’s time research, foil a psychotic general’s plot, and learn to survive in a world that will never be the same. But the research holds secrets more dangerous than she had ever imagined. She will have to choose what is most important: revenge, Farren’s life, or her own. And time is running out.
Guest Post: Author’s Research
27 Days to Midnight is set in a fictional land, but it took a lot of real-world research to write. I knew some things for the book already, like basic engineering principles (from college) and how boilers worked (from a six-month stint crawling around on cargo ships for the Navy). But weapons? Explosives? Pocket watches? I knew nothing about those.
Luckily, Google did.
I combed the internet for everything from injuries to watch repair to Hindi translations (which became Janmasthalan in the book). It didn’t take long for me to realize how odd some of my Google searches sounded to non-writers. When friends leaned over my shoulder and found me trawling through search results for ‘non-fatal stomach wounds’, they become understandably concerned. A few more of the colorful searches that went into 27 Days to Midnight included gems like:
- Assembling explosive detonators
- Alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- How to win a swordfight
- What does being shot feel like?
- Medical stitches at home
But even Google couldn’t completely answer all my research questions. Fortunately, I knew people who could.
“Hey Steven,” I asked my brother one day. “How do you load a pistol?”
He glanced up from his video game—some version of Battlefield—and regarded me with curiosity.
“Why do you want to know?”
“It’s for a book.”
He shrugged and showed me without further questions, perhaps not wanting to know more.
Next, I called up my oldest friend, Susanna, who had conveniently majored in psychology. Two of the characters in 27 Days to Midnight struggle with psychiatric issues: one with addiction and one with psychopathy. Susanna jumped at the chance to beta read the book and showered me with suggestions to make it more accurate.
The last thing I had to research, and perhaps the most important, was writing itself.
By the fall of 2014, I thought I had finished the book. It had been edited and revised until I felt I had every word memorized from reading it so many times. When I began querying it to literary agents and publishers, it wasn’t uncommon to see a request for a partial manuscript emailed back.
But that was where every query ended. My partial requests never became full manuscript requests. I puzzled over this for a while, polishing my query letter and asking fellow writers for feedback on the book. It didn’t take long for them to find the issue: my writing nemesis, the easiest thing to overlook and the most difficult thing to dispose of.
I won’t bore you with the grammatical details; suffice it to say that passive voice is a type of sentence construction in which the subject is acted upon by the verb. It’s the difference between ‘The book was bought by John.’ (passive) and ‘John bought the book.’(active). An overabundance of passive voice makes writing feel flat, distant, and uninteresting.
My book teemed with it. I spent weeks picking through each sentence and re-writing many of the passive ones. I finished in December of 2014.
Giant Squid Books requested a full manuscript a month later. The request led to a contract and, just last week, a published novel.
About the Author
Kristine Kruppa is a mechanical engineer, writer, and world traveler. Her days are spent
designing cool new car parts, but her evenings are filled with writing and cats. She has traveled solo to seventeen countries on five continents. Her other hobbies include hunting for the perfect cup of coffee, exploring used book stores, and accidentally climbing mountains. To keep up with her adventures, follow Kristine on Twitter @kskruppa.
(Author photo credit: Sunny Wong)
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