Interview by Brock Eastman
“From the moment I slipped into the pages of Curio I was transported. Evangeline Denmark has written an intricately webbed story that will make your heart race and your mind thrill. But, be prepared. The Mad Tock, powerful chemists, and wicked porcies roam these pages. Danger, adventure, romance, and imaginative settings galore! I haven’t been so enthralled since my childhood favorites of The Labyrinth and The Neverending Story.”
~Brandy Vallance, award winning author of The Covered Deep
Evangeline Denmark isn’t exactly new to the world of speculative fiction. In fact, she grew up in it. The daughter of bestselling fantasy novelist Donita K. Paul, Evangeline is quick to credit her mother for fostering a love of the written word. “She read to my brother and me every night—everything from picture books to the Bible to The Hobbit.”
Mother and daughter collaborated on two picture books, The Dragon and the Turtle and The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari, published by Waterbrook Press, the Penguin Random House division that published Donita K. Paul’s popular DragonKeeper Chronicles series.
I’ve come to know Evangeline through book signings and school literacy events in the town we both call home. She and her mother seem to attract fantasy fans, enthusiastic readers, and budding writers eager to discuss the ins and outs of fiction. The excitement is mutual as the two eagerly encourage students and readers of all ages to delve deep into literary pursuits.
I sat down with Evangeline at Jives Coffee Lounge, a Colorado Springs café decorated in the Steampunk genre aesthetic, heavy on the industrial feel with exposed copper piping, metal cage light fixtures, and a gear-shaped stage. The ambiance was perfect to discuss Evangeline’s debut Young Adult Steampunk Fantasy novel, Curio.
Brock: Give us one fact about each main character that no one else knows.
Evangeline: Grey’s brother, Banner, means everything to her.
Before Whit started working in the mines, he had never been out of Mercury City.
Blaise’s father is part of a matrilineal society. (purposefully vague *waggles eyebrows*)
Brock: In three sentences, what is this book about?
Evangeline: To avoid the reaches of the corrupt Chemist Council, Grey Haward escapes into an enchanted curio cabinet in her grandfather’s store. Inside the cabinet, Grey discovers a world of living porcelain and clockwork people on the verge of revolution and becomes embroiled in their fight. To get home, she must find the only other human, a boy disguised as the Mad Tock, whose secrets stretch from one world into the next.
Brock: Do you outline the entire book before starting, or do you write as you go and let the characters take control of the story?
Evangeline: I have an idea where the story is going but I don’t outline. I like to be surprised. Or rather, I don’t have any choice but to be surprised. That’s how my brain works.
Brock: So why the change from picture books to Young Adult novels?
Evangeline: Actually novels have been my focus since I began pursuing writing for publication. The Dragon and Turtle books were fun opportunities that arose thanks to my mom’s dragon-loving fan base, but the stories that find their way into