Michelle is a Georgia born native, who spent most her life near the Atlanta area before pulling up stakes and moving clear across the country with her husband, Ben, and their two daughters. History piques her interests, especially European history. A big nerd at heart, Michelle loves reading science-fiction and fantasy stories, and she enjoys old B horror films. She also gets a kick out of playing classic Atari video games and does oil painting as a hobby.
Michelle is a daydreamer who took up writing as a serious career choice twenty years ago, learning a lot and sharpening her skills along the way.
- Michelle Lowe: Today, I’m here with my guest at . . . at . . . well, to tell the truth, I’m not sure where we are. I was blindfolded at the meeting spot and brought here in these woods.
Pierce Landcross: Aye. It’s the safest location I could think of for the likes of me. Given my reputation, that is.
- Michelle Lowe: I understand. Just allow me to replace the record on my phonautograph and we’ll get started. There. Done. Just speak into the cone and the vibrations of your voice will cause the stylus to etch a recording on the lampblack paper.
Pierce Landcross: I’m familiar with how phonautographs work. My old mate, Indigo Peachtree, has an older one. His isn’t as fancy as this new 1843 model, but it works just the same.
- Michelle Lowe: Indigo Peachtree? He’s the famous toymaker, right? The one who creates automatons toys here in England?
Pierce Landcross: One and the same, darling.
- Michelle Lowe: We’ll come back to him in a moment. First, tell us about yourself. Where are you from?
Pierce Landcross: Erm. S’pose I ought to start with my name, eh? My name is Pierce Landcross. I’m twenty-seven and all-around troublemaker. My life is pretty much a nonstop adventure that seems never-ending. But I’ve met some interesting people throughout my journeys, as well as made a handful of dangerous enemies. I know I was born in England, but I’m not sure where exactly. You see, my folks were Gypsies who wandered about constantly. I never had the chance to ask where my birthplace is. As youngsters, my older brother, Joaquin, and me got separated from the troupe when the Gypsies were run out of Abney Park in London while Joaquin and me were exploring the cemetery. When we returned, there was a strange woman there with violet eyes who told officers that we stole from her. Which we didn’t, mind you, but regardless, we were hauled away to an orphanage and put to work in a cotton mill factory.
- Michelle Lowe: That’s terrible.
Pierce Landcross: *Shrugs* Could’ve been worse.
- Michelle Lowe: Where is your brother now?
Pierce Landcross: Dunno, love. Him and I had a falling out some years back.
- Michelle Lowe: Oh? What happened?
Pierce Landcross: He tried to kill me.
- Michelle Lowe: Oh.
Pierce Landcross: Not to sound rude, but could we move this along? I have a bad feeling all of a sudden.
- Michelle Lowe: Of course. I also understand that you’re also an outlaw. In fact, you’ve even been dubbed the most infamous thief in Great Britain.
Pierce Landcross: Aye, sounds ’bout right, considering I tried stealing from Queen Victoria inside her palace. Hence the secret location, eh?
- Michelle Lowe: You’re in the middle of your own story, it seems, but some who have read the first two novels have called you, quote, “The highlight of this book with your debonair wit and glittering cleverness. A fabulous character. Flawed yet a compassionate thief. And one critic even said, quote, “Landcross I always adored. And with each chapter, I loved him more and more. He was just charming as hell. My heart was all a flutter.” And another stated, “I loved Pierce. He is hands down my favorite character in this book. I know that he is supposed to be a criminal and a thief but I cannot see him this way.” It looks like you’re the protagonist for a reason, wouldn’t you say?
Pierce Landcross: *Nervously clears his throat and rubs the back of his neck* I s’pose.
- Michelle Lowe: Going back to Indigo Peachtree, I heard he went missing for a spell.
Pierce Landcross: I wouldn’t say he went missing, more like he went into hiding. There’s this cocker, Tarquin Norwich, who was after the Toymaker.
- Michelle Lowe: How do you know this?
Pierce Landcross: ’Cause I was roped into finding him. After a major failed heist, I tried fleeing the country. I made it all the way to Le Havre, France, aiming to board a ship and escape the royal guards that are still on my tail as we speak. And just as I was about to find a bloody vessel, I was snared by Tarquin’s son, Archie, and his little sister, Clover. They tried bringing me back across the Channel and hand me over to Tarquin. The bloke wanted me to tell him where Indigo’s journal was, you see. We never made it, though, ’cause I was rescued by my good mate, Chief Sea Wind, captain of his ship, the Ekta.
- Michelle Lowe: Captain Sea Wind? He and his crew are Apache sailors who call themselves Sea Warriors, right?
Pierce Landcross: Aye. That’s them. And believe me when I say it wasn’t the first time they’ve saved my skin, but that’s a story for another day. While that halfwit, Archie was taking me back to England, Clover informed me about how her father was hunting for Indigo. *Snorts* Clover is a clever little lass, dunno how she and Arch are related. After the Sea Warriors saved me, I made a bargain with Archie that if he helps me find Indigo before his dear ol’ dad does, I’ll get him the journal.
- Michelle Lowe: That’s all really exciting. What’s next for you?
Pierce Landcross: After all that businesses with the Tarquin and Indigo is taken care of, I’m off to the Netherlands, following a series of clues that’ll lead to an inheritance left to my family.
- Michelle Lowe: Is anyone joining you on this trip?
Pierce Landcross: Aye. Her name is Taisia Kuzentsov, a Russian lass who grew up performing in the circus before setting off on her own to explore Europe. Tai is very brave and can hold her own in the face of danger. She’s also a protector who has no quarrel about putting herself in harm’s way to keep her loved ones safe. I daresay she’s the one for me.
- Michelle Lowe: Tell us about the world you live in.
Pierce Landcross: My world is one heading steadfast into the next new cycle of the human existence. Since the dawning of the Industrial Revolution, there has been this strive to invent new gadgets and machinery by inventors known as Contributors. These sods are working their way up to the peak of this steam-powered age to reach the new era, The Age of the Machine. Whether it’ll actually occur or not is anyone’s guess, but I’ve seen a thing or two not to discredit that such a stage will come about.
- Michelle Lowe: What is all in store for you?
Pierce Landcross: A lot, apparently. My grandmother used to be a fortuneteller of sorts. She once told me each life has many paths that splinters off in different directions. No one can truly see into the future because the future is always changing. I dunno my whole story yet, but I can tell you it involves me dealing with the Hellfire Club in Scotland, sailing to Sonora, Mexico with the Sea Warriors where I’ll be hunting for fugitives, breaking Chief Sea Wind and his crew out of jail in New Orleans, and returning to England to face my most feared enemies.
- Michelle Lowe: That sounds incredible! What else can you tell us? What’s in Peachtree’s journal? Are you and Taisia going to become an item? What’s the reason for going to Scotland? Who are these fugitives you’ll be tracking? Why will the Sea Warriors get arrested, and who are these enemies you will face?
Unknown voice: Over there! I see him!
Pierce Landcross: Bugger me! It’s the bloody guards! Listen, love, it was nice chattin’ with you. *Kisses my hand* Perhaps we can continue this another day? *Dashes off to his horse*
- Michelle Lowe: Wait! How do I get out of the forest? Oh, well. I suppose I can find my way. That was the charismatic Pierce Landcross, ladies, and gentlemen. I must say he’s most certainly an interesting character. I truly hope to meet him again someday.